Although I am completely obsessed with college athletics, I rarely ever get excited about professional sports. My bias most likely stems from personal experience competing in two different NCAA Division I sports. To me, amateur athletics retain a certain pureness that professional sports lack (feel free to fight me on this all you want).
Regardless of my biases towards certain sports (college football) and programs (The Ohio State University), I pretty much love all sports across the board.
There are few things greater in life than occasions that combine sports with beer. One such occasion is the Super Bowl. Whereas I am not a big fan of the NFL, I find the Super Bowl to be a worthy excuse to drink (ridiculously awesome) beer and eat (super greasy) snack food with friends (or random strangers).
In addition to the actual football game, the Super Bowl has also become infamous for its commercials. Companies shell out ridiculous amounts of cash for mere seconds of ad space during the big game.
One of the most notorious of these companies is Budweiser. Each year viewers anticipate the roll-out of the Bud Super Bowl commercials – with high expectations that the ads will be wittier and more entertaining than those of the previous year. And because of this, Budweiser has become synonymous with The Super Bowl … kind of like cookies are with milk. (Here comes a metaphor, kids …)
As with cookies, the taste of beer can vary immensely based on ingredients used. One could eat cheap, stale, artificially and mass produced cookies from a cardboard box or fresh cookies made from scratch with the highest quality ingredients.
Same goes with beers. One can drink mass-produced corporate beers or small-batch, hand-crafted craft beers. Sure all beer is made with the same 4 ingredients – malt, hops, water & yeast. BUT the difference between good beers and bad beers is the type, quality & amount of each of those ingredients.
In regards to malt, barley is the most common grain used in brewing. Barley malt typically produces the most flavorful and complex beers. In my opinion, most of the world’s greatest beers (especially ales) are made with 100% malted barley. (KEY WORD being most. There are some truly excellent beers that are not made with 100% barley malt.)
And then there are some companies who utilize cheaper, less flavorful and less complex grains in their malt. And the beers that result almost always lack in flavor and depth. What do I mean by cheap grain? Rice, corn & wheat are all cheaper grains used to supplement barley in many mass produced beers. Rice in particular is used to make extremely light and virtually flavorless beer.
It all comes down to choice. You can celebrate the festivities of the Super Bowl in style by drinking some high quality, full-flavored craft beers … or you can drink rice water.
And if perchance, you do decide to go the craft beer route … may I suggest that you try a craft lager?
WHAT?!!! GASP! CHOKE! SPIT!
Did you just read that right? Did The Wench … a self-proclaimed lover of ales … just use the “L” word? Yes, folks. But, allow me to elaborate.
Super Bowl Sunday typically consists of beer consumption from the time one rises till the time one goes to sleep (or passes out). As much as I love high gravity ales, they are not necessarily conducive to an all day drinking fest. Lagers are usually cheaper, lighter bodied and lower in alcohol percentage than their ale counterparts. This makes them perfect for extensive, all-day consumption.
When it comes to the differences between ales and lagers, Lagunitas puts it best: “Where ales are meaty, lagers are sinewy. Where ales are stree, lagers are ‘haute couture’. Where an ale might hit you over the head and take your wallet, lagers donate to charity and adopt stray cats. While an ale might steal your car or try to date your daughter and keep her out all night for who-knows-what purpose, a well bred lager would offer to clean your house while you’re on vacation and leave fresh scones and coffee for you when you return.”
Although I am neither a lager lover nor lager drinker, I do have a few craft lagers that I find relatively enjoyable. And since football is an U.S. born sport, I have decided to compile a list of American craft lagers that I feel are ideal for Super Bowl consumption. These include:
And … if all else fails and the only store selling beer near you is a gas station … then Yuengling may suffice.
Regardless of your sport, team and beer preferences … CHEERS!