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Pairings: Horizon: Zero Dawn

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This’ll be a pretty simple pairing, but a surprisingly fitting one given the game.

When I first started playing H:ZD, I put it down pretty quickly. You can read why here. Then after finishing God of War and deciding to take my biannual cleanse, I chose to pick it up again because I couldn’t think of a single drink pairing that fit a game about robot dinosaurs and braided redheads in a post-post-apocalyptic Colorado.

But during my playthrough of the game, one line caught my attention. It was just after the first bit of tutorial, when Aloy enters in Mother’s Heart and meets a man named Erend. During the various dialogue options, he says of his tribe: “We’re good at three things, arguing, working steel, and brewing.” He also shows up later in the game significantly drunk from said “brew.”

This got me thinking. It’s true that beer brewing has been around in various forms for many centuries (and is even rumored to have been invented by the Egyptians), and during times of economic strife the liquor industry tends to survive. So it makes sense that even in the face of total annihilation, beer brewing endures.

That’s when I decided that the perfect drink pairing for H:ZD is none other than a true Colorado brew.

But which Colorado-brewed beer? There’s so many to choose from. Everything from the larger Coors products like Banquet, Blue Moon, and Native, to the excellent beers made by Crooked Stave, Avery’s, Denver Beer Co, and Great Divide.

The answer came to me a bit by happenstance. I had been brewing a Cinnamon Pumpkin Porter for a home brewery festival for Colorado tech companies, and at some point I was in Idaho Springs after a hike and decided to stop at Tommy Knocker Brewery. They’ve been around for 25 years or so, and their brewery/restaurant in Idaho Springs has that true mountain brewery feeling.

The cool thing about Tommy Knocker is whenever you buy a beer from there, they throw in a couple of petri cups full of spices so that you can rim them yourself, if you prefer. This just made my idea for a H:ZD drink pairing even better!

How rimming works is: first you coat the rim of the glass in something citrus-y, like an orange, then a second coat of spices that covers the rim completely. Doing so gives the beer a tasty finish, and can complement the beer nicely depending on the spices.

Also, I ended up using this rimming method at the competition I mentioned previously, and it was such a hit that all 6 gallons of beer I brewed was gone within an hour. It was then I decided that a rimmed glass of a winter-y beer from a Colorado mountain town would be the perfect fit for exploring the snowy and beautiful scapes in what remains of Colorado post Armageddon.

I decided to use cinnamon, nutmeg, and a tiny, tiny amount of sugar. If you’d like to see how I made it, check it out here.