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Your Guide To Beer & Video Game Pairing

Currently Drinking:

Drinking and video games? People do those together? How do you drink & play video games? Easy, actually. It’s a combination as good as peas and carrots. Wait, no, those are my two least favorite vegetables. It’s as good as peanut butter and French toast (if you haven’t tried that, stop reading this and go make yourself some). There are few things in life that I enjoy as much as video games and beers, bourbon, or wine. A Friday night with my friends from all over the world, or a relaxing Saturday afternoon with nothing to do.

How do you pair these, though? Easy! You ‘taste’ with your eyes and ears. You’re not pairing with the finest cheese or the craziest appetizer. Instead, you’re pairing with the genre, the subject, the main character, the scenery. You’re using your other senses to pair with your drink of choice. This adds another depth to the game you’re playing. Think Comic-Con, but with booze (has someone pitched this idea yet?!).

Who knew you could use taste to add another layer to your gaming? Combining beer nerding and video game nerding is one of my favorite pastimes and the best way to relax on the weekends. This is not an exhaustive list of every game and genre that I’ve ever played, but these are the games I’m currently playing. This also should not be taken that I have to drink every time I game, but if I’m going to have a beer or two while playing, these are my choices.

Here is my list of booze pairings with video games, what are yours?

The fantasy genre of video games is by far the most expansive and encompassing. I liken most of these games to Game of Thrones & Lord of the Rings for those that aren’t gamers and don’t understand the content. Of course, they’re all different in their own ways, but they follow a similar style: armor & weapons, magic, dragons, other creatures (sometimes magical), and questlines that take place over massive maps. Some are MMOs, which means you can interact with other players, including crafting and selling goods. Another common theme about this style is the time period. They often take place in a much older time, often somewhere around the Middle Ages (although most of them are in a different universe, so their time periods and ours aren’t the same). A drink that is common both there and in our universe is mead. A wine made from fermented honey, it can be made with or without fruit or other flavorings, compared to wine which is made from fruit juice. Often considered the oldest alcoholic beverage in the world, it has withstood the test of time. Ales can often be found in games like this as well, so sometimes I will choose a basic, yet refreshing ale (with no extras) as my drink of choice playing these games.

Time periods are the biggest determining factor in the libations that I choose for the games I play. A relaxing, yet intense game, Red Dead Redemption 2 follows an outlaw and his gang in the Old West, running from the law and trying to re-establish their community after a botched train robbery and a tough winter. Various quests, storylines, and beautiful scenery make for a very fun game that allows you to choose your own path. It even has an online mode where you can play with others. It is a Rockstar game, so imagine Grand Theft Auto but you’re Jesse James. That is the best way I can describe it. Packed with minigames, side quests, and lore like you wouldn’t believe, this game will have you idolizing Clint Eastwood and John Wayne in no time. For this game, I enjoy bourbon, cheap cigars (preferably Kentucky Cheroots to make it truly authentic), and pre-Prohibition lagers if I can find them at the time. If not, cheap American beer will suffice, but I’ll usually substitute for that with bourbon. Warning: this game will make you want to quit your job and chase trains out west.

This is a much broader category. This includes games that fit into other categories as well. Fallout is a shooter, but it’s mostly an RPG. Grand Theft Auto is a shooter, but it’s mostly an action-adventure. So, results may vary within this genre. If I’m playing a competitive FPS (CoD is my favorite – I know, I’m basic), I’m usually drinking hazies with light beers in between. I don’t know if that’s because hazies are inherently American, or because it’s my favorite style of beer, but that is usually my beer of choice. I drink cheap beer in between (either PBR or Buuuuuuuusch Light), so that way a) I can pace myself and not get as drunk as fast & b) I’m not drinking my entire $20 4-pack in one sitting. I often find myself in long sessions playing games like this, sometimes as long as 6-8 hours (no, that is not me exaggerating), so I need to pace myself or my K/D will drop drastically. If the game lobby is especially lit, I will find myself drinking some bourbon. I enjoy the camaraderie nearly as much as I do the game itself. Sometimes, the lobbies mimic old school days of being in the bar with your boys. I would be lying if I said CoD didn’t get me through the boring loneliness of the last year, when everything was shut down.

Okay, I get it. Those two aren’t very similar. Except they’re chaotically American (in a good way!). These don’t need an explanation or justification for what I drink while playing them. Good old-fashioned cheap and light American beer. The same ones that provide the sponsorship and commercials for the sports these games duplicate. Plus these games need better eye-hand coordination than a more relaxing game like RuneScape (because mining and smithing aren’t as intense as being down 14-0 in the second quarter or racing through the streets of Mexico in Forza Horizon 5). I have drunk bigger beers while playing games like this in the past, but it did not turn out well. I highly discourage doing so, your results will be disappointing.

This one is a toss-up for me. I will drink just about anything while playing this. One would think the Busch Light corn cans or bourbon would be the obvious choices, because of the corn connection. However, since beer and booze are all made from something that had to be farmed, I don’t prefer one over the other. All of them are beautiful creations derived from farming, so I appreciate them all while playing.

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