I started drinking in the usual manner of cider, then lager, before my tastes matured to drinking ale. Wine is reasonable, but will never be as good to drink as a proper beer.
My Dad ran a couple of pubs before I could really appreciate the fact - I got a few underage drinks of Banks' Mild (now called Original to be all modern-like) in though before he packed it in.
I've homebrewed since I was sixteen or so - initially as a way of getting cheap beer - but it soon became a way of making a drink I could call my own.
At university the hobby expanded to other drinks too: indeed any substance with a fermentable sugar content got brewed away at least once! Cola, pomegranite mollasses, lemons, liquorice - anything went. .
Progressing from malt extract plus sugar to all malt extracts, part mash then finally the Holy Grail of homebrewing: All grain. This final step took until I finished uni when brewing decent beer cheaply was no longer the game - brewing the best beer possible was.
My first ever job was at Scottish & Newcastle in Moss Side in their chemistry lab & worked my way around site ending in their microbiology lab before leaving for a bakery. Every Wednesday afternoon I was allowed out to Hydes over the road to sample their Harp lager that was brewed under license. Whilst we put cornflakes into our cheap fizz, Hydes would use all malt. I met Tony the Scouser who was forever having me taste what was new at Hydes.
Soon afterwards I moved down South to Ushers of Trowbridge to test & taste their beer. They closed down after I'd been there two & a half years & their stainless steel vessels went to North Korea. I moved to Southampton to start a new career as a water chemist & never looked back.
I've been in the water treatment & hygiene industry now for more than 17 years & there are worse industries to be in. It's taken me from Southampton, to Manchester & even further North to Cumbria now.
I am a none active member of CAMRA - I've done some volunteering at festivals, but I'd rather be relaxing with my mates on the other side of the bar. Their What's Brewing newspaper has gone a bit downmarket tabloid for my liking although the fruitloops on the letters page is still amusing. I used to go to several beer festivals a year, but the growth of my family soon put a stop to that.
There is nothing - absolutely nothing - though like a drink of beer, with friends in a pleasant surrounding, be it the pub, a beer festival, a picnic or just having people over to try my latest brew.