The Definitive Eventer’s Guide to Beer

Eventers ... we have beer stored in our jumps. Photo by Leslie Wylie. Eventers ... we have beer stored in our jumps. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

There’s a little blog about matching wine to your horse problems going around. I read it. And I get it. But really, eventers are beer people, aren’t they? So when you have a rocking cross country, the beer to have with that is a good old American IPA — and plenty of it. (Where I come from, we are partial to Dogfish Head.)

Forget your dressage test? There’s a beer for that … try a Belgian Pale Ale, great for crying in. How about those four rails down in stadium? You’ll need something dark and foreboding, like the English Oatmeal Stout. And the cross-country course walk of course calls for a Bohemian style Pilsner just so everyone can get in the spirit of walking for miles looking at gigantic fences nobody can figure out how to negotiate.

I’m here to tell you after many years of drinking beers, and many years of eventing, there’s definitely some sort of connection between beer and its many flavors, and eventing and its many ways to get eliminated.

Forgot your armband? There’s a beer for that — try a blonde ale (for obvious reasons.) Or maybe you forgot to tell your groom babe to replace the rubber rein stops on the special fancy stitched bridle from the new sponsor. Yep — eliminated … match this particular disappointment with a wee heavy Scottish ale.

Oh and don’t forget the classic whip-carry-into-dressage, (now only elimination at championships) which calls specifically for the dark lager, guaranteed to erase all bad memories, or basically all memory if enough is consumed. For the truly miserable, try the Oktoberfest Bock style beer. Or should we pair that one with the event that is cold, rainy, wet and muddy? And takes place in October?

Of particular interest to those of us who eliminate ourselves by missing jumps, on both show jumping and cross-country courses, we have to go with the American amber ale, great for restoring the “what the hell” attitude.

And for the rider who forgot the head number, the gloves in dressage, the protection vest under the airbag vest, forgot to unhook the airbag before dismounting, forgot the spurs, forgot the crop, forgot the sunscreen, forgot the raincoat or the spare horse trailer tire … there’s the English brown porter — which is so horrible you’ll never forget any of those things ever again if you have to drink THAT beer as penance.

There’s a special pairing for the boot zipper fail — the Stout …

What’s the very worst? I guess to have your horse spun at the jog on Sunday … might as well really wallow in the pity and try an English milk stout beer (YUCK). That is truly the worst and it would really fit the occasion, I think.

So there you go, the eventer’s guide to beer and how to pair it with your experience at your event. And if you’re not an eventer or a beer drinker — of course there is a non-alcoholic beer just for you. You can drink it while you’re online giving advice to all the four-star riders out there from your keyboard. Cheers!

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