Top 5 Beer, Whiskey and TV Pairings

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!

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle, Spirits, Uncategorized, Whiskey

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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49 Comments on “Top 5 Beer, Whiskey and TV Pairings”

  1. February 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    You left out The Bachelor!

    • Don
      February 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

      Well Tamre, what’s your beer of choice while watching?

      • February 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

        Usually something canned so I can shot gun it while playing The Bachelor drinking game.

        Actually, I try to vary it up each week since the show airs for 2 hours each Monday night. As long as the ABV is at or under 7% I can get to work the next day. I like Flat 12’s Bleeding Heart IPA or Tyranena’s Bitter Woman.

    • February 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      I sure as hell did!!

  2. February 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    How did you not pair something from 21st Amendment with a show about prohibition. I kind of feel like that is a no brainer!

    • February 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

      While it makes sense, it’s a little too “on the nose” for me. I’d feel like a hack sitting there drink Back in Black when I really wanted a barrel-aged imperial stout!

    • Don
      February 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      agreed. I was thinking that a good Back in Black would fit well with the dark undertones on that show!

      • February 16, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

        Nope – it’s too hoppy for intrigue – don’t you know ANYTHING about TV/beer pairings?!!

        • Don
          February 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

          Nope, Not a thing. I’d probably pair the Stranahans with the Boardwalk Empire, and be all out of whack! Good thing I have you as my guide Jim. 😉

  3. February 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    I drink my beer w/ dinner, which automatically means w/ the news and weather–not that I get much worthwhile or truthful out of either anymore.

    • February 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

      True – a beer or two does make it easier to watch that dreck.

      • February 16, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

        What can I say–the wife’s a news junkie. BTW: nobody’s mentioned a single show that I watch yet.

        • Don
          February 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

          That’s because nobody cares what drinks well with Matlock, Wayne! 😉

        • February 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

          🙂

        • February 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

          I’m laughing inside Don–I’ll have you know I much prefer Harry’s Law! 😉

        • Don
          February 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

          That’s like the new version of Murder She Wrote! 😉

        • February 18, 2012 at 11:41 am #

          “I’vw got to beme, I’ve got to be free” (sung in a lilting Irish baritone.) 😉

  4. John
    February 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    JUSTIFIED! I feel a Konb Creek goes well with this as it is as clean finishing as Raylans draw. Of course it then stands to reason it goes pretty well with Deadwood too!

    • Don
      February 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      I might go with the Special reserve version here, as it is nice and raw, making it extra edgy!

      • John
        February 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

        Nice call Don! And a Redbreast to wash down a little Boardwalk Empire seems appropriate after last season.

    • February 16, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      I’ve done both – Knob is terrific with either show!

  5. February 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Here go my pairings…

    Mad Men: Glenlivet 12, Glenfiddich 12, a Manhattan, or an Old Fashioned. Only because they are period appropriate.

    Justified: I need to get some Pappy 15. I currently drink Knob Creek or Parker’s Heritage Collection while watching.

    Boardwalk Empire: Prohibition Era cocktails or some Irish Whisky, preferably Redbreast.

    Deadwood: The strongest Rye or Bourbon available.

    Well done Jimbo!

    • John
      February 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

      George Stagg would work well with Deadwood.

      • February 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

        Yes! Couldn’t remember the name. And that Sazerac 18 or the Thomas H Handy too. Those were dirty times. You need something that will kill pretty much anything.

    • February 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      Nice pairings, G-LO. Looks like I have to get away from Don’s mind-poising – telling me that Scotch is awful – if I ever want to properly enjoy Mad Men!

      • February 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

        Scotch is far from awful. I know Don had that bad experience in college, but come on now! I mean, if I stopped drinking because of bad experiences, then I wouldn’t drink at all. As Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”.

  6. Full Tun
    February 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    What a fantastic subject today. I started to pair booze with shows starting with Zane Lamprey’s Three Sheets as it is a drinking game as well as a show, but since it was cancelled I watch Drinking Made Easy with Zane Lamprey and Steve McKenna as it is also a drinking game. I also like to have a nip with James May Drink’s to Britain. Is there a theme here? I also drink along with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia because it can also be turned into a drinking game. And it it is just the funniest show on TV hands down.

    • February 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      Why have a game at all? Just drink!

  7. tronto
    February 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Shameless and Old Style. Suddenly your every character. Great combo..

    • February 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

      Shameless is one of those series that I’ll eventually watch in a handful of sittings on DVD or iTunes. I think Old Style (or perhaps Steel Reserve) makes a ton of sense!

      • John
        February 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

        Has to be Old style. Chicago Drunks should get a true chicago drunks beer!

        • February 16, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

          Folks still drink Old Style in the old home town huh?

  8. johnking82
    February 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    I disagree with Kentucky and the Four Roses choice since Four Roses is owned by a Japanese company….give Beam some love.

    Also, if I had a dollar for everytime I read “Victory Prima Pils”, “Dale’s Pale Ale”, “New Hollands Dragon Milk”, or “Schlafly Imperial Stout” in Jim’s posts…I’d be a rich man. Drink some different beer for Don’s sake.

    If I had to choose a drink for reading this post, I’d choose Moonshine so I could black out before I finished.

    • Don
      February 16, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      And if you were lucky John, you’d get an infected batch and go blind, so you’d never have to read this garbage ever again! 😉

  9. atattooedtale
    February 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    Entourage always makes me wanna drink.

    • February 16, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

      Me too, mostly because it makes the show funnier.

      Actually, I used to like it, but I drifted off somewhere in Season 4 or 5…

    • February 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

      atattoedtale: I love your avatar–but you might have to explain what it stands for to Jim.

  10. February 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    Those are some awesome and inspired pairings.

    You’ll appreciate this, as a fan of Justified. Do you know what I drank while watching the most recent episode of Justified? Apple pie. As in, Mags Bennett’s apple pie.

    • February 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

      Ha ha – that’s awesome. Hopefully Mags didn’t pick out the glass for you…

      • Haastyle1111
        February 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

        With Justified you gotta cowboy up and go with WT 101 neat just like Boyd and Raylan

        • February 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

          Or how about some Blanton’s? That’s what Art always has on his desk. At least that’s what he had in prior seasons.

          And FYI, shooting that crazy nurse through the body of that nut job prison nurse was brilliant!

        • February 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

          It’s on the DVR, G-LO!!! You’re killing meeeeeeeee!!!!!

        • February 16, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

          Well how the hell was I supposed to know that??? Sorry Jim!

  11. February 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    I KNEW WE HAD MORE IN COMMON THAN WE THOUGHT!! Swearingin and Co. was the BEST show on television ever! Shakespeare. with mud. and whores.
    I loved it and kudos choosing all those New Holland Products. My man Fred B. will be proud!

    As for Justified I grew up in a town pretty much THAT town. just saying and my go-to bourbons are:
    1. Woodford for mixing (and juleps)
    2. Elijah Craig for sipping
    3. Pappy Van Winkel for sipping when I’m feeling rich.
    great post .
    I love you guys.
    (what would Spartacus drink hmm?)

  12. February 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Nice post. And thank God for the serial comma, otherwise we would be left thinking that Jim had a thing for dragons….you know, instead of just dwarves. 😉

    • February 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      C’mon – Drinklidge is a hunky little fella!

      • February 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

        I just googled him. And I have to agree. But I draw the line at dragons!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Daily Eudemon - March 16, 2012

    […] a great piece I meant to feature a month ago: Top 5 Beer, Whiskey TV Shows. They are: Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Justified, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood. It’s worth […]

  2. Ommegang to Brew “Game of Thrones” Inspired Beers | Beer & Whiskey Bros. - December 17, 2012

    […] favorite weekly moments happens on Sunday night, when I snuggle up hunker down in the mancave with a good craft beer in hand and watch whatever original drama is running on […]

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