The first Friday in August is International Beer Day! Now, I know what you’re thinking: Is it an American day celebrating international beers, or is it an international holiday celebrating beer of any kind? Great question. The answer is that it is apparently an international holiday celebrating beer of any kind, and for what ever reason that makes my heart absolutely sing.
Does America Have a National Beer Day?
Yep. September 28 is National Beer Day and that date coincides with the general Oktoberfest season.
How Can I Celebrate International Beer Day?
Easy: You can drink some beer. There are myriad ways to celebrate. You could find a local brewery, or maybe even a large scale bottling/canning operation. Perhaps you just want to go to a beer bar like the Flying Saucer and get a flight or taste their beer of the day. Or maybe you could add just a touch of class to the idea of a beer flight and attend a beer tasting, which is like a wine tasting but with beer and you get to swallow the wine instead of feeling pressured to spit it into that weird silver spittoon thing. (As an aside, I think everyone knew someone in college that would drink random things for money, and I think the ultimate test of that would be to chug everyone’s discarded spit wine. I’d pay $25 for someone to do that. There’s not enough money in any college student’s bank account to get me to be the one drinking it, though.)
Or perhaps you’ve never been an adventurous beer drinker so your goal is to find a new beer you like. Well, you’re in luck because there are actually quizzes out there that help you determine what kind of beer you might want! I am a seasoned beer drinker and know exactly what I like and don’t like. With that information in mind I took several online quizzes to find one that resulted in beers I do like. That quiz was offered by The Signal, which apparently is the student paper at the University of Houston–Clear Lake, which, of course is in…Pasadena, Texas. Why would it be called Clear Lake if it’s in Pasadena? Oh well, it doesn’t matter. The point is that I’m a Dallas native and therefore have a natural inclination to distrust opinions of Houstonites. But I’m nothing if not reasonable and I can admit that the folks down near Houston have come up with what I believe is the best quiz to determine what kind of beer you would like. Here’s the link to The Signal‘s quiz.
If you feel like some grub with your brew, you can further celebrate International Beer Day by making and/or consuming some food that typically goes with beer. The challenge is to pair your beer with food properly, which is why I’ve created this handy guide:
Beer Food Beer Pairings
Tacos: Something with “Cerveza” on the Label
If you’re going to eat tacos, which of course come to us through Mexico, the least you could do is drink a Mexican-style beer. I’m a big proponent of Modelo, but I also like Pacifico, Sol, Dos XX, and the American-made, Dallas-local Deep Ellum Neato Bandito. Mexican beer is typically lighter in flavor and is perfect for consuming while still leaving room in your stomach for delicious tacos. You get bonus points if you are eating tacos that came wrapped in foil and are enjoying your meal outdoors.
Pizza: Something Cheap
Pizza is heavy, greasy food and as such needs a light profiled beer to help temper that. I prefer anything that a college student would consider premium: Coors Light, Miller Lite, Rolling Rock, etc. Especially Rolling Rock. Rolling Rock is the most beer tasting beer that has ever existed. If I traveled to a distance planet and was taking one example of beer with me, it would be Rolling Rock just because it is, for me, the quintessential American beer. I’d also probably take a big New York pizza with me because as much as I love a good deep dish, a New York slice is a better example of what pizza is.
Barbecue: Something Local to the Region
One thing that makes barbecue so great is how regional it is. Memphis has it’s dry-rubbed, slow-and-low pork, Kansas City has it’s sweet and thick sauced meats, the Carolinas have that mustardy vinegar-based sauce for their pork, and Texas, of course, has it’s delicious, it-only-needs-sauce-if-something’s-gone-horribly-wrong brisket. As such, I think it’s important to honor the style of Q with a beer from that region. Living in Texas, this is easy for me. I default to Lone Star because deep down I’m still a redneck, but I’ll enjoy a cold Lakewood IPA or Saint Arnold’s Fancy Lawnmower. I don’t know much about beers from Missouri, Tennessee, or the Carolinas, so I’ll leave that to the Internet or some locals.
Cookout Food: Something Flavorful
This is, without a doubt, the worst description of the type of beer I could possibly have made. But what I mean is that you want something that has a lot of bold flavor because even the best cookout food tends to be a little repetitive. Burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, etc. are each exemplary when prepared by someone who knows what they’re doing, especially for a lot of people. Unfortunately, most people hosting cookouts don’t know what they’re doing and the burgers get under-seasoned and overcooked, the hot dogs get burnt on the outside but remain chilly in the center, and the wings are bathed in a sauce salty enough to ruin 100 acres of fertile land. To make up for the blandness you should choose a bold beer. I’m a sucker for a good West Coast IPA, but to each their own.
Bar Food: Something You’ve Never Had Before
At least for the first one. One of my favorite things about eating at bars is that almost every beer seems to go well with every foodstuff on the menu. Cheese fries, French dip, pretzels, ham and cheese wontons (which I’ve seen at two different English-style pubs in the United States), pot pie, etc. It doesn’t matter. Every beer tastes pretty good with every food. So for the first beer I try to order something I’ve never had before. It makes me feel a little cosmopolitan and adventurous, but mainly I think it’s just good to have some variety on occasion. Plus, you never know: you might just find your next favorite beer!
Whatever you do today, make sure to have an ice cold beer when you can afford to mentally check out for the day. My goal is to make it until 3:00, but we’ll see. So cheers! Prost! Salut! And na zdravi! Happy drinking, and happy International Beer Day, everyone!