A Successful Pray-for-Snow Party Starts and Ends with Beer

Not just any beer will do, though. Listen to the experts on what kind of keg to get this fall.
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A keg stand at Turner Mountain, Montana

This fall, you really should throw a pray-for-snow party. And to make the Norse ski god Ullr happy, you need to have everything just right: the correct effigy to burn, the proper treats in your piñata, and, most important, the right beer. The first two are easy. Your effigy should be a snowman and your piñata should be full of Jolly Ranchers and condoms. But what kind of keg to buy? At the most basic level, your choice can be whittled down to microbrew or macrobrew. So which will it be: a hearty ale brewed by hippies in Colorado or an American lager brewed by fat guys in Milwaukee?

Keggers are about quantity over quality—that and appealing to the lowest common denominator. At the same time, you want to find a balance between the yuppie beer you secretly like and the skunky swill that you don’t. You can’t please everyone, but you should at least try.

Start by listening to the experts. Bo Lytle, a brewer at Colorado’s New Belgium brewery, says, “A good balanced beer is the way to go. You might be tempted to get a seasonal winter beer, which were actually first made by pagans to celebrate the winter solstice. But winter brews are usually sweet, spiced, and alcoholic, so it can be like drinking six or seven Cokes. It’s just too sweet to drink all night.” Lytle recommends pilsners, pale ales, and dark wheat beers for their thirst-quenching properties. He also says there’s no problem with Budweiser or Pabst Blue Ribbon.

And if people can’t agree on which beer, Christian Holbrook, another New Belgium brewer, is an advocate of the two-keg system, with a quarter barrel of dark beer and another one with something lighter. Neither brewer recommends malt liquor, but should you go the Colt 45 route, remember to pour a little out for your homey Ullr.

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