Gotta Pair 'Em All! Pokémon Beer Pairing 🍻
Gen 1 - Red Green Blue Yellow - Kanto
When I think about the simpler times of Kanto, I think of an easy drinking beer. When I continue to think about the “simpler” times of Kanto, I remember that it’s actually riddled with complexity (see also: strange glitches and code that makes Focus Energy lower your critical hit ratio. #iknowrite?). Keeping this in mind, Firestone Walker's Pivo Hoppy Pils hits the mark. A great introduction to craft beer as it’s a delightfully easy drinking pilsner, but made complex with a hearty hop dosing. Just as RGBY are a great introduction to Pokémon, but made complex by really outdated menus. This beer is clean drinking with spicy and herbals notes and beautiful floral aromatics that would impress even Erika. I would also recommend Carton Brewing's Boat Beer, Night Shift Brewing's Whirlpool, Founders' All Day
Gen 2 - Silver Gold Crystal - Johto
Johto introduced lots of new layers to the Pokémon universe. Berries and apricorns were introduced, but we were given names like PZNCureBerry and Pink Apricorn. That doesn’t give me much to work with in terms of beer pairing (unless you take apricorn to literally be the combination of apricots and acorns… apricots are delicious, but I’ve read acorns can taste like boiled potatoes. Mmmm.). Slowpoke Tail, the center of a dastardly plot by Team Rocket, is described in the Sun and Moon Pokédex as a delicacy served in a salty stew. Bulbapedia indicates one eats one like you would a honeysuckle. Gross. Pass. MooMoo Milk seems like the best choice. SO! why not drink a milk stout! Here is my favorite to help to control the rage induced by Whitney’s Milltank’s Rollout: Terrapin's Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout. Milk stouts are generally made with lactose or milk sugar. Brewer’s yeast cannot break down the long structures of lactose so a creamy sweetness remains in the beer. I would also recommend Carton of Milk Stout, Left Hand's Milk Stout.
Gen 3 - Ruby Sapphire Emerald - Hoenn
I didn’t play much of the generation 3 games as I temporarily pretended to outgrow Pokémon in the 8th grade. I did, however, play both of the 2014 remakes: Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (ORAS). A now somewhat infamous review from IGN about ORAS knocked it for “Too much water”. Sun and Moon had a cute nod to it in Poké Finder (an incredibly underwhelming feature with shades of Pokémon Snap). Anyway, I agree with the abundant aqua accusation (nailed it). Surfing in the games has always given me a sense of claustrophobia. You can’t tell where you’re going, there are areas that fill the screen completely with water, and I HATE missing items. My suggested libation while you’re bouncing over the waves on a Sharpedo is Dogfish Head’s SeaQuench Ale. SeaQuench is a blend of a Kölsch, a Gose, and a Berliner along with lime peel, black limes, and sea salt. This recently was released in cans, which is the perfect vessel for it IMO. A little salty, incredibly easy drinking, and low ABV. Can’t beat that, or a Rayquaza (no seriously, don’t beat it catch it!), in my book. I would also recommend Sierra Nevada's Otra Vez, Westbrook Gose, Union Craft Brewing's Old Pro Gose, Anderson Valley’s Goses, DRINK GOSES THEY’RE FUCKING DELICIOUS.
Gen 4 - Diamond Pearl Platinum - Sinnoh
I know almost nothing about Sinnoh. I don’t like to admit this and I hope to rectify this soon. I remember that the item Honey was introduced in this generation. You could use it to slather on trees to attract Munchlax or bugs or whatever. I was thinking maybe a Honey Porter would do, but that feels lazy. (I recently had Cape May Brewing’s version of this style and was pleasantly surprised. It was reminiscent of molasses chews.). However, I took to my Pokémon messenger group to get some inspiration. Poffins were introduced in this generation. They are muffin-like, likely sweetened by said Honey and flavored by Berries. My friend James suggested a fruit beer. My brain immediately went to the beautiful series of Weisses Night Shift Brewing does. A great fruit forward entry is Ever Weisse. It is a sour ale aged with strawberries, kiwis, and hibiscus. Sour beers aren’t for everyone… except for Ever Weisse. It’s for everyone because it’s damn good. Fill up a glass, honey some trees, and bake up some Poffins… and whatever the hell else you do in this generation.
Gen 5 - White Black White 2 Black 2 - Unova
I owe a pretty good deal to this generation as it is the iteration that sank me back deep into the world of gaming. The Unova region is based on New York City and parts of north-eastern New Jersey. This is more or less my home turf, although I rarely make any ventures north of the Driscoll Bridge. We have all we need in Central Jerz tbh. The beer scene here is alive and well. A recent addition to the NYC scene is Interboro Brewing of Brooklyn. Grab a paper bag and a Premiere IPA to sip on as you amble down the busy alleys of Castelia City. Big, pretty tropical notes will help guide you around the rushing NPCs and provide you with patience as you wait in line for a stupid Castelia Cone. If you make it across the Tubeline Bridge into Jersey… I mean Icirrus City… be sure to grab a Carton Brewing 077XX. I would also recommend Other Half’s Hop Showers, Rushing Duck’s Divided by Zero
Gen 6 - X Y – Kalos
The stunning world of X and Y gave us dimension! No longer the humdrum top down view! You could sit on benches! The Kalos region is beauty-centric and based on France. When I think of France I think of wine… and fromage! I’m a beer geek and not a wine geek so I’m not going to pretend that I’m scrupulous enough to find a specifically French wine barrel aged beer. Wicked Weed Brewing’s Medora is a sour ale aged on blackberries and raspberries in red wine barrels. This might as well have been made especially for me. Not to mention this pairs perfectly with brie and Poké Puffs! For those who prefer white wine, check out Night Shift Brewing’s Barrel’d Sun (the perfect transition to the next region/games!). This mixed fermentation saison is dry, bright, and peppery and pairs great with bench sitting (but seriously, the bench sitting was a big deal).
Gen 7 - Sun Moon - Alola
The most recent installation is the Alola region. A thinly veiled reference to “Aloha” and based on the islands of Hawaii. The obvious choice here is to pick a beer by Kona Brewery, but being obvious is lazy. Instead, I’m going to throw a total wrench in the works and suggest a mead a friend brought back from Kapa'a, Kaua'I a few years ago. He shared Nani Moon Meadery’s Pineapple Guava Sunset (now discontinued and has been replaced guava with lime). I can think of no better beverage to sip on as you watch the sun set while you catch Pyukumuku (a sea cucumber Pokémon that barfs out its guts when it gets knocked out causing its opponent to take a good deal of damage) for the lazy hotel staffer. If mead is no good, maybe you want something to wash down your Malasada. Malasadas are a real food enjoyed in Hawaii and by your pseudo rival, Hau. They are doughnut-like and sometimes filled with custard. Sweets do very nicely with a nice Porter or Stout. My favorite standard is Great Lakes' Edmund Fitzgerald, or when I can get my hands on it, Knee Deep Brewing’s Tanilla (a porter with Tahitian vanilla beans).
Thirsty? I hope so. What are your favorite beers to drink while catching ‘em all?