Beers for the End of the World

Shock Top's End of the World Midnight Wheat is easy to find at stores like HEB.

Shock Top’s End of the World Midnight Wheat is easy to find at stores like HEB.

If the world really is going to end in about a week’s time, as the Mayan calendar seems to suggest, there’s only one way to spend that last day: with a beer in hand. That’s certainly what the Bitch Beer girls plan to do if, on Dec. 21, a monster tidal wave hurtles in from the Gulf and consumes Austin in one wet gulp.

Even if no such cataclysm occurs, drinking a beer to herald the mistaken hysteria of doomsayers is, of course, a very acceptable alternative. And what better brews to drink than ones specifically created for the apocalypse? Currently, a few are available in stores and bars across the U.S., and we’re taking a closer look at three of them: Stone Brewing’s Enjoy By IPA, Backlash Beer’s War and Shock Top’s End of the World Midnight Wheat.

Enjoy By IPA: Riffing on the concept of “sell by” dates, California’s Stone Brewing Co. crafted a beer so fresh it was specifically intended not to last more than 35 days, in honor of the upcoming Armageddon. Bottled on Nov. 16, the IPA is only out until next Friday, so hunt for it at any one of the more than 30 locations – such as the Ginger Man, the Dog and Duck Pub and Whole Foods – that the Stone website notes the beer is at in Austin. (Check ahead if you’re looking for Enjoy By at a specific bar or store, however, as the website hasn’t been updated since November.)

War: The beer’s name might not seem overtly apocalyptic, but the brewers at Backlash Beer actually put a lot of thought into their concoction. The second beer in their Apocalypse Series, a farmhouse ale, War was christened after the second horseman of the apocalypse and, as such, is infused “with an element of conflict,” as Backlash founder Helder Pimentel noted when it was released on Monday. Supposed to be red to imitate the color of the horseman’s steed, War rides in about three months after the first Backlash doomsday beer, Conquest, was released. Sadly, it’s only found in Massachusetts, Backlash’s home state.

End of the World Midnight Wheat: Another beer nodding to our impending day of reckoning is this one from Shock Top that’s been on shelves for about two months now. Of all the apocalypse beers, it’s one of the more creative, with chocolate malt and chilies tossed into the brew for some sweet heat that lights up the back of the throat. There are plenty of chances before the world ends to enjoy this flavorful beer, as it’s currently available at HEB and other Austin locations. Wait, did I say we have plenty of chances? Maybe not, if the countdown on Shock Top’s website has anything to say about it. Down to the second, it’s ticking time away to Armageddon – nudging us to get in our fill of beer before it’s too late.

Whether the Mayan calendar’s abrupt truncation spells disaster for us or not, the upcoming week is an opportunity to make sure that we do get in our fill of beer, and even get adventurous and try out new and unusual ones. Not that we ever need an excuse to do that.

-Ari

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