The Beers of World War III: Drinking and Reading “Ghost Fleet”


Summer for a lot of people means time off. It used to in Washington, especially before the advent of air conditioning. Yet with email and social media, it sometimes feels like there is no real break in the action anymore despite the pretense of downtime.

Part of our goal with Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War was to create a book that could be “useful fiction,” providing information that might be of value in a Pentagon briefing room, but worth packing with a beach towel for a fun read by the beach.

As both situations can leave you thirsty, one perhaps more than the other, we’ve assembled a list of potential beers for War On The Rocks readers that would go well with the book. Tweet your photos of where you are reading the book, and what you are drinking if you are so lucky, using the hashtag #ghostfleetbook.

Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard Ale: Hubris and conceit are dangerous, particularly for a nation as powerful as the United States. To contemplate the dangers of overconfidence, there is no better beer than this one. The name says it all. Start drinking and thinking on page 8.

Lagunitas IPA: When we’re away from home there are certain things you miss. Once just a Bay Area beer, Lagunitas can know be found in chain drugstores near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. That does not lessen the beer’s merits. It is Commander Jamie Simmons’ favorite beer. You get to drink it out of a bottle. In the future, you might not. Start drinking it on page 90.

ANTARKTIK (力波南极啤酒): Snow is the most popular beer in China, and thus the world (you thought it was American originals like MGD or the Beast?). Yet ANTARKTIK is the next-generation of Chinese beers and is representative of the new China. The beer’s strategic relevance is clear: It is supposedly made with water brought from Antarctica. It would also pair well with a new alliance with Russia. Start drinking it on page 131.

Anchor Steam Beer: Many things would change in a wartime San Francisco, but Anchor Steam is not likely to be one of them. A steady choice from a historical area brewery that makes a selection of great beers (Liberty Ale among them) that could also pair well with the book. Start drinking it on page 144.

Smuttynose Bouncy House: There are thirsts that need to be quenched quickly. Others take longer to satisfy, and given the responsibilities that many of us have there are beers for that too. This is a dialed-back IPA yet it is no weakling. A family beer. Start drinking it on page 222.

Kona Brewing Longboard Lager: A crisp but fully flavored lager for when you need to change course from an IPA to something different. When you look at the label, it’s hard not to smile — even if you have never surfed. Start drinking it on page 279.

Victory Brewing Hop Devil: The name should say it all. But who are the winners at the end of the book? From a Pennsylvania brewery, this is a reliable and very enjoyable IPA that has earned its name. Holds its own against any California IPA. Start drinking it on page 354.


P.W. Singer and August Cole are the authors of Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War. Singer is strategist and a senior fellow at the New American Foundation and Cole is the director of the Art of Future Warfare project at the Atlantic Council, where he is a senior fellow.


Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski

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