Beer is an important prop, and often plot device, in so many TV shows and movies. But things can get pretty iffy when trying to use real-life brands. So, enter in the fictional brews!
Entirely made up and sometimes becoming as illustrious as the characters themselves, these beers make these imaginary worlds feel more relatable. So, grab a cold one and toast to these nine beers none of us have ever actually tasted:
Duff – The Simpsons
It wouldn’t feel right to start with anything other than Homer Simpson’s beverage of choice! With numerous episodes focused around Duff, bartender Moe’s limited other alcohol offerings, and of course the ever-enthusiastic Duffman, it’s tough to think of any fictional beer in TV or movies that’s better known.
And in 2016, Time Magazine even listed Duff Beer as one of the most influential fictional companies of all time!
That said, the beer isn’t even entirely fictional these days — an official real-life version of Duff is sold at Universal Studios (next to The Simpsons Ride, naturally).
*There was a moment in Season 8 (Episode 10), where Homer tried a ‘Red Tick Beer’. He later thought he spotted an alien in the woods, but it wasn’t clear if this was related to the beer’s odd brewing process — which included dogs swimming around in a vat. Hmm…
Alamo – King of the Hill
Alamo is to Hank what Duff is to Homer. Hank’s love of Alamo is so great, he’s even been known to put plastic wrap over unfinished cans and leave them in the fridge for later sipping — “I have never poured out a beer, even to put out a grass fire” (Season 4, Episode 6).
There are a lot of great beer-centric episodes, but it all really culminates in the Season 6, Episode 16 episode aptly titled “Beer and Loathing”. Peggy goes to work in customer service at Alamo, but is sworn to secrecy about why the beer is suddenly unavailable on local store shelves. A good Peggy Hill power trip makes for fine TV any day, but the show enters new territory here by pitting her directly against her family and friends’ love of Alamo.
Pawtucket Patriot – Family Guy
Because Seth MacFarlane assumedly couldn’t use Sam Adams as the beer of choice for Peter and his pals (and after the toy company goes bust, as Peter’s brewery employer).
Peter has held various positions at the brewery, and he seems to spend his days rotating between being active on the brewery floor and being a desk jockey to even serving as “Pawtucket Pete”, the brewery mascot. If anything, despite Peter’s constant ineptitude, it’s honestly one of the more realistic jobs seen among sitcom characters.
And while I love Bryan Cranston and Niecy Nash as Peter’s current bosses Bert and Sheila, we’re still missing Carrie Fisher as the massively inappropriate-yet-sympathetic Angela. Who knew the Pawtucket brewery would end up yielding so many great characters?
Löbrau – Futurama
When Philip J. Fry’s not slurping back Slurm soda, he’s chugging bottles of Löbrau with his buddies. “It has dots on it!”
Of course, this is just one of the many fake futuristic beers introduced in New New York and elsewhere in the Futurama universe. After all, robots like Bender actually run on beer and are legally required to not be sober. My personal favorite though? Bender’s own body-brewed BendërBrau Ale. Hey, they must have a thing for Bavarian styles in the year 3000.
Aspen Beer – Alien
Sure, you might miss it between the alien popping out of the chest and all the screaming. But look closely, and it’s clearly the Nostromo crew’s beer of choice.
According to Fandom, Aspen Beer is made by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation (yes, the crew’s employer) in Aspen, Colorado. Hey, if they treat their brewing efforts half as well as they treat their contracted employees, the beer’s gotta be good, right? Haha, NOT.
Butterbeer – Harry Potter
We doubt it’s too alcoholic because the kiddos drink it, but then again, wizarding laws may be different, no? Also, the drinking age is lower in England than in America you guys!
In the books, Butterbeer is described as indeed slightly alcoholic, served in a “foaming mug” that tastes “like less-sickly butterscotch.” In the movies, it just looks downright delicious.
While you certainly can pay a fortune and trek to Universal Studios (when the economy reopens, that is) for a sip of genuine studio-approved Butterbeer, there are plenty of DIY recipes online. That said, aside from the one time I just lumped a big pat of butter into a cream ale and mixed in some butterscotch* I’ve yet to find one that tastes anything close to what I imagined Butterbeer actually tasting like.
*The first two sips were surprisingly not bad! My stomach couldn’t handle the rest.
Dharma Initiative Beer – Lost
Yes, so many of the plotlines were never tied up or explained. Yes, no season is as interesting or as delightfully cryptic as the first one. No, I couldn’t fully explain what happened in the show if my life depended on it.
But darn it all, Lost sure was fun to watch for a time! And even though the characters were all stranded on a mysterious island, they did (eventually) have beer. Produced by the mysterious Dharma Initiative organization, Dharma Initiative BEER seems like it would be of the cheap, mass-produced sort. Like the island’s standard-issue Busch Light.
Turns out it wasn’t too cheap though. After the show ended, a lot of the props were auctioned off as memorabilia to fans. Twelve cans of the Dharma brew went for a whopping $5,000 USD!
Brockman — It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Wait, but aren’t they always drinking Coors Light on Always Sunny? Didn’t co-star / show creator Rob McElhenney show up briefly on Lost? Yes and no, and yes.
Look closely — especially in the middle seasons — and Brockman is the beer of choice whenever they’re not throwing back Rocky Mountain Lemonade (that’s what we called it in Colorado. I swear!). Brockman’s not real by any means, so it fits right in with the gang’s schemes and distorted views of reality. It’s also been seen in a few movies, like Invictus.
By the way, if you’re not watching Sunny, you need to. Not only will it soon pass Ozzie and Harriet as the live-action sitcom with the most seasons in TV history, but it’s also the rare show that somehow just keeps getting better with time.
Heisler – Everywhere!
If you’re scratching your head and going “Heisler? Never heard of it” then you haven’t been paying close enough attention. This fictional brew isn’t from any one show or movie — it’s a prop beer brand made by Independent Studio Services, and it’s also the most popular fake beer in Hollywood today.
In fact, you’ve most likely seen it dozens of times (When they’re not drinking Brockman or Coors, it’s Heisler on Always Sunny!) You can view a list of everything it’s been in here.
What’s your favorite fictional beer or brewery? Share it in the comments!