November 25, 2019
Of all the top five lists I have done, none quite captures the essence of TGPZ so well as this one will. We love beer here almost as much as we love The Legend of Zelda, so a list of the five best beers to pair with the series is something I really should have done a long time ago! This is all just my opinion, though, so let me know what YOU like to drink when you play Zelda, or any other game you like. You can leave a comment below, shoot me a tweet, or hit up myself and the other TGPZ writers on our Discord Server! Without further lollygagging, let’s start it out with a beer that almost any craft beer geek will recommend!
#5: Stone Brewing Company IPA
While the average India Pale Ale is a pile of wet hops that tries to kick your IBU sensors in the nuts, Stone Brewing has brought forth a recipe that balances all things. Actually they have a ton of different IPA recipes that are all pretty good, but I digress. As playing a Zelda game can bring on a zen like sense of harmony, so too can a pint of this sweet, malty monster. The hops are still there, as you might guess, but they mingle perfectly with the rest of the flavors without overpowering or making for a one-note beer experience. This balance is perfect to pair with our favorite series because Zelda creates the perfect balance of gameplay with a unique blend of puzzles, combat, exploration, and basically every other thing you can think of that makes a game fun.
#4: Samuel Adams Irish Red
When I found out that my good buddy Sam makes a true Irish Red, I swore off Killian’s for good. Not only is this a powerful red ale, rather than a lackluster lager imitation, but it packs out the flavor like the brewers at Coors could never dream of. It’s perfect for any season, cooling you down in the hot months and warming you up through the nippy winter winds. If there’s any game series that knows no season, it has to be Zelda.
#3: Golden City Brewery Centurion Barleywine
This is a local beer that I would love to shamelessly plug, so I will! If you live outside Colorado I’m sad to say this is going to be outside your reach, as the brewers only sell this one at the brewery, and it only comes along seasonally as well. That said, I have found many a barleywine ale that fits the same bill, so substitutions are acceptable in this case. Be adventurous and go find yourself a local one!
The Barleywine is among my favorite beer styles because of its rich complexity and mouthfeel. Each aspect that goes into crafting this type is an enhancement to the experience. In every sense of the word, it is epic. Link regularly practices horseback archery, slays dragons and demons, climbs fourteeners like mole hills, and relieves fish-gods of their Nightmares. Is there a more epic style of beer to pair with the most epic of video games?
#2: The Kraken Black Spiced Rum
Okay so sometimes hardcore gaming calls for something a little more hardcore than beer. When that time approaches, you should reach for a bottle of The Kraken! Beyond being my favorite rum, The Kraken feels like you are drinking an adventure. Whether you shoot it straight or mix it into a cocktail, this spice-filled joyride will awaken your spirit and invigorate your soul. Better stock up to prepare yourself for that three-heart naked iron man Master Mode run.
#1: New Holland Dragon’s Milk Barrel-Aged Stout
Sitting in a bourbon-barrel for a while during the brew process makes for an unparalleled experience when it comes time to hoist a flagon. While the last few years have seen plenty of brewers utilizing this idea as a gimmick, the folks over at New Holland Brewing have been making a tried-and-true version since before it was cool. Dragon’s Milk is, in my opinion, what every other brewer is setting out to imitate with this style, and very few of those I have tried can match the pure excellence of the original.
Why is it great to pair with Zelda? It actually matches the criteria every other beer on this list does, plus it’s better than all of them put together. Actually, mixing an IPA, a red, a barleywine and some rum sounds like a terrible idea anyway. Never do that. More to the point, Dragon’s Milk is balanced, season-defying, complex, and at a hearty eleven percent alcohol by volume, it packs a mean punch. This is a beer that I cannot rush through. Every bottle have I savored just as though it were the first time, and the same is true when I replay any Legend of Zelda game. These are both timeless classics that will remain icons of their own industries for centuries.