Next Sunday is Super Bowl XLVIII, and since there are few things that go better with football than beer, I thought I’d create a little head-to-head matchup of my own: Denver’s beer vs. Seattle’s brews. Given craft beer’s popularity, it’s probably not a coincidence that both team’s cities have great beer scenes.
You’ll find suggestions below for craft beers, all available in the Bay Area, that represent each team. Pour a team-specific lineup — or better still, try beers from each region and see who wins the Super (Beer) Bowl.
The Broncos have been to the big game six times before but have won only twice, tying for the most losses with the New England Patriots and one other team. Their last Super Bowl appearance was in 1999, when they beat the Atlanta Falcons to win their second championship in a row.
Colorado is one of the premier beer states, with hundreds of small breweries in Denver and the surrounding countryside. The largest Colorado craft brewery is New Belgium, makers of Fat Tire, which is in Fort Collins, a short drive from Denver. They make a number of tasty beers that can be found locally, including their La Folie and Lips of Faith series of sour beers.
If cans are your thing, Oskar Blues was the very first micro-canner in the U.S. Their Dale’s Pale Ale is still one of the best pale ales — in or out of a can — and their Ten Fidy is one of the few imperial stouts available in a can. For big and bold, pick some beer from Avery’s, which makes a nice array of extreme beers, including the Hog Heaven Barleywine and the Maharaja, a double IPA.
The Seahawks have only been to the Super Bowl once before, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006. Seahawks fans are known for their noise: In December, they set the world record for the loudest recorded noise — 137.6 decibels — in a stadium. By contrast, a jackhammer 50 feet away generates 95 decibels and a loud rock concert is about 155.
Washington is also one of the earliest craft beer states, and Seattle is ground zero. The very first modern brewpub, Grant’s Brewery Pub, opened in the Yakima Valley in 1982. Pyramid Breweries, which was originally known as Hart Brewing, was also an early Washington microbrewery, and even opened a brewery a block from where the Seahawks play.
Pyramid also operates breweries in Berkeley and Walnut Creek, so it’s considered local here, as well. It bottles a number of its beers, including the popular Hefeweizen and its imperial IPA, Outburst.
Another Seattle mainstay is Redhook Brewery, which can be found everywhere. Their ESB (which does not stand for Extra Super Bowl) was one of the most popular early craft beers. Also in Seattle: Pike Brewing, which makes a great assortment in 22-ounce bottles, including Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale, Monk’s Uncle Tripel Ale or Old Bawdy Barley Wine Style Ale.
Bottom line? Even if the game is boring or the commercials dull, at least you’ll have the Super Beer Bowl to get you through it. May the best beers win. Let me know who won your beer tasting.