Beer pairings for the Apocalypse
By Kevin J. Gray
If you are reading this, the Mayans were wrong and the world didn’t end. But that doesn’t mean the Apocalypse isn’t still coming. And when it does, one of the most important decisions you will be facing is what to drink when the end comes. After all, your last moments on Earth call for a solid brew, right? The Dayton City Paper offers a guide to beers that pair with the Armageddon.
Shock Top End of the World Midnight Wheat – This beer makes the list only because of its ubiquity. Shock Top is a faux craft, made by our good friends at Anheuser-Busch, and AB has made sure it is on tap all over town to cash in on the Mayan craze. AB threw in everything but the kitchen sink, including wheat, chocolate malt and chilies. This beer is easy enough to get, but if the world ends, or worse, the zombie apocalypse comes, this is not the beer you want to end on. Let the zombies eat your brain instead.
Rivertown Brewmaster’s Reserve Limited Release Series (Pestilence, War, Famine, Death) – To celebrate the end of days, Cincy brewery Rivertown released a series of beers in 2012, each named after the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. “Pestilence” is an extremely tart hibiscus sour brown ale. “War” is a smoked Irish-style red ale brewed with cherrywood-smoked barley and UK amber malt. “Famine” is a black Bavarian-style wheat ale, darkened with malted black wheat. “Death,” the final release in the series, is a Russian Imperial Stout brewed with Jolokia peppers. Collect all four and host a Book of Revelations vertical tasting party.
Three Floyds Apocalypse Cow, Zombie Dust, and Dark Lord – The Munster, Ind. brewery with a cult following offers several end-of-time options. Apocalypse Cow is a double IPA brewed with lactose (milk sugar), thus the bovine nod. Zombie Dust might just be America’s best pale ale. The beer uses Citra hops to create a distinct hop bite. If this is what being a zombie is like, let me be the first one bitten. Dark Lord is the most rare of the three. It is a monster of a Russian Imperial Stout, released annually at the end of April with a huge party. Find a beer geek with one in their cellar, but try for an older vintage. If the world isn’t ending, the 2012 release needs to lay dormant for a few years.
Great Lakes Brewing Company Blackout Stout – A big, hearty beer brewed in tribute to the blackout of 2003 that left Cleveland, as well as much of the northeastern United States, without power for days. That event fostered ad hoc neighborhood get-togethers, as folks banded together to stay safe. Not a bad approach for the end-times either. Blackout stout is a giant Imperial Stout, dark and rich, at 9 percent ABV.
Brewery Ommegang Ommegeddon – If you like your beers on the lighter-but-funkier side, Ommegeddon might be your exit strategy. The Cooperstown, N.Y. brewery with a penchant for brewing Belgian-style beers released this strong blonde ale with a twist. The twist comes from the use of brettanomyces, which adds funk to a beer, and dry hopping, which adds aroma and bitterness. According to the brewery, “[i]ts dryness and funkiness begat the name of Ommegeddon – for the time when the forces of light and dark battle for world dominion. It’s time for you to pick your side.”
Unibroue La Fin du Monde – The name of this Canadian-brewed beer translates as “The End of The World.” The reference was to European explorers who thought they had reached the world’s end when they hit the shores of North America. The 9 percent ABV Belgian-style tripel mimics a beer that European monks would have made to celebrate special occasions. Not sure the monks had the literal end of the world in mind, but certainly there can’t be a more appropriate reason to pop one of these open.
Left Hand Fade to Black – Originally brewed to commemorate “that time of year when we fall backwards an hour,” Fade to Black would be a fitting curtain call for the end of the world. The seasonal offering by the Longmont, Colo. brewery changes every year, with previous styles including a foreign stout, a smoked Baltic porter and a pepper porter. The 2012 rendition is a Rocky Mountain black ale. The beer pours pitch black and citrus hops compete with dark, roasty malts to create a complex and pleasing flavor.
BrewDog The End of History – These beers are the rarest of rares. BrewDog is known for making strong beers, and at 55 percent ABV, this is their most robust (it once held the record for world’s strongest beer). The Scottish brewer only made twelve bottles, and eleven went on sale. Each of the bottles was packaged in a taxidermied rodent (that’s right, a bottle wrapped in roadkill). Good luck finding one, but if you do, this beer would be a perfect swan song.
Brewmeister Armageddon – This harbinger of doom is currently the world’s strongest beer, clocking in at 65 percent ABV. The brewery advises to “consume [Armageddon] like a fine whisky,” but if the world’s ending, we’re shotgunning this baby.