Friday, December 23, 2011

Beers for Festivus

  In lieu of the typical Beer for the Weekend post, I decided instead to celebrate an often overlooked and under-appreciated holiday: Festivus. Traditionally celebrated on December 23rd, this Costanza-born tradition is just begging for some alcoholic accompaniment. Below is my list of suggested beer pairings for the standard Festivus activities, the majority readily available in the Kansas City area.

Putting up the Festivus Pole - As Frank Costanza notes, the Festivus Pole requires no decoration, is made from aluminum, and has a high strength to weight ratio. To me, a beer that aligns itself perfectly with this description would be Ska Brewing Company Modus Hoperandi. Presented in a green aluminum can, Modus is a fairly basic, hop-forward American IPA. And at just under 7% ABV, it has enough strength to place it just above a sessionable level but not something that will put you out for the rest of the evening. No distracting 'tinsel' or beer gimmicks here, just a solid, worthy IPA.

Festivus Dinner - You may recall that alcohol was not served at Festivus dinner, but George's boss, Mr. Kruger, drank out of a flask throughout the meal. So when it comes to beer for Festivus dinner, you want something with a high ABV that you could conceal in a flask or other conspicuous container. My suggestion would be to turn to Great Divide Old Ruffian Barley Wine. Smooth, easy to drink, and a heavy hitting 10.2% ABV make this beer the perfect one to sip on sneakily. Plus, it could pair well with a variety of foods, from a marble rye to a lobster bisque.

Airing of Grievances - Arguably the most popular of the Festivus activities, the Airing of Grievances is a time to let everyone in your life know how they've disappointed you in the past year. An activity that is sure to leave a sour taste in everybody's mouth, you may as well purposefully put a sour taste in your mouth with a beer. Jolly Pumpkin La Roja is one of my favorite go-to beers for a sour kick. As you sit there and receive a tongue-lashing from your loved ones, soothe your bruised ego with this delicious beer.

Feats of Strength - After being taken down a peg during the Airing of Grievances, the Feats of Strength offer you an opportunity to redeem yourself in the eyes of your family and friends.  A proper beer to get you prepared would be Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard Ale. A strong ale that seems to have an ego of it's own, this brew is sure to instill a renewed sense of confidence in you that will surely bring you victory in the annual family wrestling match.

Witnessing a Festivus miracle - When it comes to celebrating a miracle on this holiday, you want to do so with a beer that leaves a lasting impression that you won't forget. For me in 2011, that beer was Anchorage Brewing Company Love Buzz Saison. Now while this one isn't available in Kansas City year-round, it made a couple of limited appearances, making it that much more special. Brewed with rose hips and brettanomyces and aged in french oak pinot noir barrels, this beer is very unique and was one of my absolute favorites of the year. And even if you don't witness any Festivus miracles,drinking this beer will prove to be a miracle of its own.

Happy Festivus to all, and to all a great beer!


  1. Brad at Royal said they had some of the Love Buzz yesterday. I'm a big saison guy, but I think that I liked the Bitter Monk more. Great beers if you're a brett lover.

  2. Excellent list! I think it's safe to say that you nailed it. I have no Seinfeld references.