December 1, 2020

D&D Beer Pairings: The Bard

We’re continuing our series pairing each of the 12 base D&D classes with beers. You can catch up on our first entry, The Barbarian, here. We’ve once again tapped (pun intended) Jessica Clare, General Manager at Cleophus Quealy Beer Company and licensed cicerone, to give us her expert opinion.

Me: This week we have the class I was paradoxically most and least looking forward to. Of course, it’s the bard. If for some reason you’re on this website and don’t know, bards are the charismatic talkers in the party. They turn music, poetics, or comedy into magic, and not to stereotype, but have a reputation as lothsarios.

They’re typically dexterous and have a penchant for mischief. I think they’re probably the drunkest class after barbarians. What beers do you think bards would be drawn to?

Jess: I’ve been thinking a lot about bards, and for some reason I keep going back to them as the trendy class of the D&D world. Bards are the creatives, the ones who tell stories, and likely, the ones who help set trends because of these things. I’m sure a bard would have a VERY robust Instagram account and consider themselves an “influencer.” A bard is probably the person you want picking out new beers for you.

I see bards gravitating toward things that are new and interesting. I peg bards as hazy IPA and milkshake IPA drinkers—not only because these styles are hot shit right now, but because both, despite being called IPAs, are actually about as far away from actually being IPAs as you can get, and I’m sure any good bard would appreciate the irony in that. I’m sure they’ll be the first ones to be excited about new trends on the horizon. If I had to guess, I bet they’ll be championing fruited lagers next.

Me: I was expecting a much harsher take. 

What about a really annoying bard, you know THAT bard? What would somebody who was trying way too hard to sound knowledgeable and maintain the spotlight? Like, a bard who would say something like, “I’ve liked IPAs since Sierra Nevada first invented them.”

Jess: So, the same people are actually the hazy IPA / milkshake IPA crowd. I didn’t dive into beer culture, but the haze and milkshake IPA crowd is actually the WORST. The industry slang is “hazebro” and it is DEFINITELY not a positive. The reason hazy IPAs and milkshake IPAs are called IPAs even though they have nothing in common with actual IPAs is because these dorks will buy anything as long as it has those three letters. 

Smart bards will see that they’re not the same thing and think it’s funny. THAT guy is just going to order the haziest, most fruit laden thing called an IPA and fancy himself a beer expert. He knows SO MUCH MORE than everyone else in the bar. What is that, a porter? And there isn’t even vanilla or donuts or an entire birthday cake in it? Pffft, way to not know anything about beer. 

Also, “consider themself an influencer” definitely goes hand in hand with the folks that imagine they’re super in the know, but are actually just hopping from trend to trend. Which is totally how I imagine bards. 

Me: I should have assumed you meant “influencer” as a pejorative.

But I suppose we shouldn’t assume every bard is a dude-bro. What do you think about the small subset of well-intentioned bards who wouldn’t list “324 IGFollowers” on their resume?

Jess: Here’s the thing—I think the well intentioned bards would actually enjoy the same beers, but would enjoy them because they actually are tasty and interesting and not just because they’re Instagrammable. 

I also think a bard that isn’t one of THOSE bards would also heartily agree with the old (or maybe not so old) adage “The best beer is the one in your hand.” 

Me: To wrap up, what specific beers would you recommend to get for the next time you’re playing a bard?

Jess: I picture bards, like their real life beer nerd counterparts, to order by brewery rather than by specific beers. Not gonna lie, I do the same thing to an extent, but these guys will focus on the buzziest, trendiest breweries. Expect to see them sipping something hazy by Moonraker, Monkish, Trillium, or Cellarmaker. Doesn’t matter what the beer is as long as it’s super opaque with hops that just hit the market like, yesterday. 

You can follow Jessica’s brewery at @Cleophus_Quealy on Twitter. She also does work for the Bay Area Brewer’s Guild at drinkbaybeer.com.

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