Feeling Nostalgic.

Party Ball Anyone?

Party Ball Anyone?

I bought a couple six packs of beer yesterday, and it really got me thinking about how the beer purchasing experience has changed for me over the years.  Living in Pennsylvania buying beer on Sundays used to be a maddening affair.  Distributors were closed, there’s that pesky two six packs at a time limit.  In college drinking on Sunday took either planning ahead, or gathering up a group of people to run a train on the six-pack place.  No one wants to walk back and forth to the car a dozen times.  Yesterday I was happy to go to a six pack place.  I mean, what would I do with 24 beers? 

This brings me to one of the great debates in college.  Keg or no keg?   In the last couple weeks I have lamented about not tapping a keg in a while, and wondered if party balls still exist.  Don’t have a firm answer on that by the way.  Regardless, one of the great joys of college was the keg or no keg debate.  You actually had the time to sit around, and break down the numbers.  I miss those debates, and I miss the various incarnations of “keg guy”.

1.  The Ultimate Keg Hero:  This is the guy that always pushes for the keg.  He thinks kegs, like blondes are more fun.  He’ll say, “Well if we’re getting 6 cases we might as well get a keg.”  He’s the guy that’s failing “college math”, but knows how many ounces of beer are in a keg, what it weighs, how much ice you need, the correct keg to person ratio, everything.  He’s friends with the guys at the distributor, his ultimate goal is to work there, he’s the Keg guy.

2.  The Tap-Master:  I love the tap masters.  Sometimes these guys have their own taps.  They look down their noses at the taps you get at the distributor.  They talk about “Ball Taps” and their home kegerator.  They usually like to hang in the background, and then come swooping into to save the day.  Some random will spray beer all over the place, then the Tap-Master comes swooping in…”Let me do it, Let me do it.”  It’s his calling, he may not even drink beer, he’s just there to tap the keg. 

3.  The Cheerleader.  This guy has nothing to do with the process of getting a keg.  He’s just a hype man.  He’ll ride to the distributor with you, but won’t help you load it in the car.  He’s too busy on the phone telling everyone “We’re getting a Keg!”.  It sounds like an easy job, but everyone needs a pitch man.  On a random Wednesday night you make the keg push, you don’t want to end up with a half barrel left over.  That’s why you need the cheerleader.  He packs the place.

4.  The Weight Tester.  This is the guy that is always picking up the keg to “check how much is left.”  They have people convinced they can tell how much beer is left by lifting the keg up, and feeling the weight.  Just an FYI no one can actually do this.  But it doesn’t stop the weight tester from making predictions throughout the night.  Eventually, the guy will stand there with a knowing smile, and say something like, “I knew she’d be spitting foam soon.” 

There are tons more.  Keg haters, random keg-stand guy, throw the keg through the drywall guy…all lovable incarnations.  Anyway, it’s just a shame I don’t see a reason in my near future where i’ll need a keg, or even a party ball.  It’s all grab a sixer, and let it marinate in the fridge for a few weeks.  I’ll probably start buying pony bottles soon, because 12 ounces, well that’s just extravagant.


5 thoughts on “Feeling Nostalgic.

  1. I have a keg story contribution. I went to the Big 5 school in the worst neighborhood (debatable) and our off-campus house would have 2 blowout parites a year. First night of school where it was freshman only, then the second when everyone else moved in. The second night of school was on a Sunday, so we had to buy all the kegs on Saturday. 22 kegs to be exact. The first night’s party was bigger than expected and we went through 13 kegs. It wound down around 4am (right as our locals-only neighbors’ speakeasy opened), and we all went to sleep. During the night someone stole all 13 empty kegs sitting in our yard. You could add the guy who gets excited for the $10 returnable keg to your list, but when there’s 13 returnables stolen it really was a kick in the gut.

  2. Um, yeah, I think it would definitely be appropriate to add, “paranoid about the keg and tap deposit” guy.

    also, steal someone’s keg to buy a case of Natty Light guy.

  3. I miss the party ball. I believe JCK had a run of party ball experiences right out of college, possibly culminating with a drunken, naked Fummer running around with an old computer.

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