Tag Archives: guinness

4 Comics, 4 Beers

Hey folks. I know it’s been a while since I’ve made a post on here, but to say “stuff came up” would be a HUGE understatement. If any of you were concerned, thank you. But I’m back now and have a few posts lined up. Let’s get started with this one.

COMICS! I love reading them. Most of you out there probably love reading them. I’ve been thinking of shaking a bit of my creative pairing muscles lately by doing one of these comic/beer pairings and not go so obvious like “Captain America would drink a Bud” or “Wolverine would drink a Molson Canadian” that a lot of similar posts on other blogs have done (Wolverine strikes me as an O’Keefe’s man anyways). In the case of this post I have reached out to creators and publishers (success varied) and pulled several nerd muscles in order to bring you four comics with a beer pairing that would I would not only suggest the to the character, but also the reader. Enjoy.

#1: THE GHOSTBUSTERS

So, as some readers here know, I’m a bit of a Ghostbusters fan. Okay, I’m a huge one. I love the films and was raised on the animated series. And after a while of being unimpressed with IDW’s previous runs with the title which had creators who just didn’t quite pinpoint the dynamic of our four guys, they brought in writer Erik Burnham and artist Dan Schoening in and I really suggest any Ghostbusters lovers check it out. Well-written, well researched and includes plenty of little easter eggs throughout that only the diehard fan will get.

So what beer would I pair with these guys? Easy. Brooklyn Lager by Brooklyn Brewery. It’s local, the malty finish and not-too-imposing hops notes make it incredibly refreshing after a rough day. Plus the Brooklyn Brewry itself, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has some history. Once an Iron Works and later a Matzo Ball factory, it’s not unlikely that our boys would have to catch a ghost prowling around the building and, in gratitude, they would get a regular supply of cases. Sadly, creator Dan Akroyd is impossible to get a hold of to see if he would agree and Erik Burnham, current writer of the series, has yet to try the beer (but promises to in a couple of weeks when he’s at a convention)!

#2: WORMWOOD: GENTLEMAN CORPSE

From those that bust the dead to the dead themselves, Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse is the brainchild of squid-obsessed artist Ben Templesmith and is about a corpse posessed by a worm from Hell who has been around since the beginning of time and has a penchant for drinking and chain smoking saving the universe with the help of his bodyguard and robotic drinking buddy. With crossdressing leprechauns, a secret order of strippers protecting the gateway to our world, squid-gods and an easily distracted four horseman of teh apocalypse, it’s not hard to understand why this is one of the most entertaining reads out there. If you can find the trades I would definitely suggest picking them up.  In fact, the first two issues are free on ComiXology right now. Go.

As for the beer pairing, I initially thought that he drank stout and actually reached out to Ben Templesmith for this one and he responded.

” He can’t drink stout, legally, apparently, according to what someone at IDW told me once years ago but fuck it, he DRINKS GUINNESS. Who can resist it?”

Indeed, who can? And while I’m certainly not going to argue with the pairing SUGGESTED BY THE CREATOR, I will humbly suggest that Old Rasputin Imperial Stout by North Coast Brewing would make a good companion with the book (afterall, Wormy and ‘ol Grigori probably used to be old mates and all).

#3: JOHN CONSTANTINE

Former Liverpool punk rocker magician and now chain smoking, alcoholic loner con man magician/detective living in London. Created by Alan Moore and first appearing in the Swamp Thing comic series in 1985, Constantine went on to his own title, “Hellblazer”, in 1988 and is DC Vertigo’s longest running title (and he also seems to be in the actual DC Universe now since the “New 52” Reboot. John Constantine is a man who knows everybody. Nuns, priests, demons, angels, politicians, gangsters, and is charismatic and rarely lacking in anticipating his next move. He’s also selfish, cynical and due to his actions has had almost everyone he cares about die. He’s conned the devil in to saving his life, hacked the wings off an angel and has been declared the most powerful magician in the world, but he still heads down to the pub for a few pints.

As for a pairing, I know that our John likes a good IPA and I have a feeling that he’d crack a smile on learning about Punk IPA by UK brewery Brew Dog. Nice hop profile with a balanced sweetness and pine flavour. Not too crazy, so it’s good to sip or knock back at a regular pace while thinking of other things (saving the world, a friend’s untimely death, wondering if that bastard angel Machiel will ever give you that fiver he owes you etc.). For John it’s a good beer to drink with the name of the beer maybe having him drift off in to a few memories of the old days, but for the reader it’s just a great pairing with the books.

#4 JUDGE DREDD

Somewhat of a timely choice to include Dredd as the film, Dredd 3-D has been released in a few countries and will soon be released here on Friday (I’m really looking forward to it!). IGNORE THE 1995 STALLONE FILM FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

Judge Dredd is a comic that has been running since 1977 and starts off in the year 2099 and since time passes in the comic in real time, comics put out in 2012 make the time date 2134. It’s set in a world where nuclear war has destroyed most of North America leaving only three huge city-state “mega-cities” the only habitable places. As this map of the world shows, the rest of the world is in similar a situation. The comic mostly takes place in Mega-City One, which stretches from Boston to Washington DC. It has a population of 800 million. Unemployment is high due to the population and many people live in large buildings known as “blocks” that house about 50,000 people each. The only government and law enforcement are the Judges, which keep the peace and run the city. Overseen by the Chief Judge, the Judges are administrators and “street Judges”, who make arrests and give on-the-spot sentancing (usually a very lengthy stay in an iso-cube, a solitary room). Within this city is Judge Joe Dredd, originally a clone from the first Chief Judge, Dredd is the toughest, meanest and best Street Judge the offer has. In the comics I’ve already read (The mammoth Complete Case File books 1-5 which cover comics from 1977 to 1982) he has saved the city from being destroyed more than twice, taken down to warmonger leaders and has been at the center of more than a few resistance forces. The stories in this comic can be grim, funny, satirical and just pretty to watch.

The two things I love about Judge Dredd are this: Many, MANY talented writers and artists have done at least one Dredd comic and it’s wonderful getting other artist’s take on the character. Also, this is one of the few Dystopian future worlds where the oppressive police/government force are actually the heroes. A nice little change from the usual “small group of freedom fighters” thing.

Time to admit something. Yeah, I know it’s a comic, but I can’t in good conscience give a beer that I think Dredd will enjoy or something that could be consumed in Mega-City One. The two big reasons, as confirmed by a rep from Dredd publishers 2000AD, are that Mega-City One only has synthetic alcoholic drinks, which if it’s anything like modern developments in that field where it is an additive, may not taste too great. The other reason is that quite simply Judges are not allowed to drink. So the best beer pairing I can offer you the reader would be Liberty Ale by Anchor Brewing Co. I think the name of the beer matches a bit of the humour found in the comics and the taste matches the hard bitterness of Dredd himself with a nice malt backbone to make it simple. Would definitely make an excellent reading companion.

And there we go. Hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did writing it. I also hope that I may have turned you on to one or all of these comics. 🙂

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My First Beer Workshop

“Aaah!  AAAHHHHH”

That was mostly the sounds coming out of me when I got in to my house just 20 minutes before I was supposed to start my first ever Thirsty Wench Beer Workshop on Google+ (concept mentioned here) at 9pm with some folks from scattered parts of the globe in attendance. The hours leading up to that involved grocery shopping, picking up the Two-Fisted Stout provided by the wonderful Amsterdam Brewery and going to C’est What for a Spearhead Brewery sampling of their Hawaiian Style Pale Ale which was a good idea in theory.  Of course I got in to a nice conversation with the sales reps and of course I ended up leaving later than I planned and by the time I got home I felt, even though I had gone through what I was going to talk about countless times, that I was pretty unprepared.  By the time my friend Cheryl came by to share the webcam with me, I had Gilbert & Sullivan playing at high volume, the beers were in the freezer and I was washing glasses with all the composure of a speed addict.  But one of the things Cheryl has always managed to do is stop me in my tracks and order me to calm down. So I did.  Kinda.

And then it started.  A little after 9pm people started trickling in and within the hour we had about six people all there to drink and talk about beer! The topic on this night was Stouts so I asked people attending to bring two different types of stouts, one Guinness (which anyone can get to act as a sort of base) and one local or “different” stout.

Aside from a few hiccups the meet went really good and the progression from one beer to the next ended up being pretty natural.  I did my best to talk about some of the more common tasting notes associated with stout and how brewers can deviate from all they want with some incredible results.  Then we tucked in to the Guinness.  What made it interesting was that we had a group of people who had occasionally had Guinness, never drank Guinness or it was there go-to drink at pubs, so to get the sometimes different taste impressions from a group of people drinking the same things was interesting along with the group coming to a general consensus on how the drink made them “feel”, which was that it represented a kind of comfortable hominess to them.

Then the second part of the workshop came to order and we all got our local/favorite stouts out.  One person brought a Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide Brewing Company, another bought Bluegrass Brewing Company’s Bourbon Barrel Stout and I brought along the Two-Fisted Stout from Toronto’s Amsterdam Brewery.  And hearing about the tasting notes as well as the aroma, getting a good look at the appearance of the beer int he glass (hooray for webcams!) and hearing about the personal likes and dislikes spoken not like we were all pushed in a line and forced to, but spoken as a fluid conversation with friends.

So all in all the workshop was a success!  I was relieved that so many people showed up and that I didn’t, as many first-time teachers worry about, have to spend the whole two hours talking with no interaction.  Alan, David, Max, Ian and Cheryl, you were a solid group of people!

So next up I’ll be taking down some of the notes I made from the suggestions given on how to improve the workshop as well as the dynamic.  I’m confident that the next one (I’m thinking Pale Ales) will be a lot of fun.

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The Surprisingly Complex World of Beer Glasses

Yes, more than one glass for beer exists (And I’m not talking about different logos) and more and more I’m noticing pubs actually carry them.  And while they do look nice and pretty, they are varied for a reason.  This post will go over that reason and list off some glasses along with which beer styles go with them.

So to put it as basically as possible, the glasses help bring out the best in your beer.  If you want, think of a glass as a suit or dress that just suits you SO WELL and calls attention to all the right parts, showing no flaws.  That is the job of the glass.

To get in to specifics, similar to wine glasses, different types of beer glasses help compliment different styles.  With the right combination of beer and glass, the aroma, taste and steady carbonation of the beer will be greatly complimented.  So tell that to your wine snob friends next time they laugh about how unsophisticated beer is.

Perfect example.  It was a warm summer day and my mother and I were in a pub.  She wanted something light and crisp, so she ordered a Pilsner Urquell, which was served in a Pilsner Flute Glass (see picture above).  She adored the beer’s crisp flavour, biscuity aroma and to top it off, she was refreshed by the end of it. Fast forward a month later, she’s at home and feels like another Pilsner Urquell, so she gets a can from the liquor store.  We don’t have any flute glasses at home, so she picked a random one, an Abbey Goblet (also above) and in her own words “it smelled and tasted like piss“. So once again, the right glass for your beer will REALLY help bring out it’s best qualities and have you strongly consider a second date, er, tasting.

So where can you get these fancy glasses?  Well, there are plenty of ways.  Ebay is a good bet.  So is contacting the breweries individually or kitchen stores and the like.  And yes, there’s the dishonest way (and as it happens, my late grandfathers preferred way)  of just swiping them from a pub.  But that is dishonest and you should at the very least offer to buy the glass from them.

And now, because knowing is half the battle, I’m going to teach you about some of the more common glasses you’ll find in pubs and what should go with them.  For pictures, see the picture/chart above.  Keep in mind that there are many different styles of the different styles of glasses.  A flute glass can be stemmed or not, for instance, and a particular beer needs a specific one of those and so on.

STEMMED ABBEY GOBLET: These babies are usually for holding dark ‘n heavy Belgian Abbey ales.  Suggested beers: Leffe Brune, Westmalle Tripel, La Trappe Tripel, Chimay Red

SNIFTERS: Not just for rich guys with a passion for Brandy and cigars! Beglian ales, Barley wines and Imperial IPAs are great for this glass and really brings out the aroma. Suggested beers: admittedly, Delirium Tremens is the only beer I’ve had with this glass.  But damn, it’s lovely.

FLUTE GLASSES: For Pilsners, Lambics and fruit beers.  And dear lord, they make the brew look refreshing and beautiful.  Suggested beers: Pilsner Urquell, Budvar (Or Czechvar in other places), Fruli

PINT GLASSES: The classics.  We love ’em.  Nothing screams “traditional pub drink” than a nice pint glass.  This usually takes in the mainstream stuff as well as stouts, porters and bitters!  Suggested beers: Fullers London Porter, Hobgoblin Ale, Guinness, Arrogant Bastard

TANKARDS: For when you want to quench your thirst after a bloody battle.  Suggested beers: WHATEVER YOU WANT, YOU’RE A VIKING RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. Seriously though, see above in the pint glass bit.  I find those go really well with a nice Pewter Tankard that’s been left in the freezer for a bit.

And that’s all on glasses from me at the moment.  Hope it was enlightening! And now you know what glass to expect for which type of beer!

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