Craft Beer Hurricane Survival Guide

By Ryan Farrell

Author’s note: This weekend was a scary time for my family and the East Coast. Thankfully, my family made it through safely. My heart goes out to all those who were affected by the storm.  My thoughts are with those still coping with the damage from Irene.

I grew up on the south shore of Eastern Long Island. My parents and two younger brothers still live in our home there. When I say south shore, I mean that a storm of Irene’s proportions could turn my front lawn into suburbia’s next hot weekend destination.

Despite the mandatory evacuation order, my family chose to hunker down and wait it out. Naturally, I inquired about how they were preparing for the storm. My brother launched into a description of the scene at the gas station and grocery store. He hadn’t seen lines that long since the last iPad release. Shoprite was sold out of creamed corn. Some people’s storm outlook was grimmer than others. I had to interrupt: “What are you going to drink?”

My brother bashfully admitted that he hadn’t considered it. He quickly checked the fridge and reported a half empty Sam Adams variety pack. Serviceable, but if you go into a storm like Irene without a plan, you’re asking for trouble.

For all those people who got through the storm on old homebrew from the back of the fridge, here’s a list of keys to successful storm survival, and the craft beer that will help you achieve them. Next time, no excuses.

And no, Hurricanes (of the frozen drink variety) did not appear on this list. That’s just a bad pun. Not to mention they pose more of a health risk than the storm. We’re talking about beers that will get you through the night, in candlelight, circled around a deck of cards.

Craft Beer Hurricane Survival Guide

Longevity: The Bruery’s Hottenroth

It could be a while before you get outside, so pace yourself. This perky, tart session beer from The Bruery is easy drinking, but still demands your attention. At just 3.1% ABV, you can put in a nice session. You can’t burn out early and abandon your storm-mates. Which brings me to…

Solidarity: Abita Beer’s Save Our Shores

Craft beer lovers helped Abita Beer survive after Hurricane Katrina, and the brewery created Restoration Ale to help raise money for relief efforts. Now they are busy raising funds in support of the Gulf Oil Spill. A portion of the price of each bottle of Save Our Shores sold aides in the restoration of Louisiana’s coastal environment, and that’s good karma.

Keep it Fresh

Stock up on a growler or two from your favorite local brewery—for me, that would be Blue Point Brewing Co., named after my small hometown. A day into a storm, a fresh beer will make all the difference. I bet their Double Pilsner can really cut through a can of creamed corn.

Have a Secret Weapon: Samuel Adams’ Utopias

It’s important to keep an ace up your sleeve. At 27% ABV, Samuel Adams’ Utopias is your spade. You could pull it out in a grim moment, or celebrate with a taste at storm’s end. Plus, if you run out of candles, I’m pretty sure you can light it on fire.


Ryan FarrellRyan Farrell is the Finance Assistant and a contributor at the Brewers Association. He earned his degree in English at the College of William and Mary and has been with the Brewers Association since 2007. When he is not balancing the books, he enjoys tilting the pen on all subjects craft beer.