If you’re a fan of high-quality entertainment (i.e. you have a pulse), there’s no better time to be alive than right now. Thanks to an explosion of video-streaming services like Netflix, HBO GO, Hulu, and Amazon, you can now plant yourself on the couch and beam an endless queue of awesome content from the web into your eyeballs en mass. Gone are the days of flipping aimlessly through channels; say hello to weekend TV benders that melt away time and space.
But even the best TV binge isn’t complete without substantial beverage backup -- and fortunately, beer variety and availability is at all-time heights. So to make your life a little easier, we’ve paired up five of the best and hottest binge-worthy TV shows available to stream right now with their perfect beer counterparts.
Grab some snacks and lock the doors: your weekend plans just got scrapped.
The Show: The Walking Dead on Netflix
AMC’s wildly popular zombie series The Walking Dead has spawned a cult following almost as ravenous as its stars. Perhaps what makes this edge-of-your-seat thriller so popular is the fact that it combines the grotesque horror of the undead with the gritty realities of daily life in a post-apocalyptic society. This isn’t your typical story of lumbering, flesh-devouring walkers -- it’s a raw look at the struggles of the human psyche to maintain normalcy in the face of despair.
Complementing these intensely dark themes is a most delicious stout from Ipswich, Massachusetts’ Clown Shoes, which features locally smoked ash, hickory malts, and a robust flavor profile that could wake even the most lifeless of taste buds. The complexity of smokiness and roasted dark malts (with a curious sweetness) give your brain something to ponder while you’re trying to reestablish a normal heartbeat. Remember -- a bullet to the head may be the only thing to keep a zombie down, but at 10.5% ABV, two of these beers will do just as much to you.
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The Show: Daredevil on Netflix
Daredevil, one of the most riveting TV adaptations in the Marvel franchise, pays proper respect to the superhero formerly disgraced by Ben Affleck’s 2003 big screen rendition. This Netflix original series wonderfully balances deep character elements and backstory with the development of an undercover superhero and the strain his secret puts on his relationships. Seamless tie-ins of other characters like The Punisher and The Defenders drop surprise Easter eggs, while substantial, meaningful dialogue complements intense fight scenes.
Similarly, AleSmith’s Horny Devil has far more depth than first meets the tongue. With a playful name that belies its serious heft (10% ABV!), this Belgian Golden Ale with coriander boasts a honeyed sweetness with slight orange notes and a clean finish. The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen will practically jump off of the screen with the help of a Trappist yeast strain, candi sugar, and a peppercorn spiciness that brings a slight warmth to the belly.
The Show: Westworld on HBO
HBO hit another homerun with the cinematic western sci-fi Westworld, produced by none other than J.J. Abrams (Armageddon, Star Trek, Star Wars) and starring Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, and Jeffrey Wright. Breathing new life into the Western genre with a modern sci-fi twist, Westworld blows minds again and again through visceral displays of intense character development, masterful storytelling, and dazzling special effects. With season two not slated for release until spring 2018, you’ve got plenty of time to saddle up and journey into the dark depths of human nature. (Man, a lot of darkness on this list, huh?)
Well, the 9.7% ABV Dark Truth from legendary Boulevard is a fitting partner to the contemplative drama, as this stout is so deeply black, it seems to trap all light. One sip of the ebony elixir will completely change all perceptions of this brew as monochrome, as its complexity is astounding. The barley, oats, rye, and wheat of Boulevard’s Smokehouse Series creation give it a supple and silky smooth backbone with a touch of spice. Ripe fruit flavors bubble up thanks to Belgian yeast, adding yet another plot twist. And the peppery, herbal, German hops saunter their way in just before the taste gently fades into a lingering smokiness, like a cowboy riding off into the sunset.
The Show: Master of None on Netflix
Let’s lighten things up a bit, shall we? The Emmy Award-winning show from the always hilarious Aziz Ansari is a loosely autobiographical dissection of his life as a single man in New York. Most often playful and lighthearted, the series follows Aziz’s character traveling, discovering hip food spots, and meeting new friends and romantic interests, all while tapping into the nuances of the modern world. Though humor is the centerpiece, the show includes a sophisticated layering of the more serious aspects of life: loneliness, heartbreak, the burdens of technology, and other first-world problems that plague the millennial generation, and make this an introspective winner.
Master of None will be best enjoyed with Bierkasteel’s Oud Bruin. While the Flemish “old brown” may not be for everyone, the curious, sour brew pulls from many categories in a bright and playful way that delights imbibers in the know. A fruity aroma, along with a twang of tartness and funk, is balanced out by the sweetness of caramel malt for a whirlwind of flavor. Floral notes and juicy sour cherries give way to a clean, delicate finish in a delicate way that only a 117-year-old Belgian brewery can master. The sophistication and complexity of both the show and beer complement one another beautifully in an Old-World-meets-New pairing.
The Show: Game of Thrones on HBO
The TV adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s medieval fantasy book series A Song of Fire and Ice has garnered audience and critical acclaim for seven seasons (eighth in filming) like nothing before it. The complicated and imaginative plot lines of Game of Thrones detail the conflicts between nine royal families and their vicious struggle for control of (or freedom from) the Seven Kingdoms. Characters are woven into a storyline of cunning tricks, strategic alliances, political finagling, and outright brutality to get closer to the coveted Iron Throne. The surreal settings transport viewers from wide open ranges, to frozen tundras, desolate deserts, dank dungeons and mysterious castles crawling with secrets.
A fitting ode to this epic show is Ommegang’s Game of Thrones-themed beer series, which includes Bend the Knee, a Belgian Ale brewed with honey. This beer pays homage to the struggle for power in the kingdoms with a brilliant golden tone and fluffy white head that swirl with effervescence and floral delicacy. The addition of wildflower honey combines with the flaked oats and Belgian yeast for a fruity, sweet, and velvety mouthfeel that rounds out with a crisp finish -- and might even remind you of mead, the medieval drink of choice. For the full experience, enjoy this throwback brew in a goblet made of wood or horn (okay, glass or metal will do, too). Sip carefully, though -- winter is coming.