Phase 1: You have your first sip of beer
On your 21st birthday (not a day sooner), you have your first sip of beer, and your mind is blown. You don't know what it is, mainly because it is in a Solo cup, but it triggers a heretofore unknown passion in you as you simultaneously discover you’re really, really good at beer pong.
Phase 2: You try something "premium"
One day, you drop an extra $1 on the variation of your go-to brand with the word(s) "premium," "private selection," or "blue" on the label. The slight difference in flavor expands your mind.
Phase 3: You taste your first craft beer
The lack of nose-tickling fizz is foreign to you, but your taste buds are suddenly alight. Thus begins a voyage of discovery. At first, you base your purchases solely on buying six-packs that cost a couple more bucks than your usual go-to "dirty 30." Eventually, you gauge strictly by ABV. Then you start sampling other styles. Quick trips to the convenience story suddenly become hour-long explorations of reading packaging before just going with the beer with the highest ABV.
Phase 4: "Mouthfeel" enters your lexicon
Late one night, you overhear a man with a scraggly beard and a paunch use the word "mouthfeel." You nod and smile, then look it up online. It's like the Rosetta Stone. Within a month, you're talking about mouthfeel and cask-conditioning and gravity like a regular old cicerone, which is another word you learned on that fateful night.