Porky’s Pulpit: Put Some Swine in Your Stein

With Hurricane Irene behind us, it’s time to relax and have a drink.  And what better to drink after a hurricane than beer?  Although I am generally not a believer in pairing beer with barbecue (unless you count having one in hand while cooking it), I do love beer.  Whereas the explosion of barbecue as an “in” food spreading across the country has many drawbacks, chiefly related to watering down sacred regional differences, the explosion of the craft beer movement has no such side effects.  Locally produced craft beers can be found in every state and have transformed the United States of Pilsner into perhaps the most diverse beer country in the world.

In honor of beer, I have compiled this list of 15 swine-themed beers from among the hundreds of beers that are named after pigs, hogs, sows, pork and other porcine references.  All of the beers below are described on RateBeer.com, an invaluable website for beer drinkers, and are presented below in no particular order:

1) Avery Brewing Company Hog Heaven Barleywine-Style Ale, rated a 99 out of 100 on RateBeer.com. I can personally vouch that this is incredible beer.

2) Aviator Hog Wild IPA, from Fuquay-Varina, NC.  RateBeer.com is less kind (52) to this brew but it has only been reviewed 17 times versus over 1,200 for Avery Hog Heaven.

3) Fullsteam Hogwash, from Durham, NC.  As far as I know, this is the only beer in the world designed specifically to pair with NC BBQ, and it pairs quite well.  A good brew, with the hickory smoked malts pronounced but not overwhelming.  Rated a 90.

4) Maui Brewing Wild Hog Stout, rated an 85.  I’ve never had this beer but wouldn’t mind being flown to Maui to taste it. Pairs well with luaus?

5) Slaughterhouse Swineherd.  This beer was apparently a special cask ale served at a festival in England, so I wouldn’t count on finding it on tap at your neighborhood bar, but the name alone is worthy of inclusion in this list.

6) Speaking of great names, how about pouring yourself a glass of Avery Piglet Purgatory?  This beer is a lower alcohol, less hoppy version of Hog Heaven and scores a 92.

7) Blind Pig Brewery in Illinois produces a large number of beers from Belgian ales to pale ales, Irish Dry Stouts to Russian Imperial Stouts.

8 ) While we are on the subject of Russians and Blind Pigs, allow me to mention Russian River Blind Pig IPA, which scores a perfect 100 from RateBeer.com based on over 800 ratings.

9) Angry Minnow’s River Pig Pale Ale is a mouthful of a name.  It rates a 76 and hails from the beer and cheese state of Wisconsin.

10) Need another pale ale selection?  You could do worse than Naked Pig Pale Ale, which is from Alabama and therefore sure to have some track record of washing down barbecue.  Rating is 51.

11) Another Durham, NC beer is Bull City Burger & Brewery’s Pigmeat Markham Smoked Rye.  Click the link to read where the name comes from–interesting trivia for Durhamites.  I’ve never much enjoyed rye beers but this one sounds too interesting to pass up.

12) Flying Pig Brewery of Washington state shows its love for swine with several pig-themed beers, including Flying Pig P.I.G. I.P.A.

13) In the interest of supporting whole hog barbecue, I’d be remiss not to include a snout beer:  Pickled Pig’s Porkers Snout. Okay, so it’s actually a cider, but close enough.

14) From snout to tail we go, with the Harvest Moon Pigs Ass Porter, which earns an admirable 88 from RateBeer.com and features killer label art to boot. Keep in mind that when you eat “pork shoulder,” you really are eating pigs ass.

15) Although it is among the lower rated beers on RateBeer.com, earning a paltry 22 based on 278 ratings, this beer has some fans.  I wonder why?  Oh yeah, maybe its the name: Butternuts Porkslap Pale Ale.


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