Even when it came down to the NFC and AFC playoff games, one thing was guaranteed: The two teams in Super Bowl XLVIII would be from cities with thriving craft beer scenes. Alas for San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots fans, they shall have to consume their Anchor and Harpoon brews while watching their divisional foes battle it out on the frozen tundra of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
While the “on the field” matchup between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks is fraught with classic story lines (old versus young, man versus nature…), we’re just as excited about matching up tasty beers from Seattle and Denver. The Broncos and Seahawks each represent metropolitan areas with more than 100 craft breweries. We’ve taken the liberty of choosing three beers from each town that you should be drinking this Sunday night. Leave the official NFL jersey at home, and show your team allegiance by showing up to your neighbor’s Super Bowl Party with one (or all) of the beers below.
And if the game turns into a blowout, you can turn your party into a Beer Bowl and argue the merits of each city’s craft beer scene, pitting one brew against another.
Denver Broncos Fans
Most Available: Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale
Brewed in Lyons, Colorado, since 1998, Oskar Blues became the first U.S. craft brewer to can its beer in 2002 with this hoppy flagship pale ale. It comes in at 6.5% ABV and was named after brewery founder Dale Katechis. And when the ref blows a call against the Broncos, you will do less damage by throwing an empty can at the TV than you would if it were a bottle.
Most Appropriately Named For Watching The Game: West Flanders’ Omaha! Omaha! Brett
In Boulder, Colorado, West Flanders combined its Obfuscation Trippel and its Angry Monk Belgian-style golden ale and called it Brett on the Broncos, giving a nod to the Brettanomyces yeast used in the brewing. The National Football League called foul, sending the brewery a cease-and-desist letter alleging that West Flanders was “engaging in unauthorized promotional use of the NFL Marks (including inter alia, the AFC word mark and the Denver Broncos word mark and color combination) in connection with the promotion of your business.” The brewery backed down, renaming the 7.2% ABV limited-release beer “Omaha! Omaha! Brett,” a reference to the mysterious “Omaha” audible heard frequently from quarterback Peyton Manning. Of course, it’s all moot now. They only brewed one keg, and it went quickly after the Broncos beat the Patriots in the AFC Championship, though it would not be surprising to see it return now that Denver is in the Big Game.
Get It If You Can Find It: Avery Brewing Company Rumpkin
Avery releases Rumpkin in the fall, and bottles of the spicy pumpkin ale aged in rum barrels seem to disappear as soon as they hit the shelves. Brewed with pumpkins harvested at a nearby farm and spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, this deep amber ale clocks in at a breathtaking 15-18% ABV. Hit up your beer geek friends to see if they have a bottle tucked away in their cellar, and let the negotiations begin.
Seattle Seahawks Fans
Most Available: Washington-Based Redhook Ale Brewery Audible Ale
In 2013, Redhook released Audible Ale, a beer designed specifically for watching sports. The crisp and clean pale ale, brewed in partnership with sports broadcaster Dan Patrick, was released before last year’s Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. With an ABV of only 4.7%, you can down more Audibles throughout the game without worrying about having to crawl back home.
Most Appropriately Named For Watching The Game: Hilliard’s Beer 12th Can
The Seattle Seahawks will be without one of their most important team members when they play in New Jersey. The 12th Man, the moniker for the team’s raucous home crowd whose volume often drowns out the opponent’s play calling at the line of scrimmage, will not be in full attendance. But Seattle craft brewer Hilliard’s Beer, which puts its product into 16 oz. tall-boy cans, pays homage to the boisterous bunch with 12th Can, a hoppy pale ale with a refreshing 4.5% ABV. It has become an unexpected hit for the small brewery, which got the idea after a local radio DJ put out a call for a local brewery to make a Seahawks-themed beer. And since it’s packaged in 12-packs, there should be enough to share.
Get It If You Can Find It: Black Raven Brewing Old Birdbrain Barleywine Ale
A Seahawk is a bird, right? So unless you live in Washington state, use your brain – and the intertubes – to start searching for a bottle of the limited release Old Birdbrain Barleywine Ale from Black Raven Brewing Company in the Seattle suburb of Redmond. It was released in 12 oz. bottles on January 25th at the brewery. About 30% of the brew is aged for months in American rye whiskey barrels, then blended back into rest of the beer that has been aging in stainless steel fermenters. Previous incarnations of the 11.5% ABV ale have won medals at a slew of beer competitions. It’s an outstanding beverage to toast a Seahawks victory – or drown your sorrows if they lose.