Sunday marks the 51st Super Bowl in American history. But the sneaky reality of this game, which is generally cheered on and loved by millions of people, is that this year the matchup is pretty boring. We are either going to see the New England Patriots, led by quarterback Tom Brady, win their fifth championship — YAWN! — or we are going to see a team from Atlanta without much star power win their first and likely their last.
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Atlanta and New England don’t have a rivalry, or really anything else in common, which means we have to spice things up this year with our good friend BEER! That’s right. Time to pack the fridge, fill the coolers with ice and crack open a cold one this Sunday. Here are a seven choice picks that won’t sideline your snacks.
Nachos & Brown Ale
If there’s a god, she gifted us nachos and brown ale for exactly this reason. The crunch of the tortilla chip paired with the oozy-salty cheese flavor is perfect for the medium-bodied brown ale with a kiss of malt finish. You might think nachos deserves a lighter beer (think: Corona) and that would be fine, but try pairing the world’s number one food with a brown ale (Newcastle) and you’ll know divinity.
Pizza & Saison
I know what you’re thinking: Well, what the hell is a Saison? It’s basically a beer mutt, mostly like a pilsner or wheat beer in that it’s light, but its flavors are celestial and all over the map.
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The style is named after the seasonal farm workers who made the stuff in their spare time. And while pizza’s flavors are big and bold, the Saison (Fremont Brewing’s Saison, perhaps?) will slip into the cracks and complement that melted mozzarella and pepperoni like a gentleman complimenting a first date’s attire.
Burgers & Sour Ale
Sour Ales are the world’s first beer. All beer when the stuff was originally concocted was sour. And burgers are the world’s first hot lunch (probably). So they two go hand-in-hand. The pucker flavor of the sour balances the big, centered profile of the meaty burger and the light, crisp accompanying lettuce, tomato and onion (which should be on any and every burger) will dance in unison with the fruit notes of the sour (Duchesse De Bourgogne, perhaps?).
Doughnuts & Pilsner
Not all Super Bowl foods have to be savory. Some love the glazed and sweet. But it’s easy to over do it on the doughnuts or cake side. If you didn’t think about calories, it would be easy to down a dozen doughnuts. So, in that case, let’s keep things light on the brew side. Crack open your favorite light beer (Rolling Rock, perhaps?) and sip along with your sweet tooth.
French Onion Soup & Stout
An off the beaten path snack, but one many love. The best part of French onion soup is that layer of stinky cheese baked over the top of the bowl, which, when peeled back, exposes the dark broth. It’s like an antidote to winter in a soup bowl. And what other antidote is out there? That’s right! Dark beer – or, more specifically, a stout (Guinness works, or if you want something heavier, try Old Rasputin Imperial Stout). Yum!
Cheese and Crackers & IPA
Maybe the best beer and food pairing for a party. Everyone loves cheese and crackers and most everyone also loves IPA’s. The bitter, floral quality of a good IPA (Redhook’s, perhaps?) jumps, swirls and dives when paired with a nice blue cheese or smoked gouda. You can thank us later.
Chicken Wings & Amber Ale
No Super Bowl party is complete without chicken wings. But wings can be served in any number of ways: dry rubbed, sweet and sour, BBQ, hot and spicy, dipped in ranch, salt and pepper. We could go on and on. So pair them with a beer that’s versatile and in the middle of the road (like Stone’s Arrogant Bastard). No need to tamp down the versatility of wings with a beer that won’t compromise!
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