It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We’re talking about football season, obviously. (What would make you think otherwise?) Not that you need an extraneous reason to drink good beer, but the beginning of pro football is the perfect excuse to raise a glass. These beers from NFL towns pair perfectly with football Sunday. Got another pairing in mind, or want to suggest one with your team of choice? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Arizona Cardinals and Dubina Brewing
Photo via Dubina/Facebook
Dubina Brewing is a family dream come true for father-son team Jared and Jim Dubina. Their family immigrated to the United States from Prague, Czech Republic, in the early 1900s, and after a trip to Prague, Jared and Jim decided to honor their heritage with this Glendale brewery, located about 15 minutes from the site of this year’s Super Bowl, University of Phoenix Stadium.
What to drink: Join Dubina in celebrating its first anniversary with a beer introduced for the occasion. Grandpa’s Pils is the brewery’s first pilsner, and it’s the perfect style for the state’s warm September weather.
Where to find it: This small brewery launched in part thanks to a successful Kickstarter project. As such, the best place to taste their wares is in the brewery’s taproom. If you’re headed to the big game, add a brewery visit to your agenda.
Green Bay Packers and Titletown Brewing Company
Photo via Titletown
Can you really celebrate the Green Bay Packers with anything less than a Titletown beer? Okay, okay—we know the city has a variety of worthy options, including Badger State Brewing, which opened not so long ago within walking distance of Lambeau Stadium. But Titletown has been a Green Bay tradition since 1996. It’s the perfect accompaniment to cheesehead football.
What to drink: Show your team spirit with a pint—or several—of Canadeo Gold. The Kolsch-style beer is named for Packers hall of famer Tony Canadeo, and at 4.5% ABV, it’s a sessionable beer that will keep you satisfied but not over indulged all game long.
Where to find it: You’ve really got to be a loyal fan to snag a glass of Titletown; the beer is served throughout Wisconsin, but not elsewhere.
Denver Broncos and Great Divide Brewing Company
Photo via Great Divide
Who needs an excuse for a craft beer in Colorado? With 175 craft breweries in the state, any day is a good day for a cold brew. But watching Peyton Manning and the Broncos take to Sports Authority Field at Mile High ups the ante, and so too has Great Divide. The 20-year-old brewery is well decorated, with 18 Great American Beer Festival medals to its credit, among other accolades.
What to drink: With more than two dozen beers in the lineup, Great Divide doesn’t make this choice easy. However, we love to go seasonal when it’s possible, and 21st anniversary ale combines lactobacillus and brettanomyces with a hint of oak from being aged in wine barrels. It’s a memorable sour beer. Not headed out west till later in the season? The brewery’s Hibernation Ale (available October to December) is a standout option. The English-style ale is available through the winter and complements a chilly football game (even if you’re watching that game from the comfort of your own living room).
Where to find it: Just about anywhere. Great Divide has greatly expanded its reach in recent years, with a variety of bottles popping up in grocery stores, bottle shops and bars nationwide.
San Diego Chargers and Green Flash Brewing Company
Photo via Green Flash/Facebook
It seems as though the weather is always in the 70s and sunny in San Diego, and that leaves Chargers fans with plenty of reason to celebrate—regardless of the team’s performance. The team has been competitive in its division in recent years, so lift a glass at Green Flash Brewing Company.
What to drink: The brewery launched in 2002 with its West Coast IPA, and the beer is remarkable. With five varieties of hops incorporated throughout the brewing process, this IPA smells like fresh-cut grass and is as interesting and stimulating as the city in which it’s created.
Where to find it: You’re in luck; Green Flash is widely distributed throughout the United States.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cigar City Brewing
Photo via Cigar City/Facebook
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ home turf, Raymond James Stadium, and its iconic pirate ship, ensure that every game is memorable, regardless of what happens on the field. Just a little more than a mile away, Cigar City Brewing promises guests a definitive taste of fine Florida beer. It’s the perfect way to pre-game or celebrate a Bucs win.
What to drink: Bright, crisp beers are year-round sippers in Central Florida, where shorts and flip-flops are acceptable winter wear. Embrace it with the Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale, which incorporates the state’s official fruit, orange, and Saison yeast.
Where to find it: Cigar City’s distribution has started to expand across the Southeast.
Carla Jean Whitley appeared alongside the Village People and hundreds of other youth cheerleaders during a halftime show in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ inaugural season. She is the author of Birmingham Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Magic City and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio: How the Swampers Changed American Music. Carla Jean is also a features writer for AL.com. Connect with her at carlajeanwhitley.com.