For those of us whose NFL teams were eliminated during the playoffs (why, Brady, why?), the Super Bowl is an excellent opportunity to drink like Hemingway characters at a bullfight. Fortunately, Spectator intern emeritus and accomplished imbiber Matt Naham has assembled a list of seven craft beers for the big game. Among them are the reliable Rogue Dead Guy Ale, the enigmatic Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, and the rich Southern Tier Crème Bruleé Milk Stout. It’s a good list; Two-Hearted might be the best IPA out there. GQ has a similar run-down of lighter brews that aren’t nearly as appealing—but maybe that’s because nothing from Flying Dog has ever done it for me.
My only amendment to Matt’s list would be something from the Goose Island family. Two glasses of their Nut Brown Ale on a cold night will warm you up nicely. Goose Island is a scrappy Chicago brewery that’s seen increased distribution (and lost none of its charm) since it was bought by Anheuser-Busch in 2011, so there’s probably a six-pack at your supermarket.
Of course, most people probably won’t be buying craft beers for the Super Bowl (our own Dan Flynn presumably among them). It’s hard to drink IPAs at a Hemingway rate and 30-packs of light beer are ideally priced for a quantitative easing-powered economy. That’s one reason why Budweiser feels compelled to make such damned cute commercials for the big game, like this year’s “Puppy Love.” Not to wade into the great question of our time, but I’ve always preferred Miller Lite.