What Beer for Super Bowl?

The big game is Sunday, and our house will be cheering for the Saints. We’ll have Etouffee and snacks – probably even break out some home-made chili (no ground meet – hand cut-up chunks of chuck roast). And pretzels, of course.

Beer selection for the Super Bowl is tricky, though.

Of course, it would be easy and obvious to break out the Abita, which is made in Abita Springs, a few miles from New Orleans. You can easily find Abita Amber and Abita Purple Haze at most stores with a reasonable selection. Both are drinkable and approachable, but the Amber is nothing exciting, and the Purple Haze is a fruit beer of the “put enough raspberry in it and you won’t know it’s beer” style. Abita makes some great beers, but these two aren’t really among them. On the other hand, if you find some Turbodog, pick it up for a great example of an American Brown Ale.

If you’re an Indianapolis fan, you might have a tougher time finding something from the vicinity in a local store, though, if you do, you’ll probably be drinking a great beer. Indiana has a surprisingly vibrant beer scene, including the wonderful Three Floyds brewery. If you can find something from Three Floyds, pick it up, even if you’re cheering for the Saints.

But, really, drinking beer from your team’s location is a nod toward silly superstition. What happens on the field in Miami is not really dependent upon what you do in your home 1000+ miles away. I’ve learned, through years of experience and experimentation, that nothing I can do really impacts the game – not swearing at the TV, not wearing proper licensed clothing, not even promising God I will be a better person if my chosen team wins. So, let’s abandon the “Beer with a Purpose” approach, and look toward exactly what beer will enhance the Super Bowl experience.

The first thing to consider is timing. This will be a long evening, and my advice is to plan a sequence of beers rather than latching onto one beer and expecting it to take you through the entire game. I’m going to go with a 4 Quarter approach.

First Quarter: Start with a nod toward history. Boulevard Pilsner is a great American Lager, and it’s also light enough to serve as a warm-up course. It will remind you a bit of the beers your Dad drank while watching the game, but it is well-crafted, so you won’t relive the horrors of Hamm’s or Wisconsin Gold Label. It’s American football, and nothing is more American than a great American Lager.

Second Quarter: It’s time to kick it up a notch. Choose your favorite American Pale Ale, like Boulevard Pale Ale or Mirror Pond. The hops and malt will compete like the two teams, and even if the hops seem to be prevailing in an American Pale Ale, the malt is hanging in there, and it’s a sport where everyone wins.

Half Time:
Split a bottle of La Folie from New Belgium, a wood-aged, sour brown ale, or some other sour beer. It’s wildly different, refreshing, and a great change of pace to enjoy while the Who take the field. You don’t want a whole bottle, because this is not the time to focus on the intricacies of sour and malt, so share a bottle with some friends.

Third Quarter: It’s time for a brown ale or a porter. If you can find Turbodog by Abita, now is the time to pop it open (it may be superstitious, but where’s the harm?). You want something big and flavorful to keep your taste buds excited. St. Bridget’s Porter from Great Divide is another great choice here. The game is serious now, and you need some serious beer.

Fourth Quarter: This is a tough choice. If the game’s close, you want something sharp and exciting, but if it’s a blowout, you’ll want something mellow to sooth the pain of the Colts fans and to celebrate the success of the Saints. So, I’m saying if the point spread is 13 points or less, you want intensity, so go with an imperial (or double) IPA. Double Wide from Boulevard is a good choice, but pick your favorite hop bomb to keep yourself cheering loudly for your team.

If the teams are separated by 14 points or more, though, go with a great Belgian Dubbel or Abbey ale. The best beer bargain in the world is Ommegang Abbey ale, and it is rich enough to serve as a fitting indulgence for the victorious fans and to offer a sweet reminder of the joy of life to those suffering through a thrashing. It’s a wonderful beer for special occasions, and the Super Bowl is certainly a special occasion.

Postgame: A nice big glass of water, and maybe a couple aspirin. Tomorrow’s a work day, and you’ve been drinking beer all evening.

One Response to “What Beer for Super Bowl?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Bud Light?

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