Taking One (or Two) for the Team – Right Beers for Game Day

By | October 01, 2015
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Beers for football games

It’s hard to live in the Southeast without having football in your life. Whether you’re a pro football fanatic, a college alumnus, obsessed with fantasy football or just married to one of these folks, you can’t ignore this time of year.

Choosing the right team to root for is as important as choosing the right beer. The beauty of football is that it’s not a short game. You can devote an entire Saturday or Sunday (or both) to the amazing rituals, celebrations and superstitions that surround it. You need to keep your wits about you for a long time. A beer with a lower alcohol content will keep your head in the game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a beer with a little more flavor. These brews won’t wear out your palate if you decide to have more than two or three at a time (we hope you’re drinking responsibly).


Of course, we all know the light beers and imports that make up about 90 percent of the beer consumed in the world (and there’s nothing wrong with these). But a truly handcrafted craft lager can be the perfect accompaniment to game day.

A handful of craft breweries produce American-style pilsners that are amazingly crisp with a nice hop bite and dry finish. These have a similar bitterness reminiscent of the original Czech or German pilsners, but with an American twist. Victory Prima Pils is the IPA of Pilsners – amazingly bitter, but light and refreshing. With an onslaught of whole-leaf German hops, it has a lower alcohol content but a ton of flavor. Peak Organic’s Fresh Cut has a similar crisp flavor, but finishes with American hops, which provide its signature flavor. Left Hand Brewing’s Polestar Pils and Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils still have a dry hop finish, but remain a little more balanced. All are exceptionally drinkable.

If bitter hoppy flavor isn’t your thing, but you want a balanced, easy drinking American lager, perfect tailgate choices include Due South’s Craft Lager, a flavorful but light and easy drinking beer, and Cigar City’s Hotter Than Helles, an everyday lager designed for Florida heat.


IPAs are the best-selling style in the craft beer segment. We all love these hop bombs, but we don’t necessarily like to make fools of ourselves drinking strong beers for 3+ hours straight.

Session IPAs are the perfect solution, light in body and alcohol, but with a delicious hop aroma and flavor that will take care of any Hop Head. They are named “session” IPAs so you can drink them back-to-back in longer sessions.

Founder’s All Day IPA, one of the first Session IPAs, remains the benchmark. It’s a perfectly crafted beer, with a fresh vibrant hop aroma and a clean finish, clocking in at less than 5 percent alcohol. Oskar Blues Pinner “Throwback IPA,” Boulevard Pop-Up IPA, Stone Go-To IPA, Funky Buddha Crusher and New Belgium Slow Ride are all great options for a deliciously hoppy beer with a lower alcohol that will get you to overtime.


Whether you’re talking Hefeweizens (Bavarian wheat beers), Wits (Belgian white beers) or American Wheats, most wheat beers are designed to be light, refreshing and zesty, perfect for giving flavor without a heavy body.

Ayinger BrauWeiss and Funky Buddha Floridian are both ideal choices for a hand-crafted Hefeweizen with a light body, high carbonation and appropriate banana and clove flavors that define the style.

For a light, refreshing Belgian wit, steer yourself towards Avery White Rascal, Ommegang Witte, Blanche Du Bruxelles, Cigar City Florida Cracker, Barrel of Monks White Wizard and Wittekerke. The style is characterized by a hazy, unfiltered body, most often brewed with orange peel and coriander. For something unique, the American Wheat-style beers generally are characterized by other distinctive flavors. Dogfish Head Namaste starts off like Belgian wit, but lemongrass gives it a tangy flavor. Bell’s Oberon is a beautifully balanced American Wheat that sets off the Northeast for just a part of the year as a summer seasonal. Because of our hot weather, we’re one of only a couple states that get to enjoy this beer year-round. Boulevard 80 Acre is a refreshing American Wheat finished with a healthy helping of American hops that adds some refreshing bitterness to the light wheat body.


What about team spirit? If you’re a fan of the Dolphins, Bucs, Hurricanes, Gators, Seminoles or Owls, there’s a beer for you. Pick up a 6-pack or growler to toast your team.

Rooting for the Miami Dolphins or Miami Hurricanes? As Miami’s first brewery, Wynwood Brewing just released bottles of their La Rubia and Pop’s Porter, which will go great with game day. Funky Buddha even brewed a beer specifically honoring the Dolphin’s 1972 perfect season called Undefeated Saison. They’ll release this out of the tasting room after the last undefeated team loses!

For Bucs fans, try Tampa options like Cigar City, Brew Bus Brewing and Saint Somewhere.

If you’re an FAU Owl, Boca has its own brewery now: Barrel of Monks, with 750ml bottles on the shelf and growler fills available at their tasting room.

As for UF and FSU, although they aren’t distributed in South Florida yet, Swamp Head 6-pack cans are available in or around Gainesville, and you can get growlers of Tallahassee’s Proof Brewing if you’re passing through town.

No matter your team, there’s sure to be the perfect option for game day – to help celebrate a big win or drown those sorrows.

{ Back to (Beer) School at FIU Brewfest }

Hosted by FIU, South Florida Brewfest began as a class project. Today, this event features more than 75 craft beers, many new to the market, plus educational seminars and guided tours. Brewfest is Nov. 7 and is open to the public. For tickets, visit htmnet.fiu.edu/ihter.

Article from Edible South Florida at http://ediblesouthflorida.ediblecommunities.com/drink/beers-for-game-day
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