Listen, you can’t always be on top of your game. Sometimes you just need to unwind, and while finding a high-quality beer to pair with a high-quality anime is definitely a worthy cause (and kinda the point of this article series), some days you don’t want to take it easy, and that’s fine. Some anime aren’t worth the extended effort to pair with a good beer, and some beers are not worth the effort to pair with a great series. However, there is bliss to be found in the perfect union of trashy anime and trashy beers.
Yes, I’m doing the exact opposite of what this article series is about. But sometimes you have to understand the “lows” to appreciate the highs. Everyone has guilty pleasures and there’s nothing wrong with reveling in them for time to time. If you just want to hang out with your friends and lose a few brain cells, then this is the guide for you.
At one point, I was going to write an article for AnimeChicago called “Some Days You Just Want to Watch a Trainwreck” where I would wax poetically about how watching a series go completely off the rails can be just as entertaining as a well-crafted story. Consider this article a precursor, matching the mood you should be in for revelry.
I won’t specifically call out any particular series here, because I know that for every piece of work, there is at least one person to whom, that anime is best thing since the big bang and I don’t want to single them out. Unless it’s Dynamic Chord, in which case they are so very, very wrong. However, you probably know what I’m talking about when I say “trashy”, especially if you’ve been an anime fan for a few years, regardless of all the reviews and ratings you poured over. I know I’ve had a few recommendations that have been just that, and it never stopped me from watching.
What’s funny is that it’s always the series you’re watching when someone walks in and is curious about that whole “anime” thing, so you try to upsell a plot that honestly sounds just plain embarrassing when said out loud, almost to the point that it makes you question your own fandom (you soldier on, though). Actually, sometimes, it’s so trashy that you can’t even answer the question “ugh, what are you watching?” properly. I don’t blame you, I’ve been there too many times than I’ll admit.
In the craft beer world, you it’s pretty easy to make friends with other craft beer drinkers, mainly because of proximity. You all go to the same brew pubs and bars, frequent the same events, and end up in the same beer lines, it’s only natural that you start recognizing the same faces. Or, as has been the case for me on multiple occasions, only they recognize you and you have no idea who they are (I mean, beer was involved). Eventually, you’ll come to find that some people might actually respect your opinion and ask for recommendations, much like anime fans. However, the following beers would have those craft beer friends-by-proximity seriously asking you “ugh, what are you drinking?”
Miller High Life
Normally, this is the beer I would order only at bowling alleys that are permanently stuck in the 1970s, just because it adds to the atmosphere, but you can order a High Life at the Mousetrap – Off Color Brewing’s recently opened tap room. It’s the only beer of its kind there. In fact, Off Color has done a collaboration beer with High Life. I’m not kidding. So it has at least a little bit of cred. As for taste, it’s not bad, but it doesn’t do too much obviously (you get what you pay for). If you’re going to pair this with a trashy anime, I’d say do it with something involving sports, punching, or sports and punching. Invite your buddies over and treat the anime like it’s the Super Bowl, and make sure to overindulge on snacks.
Of the three on this list, this beer has the most flavor. It’s somewhat dark, with a little bit of chocolate, but that’s as far as you’ll get. This article is all about trashy, not depth. Still, sip this while watching that one series where every episode ends on a nonsensical twist and/or cliffhanger, only to find out in the next episode that the assumptions they wanted you to make were wrong, only for them to do it to you again and again for 26 episodes with no real purpose or sense of story progression, run on sentence. Ugh, I’m having flashbacks.
Asahi Super Dry
If you attended my Japanese beer panel last year at ACen, then you would know that Asahi Super Dry completely changed the landscape of the Japanese beer market in the late 1980s, pushing Asahi to the top amongst the big 4 brewers. Japan could not get enough of the subtly flavored lager. I will admit, it is a great pairing with bold flavored spicy ramen, as Super Dry can be the perfect balance to an overpowering bowl. As for anime to pair with this, if you can still find the time to watch super saccharine daily high school life stuff, this is the beer for you. So light, it will clean your palate of all the cake that the characters eat while they should otherwise be doing whatever their after school club is supposed to be doing.
A Place for Everything
Not everything can be high art, just like you can’t live every day at your peak, you’d burn out. That’s where things like Miller High Life and Taco Bell and trashy anime come in, they’re enough to get you by. It’s low effort, sure, but that doesn’t mean that most of the time someone made it the best they could. There is no shame in reveling in it from time to time. We’re all human.