Ultimate 6er | Portlandia
With season seven in full swing and the recent announcement that season eight will be the series’ last, I thought it would be fitting to create an Ultimate 6er for the quirky cult hit sketch series, Portlandia.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past six years, Portlandia explores the eccentric oddities who personify the idiosyncrasies of living in Portland. The comedy series features a variety of satirical sketches mostly starring two of show’s creators, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, giving their over-the-top take on what keeps Portland weird.
The Portland-centric series is set and filmed in various neighborhoods across Portland. Fred and Carrie tackle the clichés of society with recurring sketches on feminism and gender roles and many one off sketches about brunch and artisanal knots.
The show boasts a slew of hilarious guest stars from Jeff Goldblum to Steve Buscemi and even features Portland’s old mayor, Sam Adams (I can’t make this up), as an assistant to a naïve but enthusiastic character known simply as “The Mayor”. With such a wide range of characters and personalities, I have created an Ultimate 6er for some of my favorite characters. Cue the theme song, “Feel It All Around”.
Fred & Carrie
Down to Earth Session IPA | 21st Amendment Brewery
Inspired by Bert and Ernie’s relationship on Sesame Street, Fred and Carrie are the closest characters resembling the actors who play them. Fred and Carrie live together as roommates in Portland and are often involved in odd and random predicaments with their friend, The Mayor.
This fairly normal couple’s beer of choice would most likely be an easy-going beer like Down to Earth Session IPA. Clocking in at just 4.4% ABV, this pale ale offers prominent citrus and melon flavors up front with a caramel and biscuity malt backbone. After winding down from a day of dealing with the crazy antics of The Mayor, Carrie and Fred would likely pick up a six-pack of Down to Earth Session IPA and toast to their hard day at work.
Favorite Sketch/Episode: Brunch Village (Season 2 Episode 10)
Candace & Toni
Scarlet Lady Ale | Stoudts Brewing Company
Probably the two most recognizable characters, Candace and Toni, are former high-powered executives turned owners of the feminist bookstore, Women and Women First Bookstore. Candace and Toni are less concerned about selling books than fighting misogyny with their passive-aggressive commentary and bold moves.
Candace and Toni would most certainly only drink a beer made by a woman. This is why it is only right for them to indulge Scarlet Lady Ale from Stoudts Brewing Company. When Ed and Carlo Stoudt started the Lancaster, Pennsylvania brewery more than twenty years ago, Carol — America’s first female brewmaster — quickly earned the title, “Queen of Hops.”
Scarlet Lady Ale is an English Style Bitter that pours with a strong, reddish hue and has a smooth sweet malty taste that makes for a refreshing beer after a full day of teaching feminism and fighting sexism.
Favorite Episode: Feminist Bookstore 10th Anniversary (Season 2 Episode 8)
Breakside IPA | Breakside Brewery
The mayor of Portland (Kyle MacLachlan) is probably my favorite character outside of the countless number of characters played by Fred and Carrie. The Mayor is passionate about everything he does, but he is also naive about governing Portland. The unwary and optimistic mayor is constantly coming up with half witted plans for Fred and Carrie to implement, which he believes will make Portland the best city, or at least better than Seattle.
As a loyal Portlandian, The Mayor is going to drink local and something that portrays Portland in its best light. What better classic Portland beer to drink than Breakside IPA from Breakside Brewery. A 2014 gold medal winner at Great American Beer Festival, this classic west-coast-style IPA blends the piney, citrus, and floral notes to perfection; it’s no wonder why many consider it to be one of the best IPA’s out there. If a beer is going to represent your city, especially if you are the The Mayor, it better be a darn good representation of an IPA.
Favorite Episode: Mayor is Missing (Season 1 Episode 4)
Kath & Dave
Gose | Westbrook Brewing Co.
“A-O River!” My favorite characters on Portlandia, Kath and Dave are a fleece-toting, outdoorsy couple who are all-in on every activity they do, from canoeing down a river to shopping for discount fleece or attempting to go on a hike only to find out that the sun is setting since they took all day getting their gear.
This outdoorsy couple is going to want a beer that they can enjoy in the wilderness and light enough that it won’t bog them down. This is why Gose from Westbrook Brewing Co. is the perfect beer for any activity Dave and Kath attempt.
The exceptional Westbrook Brewing Gose is tart, very tart, and perhaps tarter than it should be, but it works. The Gose hits you with sour citrus notes on the front end, and finishes you off with an explosion of saltiness that will make you think it arrived directly from Germany’s salty river Gose. At only 4% ABV, it reminds one of the beauty of any sessionable beer, notably sours — immense flavor without the huge buzz. After a day of hiking, canoeing, or fleece-shopping Dave and Kath are unquestionably going to GET THE BEER.
Favorite Sketch: Get the Gear (Season 2 Episode 8)
Peter & Nance
Saison Premiere | de Garde Brewing
Peter and Nance are a stereotypical middle-aged Portland couple. Local, organic, and free range are all words Peter and Nance use daily, including checking to make sure chicken is locally sourced. Nance is the level headed one that always supports her husband Peter, who possesses an unmistakable stammer.
Peter and Nance are going to desire a beer that gives them a story and de Garde is well-known for its unique beer that relies on age-old brewing traditions. For instance, instead of using cultured yeast from a laboratory to ferment its beer, de Garde cools the wort naturally in a coolship which allows for amazing yeast and microflora to develop.
Aged in oak wine barrels, Saison Premiere is a refreshing wild farmhouse ale that’s tart and presents natural fruity notes comprised of nectarine, lemon, and green apples. reminiscent of a white wine. This mildly funky complex beer would be a perfect beer to pair with Peter and Nance’s chicken, Colin.
Favorite Episode: Farm (Season 1 Episode 1)
Lance & Nina
Xocoveza | Stone Brewing Co.
“Cacao!!” Lance and Nina are a couple of Portlandia’s oddest characters and demonstrate over-the-top stereotypes regarding gender roles. Lance is played by Carrie who, with an electronically altered deepened voice, is a mustached male chauvinist who loves riding his motorcycle and fixing cars. Nina, played by Fred, is depicted as a high-maintenance girlfriend who loves parties, romance, and social media. Both characters are at the extreme opposite sides of the gender spectrum yet somehow they manage to work.
Stone Brewing Company’s Xocoveza is the perfect beer for these two. This milk stout is Stone’s textbook take on a Mexican hot chocolate. Xocoveza oozes chocolate and coffee flavors with a hint of heat from pasilla peppers balanced by a vanilla and cinnamon finish. Each flavor is distinct, but when blended together in this brew, it this makes for one of Stone’s most lauded beers to date.
Favorite Episode: A Song for Portland (Season 1 Episode 2)
I suggest you enjoy these pairings while catching up with Portlandia on Netflix, or while watching the new season of Portlandia, Thursdays on IFC.
But….. Why has there never been one brewery bit, or even annoying “craft beer guy”?. Although Spike would fit right in here. They seem to capture everything else. Must be that dos Equis sponsorship?
We need a category for special guests. Ed Begley, Jr. – totally organic, green-produced? Kristin Wiig as Gathy — maybe a Guezue? Aimee Mann? St. Vincent? This is fun!!