Ultimate 6er | Star Wars Day: May The Fourth Be With You
Featured image credit: Lucasfilm
Happy Star Wars Day! Today we celebrate a science fiction franchise that has crossed over into so many forms of media that it is hard to keep track. The casual observer will know the movies, of course, but there is so much more to the Star Wars universe. These beloved characters, vehicles, and planets are also featured in comic books, novels, television shows, and video games.
For 40 years, the George Lucas’ space opera has surrounded us, penetrated us, and bound us all together. Lucas drew from sources like history, philosophy and film to create something unique that stands the test of time. When Star Wars (later known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) blasted its way into theaters on May 25, 1977, it was greeted enthusiastically, with some people reportedly attending multiple viewings on the first day. That passion hasn’t faded. Four decades and eight feature films later (9 if you count Star Wars: The Clone Wars) costumed fans will still spend hours in line to snag the perfect seats.
To celebrate Star Wars Day, we thought we would pair beers with some of our favorite characters, but there was a problem. After eight live-action films, an animated feature, and 2 animated TV series there are a LOT of characters to choose from.The field had to be narrowed. The criteria established were as follows:
- The character must exist in the revamped Disney/Lucasfilm canon.
- The character must be Force-sensitive.
- The character must appear in one of the films or TV shows (no comic- or novel-only characters).
After applying these rules, I still had a list of almost 30 characters. From this list, I simply picked my favorites. I am fully prepared for the impending nerdy backlash. May the Fourth be with you all!
Chocolate Habanero Stout | Flying Dog Brewery
We saw Anakin Skywalker undergo a huge transformation over the course of the Star Wars saga. When we meet him in The Phantom Menace, he is a brilliant, sweet young boy. Throughout Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars, we see him evolve from a daring young Padawan into a powerful Jedi knight. He is finally swayed to the dark side when Chancellor Palpatine (AKA Darth Sidious) offers him a way to save the life of the woman he loves. Fueled by his fiery passions, Darth Vader would become one of the most notorious Sith lords of all time.
Just like Anakin Skywalker, a sip of Flying Dog Chocolate Habanero Stout starts out sweet. The sweetness then gives way to roasty malt flavors and a lingering habanero heat. This beer is the perfect parallel to a character whom we all love.
First World Problems: American Farmhouse Ale | Stickman Brews
As the son of Anakin Skywalker, Luke is extremely strong with the Force. The aunt and uncle who raised him hid that heritage from him, but Luke could do things that the other kids could not, like bullseye-ing womp rats in his T-16 Skyhopper. Once Luke began his training, he became an adept Force user, single-handedly destroying the first Death Star and (with the help of his father, Darth Vader) taking down the Emperor. It is unclear exactly where Luke’s story is going to take us, but we’ll know more when The Last Jedi comes out this December.
In honor of Luke’s farm boy upbringing, he pairs best with First World Problems from Stickman Brews. It has all the hop bite and aromatics of an IPA but also has farmhouse characteristics imparted through open fermentation. It’s the perfect beer to console yourself after Uncle Owen refuses to let you go into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.
Witch’s Wit | The Lost Abbey
This fallen Jedi Padawan was turned turned to the Dark Side and trained by Sith lord Count Dooku (Darth Tyrannus), for whom she worked as a private assassin. Her experience with the Force did not start with the Jedi or Dooku, though. Ventress was born of the Nightsisters, a race of witches who use the Force in dark and mystical ways. She has taken many dark roads in her life, but, in the end, she started to find redemption by embracing the light.
Ventress goes best with Witch’s Wit from The Lost Abbey. This Belgian-style Witbier is easy to drink but finishes with the spiciness of coriander, which is a tribute to this Force user’s biting wit. Get it? Wit?
Perpetual IPA | Tröegs Independent Brewing
Yoda has such an unusually strong connection to the Force that it has extended his life by centuries. The Jedi Master used 800 years of that time to train up-and-coming Younglings, Padawans, and Jedi Knights. As Grandmaster of the Jedi Order, he chaired the Jedi Council and played crucial roles in the Galactic Republic and the Clone Wars. Though small in stature, Yoda was both a towering intellect and a formidable warrior. Following Order 66, which the emperor used to kill most of the Jedi, Yoda escaped to the Dagobah system. There,many years later, he would train Luke Skywalker in the ways of the Force and the Jedi.
Because of Yoda’s long life, I’ve paired him with Tröegs Perpetual IPA. Even after his death, Yoda’s life force perpetuated itself as a Force Ghost, ultimately granting him a form of immortality. All of the hops in this beer, which clocks in at 85 IBU, remind me of all the plant life on Dagobah. There had to be hops growing somewhere in that jungle, right?
Furious | Surly Brewing Co.
Born on Dathomir just like Ventress, Darth Maul is a Zabrak or Nightbrother. Wielding his intimidating double-bladed lightsaber, this cunning and formidable Sith warrior was apprentice to Darth Sidious. Though he fell in battle against Obi-Wan Kenobi, the strength of his hatred and the Dark Side of the Force kept him alive. Eventually acquiring a set of droid legs, Darth Maul became a thorn in the Jedi’s side during the Clone Wars.
Surly’s Furious is the perfect beer to pair with the furious flurry of blows that Darth Maul delivers with his lightsaber. Like the balance between this Sith lord’s brilliant scheming and powerful attacks, this amber colored IPA has struck a similar balance between chewy caramel maltiness and big hop flavor. The colors on the can even match Darth Maul’s face and lightsaber!
R2 Koelschip Ale | Draai Laag Brewing Co.
Obi-Wan Kenobi has one of the biggest story arcs in the Star Wars Saga. He convinced the Jedi Council that Anakin Skywalker should be trained as a Jedi Knight, held the rank of General during the Clone Wars, and was the one who made it medically necessary for Darth Vader to wear that suit. Above all of that, he was the last great hope of a certain princess and the Rebellion against the Empire.
“Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.”
Since Obi-Wan’s and R2-D2’s friendship is one of the longest lasting in Star Wars canon (even though he inexplicably cannot recognize the little blue Astromech droid at the beginning of Episode 4), I thought he would be best paired with R2 Koelschip Ale from Draai Laag. Not only does the beer bear the name of his friend, but I can totally picture the aging Jedi homebrewing some spontaneously fermented beer like this on Tatooine. I mean, how else did he pass the time while he was watching over the young Luke Skywalker?
Honorable Mention: Chirrut Îmwe
Mellow Monks | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
While he doesn’t sport any obvious Force powers, Chirrut Îmwe does have a deep, spiritual belief in the mysterious cosmic energy field. It is this belief that guided his rigorous training and allowed him to overcome his blindness to become a formidable warrior. It is possible that the Force also affords him a sort of “Spidey-sense” which aids him in combat.
Mellow Monks from Weyerbacher Brewing Company is the obvious pairing for Chirrut. The fruitiness from the Belgian yeast strain accentuates the softer, more humorous side of the warrior monk’s persona, and the relatively low 4.5% ABV won’t dull his remaining senses like a bigger beer would.