Super beer for Super Sunday
While Tampa Bay gears up for today’s Super Bowl, one staple for every party seems to be a great beer. While advertisers will pay millions of dollars for a few seconds of advertising time to air commercials that try to sell beer by not mentioning the beer itself, there are many small breweries in both Maryland and California that deserve some attention in today’s football game. No matter which team a host favors, here are a few beers that will make great conversation pieces, great fodder for placing friendly bets, or just great drinking. Whether watching the Super Bowl because it is the last football game until the fall or just simply watching funny commercials, here are a few beers to try from each team’s home state:
On the lighter side:
Flying Dog Underdog Atlantic Lager (Frederick, MD): This light-bodied, refreshing lager is widely available throughout the Tampa Bay area. At 4.7% alcohol by volume, this beer is shippable for the duration of the Super Bowl, whether it is a nail-biter or a runaway. This lager pairs well with Maryland crab cakes and Boldin receptions.
Anchor Steam Beer (San Francisco, CA): Anchor Steam, San Francisco’s mainstay brewery and one of the first craft breweries in the United States to establish itself as a craft brewery gives the gold standard of American lagers. This one is widely available in Tampa Bay, including most Publix stores. At 4.9% alcohol by volume, this lager will pair well with many light cheeses or buffalo wings as well as Frank Gore’s running game.
On the funky side:
Green Flash Rayon Vert (San Diego, CA): San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Company makes a funky pale ale reminiscent of the pale ales of Belgium that utilize a strain of yeast called brettanomyces to produce earthy and funky pale ales with flavors of caramel and light barnyard. This funky ale is available at beer retailers with wider beer selections like Leukens Liquors, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, and Whole Foods market. This beer pairs well with a light cheese like mozzarella and David Akers’s field goals.
Stillwater Stateside Saison (Baltimore, MD): Stillwater Artisanal Ales is based in Baltimore, Maryland and specializes in Belgian-style farmhouse ales like the Ravens safety Ed Reed focuses on interceptions. Stillwater’s Stateside Saison utilizes their farmhouse yeast to produce complex notes of citrus, bread, and even cocoa in this complex saison. Stateside saison is also available at stores with a wider beer selection and at 6.8% alcohol, this beer is as enjoyable as a Ravens pick-six.
On the hoppy side:
Ballast Point Sculpin (San Diego, CA): Widely regarded by craft beer enthusiasts as one of the finest India Pale Ales currently available, this beer is to parties what Kaepernick is to the 49ers’ offense: an energizer. With crisp flavors of peach, orange, kumquat, and grapefruit, this IPA will pair well with a sharp cheddar or a 49ers lead. At 7% alcohol, this beer is dangerously drinkable. Sculpin is also available at beer stores with a wider selection and is available in six-packs and 22oz bottles.
Heavy Seas Loose Cannon (Baltimore, MD): This citrus forward and heavily bitter India Pale Ale is as lovable as a Ray Lewis sack. This uber-bitter IPA will shower drinkers with orange, grapefruit, and tangerine flavors when enjoyed fresh. This IPA comes in at 7.25% alcohol and will last as long as the Ravens’ defense. Pair it with some cheese and crackers or a 49ers running play held for a loss. Available at expanded-selection beer stores around Tampa.
On the darker side:
Sierra Nevada Narwhal (Chico, CA): Chico, California’s Sierra Nevada Brewing is renowned for their pale ale, but they recently released their Narwhal Imperial Stout in four packs. Registering at 10.2% alcohol, this one hits harder than Ray McDonald on a blitz and has a flavor of roasted malt, bakers chocolate and coffee. This one will pair with 49er fumble recoveries and a cheesecake dessert tray; the Narwhal can be sighted at specialty beer stores with expanded Sierra Nevada selections. Check Whole Foods Market, Leukens, or small beer stores with Sierra Nevada.
Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter (Frederick, MD): Named for writer Hunter S. Thompson like the Ravens are named for writer Edgar Allan Poe, this obsidian black porter will pair well with a sweet dessert like crème brulee or dark chocolate. At 9.2% alcohol, this ale is a dessert sipper, and is only available at specialty beer stores like Leukens Liquors. It is rich and complex and great as a touchdown dance what may be a low-scoring game.
No matter what beer a party calls for, enjoy the game and do it responsibly. Many of these beers are strong in flavor, but strong in alcohol content as well. Happy Super Sunday.