From the Vine

Brendan’s Super Bowl Picks!

The Urban Grape | Super Bowl Beer Picks

The Urban Grape | Super Bowl Beer Picks

Ok, we’re not in the Super Bowl. But at least we still get to DRINK during the Super Bowl! Today’s we’ve got Brendan’s picks for every part of the game!

There are only a few days left until the big game (I have to call it ‘the big game’ lest we get an unpleasant phone call from the NFL’s trademark department), and two questions are on everyone’s mind. First, why the hell aren’t the Patriots playing; and second, what on earth do I drink during the game?

As to the first, lousy offensive line play with a dollop of Ed Hochuli’s home cooking explains it pretty well. For the second… Let’s start by narrowing it down a bit. First, as you might have guessed from the fact that the beer guy’s writing this post, I’m going to suggest beer. Beer and football have gone hand in hand ever since that first Sunday when someone at a marketing department in St. Louis looked out over the Cardinals’ field and thought “What a wonderful game this is. If only there were some way to slather it in patriotic bunting and even more faux masculinity, preferably in exchange for money…”

Fortunately, there are far better reasons to drink beer during a ballgame than the fear of “losing one’s man card,” whatever that means. Beer’s versatile with food, especially of the greasy/spicy varieties common to football viewing. It’s lower in alcohol than wine or spirits, making it a wiser choice for drinking over the course of thirty minutes of game and five hours of ads. So with those in mind, let’s discuss what you should be drinking on Sunday.

Pregame: In the run-up to the game, it’s traditional to have a beer or five while watching sports analysts make the same points they’ve been making for two straight weeks, but really loudly this time. It’s also generally the time when last-minute cooking prep occurs. Given the relative strain of these endeavors, it’s best to go with something light and hydrating early on. A perfect choice is the Von Trapp Pilsner. Light, crisp, and sessionable, it’s everything you need to lay down the base for the rest of the evening.

First half: If the Broncos’ last attempt at the Lombardi is any indication, this is the portion of the game where the Panthers will put up 24 points in a hurry. This should be rather enjoyable, and demands a beer with robust flavor to complement celebratory cheese dip. I’d go with Smuttynose Durty, a hoppy brown ale with just enough alcohol to be interesting and a terrific balance of roasty malt and piney hop.

Halftime: This year’s halftime concert is billed as “Coldplay featuring Beyonce,” which is sort of an odd way to say “Beyonce, and also these dudes will I guess be on stage.” Regardless, it’s a time devoted in most households to the making of whatever will serve as dinner. Burgers, wings, all the rich protein that will sustain you through the second half. It’s the ideal time for a Notch Cerne Pivo, a sessionable black lager. Richly flavored, dark, and very light in body, it’s a perfect pairing for rich food.

Second half: At this point, the game will have either completely gotten out of hand, or will be a hard-fought battle for the championship. Either way, it’s a good time to settle in and nurse something big and malty. Jack’s Abby Saxonator is an excellent way to go. Laden with notes of raisin, molasses, and rum, with just a hint of smoke, it’s definitely a sipper. It also has a sneaky tendency to hit you in the knees, so be slightly on guard in the fourth quarter.

Postgame: Eventually, a winner will be crowned, a trophy awarded, and it’ll be time for bed. Before turning in for the night, congratulate yourself on a game well-watched with a quick pour of Glendalough Double Barrel Whiskey. A small-batch Irish whiskey that spends three and a half years in bourbon casks before moving into a sherry barrel to finish, it’s a smooth drink that will pair perfectly with the end of the evening. Ideally only needs a single ice cube, but if you wish to garnish it with a teardrop or two from the helmet of #18, that wouldn’t go amiss.