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Celebrate May 4 Star Wars Day with a Star Wars themed beer

While many beer enthusiasts are preparing for Cinco de Mayo, there are some who have been preparing for Star Wars Day. Yes, there are many beer geeks who are also Star Wars geeks, and I’m afraid that I am one of them.  

Confused? Say “May the fourth be with you” out loud, and you will understand why May 4 was chosen for this day.

There are plenty of beers out there with Star Wars themes, and I have had the good fortune of enjoying several of them.

Revolution Brewing Deth’s Tar is a barrel aged Russian imperial stout (11.4 percent ABV, IBUs 40) with which the brewery makes reference to the Dark Side and to its brewer, Emperor Deth.

For those non-Star Wars fans, Deth’s Tar is a play on Death Star, which was a moon-sized space station with a weapon built by the Galactic Empire, capable of destroying a whole planet. Luckily, it was destroyed by Luke Skywalker, with the help of Han Solo.

Right here in Michiana, Bare Hands Brewery recently released Galaxy Imperial (imperial IPA, 10 percent ABV, IBUs 95). Brewer Chris Gerard used plenty of Australian Galaxy hops and the label warns that you better “prepare your palate to conquer the Galaxy.”  

The label also sports a hop cone with a helmet depicting Darth Vader. I have one bottle left with which to celebrate and it is definitely a great pick for May the fourth.

Over the New Year’s holiday, I picked up a bottle of Westbrook Dark Helmet (German-style black lager or Schwarzbier, 5.9 percent ABV, IBUs 25) while traveling in South Carolina. Westbrook brewed this beer with 10 percent malted rye and chocolate and carafa malts.  

The name pays homage to Spaceballs, the 1987 Mel Brooks movie which is a parody of Star Wars, as well as other science fiction films. Dark Helmet’s namesake from the movie is depicted on the label. May the Schwarz be with you!

I have yet to experience B.Nektar Episode 13 (17.5 percent ABV), and although it is a mead and not a beer, it is worth mentioning here. It is a mead made with orange blossom and buckwheat honeys then aged in bourbon barrels for a year. Mead is an ancient drink that was popular in medieval Europe and traditionally made without hops.

The label features an AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport) which is a four-legged combat vehicle used by Imperial ground forces. The main chamber of the AT-AT on the label is an oak barrel used to age alcoholic beverages.

The label reads: “It’s a dark time for the rebel army. The evil empire has tightened its grip and has silenced the rebels’ voice. In an effort to strengthen their cause, the rebels sent out thousands of bottles across the galaxy. But the Imperial troops are hot on their trail. The revolution begins today. Help us B. Nektar fans… You’re our only hope. May the pours be with you.”

Of all the Star Wars themed beers, probably the most notable is New England Brewing Imperial Stout Trooper (Russian Imperial Stout, 8.5 percent ABV). The original label was an Imperial Storm Trooper from the Star Wars movies, however, George Lucas was not happy about that. He sent a cease and desist, so now the storm trooper on the label sports Groucho Marx glasses.

This is a brewery-only limited release, but I have been lucky enough to find people to pick up a few bottles for me over the years. About four years ago on Star Wars Day, I opened a 12 oz. bottle with the original label, a 750 ml bottle with the new label, and a barrel aged version.  I love this beer and wish I had more access to it, but I am happy to get what I can.  

If you know of any other Star Wars themed beers that I’ve missed, please let me know.  How will you be celebrating Star Wars Day?  I will have to choose from my last bottle of Imperial Stout Trooper and my last bottle of Galaxy Imperial.

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