Video Game Beer Pairings
It's dangerous to go alone! Drink these!on September 18, 2014 at 8:00 am
First/Third Person Shooters – Pilsner
You don’t have time to be thinking about what beer you’re drinking, there is a guy about to shoot you! Here, drink this pilsner!
A pilsner is a light, drinkable beer that’s more bitter than the American Macro brewers would have you believe it’s supposed to be. These are appropriately hopped beers with a strong malt presence. They typically feature grassy flavors and usually hover around 5-5.5% ABV.
Basically, these are exactly what you want when you’re trying to snipe things in the face or face-like analog. They won’t get you drunk and you’ll never have to think about what you’re consuming. Just drink it down and put things on the ground.
Properly anal beer nerds will tell you that there are “Pilseners”, then there are “Czech Pilsners”. I’m not going to make that distinction here or spell the word with the extra letter. Drink them all.
Pilsner Urquell (Pizensky Prazdroj)
Good Chit (Rogue)
Prima Pils (Victory)
Weihenstephaner Pilsner (Bayerische Staatsbraurei Weihenstephan)
Pivo Pils (Firestone Walker)
Racing – IPAs
Starting Line: Monaco.
Revving the engine of your Aston Martin DBS, you look around at your competition. At pole position, an Ascari A10 that you have almost no chance of catching. Behind that, you spy a Ferrari 458 and a Mercedes SLK 55 AMG. Closer to you, a Jaguar F-Type R. That’s what you’re going to be hunting down.
Dumping the clutch as the light turns, you immediately start blistering your way through the tight, perilous corners of the Monaco street circuit. The Jag gets the jump on you and takes an early lead, but the race has only just started.
The howling exhaust from all the cars creates an echoing thunder that can be heard miles away. Existing inside the vortex of noise and trying to hold enough concentration to race is insanely difficult. You stay on the Jag’s tail, however. Resolutely waiting for a chance to strike and grab the position in front of it.
An opening presents itself at the chicane, but the Jag successfully boxes you out, ruining your line. It’s too early to give up, though. Seeing another opportunity arise as you both come into La Rascasse, the Jag lets off the accelerator, his exhaust letting out a glorious, deep crackle going into the corner. You bravely brake late and try to overtake on the outside.
Narrowly missing the wall, you gain ground and take the inside line on the next corner, successfully shutting the Jag out, giving you his spot. A great first lap, now you just have to keep it up.
Racing is full of excitement, aggressiveness, noise, skill, and balance. IPAs work in much the same way. It’s take an immense amount of knowledge and experience to tread the waters of this highly competitive style and produce a tasty product. Producing an IPA that is balanced, but also features the aggressive bitterness of hops is a daunting task that few achieve. The one’s that do, however, do it very well.
Since hops are what separates beer from a simple malt beverage, IPAs are, essentially, an extremely concentrated beer experience. One that seeks to really grasp and master that single ingredient that makes beer what it is.
IPAs are supposed to be bitter, but that bitterness should be balanced out with the fruity notes the hops impart and the sweetness of malt. These beers can be somewhat light to relatively high in alcohol, around 5.5-8% ABV. The good ones are supremely drinkable, which means they can certainly sneak up on you. If that happens, then change the style of racing game you’re playing to something more arcadey and start crashing into stuff.
Two Hearted (Bell’s)
Head Hunter (Fat Head)
Sculpin (Ballast Point)
Mystic Mama (Jackie-O)
White Rajah (The Brew Kettle)
Jai Alai (Cigar City)
Blind Pig (Russian River)
60 Minute (Dogfish Head)
RPGs – Brown Ale
The RPG is genre of game that needs to be played in huge, meaty chunks of time. While you’re delving deep in to characterization, customization, world building, NPC dialogue, and end bosses that always try to be freakish demi-gods, you want a beer that will happily travel with you through all of that. A beer that is drinkable, yet flavorful. One that also fits right in with the medieval fantasy theme that so many RPGs inhabit. Brown ales fit those requirements quite nicely.
Brown ales can get a wide range of flavors from the ingredients that are used. They’re almost always a sweeter drink and they can have nut, chocolate, caramel, and toffee flavors. They typically have a low ABV, so you can feel free to drink them all day and not be passed out and forget the save. NEVER forget to save, dammit!
Brown ales will get you in the mood for some RPGs and then keep you there as you grind through hordes of spiders, bandits, and jelly-like creatures.
Indian Brown Ale (Dogfish Head)
Nut Brown Ale (Samuel Smith’s)
Nut Brown Ale (AleSmith)
Best Brown (Bell’s)
Mighty Brown Ale (Breckenridge)
Platformers – Cider
Platformers are a genre that exemplifies playfulness and fun, as much as it prides itself on raw talent and learned skill. Astonishingly easy for anyone to pick up and play, but can be difficult to master. More hardcore gamers leave platformers behind as they grow older, but I find folly with that decision.
Like this genre, the same can be said of ciders. As drinkers grow older, so do their tastes and ciders are left to the wayside, but there is still some really legit stuff out there.
I know, cider isn’t beer, but I can’t think of any beer that would fit with this genre better. So, we’re going with ciders. And since ciders are their own thing, I’m not going to delve into various styles. Also, they vary wildly in alcohol content, 2-12% or higher, amount of actual apple juice that has to be used, whether they’re dry or not, and blah-dee-blah.
Regardless, I think a bubbly, fresh, sweet cider is the perfect match for crushing enemy skulls with your boots and exploring colorful worlds.
Brown’s Lane Natural (Crispin)
Thirstly Cross Scottish (Thirstly Cross Cider)
Samuel Smith’s Organic (Samuel Smith’s)
Magners Irish Cider (Bulmers)
Sports – Lagers
Sports and lager go together like dudebros and “Call of Duty”. They’re made for each other. So, there’s no surprise that I chose these two to go together. But, lots of lagers are gross. American macro brewers use a ton of adjunct ingredients, which ruin the purity and flavor of the beer. Plus, they all taste exactly the same, which is, once again, gross.
And while I may have given up on sports, I still play the occasional sports video game… though they may have the words “Mario”, “Jam”, “Blitz”, or “Pro Skater” in the title. And while I may have given up on American Macros, I haven’t given up entirely on lagers.
The style isn’t going to be full of malt and hop flavor. That’s not their purpose. They’re meant to be an extremely light, refreshing, and have a VERY low ABV. But, that doesn’t mean they have to be hold-your-nose disgusting. There are some legit lagers out there, just like there are some legit sports video games.
Pair the two together and you might just feel a bit manlier as a result. Just ignore the fact that you’re playing tennis with a turtle. It’s manly! Okay?!
Lager of the Lakes (Bell’s)
Brooklyn Lager (Brooklyn Brewery)
Stoudt’s Gold (Stoudt’s)
Dortmunder Gold (Great Lakes)
Hopstitution (Jack’s Abbey)
Are you going to go buy any new beer today? You should. Even if you don’t agree with my reasonings or think this entire idea is silly, you’ll at least have some good beer to drink. That’s gotta be worth something.