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A Beer Drinker's Guide to the Winter Olympics

February 09, 2018

By Matt Osgood, February 09, 2018

Are you ready for two weeks on uninterrupted curling? How about watching the finest athletes hurling themselves down frozen mountains and agile bodies gliding across ice by using skills akin to sorcery?

Of course you are. The Winter Olympics are here and the only word that can be used to describe that feeling of excitement surging through your veins is “pumped.” There’s one thing that can tame the sudden urge to strap on a snowboard and test your luck on the half-pipe. It’s beer.

It’s our patriotic right to put on red, white, and blue to cheer on the Americans. As is our ability to pair New England IPAs with big air. Just in time for the lighting of the ceremonial flame, here is the official October beer-drinking guide to the Winter Olympics.

It’s the next best thing to a seat in PyeongChang.

Opening Ceremonies

If history tells us anything, the Opening Ceremony can go a few different ways. It can get historical. It can get weird. It can be mesmerizing. This year, it might just be all three with North and South Korea marching under the same flag, the famously greased-up Tongan athlete Pita Taufatofua making a comeback as an Olympic taekwondo star-turned-cross-country-skier and a show itself that, according to Reuters, will mix Korean history and tradition with K-Pop.

What to drink: Something funky. Boulevard Saison Brett will do the trick. You want to be just buzzed enough to really appreciate what the Koreans are going to do.

Boulevard BrewingLike a gold medal before we even begin the games.

Alpine Skiing

Despite growing up in the northeast, skiing is never a sport I took up. “If you ‘pizza’ when you’re supposed to ‘french fry,’ then you’re gonna have a bad time,” was enough to deter me.

What to drink: Alpine Brewing, of course. Despite parent-company Green Flash pulling back distribution a bit, it should be pretty easy to locate a six pack of Duet.

Biathlon

This one always seems like the most antiquated of Olympic sports. Most events tout some sort of historical appreciation, like, “Hey, a pole vault could have been used in olden days to storm castle walls and such.” There’s something quaint in that visual. There’s something equally quaint about the idea of skiing around in circles and shooting a rifle. Let’s stay away from the heavy booze here.

What to drink: Notch Session Pils. Or any session beer, really, that’ll quench your desire for a beer, but not harm your aim.

Bobsled

In Lake Placid, NY (home of the 1980 Games), tourists can compete in all sorts of Olympic-inspired events, including the bobsled. A few years back, I did just that on a bachelor party weekend. Despite the fact that the helmets were a bit more scratched than I assumed they would be, we survived with no injuries. The feat called for a post-sled beers.

What to drink: Sixpoint Global Warmer. A 7% red ale provides just enough heft to keep you warm inside as you watch your favorites race against the clock and hopefully avoid a crash.

Bjarte HetlandSuch grace! Panache, too!

Curling

Now we’re talking. No, seriously. Did I once stay up until 3 a.m. watching curling on the most obscure of all the Olympic-airing networks? Maybe I did. This event is the on-ice equivalent of my favorite barroom game: Tabletop shuffleboard. I watch. I yell. I care.

What to drink: Your favorite beer (here’s mine). Imperial stout. New England IPA. English Mild (if you’re a traitor, Benedict). Whatever. Get into it. Let your emotions hang on every stone.

Figure Skating

This year, U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen can make Olympics history by landing a record number of quadruple jumps, while also breaking the age-old scoring system. Also, look, sparkly outfits. Figure skating gives us a good excuse to combine E! commenter with sports broadcaster. “Loved the routine, hated the sequins, Tara.”

What to drink: You want to go ostentatious here to match the outfits and the glamour here. Fruited sours. Cherry-vanilla-coconut cream ale. Something with a little sass.

Freestyle skiing

There are few events that really take your breath away. I don’t know much about 1080s or axles, but an athlete twisting and rotating at 20 feet in the area and sticking the landing is just jaw-dropping.

What to drink: Crush it. Grab a bunch of hoppy pale ales and marvel at the heights these athletes reach.

What it's all about. For them.

Luge

There’s nothing dumber than flying down a sheet of ice on a sled going 80 MPH ...

Skeleton

... Besides doing it headfirst.

What to drink: There’s only one style of beer that could make these events seem like a good idea. Barleywine. Revolution Straight Jacket sounds right. I mean, barleywine is life, after all.

Ski Jump

It’s one thing to ski down a hill. It’s another to ski down a hill, off a ramp and measure how far you can fly. This is pretty extreme.

What to drink: To truly appreciate an extreme jump, you need an extreme beer. Maybe a Double IPA. Let’s get those 8%-and-up hop bombs pouring. A Heady Topper just feels right.

Snowboarding

Think skiing with less movement and baggier pants. With big air making its Olympic debut, the sky-high showcase of twists, flips and turns is sure to attract a couple fairweather Olympics fans.

What to drink: A snowboard is where the cool kids hang out. And if you’re a cool kid, you should be drinking a New England IPA.

Closing Ceremony

Does anyone really watch the Closing Ceremony? Isn’t it like watching the credits at the end of a movie?

What to drink: If holding on the Olympic glory for one last afternoon is your thing, reach for a Dieu de Ciel Soltice d’Hiver, a rich dark homage to the winter solstice. It’s over now. You can go home.

 

Thanks to Remo Remoquillo for the header image.

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
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