Super Bowl 50 kicks off this Sunday, and whoever wins the game won’t likely make or break your night, but the quality of the beer you drink just might.
This year’s game features teams from two states that are craft beer powerhouses: Colorado, with its long established craft brewing history, and North Carolina, an up-and-comer with a deep roster of homegrown craft brewers who have recently been joined by some big time players from out west that have chosen the Tar Heel State as their East Coast home.
Having these two great beer states represented in Super Bowl 50 creates an opportunity for some interesting team-themed beer choices for the game.
Each of the following beers were singled out for their great taste, their manageable ABV (every veteran football day-drinker knows that Sundays are a marathon, not a sprint), and for the fact that most are not IPAs, which would quickly turn this into a very delicious, but very one-note list of beers.
For Broncos Fans: Odell 90 Schilling Scotch Ale (5.3%)
So many options here, but I’m going with a Colorado classic – Odell 90 Shilling Scotch Ale, a world-class malt fest that manages to be complex and smooth all at the same time. This beer is just like the Broncos’ defense, it has so much good stuff working in harmony – a rich malt backbone, dark fruity esters, a peppery pop of hops, smoky caramel notes, and just a tiny dash of ginger on the finish.
For Panthers Fans: Wicked Weed Serenity American Wild Ale (5.4% ABV)
If you’re getting tired of IPAs and want something as sophisticated as Cam Newton’s press conference attire, look no further than Asheville, North Carolina’s own Wicked Weed Brewing and their excellent Serenity American Wild Ale. This beer packs a ton of character into a 5.4% ABV brew, with its funky Brett charm playing host to tastes of white wine, subtle notes of tree fruits, a touch of oak and just a hint of wet hay (but in a good way!).
For those watching in Denver: Rocky Mountain Bottled Water (0% ABV)Just drink water so you don’t develop cottonmouth. Mile high, indeed!
For the undecided: Oscar Blues Pinner Throwback IPA (4.9% ABV)
Don’t know which team you’re rooting for? No worries – simply pick a beer brewed by Oscar Blues, a brewery founded in Colorado that now also brews in North Carolina. Their Pinner Throwback IPA has a hop profile that’s a nice blend of dank pine and bright tropical fruit, married to just the right amount of biscuit malt backbone. And at just 4.9% ABV, it’s a sessionable sipper that’ll allow you to keep your head in the game.
For non-football fans:New Belgium Sunset Wheat (5% ABV)
So you’re only in it for the appetizers and the commercials, eh? Well then pick a beer that pairs well with all the rich salty foods you’ll be chowing down on, like New Belgium’s Snapshot Wheat. Snapshot has a sweet wheat backbone married to a palate cleansing citrus pop that’s imbued with just a hint of sourness, perfect for resetting your refined palate between the potato skin and chicken wing courses.
For Patriots fans: Whatever goes well with tears (?% ABV)
As a Jets fan, I think it’s important to mention that it doesn’t matter what Patriots fans drink during the game, because their team isn’t in it. J
For watching with in-laws:Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon (45% ABV)
Okay, so this one’s not a beer, but desperate times call for desperate measures. This is perhaps my favorite bourbon on the planet, featuring a big mellow caramel backbone that supports a wonderful blend of ripened dark fruit, smoky oak, a peppering of spice and a few subtle floral notes. There are other, fancier bourbons out there, but this one goes down smooth, burns nicely, and will take the sting out of all those ill-informed questions your mother-in-law asks during the game.
Overall, if the winner of Super Bowl 50 were determined by the quality and depth of the beers from each team’s state, it would be a rout by Colorado. Because while North Carolina has made huge strides in the past few years to become a true craft brewing player, they can’t yet match what’s happening in the Centennial State.
Regardless of who comes out on top on Super Bowl Sunday, here’s to an entertaining game, good company, a bounty of fatty snacks, and a really great beer in your hands. And maybe a wardrobe malfunction or two…