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Holiday Survival Guide | Podcast and Beer Pairings

Holiday Survival
Dan Bortz

Congratulations! You survived Thanksgiving. That was the first test. You didn’t explode in rage at an older relative’s questionable social views or crack under the pressures of cross-country travel. Christmas, however, brings a whole new set of logistical and emotional challenges. If the gift shopping doesn’t make you crack, another family meal just might. Luckily, there are ways to minimize the stress and ensure your holiday survival!

There is no better way to escape the rigors of the holidays than popping in some earbuds and enjoying some fine audio programming. Whether you are avoiding your in-laws or doing some last minute shopping, there is a podcast (and a beer) for every contingency.



Best Podcast for Eating at a Chili’s Too in the Airport

Hopstorm IPA | BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse

Holiday Survival
Photo Credits: and

Doughboys is a hilarious podcast that rates and reviews chain restaurants. Nick “The Burger Boy” Wiger and “Spoonman” Mike Mitchell are not your typical podcasters. They often seem to dislike each other, and (at times) actively hate their own podcast. Mitch makes fun of Wiger’s mannerisms and alleged drinking problem, and Wiger invites listeners to mock Mitch in a segment called “Roast Spoonman.” The duo brings hilarious guests along for the ride as they (eventually) get around to their restaurant reviews.

“I’m Nick Wiger alongside my co-host: ‘Chris Pratt who went the opposite way after Parks & Recreation’ Mike Mitchell, The Spoonman.”  – Nick Wiger

We know that Nick Wiger enjoys beer because he continually insists on using the term “brew dog,” much to Mitch’s chagrin. Keeping the Doughboys’ love of chain restaurants in mind, there is no better pairing than the signature IPA of brewpub chain BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse: Hopstorm IPA. This American-style IPA is brewed with six hop varieties, which gives this beer an intense hop aroma and bitterness, complementing the Doughboys’ dynamic perfectly.

The Trail Show

Best Podcast for Walking Your In-Laws’ Dog

Goose IPA | Goose Island Beer Co.

Holiday Survival
Photo Credits: The Trail Show (vie Facebook) and Goose Island Beer Co (via Facebook)

Coming to you “live” from THE Bobbi Walters Studio, The Trail Show helps scratch your itch for outdoor activity. Hosted by seasoned long-distance hikers Disco, the Princess of Darkness (POD), D-Low, and Speshul 41, The Trail Show features discussions about trail news, beer and D-Low’s latest landscaping projects. They also get into the details and logistics of a different long distance hiking trail (or route) every month, often with the help of a guest. At its core, this podcast is a hilarious conversation between a group of friends who share a common passion: hiking.

Being beer nerds themselves, The Trail Show’s hosts chose their own pairing! For this foursome, no beer goes better with this podcast at Christmas than Goose IPA. Not only are the cans convenient for carrying in a backpack, but the fruity aroma and hop bitterness go down great on the trail. According to POD, it’s like “Christmas in a cup.”

Judge John Hodgman

Best Podcast for Drowning Out Your Dad’s Jokes

White | Allagash Brewing Co.

Holiday Survival
Photo Credits: and

Does one of your dad have an embarrassing habit? Are you a teenager whose parents won’t buy you a motorcycle (or let you vape)? Got a piece of ugly furniture that your spouse won’t get rid of? These are the kinds of cases that come before Judge John Hodgman in his fake internet courtroom. John Hodgman and his bailiff Jesse Thorn provide humor and wisdom as they hear each case, and provide a (fake) legally-binding ruling. The cases are very relatable and provide tons of laughs along the way.

“Please rise and raise your right hand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God (or whatever)? Do you swear to abide by Judge John Hodgman’s ruling, despite the fact that he eats many more than one pie in a given month?” – Bailiff Jesse Thorn

Because this wheat beer is as light and well-balanced as the court’s rulings, Judge John Hodgman is best paired with Allagash White. Brewed in the judge’s (second) home state of Maine and crafted in the traditional Belgian style, it isn’t hard to imagine John Hodgman sipping on one after a recording session at 88.9FM WERU in Blue Hill, Maine.

Fake The Nation

Best Podcast for Forgetting That Thing Your Uncle Said

Ale to the Chief | Avery Brewing Co.

Holiday Survival
Photo Credits: and

Hosted by Negin Farsad, Fake the Nation points out all the ridiculousness of American politics, without getting too heavy into the details. Farsad is a hilarious comedian with a unique point of view (partially because she is a Muslim woman), and she surrounds herself with guests who are as well-informed and funny as she is. The roundtable discussion breaks down the news, delivers some laughs, and provides new ideas for you to consider.

Since Fake the Nation has been laser-focused on protecting us from the realities of the recent election, it has been paired with Avery’s Ale to the Chief. Brewed once every four years in honor of the presidential election, this bold Pale Ale is dry-hopped with a boatload of American hops. Hopefully, by the next time it’s brewed, we Americans will have cooled our collective jets.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

Best Podcast for Hiding in Your Childhood Bedroom

Java Cask | Victory Brewing Co.

Holiday Survival
Photo Credits: and

If you’re a casual history nerd who loves a good story, look no further than Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. Host Dan Carlin may not be a historian by trade, but he is a phenomenal storyteller. This podcast delves into subjects such as World War I, The Persian Empire, and more. Using primary sources and the writings of historians (both ancient and contemporary), Carlin weaves a tale that sucks you in and leaves you googling for more.

Because of the length of the episodes (usually three to five hours), coffee is probably the ultimate beverage to drink while listening. If you prefer a beer, a barrel-aged coffee stout is the best way to go. Victory Java Cask’s roasty coffee flavors and boozy warmth lend themselves well to slow sipping. Just be sure to pace yourself: At 14.3 percent ABV, you might find yourself falling asleep before you find out what happened to Archduke Franz Ferdinand!

Hello From the Magic Tavern

Best Podcast for Looking for Parking at the Mall

Softly Spoken Magic Spells | SingleCut Beersmiths

Holiday Survival
Photo Credits: and

Almost two years ago, Arnie Niekamp fell through an inter-dimensional portal behind a Burger King in Chicago. Luckily, he has a bunch of audio equipment and is still getting a weak wi-fi signal through the portal! Together with Usidore the Blue (a wizard) and Chunt (a shape-shifter and King of the Badgers), Arnie hosts a weekly podcast from the Vermillion Minotaur in the Town of Hogsface in the land of Foon. While enjoying local delicacies like rooster feet and spiced potatoes, the trio interviews magical beings of all shapes and sizes as Arnie attempts to navigate the mystical new land in which he now resides.

“I am Usidore. Wizard of the 12th Realm of Ephysiyies, Master of Light and Shadow, Manipulator of Magical Delights, Devourer of Chaos, Champion of the Great Halls of Terr’akkas. The elves know me as Fi’ang Yalok. The dwarves know me as Zoenen Hoogstandjes. I am also known in the Northeast as Gaismunēnas Meistar.” – Usidore the Blue

SingleCut’s Softly Spoken Magic Spells is the perfect beer to enjoy while escaping to Foon. Not only does it remind us of Usidore’s quiet chanting upon entering the Wizard State, but this imperial IPA’s big hop profile will stand up to all of the hearty food that The Vermillion Minotaur has to offer.

The Greatest Generation

Best Podcast for Talking to Your Nerdy Cousin

Space Rock | Short’s Brewing Co.

Holiday Survival
Photo Credits: and

This isn’t your father’s Star Trek podcast. Hosts Benjamin R. Harrison and Adam Pranica take an irreverent look at Star Trek: The Next Generation. As they discuss the series episode-by-episode, they discuss everything from production values to Commander Riker’s rampant sex addiction. Along the way, they create their own vernacular, with so many running jokes that there is an entire Wikia page dedicated to them. The Greatest Generation’s brand of dick-and-fart humor breathes new life into a classic science fiction series.

“Welcome to The Greatest Generation, a Star Trek podcast by two guys who are a little bit embarrassed to have a Star Trek podcast.” – Ben Harrison

Because of the many asteroid- and planetoid-based dangers that the starship Enterprise encounters, Short’s Space Rock is the best Podcast Juice (see Wikia link above) to enjoy with The Greatest Generation. The assertive citrus hop notes in the pale ale are an excellent match for Captain Picard’s style of command, and the 6.1 percent ABV is enough to satisfy the on-duty drinking habits of Dr. Pulaski.

With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus

Best Podcast for Shopping at Walgreens on Christmas Eve

Rude Elf’s Reserve | Fegley’s Brew Works

Holiday Survival
Photo Credits: and

Comedian Lauren Lapkus created this improvised podcast with an interesting premise: She’s always the guest. Her “guests” come in and begin hosting an improvised podcast. Lapkus doesn’t know the theme of the podcast or the character she will be playing until she is invited to the mic. At first glance, this may seem a little confusing, but you’ll be hooked immediately. Because the podcast is currently on hiatus while Lauren Lapkus works on another project, you can find perfect episode in the back catalog: The North Pod with Santa Claus (Dec. 25, 2015, hosted by guest Paul F. Tompkins).

In that episode, Lapkus takes on the persona of Ho-Ho the Naughty Elf, which made choosing a beer pairing very easy. Ho-Ho, who delivers knives and guns to the naughty boys and girls on Christmas Eve, must have been exactly who Fegley’s Brew Works had in mind when they created Rude Elf’s Reserve. This Belgian-style strong ale will keep your spirits high and your actions naughty throughout the holiday season.

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