Readers of DCBeer don’t need to be told what and how to drink on New Year’s Eve. We’re sure you’ve already lined up your beverages of choice, whether at home or at one of the myriad events around town. But I’d wager that you haven’t given as much thought to January 1st.
Hopefully, you’ll be sleeping the majority of the AM away. When you do finally roll out of bed, you probably won’t be inclined to prepare a multi-course feast. No, your best bet is something convenient and already on hand: cereal. And since it’ll be in the neighborhood of noon, why not have a beer, too? You want to start 2015 out on the right foot, after all. Here are DCBeer’s Jacob Berg, Bill DeBaun, and Chris Van Orden with some suggestions on what to drink with your cereal.
Honey Nut Cheerios
America’s most popular cereal is super versatile in the pairing department. Sweet but not too sweet, with a hint of graininess. Chris recommends Off Color Scurry, which shares a lot of ingredients with HNC: oats, honey, and brown sugar/molasses. It’s a complementary pairing if ever there was one. Bill said that Boulevard Long Strange Tripel’s fruity yeast would play nicely against the O’s eponymous honey, while the darker malt, golden raisin sweetness, and yeast spice of Dogfish Head Raisin d’Etre “would make for a perfect bite.”
Jake, overcome by nostalgia, opted for “the classic undergrad pairing for beerios” – an adjunct lager poured over a fresh bowl. He uses Miller Lite. Chris riffed on Jake’s pairing with light-bodied craft lagers like Devils Backbone Gold Leaf or Sly Fox Helles, which give just enough pils malt aroma without steamrolling the cereal. Jake says go for the less hoppy Sly Fox. Bill asked for “a little love for Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold – tell me that noble hop bite wouldn’t go a long way toward spicing up otherwise bland Cheerios.”
Puffed rice is about as mild as cereal can get; Chris compared them to “textured air.” To serve alongside, he chose Stillwater Premium – the rice in the grain bill helps thin out the farmhouse take on adjunct lager. Bill took a similar tack with Orion Premium Rice Lager, but he also “would be willing to try a gose”, the salty, low alcohol, slightly sour northern German beer.
There are two flavors to contend with here. You’ve got your flakes – lots of toasty, fiber-filled flavor there – and you’ve got your two scoops of sweet, concentrated raisins. Bill, famous for his hatred of the style, couldn’t help but recommend La Trappe Quadrupel. He commended the maltier versions: “Not so much of that wretched dark pit fruit that I hate, but there is still a fair amount of Special B type raisiny flavors.” He also picked a Scotch ale, Oskar Blues Old Chub, which plays more toward the toasted bran. Chris also went dark, opting for American brown ales with lower IBUs like Avery Ellie’s and Smuttynose Old Brown Dog.
With “fresh” “fruit” flavor bursting from every spoonful, the whole team was put in mind of big, juicy IPAs. Bell’s Two Hearted always makes friend of the site Bill Jusino think of fruity cereals, so why not serve it with some? Bill DeBaun was concerned that 2<3 might overwhelm the fruited loops, so he put forward DC Brau’s hoppy Belgian, The Citizen, forward as a good contender. Chris looked to two local brewpubs doing right by some newer hop varieties. Bluejacket’s Darling Buds: Citra and the Range Life experiments (especially Mosaic) both do a great job exhibiting fruit punch, Jolly Rancher flavors.
Airy chocolate orbs that turn milk into YooHoo, Cocoa Puffs are a classic ‘dessert-for-breakfast’ cereal. Right out of the gate, Jake went to Boon Kriek, the sour Belgian lambic absolutely bursting with cherries. Bill loved Jake’s one-two punch of fruit and chocolate and went with similar picks, Lindeman’s Framboise and New Belgium La Folie. Not a chocoholic himself, Chris felt it would be remiss to not at least mention a death by chocolate option. Three Stars Ebony and Ivory adds a vanilla component, while Perennial Abraxas throws some cinnamon and ancho chili into the mix.
Jake and Bill were unequivocal in their negative feelings toward the humble nut of the grape. Jake compared them to “eating gravel”, but ever the professional, still recommended an accompaniment: milk stout. Bill simply asked “This is still a cereal?” Chris, who might have fond memories of eating said cereal at his grandparents, seconded Jake’s suggestion, saying that the never soggy Grape Nuts might be the “ideal cereal to pour beer over/into.” Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro would keep the interfering carbonation to a minimum. Otherwise a big barleywine like Sierra Nevada Bigfoot would lessen the pain for those not enjoying their early morning buckshot.
Again, there’s a sweetness at work here. Corn and molasses keep Pops from delivering a pure saccharine rush. Chris was immediately put in mind of Lagunitas Lil’ Sumpin Sumpin. The bright, sunshiny hops and wheat spritz work well with Corn Pops’ light touch. Bill agrees that wheat is the way to go, but says Chris “went hoppy when he should’ve gone tart, and that’s why New Belgium Snapshot is the pick here.”
This one proved divisive. Jake thought something big and boozy like Terrapin’s Moo Hoo series or Goose Island BCBS would be your best bet, but Bill strongly objected. He instead doubled down on his aforementioned Honey Nut Cheerios pairings and tossed in Right Proper’s biere de miel, The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull. Chris recommended moderate strength beers with layers of malt, like RhinO’Fest from Lost Rhino or the Stillwater / Brewer’s Art collaboration biere de garde, Debutante.
Frosted Mini Wheats
No question here. Jake led off the recommendations with “brown ale, like Bell’s Best Brown or Big Sky Moose Drool,” to which Bill replied, “What Jake said.” Chris, unable to improve the pairing, conceded the point. Brown ale with Frosted Mini Wheats it is.
What do you think? Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments! Happy New Year and enjoy your beereal pairings!