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The Best Beers (and Cider!) to Pair with Classic Holiday Movies

November 20, 2019

By October Staff, November 20, 2019

We’re going to come right out and say it: Holiday movies might just be the best part of the whole season. Stringing up lights involves death-defying acrobatics in sub-zero temperatures. Shopping for presents means braving blinding snowstorms and traffic jams. But classic holiday films are just good, old-fashioned family fun that requires zero stress.

While a plate of cookies and a mug of hot cocoa are ideal, there’s nothing like a festive beer to add a little extra cheer to your next holiday viewing party. Here are the perfect ones that you’ll want to pair with these timeless films again and again. 

Photo courtesy of MGM

A Christmas Story with Karbach’s Yule Shoot Your Eye Out 
Everything about the can art featuring Ralphie’s dad’s prized “major award” captures the tongue-in-cheek charm of the nostalgic 1983 film. For plenty of families, it isn’t really Christmas until Flick gets his tongue stuck to a flagpole, the local dogs run off with the turkey, and that coveted Red Ryder BB gun emerges from the wrapping paper. Like the tree and tinsel, it’s one of those holiday staples that generally gets put in the basement as soon as the season ends. That’s why the brewers at Karbach decided to make this seasonal red ale loaded with smooth caramel malt and a citrus twist. 

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

The Muppets Christmas Carol with Double Mountain’s Fa La La La La 
As far as we are concerned, Michael Caine is the only Ebenezer Scrooge and Kermit the Frog is the only Bob Cratchit of any consequence. There may have been about a million versions of the 1843 novella, ranging from classic to cringe-worthy (anyone else remember A Jetson Christmas Carol? We didn’t think so), but this marionette-driven musical ensemble featuring Gonzo as a blue, furry, omniscient narrator version of Charles Dickens is iconic. While watching, you’ll want a tried-and-true seasonal release, like this big, malty winter-warmer from Double Mountain. 

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

It’s a Wonderful Life with Elysian Brewing’s Bifröst Winter Ale
Frank Capra’s cinematic ode to small-town American values may have been derided as a schmaltzy, sentimental mess in its time, but it’s worked its way into everyone’s hearts in subsequent decades. And while you’ve doubtless seen it before, it’s worth rewatching once the snow starts to fall, because it’s almost certainly better than you remember. Curl up by the fireplace and crack open a bottle of this smooth, hop-balanced winter ale. 

Photo courtesy of New Line Cinema

Elf with Dark Horse’s 4 Elf Winter Warmer Ale
Everyone needs a break from all the warm, fuzzy films typically associated with the season. Will Ferrell’s 2003 screwball comedy fits snugly in with other irreverent Christmas classics like Home Alone without every succumbing to cynicism. It’s good, goofy fun that will get kids to giggle without offending their grandparents with its snark. In honor of this wayward elf, we’re recommending this terrifically balanced winter warmer spiced with cinnamon and cloves.

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Love Actually with Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout Mon Chéri 
With a cast that includes virtually every prominent British actor from 2003, this is the rom-com to end all rom-coms. Yes, certain parts of the plot require some serious suspension of disbelief—why is Hugh Grant the Prime Minister exactly?—but the ensemble cast pulls it off through sheer charisma. If you’re looking to watch a Christmas-ish movie with your significant other, this is what you want. And while you’re watching, share a bottle of this very special Bourbon County Brand Stout variant loaded with Balaton and Montmorency Tart cherries. Brewer Quinn Fuechsl came up with the recipe as a liquid love letter to his wife, Megan, who loves cherries, and it’s guaranteed to make your boo swoon. 

Photo courtesy of MGM

Pocketful of Miracles with Virtue Cider’s The Mitten 
Capra’s tale about a Chicago gangster with a heart of gold never achieved the same cult status as It’s a Wonderful Life, but it’s every bit as enjoyable as a film. It is, by far, the funnier of the two, with a killer cast of the top character actors of 1961 all coming together to convince Spanish royalty that Apple Annie, a humble beggar woman played by Bette Davis, is a fabulous New York socialite. In honor of Annie’s lucky apples, pour a few glasses of this bourbon barrel-aged cider that has notes of vanilla, caramel and charred oak.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Die Hard with Guinness’s Stock Ale
We will fight anyone who says that this isn’t a Christmas movie. One can only watch the Snoopy dance and the Grinch ripping off Cindy Lou Who so many times before needing to see Bruce Willis blow stuff up. For your umpteenth viewing, you’re going to want something boozy and barrel-aged that warrants a yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker! This special holiday release 10% ABV Guinness aged in Bulleit Bourbon barrels is the one.

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