Featured Contributor – John Fahrner @fahrn13 from Michigan
It’s mid August and football season is upon us once again. Football is a great game not only for the sport and the tradition, but for many people like myself it’s an event that provides the opportunity for social gatherings. With Social gatherings comes serving of great food and of course enjoyment of great beer! This clearly is an opportunity to make sure that you, and possibly your guests, are getting the most out of your food and beer pairings, so in the spirit of the the upcoming football season here are some of my favorite pairings of more traditional “football foods” and great brews to go with them.
Paring with Nachos:
Game day nachos, a great finger food perfect for munching on during the trench warfare that we affectionately call football. Nachos give us a little bit of everything, savory, salty, meat and cheese the best way to pair this up for me is with a beer that’s a little on the sweet side and with enough body to counteract all the salt being taken in from the finger food of reckoning. My choice beer to go with a heaping plate of Nachos is El Rojo Amber Ale by Griffin Claw Brewing company. El Rojo is a rich and malty amber ale that provides an ABV of 6.5% and has been brewed with just a little bit of caramel making it ideal to hit the desire for both salty and sweet. Nachos aren’t the most heavy food most times so I can justify that El Rojo is a bit more heavy than most beers brought up in this article but aside from the flavor, which is spectacular, the name begs you to serve this brew with a Mexican dish.
Paring with Chili:
Chili is one of my all around favorite foods, it’s one of two things that I could likely eat every day and never get tired of. At this time of year my favorite thing to pair with a good bowl of chili is a delicious Oktoberfest brew. My choice for a Oktoberfest brew is Bloktoberfest by Atwater Brewing. Oktoberfest beers have the a great malty characteristic with the body of a well done lager and Bloktoberfest is no slouch. A tasty 6.3% ABV followed by the nice warming feeling of a Marzen brew is one of the best things I can crack open while I enjoy a hearty bowl of chili on a cool fall day. This might be my favorite pairing that is brought up in this entire article, and as previously stated it’s a pairing that I could likely enjoy every day without all to much argument.
Pairing with Sausage/Hot Dogs/Grilled Food:
I for one don’t like to cook during a game, so normally grilled food is not something that I am going to be preparing for my guests. That being said I absolutely love hosts that are willing to grill up sausages, burgers, and things of this nature during a game. For those willing to put the extra effort in to cook on the grill the extra effort to bring the right beer should also be present. Releasing right at the beginning of football season is Bell’s Best Brown Ale, which is not only a great beer for fall grilling but also one of my all around favorite Brown Ales. Best Brown packs a 5.8% ABV and like most brown ales is nice and Malty with some nutty flavoring whole delivering some cocoa and caramel notes. Even though Best Brown can be found all through the winter months it is one of the best fall beers out there and has enough body to make any game and grilling combo a success.
Pairing with Pizza:
Who doesn’t love pizza? Pizza might be the most all purpose food in the world, it’s practically the Swiss Army Knife of practicality when it comes to food and there’s no doubt that if your a football fan you will find your self enjoying some pizza during a game or two during this season. There’s so many different beers that go really well with pizza but if I were to pick one as an all around “pizza beer” regardless of the type of pizza I have I would go with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. Not nearly as intense as it’s bigger brothers 90 and 120 minute IPA; 60 Minute IPA is a very good day to day drinkable beer that isn’t going to mix in the stomach with a few slices of pizza and make it feel like you’re carrying a medicine ball in your stomach. 60 Minute IPA comes in with a respectable 6% ABV and most of that will be soaked up with said pizza so you won’t likely be sloppy by halftime when enjoying this brew with your favorite pizza.
For the Tailgater:
Going to the game? One of the best traditions in football, be it on Saturday or Sunday is the Tailgating. Tailgate parties can vary quit drastically in terms of both food and weather, both of which can be positively or negatively enhanced by the choice of beer. When I’m tailgating I like to go with an all around, good for any occasion, pairs well with almost any food beer. For that I go to Founders Brewing All Day IPA. To start with All Day IPA is lighter, in more than one way, it doesn’t sit too heavy in the belly and it has a lower ABV (4.7 ABV) and if you’re starting your pre-game festivities at 10 am generally it’s in good taste to still be functioning by kick off time. All Day IPA brings it, packed with crisp yet refreshing and plenty of delicious hop flavor makes All Day IPA a great all around choice as a beer that sets you up for success no matter what weather conditions (cold, hot, rain, etc.) or food rolls up to the pigskin pre-party. Add to that the availability of 15 pack cans that are significantly easier to travel with than bottles and you have a winner.
If you have other suggestions we’d love to hear them, please leave them in the comments bellow!
Thanks John! I’m a fan of a strong (perhaps Imperial) IPA with pizza. It’s funny but I find Bell’s Best Brown to be my “comfort beer”, it’s what I pick when I want an old standby.
John Fahrner Bio:
John resides in Wolverine Lake, MI and is interested in craft beer, the Detroit Red Wings and MSU.
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