The culmination of the NFL football season requires a different mindset food and beer wise than a regular season game.
First, this is not your typical 2½ hour game that is a break between chores on a Sunday afternoon. This is an all day extravaganza where commercials are actually watched and plenty of hot air is expended by prognosticators. It requires a certain type of beer that won’t put you under the table before halftime and will contrast with the parade of salty and not-good-for-you dishes that you will be feasting on over the course of the day.
So here are my choices for Super Beers (all should be available) and a couple of beers to celebrate the Steelers and Packers.
I would suggest having a beer with low ABV for the majority of the game for yourself or for your guests. Anderson Valley Poleeko Gold, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, Ballast Point Yellowtail, or in cans, Avery’s Joe’s Lager or Caldera’s Amber. You want something effervescent and not loaded down with malt to cut through the salsa and guacamole and/or the pizza. If you do not see these specific beers then look for lagers, kolschs, wheat beers.
You do not want something too hoppy because your palate will get fatigued really quickly. You don’t want to destroy your taste buds before the Black Eyed Peas hit the stage. By the same token, you don’t want something that is too watery. We have all seen someone sprint to the loo and come back just AFTER a great play.
Another trick of mine is to save room for a celebratory beer at the end of the game. I like to pick up something that is either football related, like Beer Valley’s Pigskin Pale Ale or something quirky like Russian River’s Redemption.
We don’t get a lot of beer from Wisconsin or Pennsylvania but occasionally you can find some Leinenkugel’s (perhaps Sunset Wheat) or maybe some Yuengling (much harder). Whichever way you choose, plan ahead. You don’t want to be trying to find the perfect beer on Sunday afternoon.
The Beer of the Week is from Sierra Nevada Brewing. It is called Hoptimum and the beer savvy may have had it at Tony’s Darts Away among other places. This is a big blast of hops with a heavy hand of malt. This is almost to the barley wine stage in my book and that is a good thing on a cold night. So if your regular IPA just isn’t cutting it then go to the maximum.
Your Homework is to raise a pint for publican Don Younger who passed away this week. He was one of the first craft beer boosters in Portland (and the U.S.) with The Horse Brass Pub. I can safely say that without him the craft beer scene would not be nearly advanced as it is today.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.