I love beer. There’s no doubt that it’s a versatile beverage. You can never really go wrong with a beer. That being said, there are certain situations where that can, pint-glass, or bottle just tastes better. That’s why I decided to make this list.
This isn’t a list of brands of beer, or types of beers. I’m not here to argue over pale ales, lagers, IPA’s, and stouts because truthfully, I don’t really know the difference between any of that shit. Instead, this is a list of the best situations, moments, activities, or occasions in life, to pair with a beer.
As the title indicates, I am only 23 years old. That means I have never gotten married, never seen the birth of a child, never gotten a big promotion at work or anything like that. Perhaps this list will look a lot different when I’m 60, but for now, this my personal list of the 15 best situational beers in one’s life.
Let’s get right into it.
15. The “Outdoor Concert Beer”
Beer and live music is always a great combination. Add in a fun crowd, nice weather, perhaps a sunset on the horizon and you’ve got the Outdoor Concert Beer. Regardless of whether it’s in a bottle, can, or plastic cup, an ice cold beer just hits differently when surrounded by the rush of live music, and the cheers of adoring fans. This beer is obviously best in the summer, but I’m perfectly fine with a fall or spring Outdoor Concert Beer as well.
14. The “First Day of March Madness Beer”
This may be the only beer on this list that evolves over time. In college, this beer takes place at 11am after you’ve decided to skip all your classes and sit in the same spot while watching college basketball all day long. For some strange reason, this is no longer acceptable once you graduate though. That does not ruin this beer though. The 11am college beer is great, don’t get me wrong, but the after work meet-up-with-your-friends somewhere to watch the games may be even greater. You’ve been holding in that anticipation, checking the ESPN app on your phone all day, and when you finally get out and go watch the games at a bar, there’s nothing better. You may be losing money left and right. Your eyes may be trying to focus on multiple TVs at once, but you always got that beer in front of you to get you through it all.
13. The “First Time You’re Allowed In The Adult Cooler Beer”
This is a very specific beer, and the one beer on this list that only happens one single time in your life. Here’s how I describe this beer: You’re around 16 or 17 years old and you’re at some sort of family function; a holiday, party, anniversary etc. Your whole life you’ve gone to the “kids” cooler when you’re thirsty at one of these functions. You know the one? It’s filled with Coca-Cola and Poland Spring. But not today. Today’s finally the day you’re allowed to reach into that adult cooler and pull yourself out a nice cold beer. It’s a beautiful experience, you could pull out a Busch Light and it would still taste like the finest, most classy beer you’ve ever sipped. (This is really the only young-person ‘first’ beer I added to the list because if I wasn’t careful, all 15 could have been some version of that. Honestly when you first start drinking around that age every beer you have feels like the best beer of your life.)
12. The “MLB Day Game Beer”
It could be a nice sunny Saturday afternoon, or you could be ditching work with some friends on a weekday and heading to the ballpark. Either way, there is not a whole lot better than a cold beer at a baseball game during the day. You know it’s going to cost $14, but you’re ok with that because you’re outside, it’s a beautiful spring or summer day, you’re watching America’s pastime, and you’re ready to drink. Maybe your team is good and this is a celebration beer, maybe your team sucks and this beer is helping numb the pain of that. Regardless, there is something special about a day game beer. By the way, if they’ve got any sort of souvenir/memorabilia cup available for $10 extra? They’ve got me hooked, I’m leaving the ballpark with no money that day.
11. The “Semester’s Over Beer”
I knew there had to be at least one college-specific beer on this list and I decided to choose the Semester’s Over Beer. This is the beer you drink once you get to your dorm, your house, or your apartment after finishing that last final and say, “it’s time to get fucked up.” This beer is so incredible because of the sweet release that comes with it. You’ve taken all that pressure off your shoulders, and now you’re ready to replace that heavy burden with an equally heavy amount of liquid carbs in your stomach. Maybe this beer would have ranked higher on some people’s lists, but to be fair, I was a Poli-Sci major, not necessarily the most stressful curriculum in the world. I can admit that, and maybe if I was Pre-Med, this would be number one.
10. The “Hotel Bar Beer”
Starting off the top ten is a truly incredible beer, the Hotel Bar Beer. I fucking love hotels, and I’m kind of cheating with this entry because in my head I’m really including any beer that occurs in a hotel, whether it be at the bar, in the lobby, or in the room. Ya gotta love a hotel bar though, they always try to make it look fancy even though it isn’t, you always have a great bartender, and interesting people to talk to if you want. The Hotel Bar Beer is a versatile beer as well. You could be on vacation and stop at the bar for a quick drink before dinner. You could be on some sort of business trip and unwind at the bar after a long day. You could be returning to your hotel from some sort of dinner or night-out and stop at the bar before heading up to your room. A hotel bar and a nice glass of beer served on a cocktail napkin: that’s pretty much all it takes for me to be satisfied.
9. The “First Sunday of the NFL Season Beer”
This is an easy one, everyone knows this beer. It’s early September, around 12:50pm (Eastern Time) on a Sunday afternoon, you’re at a bar or just sitting on your couch waiting for football to return. Sure you have work tomorrow but you don’t care about that right now. You’ve got the whole day ahead of you, and no matter who you root for the optimism of a new season fills the air around you. This beer never disappoints, year-in and year-out it’s there for you, and tastes amazing every single time.
8. The “Dugout Beer”
Unlike the last entry, this beer requires some explanation. The Dugout Beer is any beer you drink during a recreational sports game with friends. This could be beer-league softball, a wiffleball game in the backyard, a round of golf, a soccer match at a local field etc. It doesn’t matter. As long as you have friends, beer, a ball, and some sort of sporting event taking place, you’re experiencing the beauty of the The Dugout Beer. This beer gets its name from those times when you’re, somewhat questionably, drinking in a local little-league dugout while playing some form of softball or baseball. What makes this beer so great is the sense of camaraderie and competitive spirit that comes with it, as well as the fact that you’re doing some sort of physical activity so you can be like “hey, I earned it.”
7. The “Post-Chores Beer”
I went a little more general with this entry, but basically this is any beer you drink after completing some sort of time-consuming household chore. You’re finished mowing the lawn, doing the dishes, gardening, or putting together some sort of frustrating Ikea furniture, and you relax with an ice cold beer. That sensation of “I’m finished with my task” combined with the sweet taste of that golden ale going down your throat is enough to bring a tear to a man’s eye. In many ways this is the grown-up version of the Semester’s Over Beer, and just like that beer, it is made so great by the release that comes with it.
6. The “Train Beer”
Depending on where you are from, this may not resonate with you, but I don’t give a shit, this is my list. This is going to sound depressing, but I may be at my absolute happiest when I’m riding the LIRR and sipping on a tallboy wrapped in a brown paper bag. It doesn’t matter where you’re going, it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from, once you sit in that train seat and crack that big aluminum can, your worries disappear and you’re in absolute fucking heaven.
5. The “In The Shower While Getting Ready To Go Out Beer”
The “Shower Beer” itself was too general but it needed to make an appearance on this list in some form or fashion. And, the beer you have in the shower before a night out is the best possible form. It’s 7pm, you’ve got your whole night ahead of you, nothing to worry about, and you’re just having a great time in the shower while sipping on a beer. Who says your first beer of the night has to take place at the pregame? Fuck that, with the shower, you have your own personal pregame, and what could be better than that?
4. The “First Beer of Vacation Beer”
There’s nothing quite like your first beer of a vacation. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, it could be a different country or 50 miles from your house, this beer always hits in just the perfect way. Whether it occurs the moment you get there, the night of, the next morning, or the next afternoon, opening that first beer is the true sign that your trip has begun. Hopefully it’s followed by many more over the course of the vacation, but none of those others are going to be able to compare to that first.
3. The “Airport/Airplane Beer”
We’re getting to the top three and now I’m getting thirsty. The Airport Bar Beer is the Hotel Bar Beer on steroids. It has everything you want, and absolutely everything you need. This beer slightly edges out the previous entry because with that beer you have to wait until you arrive wherever you’re going, with this beer you just have to get to the airport. I’m combining the Airport Bar Beer with the Airplane Beer because there’s nothing better than getting to the airport, having a couple beers, then getting on the plane and ordering another with a little bit of a buzz going. This is also just a useful beer as well, if you don’t like flying then the Airport Bar Beer has got you covered.
2. The “Post-Work Happy Hour Beer”
This is a classic beer, there’s just no way it couldn’t make this list. This entry is for all the people out there working their 9-5’s, just waiting to get to the bar afterwards. Sipping that first beer at the bar after getting off of work is an absolutely magical feeling. Your responsibilities for the day are done, and the only thing in the world that matter is that beer in front of you, and god damn, you’re going to give it all the attention it deserves. So what beer could possible beat this iconic beer? Well, the number one slot goes to…
1. The “Tailgate Beer”
The Tailgate Beer. Some of the beers on this list were included because of the sense of relief that comes with them. The Tailgate Beer is the opposite though, this is all about anticipation. It could be a concert, it could be a sporting event, it really doesn’t matter what it is. All that matters is that there’s some sort of event taking place, you’re hyped, and you’re drinking. Also, this beer can take place anywhere from 9am to 8pm, and it’s completely acceptable. Whether you’re a member of Bills Mafia, or just a twenty-year-old kid sitting in the parking lot drinking tallboys with a few buddies, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, quite like a Tailgate Beer.