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Booze and boos: Local beer to pair with your favorite horror movie

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Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Haunted by a fridge full of boring beer? Creep over to the store and pick up an Iowa brew to pair with your favorite horror subgenre.

Supernatural Horror

The Exorcist (1973), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Ringu (1998), The Babadook (2014)

Can design by Jonnie 5 Apparel / The Exorcist
Drink: Electric Banshee American Stout (ReUnion Brewery, Coralville)

Electric Banshee is a pleasant, if expected, American stout. The initial coffee notes and the heavy, peaty feel make it a great sipping beer. It’s not as dense as a stout can be — there’s no sense that you could cut away the can and it would stand on its own, so to speak — but it’s got just enough fullness to stave off the mournful keening of hunger as well as thirst. The can is a scream, too.

Genevieve Trainor

Sci-Fi B-Movie

Forbidden Planet (1956), The Blob (1958), Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), The Fly (1986)

Can design by Ramona Muse Lambert / Planet 9 From Outer Space
Drink: Zoltan IPA (Exile Brewing, Des Moines)

Dude, where’s my beer? Zoltan is a session IPA (that is, an IPA variety with a relatively low ABV at just 4.8 percent) named after the UFO cult in a certain Y2K stoner comedy starring Iowa’s own Ashton Kutcher. Citra, mosaic and mandarina hops make for a mild, citrusy flavor with wheaty undertones, pairing perfecting with a greasy meal and kitschy, gross-out science fiction double feature.

Zombie Thriller

Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), 28 Days Later (2002), Zombieland (2009)

Can design by Adam Feller / Night of the Living Dead
Surf Zombies IPA (Iowa Brewing Company, Cedar Rapids)

The musical stylings of Cedar Rapids-based band Surf Zombies — and the beer that bears their namesake — are simultaneously refreshing and gnarly, bodacious and bone-chilling. Take a break from apocalyptic reality and enjoy some apocalyptic escapism with a six-pack of Surf Zombies IPA in your holster (if you can handle the hops).

Horror Comedy

Evil Dead II (1987), The Craft (1996), Scream (1996), American Psycho (2000)

Can design by Tara Ellison / American Psycho
Drink: Witch Slap New England IPA (Clock House Brewing, Cedar Rapids)

One of Clock House’s flagship brews, Witch Slap tastes like a top-shelf IPA, murky and smooth with the perfect balance of hoppiness and tropical citrus. May it inspire you to brew up a cauldron full of Halloween puns and cackle like Winnifred Sanders at your favorite dark comedies.

Monster Movie

The Wolf Man (1941), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Godzilla (1954, etc.), Jurassic Park (1993)

Can design by Sarah Hedlund / Creature from the Black Lagoon
Pseudo Sue IPA (Toppling Goliath, Decorah)

If you’re the kind of person who can’t help but cheer for the monster terrorizing the townspeople (looking at you, Guillermo del Toro), you’ll appreciate Toppling Goliath’s tribute to real-life behemoth SUE the T-Rex. This IPA lives up to its namesake, putting citra hops on a pedestal fit for the Field Museum to freakishly filling effect.

Slasher Flick

Examples: Psycho (1960), Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), Candyman (1992)

Wild Culture Kombucha and Wilson’s Goldfinch Cider / Candyman
Harvest Moon Mixer Kombucha Shandy (Wild Culture Kombucha, Iowa City)

Enjoy a good slashing? Pick up a pint of this cider-slash-kombucha combo from Wild Culture in Iowa City’s Northside. Wilson’s Goldfinch Hard Cider meets Goji Berry Basil kombucha for a kick of antioxidants and fruity goodness. I’m off to fill my growler — I’LL BE RIGHT BACK….

Dark Fantasy

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Dark City (1998), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), It Chapters 1 and 2 (2017, ’19)

Can design by Bree Glen / Bram Stoker’s Dracula
The Wizard Gose-Style Sour Ale (Confluence Brewing Company, Des Moines)

“When humans first began brewing beer, the science behind fermentation was not well understood and probably seemed a bit like magic,” Confluence writes of its only year-round sour. The Wizard is a citrusy, tart gose that will send a shiver down your spine and make you believe in the magic of fermentation.


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