I’m going to assume most of you have seen Beerfest – the movie brought to us by the same people that gave the world Super Troopers (and soon, Super Troopers 2) – and so I won’t dive too deep with a recap. But maybe, just maybe, you're the one beer drinker who hasn’t seen this film.
Maybe you haven’t seen it because you’re the type of person that watches true crime documentaries almost exclusively, mostly so that you’re cognizant of what untraceable poisons your spouse might be gradually introducing into your morning coffee. Or perhaps you ditched cable years ago and forgot that YouTube existed.
Maybe you have cable but are real outdoors-y and so you rarely watch anything and your friends are constantly telling you to just cut the cord but you don’t because you like that it’s there. You know, for rainy days. And really it’s reached a point where you still have cable mostly because so many people have gone on and on to you about how awesome streaming is, and blah blah blah you’re basically keeping cable out of spite.
I imagine if you are visiting this website and haven’t seen Beerfest, it is because of one of the above reasons. I say this with confidence because until this week, I had not seen the movie precisely because of one of the above reasons. And I must admit that I enjoyed it quite a bit, much in the same way that I enjoyed Super Troopers, a movie that still makes me laugh, even after countless viewings.
Obviously, the humor in Beerfest is similar to that of Super Troopers, but with pseudo-competitive beer drinking characters replacing the law enforcement characters. The premise centers around Germany’s Oktoberfest, and more specifically an underground Beerfest where teams representing different nations compete in many of the drinking games you might know and love. There’s also some homebrewing, as a secret family recipe for Germany’s greatest beer plays role in the plot, but mostly the movie is about five dudes training for a festival of competitive drinking games. Essentially, they spend most of the movie drinking, and drinking, and then drinking some more.
To put it in perspective, in one scene the guys can’t remember the secret location of the Beerfest because the last time they found it they were drunk. So based on the college logic that if you study for a test while drunk then you should take that test while drunk, one of the guys starts drinking. Unfortunately, since he has been training for a competitive beer drinking all year, the beers aren’t having their desired effect. By my count, there are over 35 empty beers on the table when he finally switches to a bottle of Goldschlager.
More to the point, the final scene involves two teams of five men, USA vs Germany, each chugging from Das Boots. Based on some quick internet research, Das Boot comes in two liter or three liter sizes. The boots in the movie appear to be even larger, but for the sake of this argument, we will assume the boots are three liters, which is roughly 101 ounces, or almost eight and a half bottles of beer. In just that scene alone, which takes all of two minutes, over three and half cases of beer are consumed.
A few years ago, my Wife and I attended the 30th birthday party of a friend. This is relevant because the birthday girl was drinking her birthday beers out of a glass boot. As person that had not yet seen Beerfest, I didn’t quite get the references to Das Boot. I mean I still got the joke, after all it was a boot, but in my mind I thought it was everyone just being silly, albeit morbid, referencing the less than cheerful German war movie Das Boot, which translates to ‘The Boat’. So I was laughing, but I was also confused.
Now I don’t remember much else about the party, other than it took place outside, around a fire pit, next to a shed that housed some goats. I don’t remember what Katie was drinking out of the boot, or even what time of year it was. Maybe it was a Marzen or an Oktoberfest.
If I wasn’t a terrible and lazy person, I could simply text the birthday girl and ask her and really get to the bottom of all this. But I am terrible and I am lazy, and so instead I asked my Wife. And she knew all the details:
The party was in October, which is very convenient for this article, and the beer in question was Labatt Blue.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Positive,” she said, “because that’s why we were calling it La Boot all night.”
“We called it La Boot, not Das Boot?” I asked.
“Why would we call it Das Boot?” she replied, disgusted
I asked if there were goats or if I had misremembered that detail as well, but really, whether there were goats or not (I really hope there were goats) is besides the point. The point is if I had a glass boot, a Das Boot, or a La Boot, I wouldn’t want to be drinking Labatt Blue out it. In fact, as much I like a good Märzen/Oktoberfest beer, and this year I am particularly fond of Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest collaboration, I’m not sure I would want to drink three liters of it in one sitting.
Actually, I take that back. I am pretty sure I would. But what else falls into that category? What else, if I had a glass boot, would I want to fill it with?
Not just any pilsner though. I wouldn’t want it to be a hoppy pils like Victory's Prima Pils. And although their Braumeister Pils would be perfect, it’s draft only and I don’t know of any places that will let me bring in my hypothetical Das Boot and fill it. The Organic Ur-Pils by Germany’s Brauerei Pinkus Müller would probably be perfect by the liter, a perfect combination of lightly sweet and fruity paired with a clean finish. Another pilsner that comes to mind is Off Color Brewing’s Tooth and Claw, a dry hopped pilsner with subtle but absolutely lovely aroma and flavor that I just can’t stop and never really want the glass to be empty. That seems perfect for Das Boot.
Give me all the boots and fill them with that please!”
I realize that Märzen and Pilsner are both technically a type of lager, but what I mean by lager here is an American Pale Lager. Specifically, Deschutes’ Pacific Wonderland Lager is one I definitely would want in my boot. Victory’s Home Grown Lager is another. Both of these beers offer deliciously bright citrus notes and finish crisp and refreshing. And if I’m putting three liters of something in my boot, I need it to provide maximum refreshment.
All the beers I’ve mentioned so far come in at 5.5% alcohol by volume or lower, and the session IPAs will be no different. I’ll admit, while Founder’s All Day IPA seems like a crowd pleaser, I’ve never been a fan. I’m thinking more along the lines of Firestone Walker’s Easy Jack. I’d take a pair of glass boots if they were filled with that. Unfortunately, fresh Easy Jack isn’t always the easiest to come by in my area, so I’ve grown partial to two local offerings: Free Will’s Micro Manager and Neshaminy Creek’s Keep It On The DL. Both are unfiltered and tropical. Micro Manager has just a hint of tartness in the finish that sets up the next sip, while Keep It On The DL has more of that true fruit acidity backed by subtle notes of pine.
Das Boot Honorable Mention (The Boat Honorable Mention)
There are two other beers that I think would be just absolutely great from the boot. The first is Tree House’s Eureka w/ Galaxy. I was lucky enough to have a can or two of that this summer and my goodness did that blonde ale absolute knock my socks off. Give me all the boots and fill them with that please!
The second might be a bit risky for the glass boot, but I think Off Color’s Troublesome, a Gose-style beer, would be perfect. The tartness and acidity of the beer is so much more subtle than most gose beers on the shelves these days, and I think that pinch of salt will be just enough to make me feel like I’m drinking out of an actual boot.
And after a boot or two of any of these beers, drinking out of a real boot isn’t totally out of the question.
Thanks to Remo Remoquillo for the header illustration.