The Best Beers to Drink While Watching Disney Plus

With Disney finally unleashing its Disney Plus service upon the world, it has provided its legions of lifelong fans unfettered access to its vast library of animated classics. What is also shocking (and more than a little unsettling) is even those born the year Tarzan was released (1999) will be of legal drinking age within a year.

What this ultimately results in is swarms of adults revisiting some of their old favorites, and potentially finding new emotional depths to some of these movies that they did not have access to as children. And while you are tapping into those depths, CurEat is also giving you an opportunity to tap into some beer! 

Although we usually are all about helping you locate the best independent restaurants in your hometown by way of the CurEat App, we also want you to use food and beverage to adequately set the stage for enjoyment at home. With that in mind, here are __ beers that pair well with some of your favorite Disney classics. These should help you to fully immerse yourself in the time or geography in which your favorite Disney films are set.

Dumbo – Tropical Pale Ale

Dumbo preparing to drown his sorrows in a trunkful of the bubbly.

Dumbo’s “birth” scene takes place in Florida, and in consideration of the time and place in which the early portion of the film is set, we had to circle back to the beers produced in the Sunshine State during the early 1900s. La Tropical was the beer brewed by The Florida Brewing Company during that time, and it was also the leading beer exported to Cuba. Therefore, responsible viewing of Dumbo should probably be accompanied by a Tropical Pale Ale for the greatest degree of authenticity.

Our Local Pick:

Tropical Pale Ale from Boulevard Brewing Co. (Kansas City, MO)

Coco – Any Mexican Beer

“Would it be too on the nose if I suggested that we drink to your health?”

Because Coco takes place in the present day, any Mexican beer is appropriate for immersive consumption while viewing it. However, don’t be too quick to run for the Corona. Corona may be the most commonly consumed import beer in the United States, but it isn’t necessarily the most representative of Mexican brewing tradition. Most Mexican beers are lagers of the pilsner variety, and the oldest traditional pilsner in Mexico is Bohemia, which is presently made by Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery, and which was first brewed in 1905.

Our local pick:

Saint Archer Mexican Lager from Saint Archer Brewing Company (San Diego, CA)

Beauty and the Beast – European Pale Lager

Not one person in Gaston’s pub had to pay for a drink. No wonder he was so popular.

We have it on good authority that no one drinks like Gaston, and we’ve even seen the film footage to support that claim. The question remains, what was France’s greatest hunter drinking in the first place? We can make a guess based on the fact that the hometown of Belle and Gaston is said to be in the Occitania region of southern France, and the film is supposedly set in the 19th century.

In light of those two elements, we can assume Gaston probably wasn’t drinking anything sourced locally, because that part of France was simply not known for its beer production during the timespan in question. Therefore, he probably snagged his beer barrels from the Alsace region, which is the area of France that borders Germany, and also France’s most abundant supplier of beer. In fact, Gaston may have been straight up sipping on Kronenbourg, which was founded in Alsace in 1644.

Our Local Pick:

Classic Lager from Blue Mountain Brewery (Afton, VA)

Pocahontas – English Pale Ale

“It’s okay, John. We have something on the ship to help take the pain away.”

When John Smith and his squad of Brits showed up in the New World in the early 1600s, ale was the most popular form of beer in Smith’s native England, as hopped beer had yet to gain mainstream acceptance. Ale was also a favorite due to the relative ease at generating the conditions (e.g. yeast activation at 40 degrees Fahrenheit) through which it could be produced. Also, once you’ve downed a few of these, you’ll have an even firmer grasp on precisely which Colors of the Wind Pocahontas is singing about.

Our Local Pick:

Extra Pale Ale from Summit Brewing Co. (St Paul, MN)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – American Porter

“Just one more round, boys, and then I have to try on my Horseman costume!”

In post-Revolution New York, the beer was still predominantly influenced by English and Dutch styles of brewing. In light of George Washington’s 1789 proclamation that he would only drink porter brewed in the United States, we’re going out on a limb with our assumption that most patriotic Americans would have followed suit. Therefore, we think Brom Bones – the TRUE hero of the film, since Ichabod was only after the money of Katrina’s father – would have filled his stein with American porter in light of the proclamation of America’s first president.

Our Local Pick:

Reserve Special Black Ale from Dark Horse Brewery (Marshall, MI) *drinks like a porter, finishes like a stout*

Hercules – ???

“You may have had a bit too much to drink already, Dionysus.”

Honestly, we have no clue about the character of the beer served in Ancient Greece, and we included this entry primarily to give ourselves an excuse to showcase the hilarious image of Dionysus seen above. Enjoy!

Tangled – Bavarian Wheat Beer

“I’ve been locked in a tower for 18 years, boys! It’s time to party!”

What were the thugs in the pub drinking while singing with Rapunzel about their dreams? Since Tangled is set in Germany just like the original telling of the Rapunzel story, albeit transplanted to the 1780s, we’ve got to assume those ruffians were drinking down something delicious and Bavarian, since that’s where the German laws regarding beer purity were first enacted, and that is also where the majority of German breweries historically reside. Generally speaking, it’s difficult to go wrong with any Bavarian wheat beer, and that is your safest bet for consumption while watching Tangled.

Our Local Pick:

Urban Chestnut Schnickelfritz from Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (St. Louis, MO)

The Jungle Book – India Pale Ale

Can you believe these guys behaved this way before consuming even a drop of alcohol?

I know what some of you are thinking, and you’re right; India Pale Ale is not made in India. This statement is undeniably true, and so is the fact that India was part of the British Empire during the era in which The Jungle Book is set, along with the fact that India Pale Ale was first brewed with the intent of helping merchants to deliver a heavily hopped ale to their customers in India. We’re not suggesting that Mowgli would have partaken in an IPA after arriving in the village at the end of the film because he was certainly underage. But I think we all know both Baloo and King Louie would certainly have thrown back a few if they could get their furry mitts on some.

Our Local Pick:

Rocket Science from Fullsteam (Durham, NC)

Compass Rose IPA from Service Brewing Co. (Savannah, GA)

Tarzan – Trappist Ale

“You won’t be acting so civilized after you drink what we’ve got on board, Tarzan!”

By the late 1800s, the Trappist monasteries of Belgium had allowed the sale of their sweet-tasting beer to the public. If this is the beer that accompanies Belgian troops to the Congolese Coast in Africa, this makes a Belgian beer the most likely first sip of alcohol that Tarzan might have imbibed when first wandering into a European encampment on African soil. If not, Jane and her father Nigel, is English travelers in the 19th century, would probably have handed Tarzan his first brew in the form of an IPA.

Our Local Pick:

Trappist Ale from Spencer Brewery (Spencer, MA)

Wreck it Ralph – Anheuser-Busch Brands

Probably the most logical product placement ever featured in a video game.

This one is easy, because a quick glance at video gaming history takes all of the guesswork out of the equation. The favorite hangout for Ralph and his friends – including Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter II and Chef Peter Pepper from BurgerTime – is Tapper’s Bar, the setting of the iconic Tapper arcade console. Well, when the game was originally released, it was sponsored by Budweiser, with the obvious inference being that Tapper was serving up the most popular drink to ever emerge from St. Louis. While it is most likely that Tapper was firing out rounds of Budweiser and Bud Light, we’d prefer to think he had access to all of the best brews that Anheuser-Busch had to offer in the early ‘80s, and that hopefully included Michelob Classic Dark.

Our Local Pick:

Sexy Canoe Lager from Tarboro Brewing Company (Tarboro, NC)

Frozen and The Little Mermaid – Dark Winter Lager

No, you haven’t had too much to drink already, Prince Eric. She really is running a fork through her hair.

Arendelle, the homeland of Anna and Elsa, is Norwegian inspired, but the source material is set in Denmark, as is the Little Mermaid’s. As a result, we have a little bit of flexibility in choosing an appropriate beer to sip while singing along to Let It Go and Part of Your World. Even though German- and Czech-style pilsners dominate the present marketplaces in both countries, the traditional beers of Denmark and Norway are dark malts brewed during the Christmas holiday, which makes a Dark Winter Lager an absolutely PERFECT companion beverage to drink, and especially while watching Frozen.

Our Local Pick:

Brooklyn Winter Lager from Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, NY)

Brave – Heather Ale

If MacGuffin had been smart, he would have filled the cauldron with something a bit more interesting before presenting it as a gift.

Brave is set in Scotland, so everyone was chugging that sweet, sweet Scotch ale, right? Not so fast. Since Brave is set in the Scottish Highlands of the 10th century AD, the only sort of ale we can know for certain was being brewed then is heather ale, which relied on the use of heather tips in place of hops. Good luck finding it, though; it is brewed in painfully few places. Therefore, if you feel the urge to reach for a Scotch ale in place of heather ale when you host a viewing party to watch Brave, I don’t think anyone will hold it against you.

Our Local Pick:

Heather Ale from Cambridge Brewing Co. (Cambridge, MA.)

Pinocchio – Italian Pale Lager

“No, you’re not seeing things… Your buddy really is turning into a donkey. Also, you’re way too young to be drinking that, Pinocchio.”

What beer did Pinocchio and Lampwick chug while smoking on cigars at Pleasure Island? If they were drinking the beer most commonly mass produced in Italy in both the past and present, it was a pale lager. There are several varieties of this beer available, and they are extremely easy to locate, but make sure you drink responsibly. If your viewing companion begins to sprout the ears and tail of a donkey, it’s a surefire sign that you’ve had too much to drink, and no blue fairy is going to show up to help you recover.

Our Local Pick:

Happiness “Distance” Juicy IPA (similar to Italian Pale Ale) from Foothills Brewing (Winston Salem, NC)

The Rescuers and The Princess and the Frog – New Orleans Lager

“So no one is going to mention the fact that there’s an alligator on the stage playing a trumpet?!”

The majority of The Rescuers, and the entirety of The Princess and the Frog takes place in Louisiana. And, as far as I can tell, the only beer that was a true regional staple of Louisiana during the eras in which both movies were set is Dixie Beer, which was founded in New Orleans in 1907 and has more or less sustained its operations since that time despite setbacks owed to bankruptcy and the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. If you can’t find Dixie Beer in your neck of the woods, any classic American lager is likely to make a suitable substitute, whether you’re enjoying watching Madame Medusa water skiing in the swamp, or watching Dr. Facilier dupe tourists out of their cash on the streets of New Orleans.

Our Local Pick:

Paradise Park from Urban South Brewery (New Orleans, LA)

The Wind in the Willows, The Great Mouse Detective, and 101 Dalmatians – English Mild Ale

In reality, the beer steins in the hands of these guys would have been smaller than thimbles.

Several of Disney’s most beloved animated classics are set in London, England, and London pubs are also frequent locations for the villains to hang out. In Disney’s version of Wind in the Willows, the treacherous Mr. Winky is the owner of the tavern that doubles as the hangout of the weasel gang. In The Great Mouse Detective, Basil and Dawson track Ratigan’s chief henchman Fidget to a waterfront bar filled with lowlifes, and even order “two pints” while they’re there. What was in those pints? Well, since most of the Disney films depicting London are set in the era prior to the takeover of pale ales in the British market, the likeliest beer you’d find in those pint glasses would be classic English mild ale, which practically disappeared by the end of the 1960s.

Our Local Pick:

Brawler Champion Ale from Yards Brewing Company (Philadelphia, PA)

The Emperor’s New Groove – Chicha

First rule of leadership: Never accept a drink from people you fired earlier in the day.

What’s the only suitable beer to drink while watching Yzma and Kronk chase Pacha and Kuzco all over the Andes Mountains? Chicha, of course, the traditional corn beer produced in that region, and (not so coincidentally) also the name of Pacha’s wife. This can be a relatively difficult beer to find and many craft breweries have decried the use of corn as an ingredient in beer. However, Dogfish Head Brewery has been known to produce its own variation of chicha from time to time.

Our Local Pick:

Inca God of the Sun from Dos Luces Brewery (Denver, CO)

At CurEat, we pride ourselves on hosting a community of where everyone can share the independent restaurants they love with their friends and truly learn about the best restaurants in every city they visit. If you want to become part of our community of curious eaters, download the CurEat App for (available for iOS and Android) today and learn about the most delicious, best-kept secrets in your town! You can find and pin the list of breweries mentioned in this piece here.

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