It’s Super Bowl weekend, that contentious time of year when some lucky team gets to meet Tom Brady and the Patriots in the season’s biggest football game. An exaggeration, sure, but with five Pats appearances in the past ten years, it’s not that far out. No doubt, New England fans already have some celebratory beverages on hand just in case they snag another Lombardi trophy.
And speaking of drinks, let’s talk about what I consider the most important part of the game: the beer. Naturally, you have your pick of Boston-area beers and Los Angeles-area beers. And if you can’t decide or you’re actually going to be at the game, you’ve got Atlanta beers, too. (Atlanta, for better or worse, has even extended bar closing time by 90 minutes to 4 AM for the whole Super Bowl week.)
Unfortunately, if you want to get behind the Rams and baby-faced Jared Goff, the pickings are slim, unless you’re actually in L.A. Los Angeles came to the craft beer game a bit later than most American cities, and it is still catching up. (The oldest packaging brewery in the area, Eagle Rock, is celebrating nine years this month.)
You may find some Three Weavers up the coast if you’re lucky, but for Rams fans anywhere other than California, you’ll have to make do with some Golden Road. Their deliciously aromatic Wolf Pup Session IPA makes friends wherever it pops up, and at 4.5-percent alcohol by volume it’s got the long-haul combination of flavor and sessionability you’ll need to keep going through at least three hours of gridiron glory.
The only thing is, like the halftime show with Maroon 5, there’s controversy with Golden Road. It is one of the craft breweries that was bought by Anheuser-Busch InBev over the past few years, and many ardent beer fans are steadfast in their resistance. It’s up to you; but that Wolf Pup sure drinks pretty good.
If you’re going to be watching the game in Cali, you have the aforementioned Three Weavers as well as Beachwood BBQ, Smog City, El Segundo and Monkish. There is now no dearth of breweries in greater Los Angeles but they’re young and mostly small.
Pats fans know that beer in eastern Massachusetts is a different story. There are plenty of great breweries here, both new and well-established. Plus, you know you can always find Sam Adams no matter where you are in this great country. (It is even proudly served at Gillette Stadium.) There’s also a movement now in some beer circles called Flagship February, where folks go out of their way to drink the classic craft beers that got this movement started, so some Boston Lager on Super Bowl Sunday would be doubly appropriate! Harpoon IPA also fits right in with that idea, and is widely available along the East Coast.
If you like your IPAs cloudy, “juicy,” blazingly aromatic, and not overly bitter, you could argue that any “New England IPA” type beer could fit the bill. But why not see if you can get hold of some authentically New England “New England IPA,” like Julius from Tree House Brewing or (available as I wrote this) Trillium’s True New Englander Double IPA. It won’t be easy: if you don’t live within driving distance of Massachusetts, you’ll have to have someone pick up a few cans at the brewery and FedEx them to you, because that’s how things work. But drinking a pint of that cloudy craziness as Brady bombs the Rams will make it all seem worthwhile.
Don’t want to go to quite all that effort? Lord Hobo has exploded out of the Boston area and is now in over half the U.S. Grab some of its distinctive black-and-gold cans of the ebulliently named Boom Sauce, and have a throw down. You can also find Jack’s Abbey lagers through much of the East Coast. Its House Lager is just the thing for that Super Bowl spread you’ll no doubt be preparing.
For you lucky folks with tickets to the big game, you few, you happy few...well, Atlanta’s got it going on. The local beer ranges from the large and luscious–Sweetwater’s Hop Hash and Terrapin’s Up-Hi IPA–to small and splendid–Three Taverns Helm’s Deep Imperial Stout and Scofflaw’s Basement IPA.
Terrapin’s going to be at the game, too, served up at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, along with a bunch of other big brewer-affiliated beers, like Goose Island and Wicked Weed, plus all the expected mass-market light beers.
You can, of course, pretend you’re there by buying a six-pack of one of those brands and fixing yourself a plate of nachos. Or you could do what I’m going to do: I decided to focus on the Mercedes-Benz part of this whole show and drink German beer for the game. I’ve got half a case of Franziskaner Weissbier left over from Christmas, and I’ll pick up a couple six-packs of Rothaus Pilsner. Some grilled brats and simmered sauerkraut ought to make this Super Bowl memorable. Prost, to the winners!