More and more, folks are getting into pairing beer with food, and why not? The right marriage of beverage and bite can take your enjoyment of both to levels unreachable when tasted separately. I’m just getting into food pairings and can’t wait to taste all the possibilities.
One thing I’ve been into for awhile is beer and television pairings. Well duh, you say, people around the world pair booze and the boob tube all the time. But I find there’s a bit of an art to it. Certain shows are best savored along with certain adult beverages, and there are a few shows I simply cannot watch without the appropriate companion drink.
Here are five shows I love, and the beverages I MUST have to enjoy them to the fullest:
Mad Men – Let’s get this one out of the way first, as it doesn’t require much explanation. Mad Men is a show about booze-fueled ego trips and booze-fueled affairs, and booze-fueled shouting matches and, well, you get the idea. Of course it’s more fun watching if you’re a booze-fueled viewer. I typically enjoy a big Bourbon served in a tumbler while watching Mad Men, either neat or with a cube of ice. My go-to here is Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, with a crisp and hoppy beer as a backer, like a Victory Prima Pils.
Game of Thrones – This Medieval fantasy show is filled with kings and queens, backstabbing, political intrigue, handsome dwarves, and even dragons. I find it hard to sit through an episode without a goblet full of New Holland Dragons Milk in my hand, feeling like a king on my mancave throne. Its rustic, boozy goodness is the perfect companion to the happenings in the Seven Kingdoms. It certainly made what happened to poor Ned more palatable!
Justified - I’m not sure if anyone else enjoys FX’s backwoods police drama as much as I do, but I can’t get enough of Justified. I tune in every week to see if Boyd and Raylan are friends or foes, who’s making a power play in the holler, and if Marshall Givens will get the chance to draw down on someone foolish enough to pull on him. Seeing as this show is set in Kentucky, a little whiskey is in order, and my hooch of choice is Four Roses Small Batch, an infinitely drinkable whiskey with a lower proof that won’t make you regret curling up with it. When I’m not in a whiskey mood, I’ll typically go with a Dale’s Pale Ale and enjoy its earthy goodness while watching justice prevail (most of the time).
Boardwalk Empire – This show’s about Prohibition, so I think it’s only appropriate to celebrate my rights under the 21st amendment while I watch Nucky and company slowly strangle the life (and every penny then can muscle) out of Atlantic City. While whisky is typically the hooch being bootlegged on the show, my cravings run towards beer here, in particular I crave the boozy comforts of Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout. I drink it at room temperature, slowly savoring one of my favorite beers as I count my lucky starts that it’s not 1921. Prohibition was AWFUL!
Deadwood – This is probably my favorite television show of all time. It’s a masterpiece. Deadwood unfolds in a gold mining boomtown in the late 1800, so you can imagine that watching it puts one in the mood for cowboy whiskey. The pick of the litter here is Stranahans Colorado Whiskey, which is not only delicious, but it’s old-fashion bottle looks the part. I always want to bite the stubby cork out of neck, spit it across the room and drink directly from the bottle. New Holland Spirits also makes a terrifically sweet and rich Brewers Whiskey that’s a good fit here as well, but it’s impossible to get in my neck of the woods (at least for now).
It seems silly that these shows would drive me to drink, but there’s no denying that I enjoy the viewing experience much more with the appropriate beverage in hand. That said, there are other excellent shows that I watch that don’t make me thirsty in the least. I’ll sometimes have an IPA while watching Top Gear (the UK version), The Wire, Downton Abbey, and Breaking Bad, but it’s not a requirement.
There’s probably some kind of psychological connection between the nature of the shows above and my desire to enjoy them with a beer or a couple of fingers of whiskey, but I don’t have the time to figure it out – I’m too busy trying to determine which pilsner pairs best with Three’s Company re-runs!
Do you have any beverage rituals that make your favorite shows better? As always, let us know below!