Star Wars & Beer Geeks Unite: Pairing Characters With Arizona Beers

About a week ago, a friend asked me what day Christmas fell on this year. Easy answer — Star Wars Episode VII opens Friday, December 18, so Christmas falls on Friday, December 25. Don’t need to use the Force for that one.

So, it got me thinking, “WWJD, as in, what would a Jedi drink?” And not only that, will interstellar police even come close to catching you if you’re sipping a beer while making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? Not that we’re supporting drinking and flying, but there is no other time to ask the question.

Well, due to a hectic work schedule, I’ll be sitting out the most anticipated film opening in my life since — well — let’s not talk about it. But in the meantime, I’ve enlisted some friends from Casa Video to debate the best Arizona-based beer pairings with some of the most well-known Star Wars characters.

Want to let me know your thoughts? Find me on Twitter: @TyFighter77.

Luke Skywalker: Warhead Stout, Thunder Canyon Brewery

Resume: Jedi, Rebel Alliance fighter, lightsaber engineer, X-Wing Top Gun.
Copyright Twentieth Century Fox

Copyright Twentieth Century Fox

Much like his sister, Luke Skywalker has multiple dimensions. Afterall, he climbed the ranks from unknown Tatooine farm boy to pretty much the savior of the universe. Throw in his daddy issues and his impressive robotics engineering skills and you have a melting pot of confusion. Oh yeah, he’s a pretty impressive Jedi to boot.

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And much like that direct hit he scored with a couple proton torpedoes into the Death Star’s miniscule exhaust shaft, TCB rocks the solar system with its Russian imperial stout. Robust flavors of toffee and black currant mix within this heavy-bodied draft. At approximately 11 percent ABV, there’s plenty of bang for your buck, and enough roasted, malty bitterness to make you remember reason why you left Tatooine in the first place.

More info: thundercanyonbrewery.com.

Han Solo: Sex Panther, San Tan Brewing

Resume: Millennium Falcon pilot, Rebel Alliance leader, friend of Wookies.
Copyright Twentieth Century Fox

Copyright Twentieth Century Fox

Now, I’ve never met Princess Leia, but I think she was pretty much on point when she called Han a “stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder.” I’m also not sure what biological classification a “Nerf” is, or if in fact, they can be “herded,” but I can say San Tan’s Sex Panther is the perfect description of Han. All talk, little substance.

Don’t get me wrong, I like this beer. And Han Solo was pretty much a panther with the ladies. But seriously, from the name to the description on the can, the double — double? — chocolate porter has plenty to grown upon. Thin, svelte body. Just a hint of the chocolaty goodness presented on the packaging. Certainly not very sweet. This has Han Solo written all over it. But luckily, there is room to grow. I guess we’ll find out Friday.

More info: santanbrewing.com

Princess Leia Organa: Naughty & Nice Coffee Porter, Freak’N Brewing

Resume: Galactic Senator, Rebel Alliance leader, hair and swimsuit model.
Princess Leia (Copyright Twentieth Century Fox)

Princess Leia (Copyright Twentieth Century Fox)

What a dynamic — albeit confused — young lady. When we first see her, she’s an ethereal figure spewed out by an unintelligible droid. Then, when we meet her, she’s complete Type-A spitfire that has no time for your excuses, complaints, or flirting. As we all know, she spends some time in the same ship that destroyed her planet, leads the rebels on a planet made of snow, eventually makes out with her brother, kills a slimey oppressor after being caught trying to save a good buddy, befriends some walking stuffed animals, learns she’s a Jedi, then makes out with said good buddy and sex panther Han Solo.

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Princes Leia just don’t give a flock (of herded Nerfs). So what Arizona beer would be better than this dynamic, yet relatively unknown beer. Both bitter and sweet, Naughty & Nice mirrors all the contrasting elements that describe her “highness.” It’s a beer that stays on your pallet longer than most porters, but also changes character as it hits room temperature.

More info: freaknbrew.com

Darth Vader: Imperial Adler, Desert Eagle Brewing

Resume: Sith Lord, Galactic Empire leader, fallen angel, deadbeat dad
Darth Vader (Copyright Twentieth Century Fox)

Darth Vader (Copyright Twentieth Century Fox)

If there was one person you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley, I’m thinking this guy is at the top of your list. He had a rough childhood, bounced around a few difficult situations, and eventually turned into one of the most powerful forces of evil. And the prosthetic body keeping him alive probably didn’t help his attitude either. But, let’s get under the dark helmet for a second and see what he’s about. Bitter, aggressive, strong, and complex. Deep down inside, there was some good there. I mean, yeah, he cut off his illegitimate son’s hand the FIRST time he tried to kill him, but eventually, he got it right.

That’s why the Imperial Adler is the perfect pairing for Lord Vader. It’s a pretty difficult to find brew, but when you try it, you’ll agree. This light-bodied imperial IPA starts big with the hops and finds a small — very small – balance of malt to make you remember that there is always some sweetness in the most bitter of beers. Oh, watch out for the 12 percent ABV. It’ll strangle you before you know what’s happening.

More info: deserteaglebrewing.com

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Middle Gye Rye, Arizona Wilderness Brewing

Resume: Republic Army general, Jedi master and mentor, first to rock the hoodie.
Obi Wan (Copyright Twentieth Century Fox)

Obi Wan (Copyright Twentieth Century Fox)

Out of all the Star Wars characters, nobody was treated worse than Obi-Wan Kenobi. Afterall, he was a teacher and mentor. Thankless jobs that mean so much. And it didn’t help that his first Padawan, Anakin Skywalker, tried to take over the known universe, blew up planets, and tried to kill his children. But hey, this was before No Child Left Behind, right?

Now Obi-Wan, or “Ben” to those in the know, understands that he had a pretty tough situation from the start. Given that his own mentor, Qui-Gon Jinn, was a pretty popular Jedi Master, and his apprentice, the eventual Darth Vader, turned out to be the Homecoming King of the Dark Side, poor Obi-Wan fell into this Jan Brady situation. Poor middle Jedi. And that is why the Middle Gye Rye is so appropriate. It’s a low-ABV, extremely well-balanced American Pale Ale. The bready rye spice, low hop profile, and heavy malt back make it a family of tastes that will appease any beer fan — even those between rocks and hard places.

More info: azwbeer.com

R2D2: Rye So Mad Bro?, Perch Brewery

Resume: Galactic Republic and Rebel Alliance messenger, podcaster, sail barge cocktail waitress
R2D2 (Copyright Twentieth Century Fox)

R2D2 (Copyright Twentieth Century Fox)

Given all the R2D2 has been through, you’d wonder how he hasn’t jumped ship on the “good guys” yet. First, he was a pretty big help to Queen Amidala, Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia — and the list goes on! But seriously, having to travel with C3P0 and not blow a gasket? That just takes the cake. So at some point, the little tyke that has fallen into the sands of Tatooine, rode through space backseat in a convertable X-Wing, and went dumpster diving in Yoda’s Dagobah bog, has got to be feeling a little peeved.

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Nope! The little droid that could keeps on giving. A consummate positive spirit, he reflects many of the characteristics in Perch Brewery Rye IPA. Sure it’s hoppy and bitter. Yeah, it’s 7 percent ABV. But the smooth, balanced body and slight malt undertones make it an easy-drinking brew that can mute all the distractions that abound, leaving you content and relaxed.

More info: perchpubbrewery.com

Yoda: Prosperity Porter, Oak Creek Brewing

Resume: Jedi Order Grand Master, Jedi Council member, grammar innovator.
Yoda (Copyright Twentieth Century Fox)

Yoda (Copyright Twentieth Century Fox)

When you’ve trained as a Jedi for 800 years, you’ve certainly seen a lot. That includes the lineage of the Skywalker clan, the rise and fall of the clones, numerous and odd changes in living arrangements — you name it, Yoda’s seen it. And whether he’s slicing up droids like a ninja with a lightsaber or teaching young Jedi’s to use the Force, Yoda always looked on the bright side of life.

And despite his leanings away from the Dark Side, Oak Creek’s Prosperity Porter exemplifies what Yoda would most likely be drinking during those musty, damp days in Dagobah. This full-bodied strong ale blends caramel and roasted malts with light, East Kent Golding hops. The slight coffee malts and enough bitterness to brighten the dreariest of days. Given the complex taste and mid-ranged body, it’s best served at room temperature. And slam it, you will not.

More info: oakcreekbrew.com

This is a small sampling of the hundreds of characters in the Star Wars ecosystem. I’m sure we can all agree on a beer that best represents their personalities, tastes, and looks.

Haha, yeah right. I know Star Wars fans. We will debate anything and everything related to our passion, sometimes to the detriment of social settings, proper nutrition, studying, and other things “those” people do with themselves. But beer and Star Wars? Let the discussion begin.

Before lining up Thursday night, braving the shuttering Tucson temperatures, let’s all find a local craft beer bar or brewery and tip one back to our favorite films.

Take care, and may the Force be with you.

Ty Young is a freelance writer and former bartender at World of Beer and Old Chicago in Tucson. He also consults with local restaurants and bars about beer selection and menu pairing.

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