The BrewFL: Week 1

So, I have to share with everyone…I am an avid sports fan as well as a beer nut.  I especially love football season for the variety of games, the thrill of fantasy football and the competitive nature of the sport.  However, I also enjoy watching and reading experts and their attempts to predict the outcome and performances of specific teams or players.  In reality, I just get a kick because these people are frequently WRONG.  Sometimes these people are just making educated guesses based on facts most people can look up.  And sometimes they say things like…  Eli Manning throws for more yards on turf fields while playing the Bears?  WEIRD!  To me, this is like saying the coin you flipped landed on heads so the NEXT time it has to be tails because the coin has a 50/50 chance of being heads or tails.  It’s the same leap of faith analysts take when they say a running back averaged 4.5 yards a carry last year so he’s definitely good for 4+ yards a carry this year.  Don’t buy it.  There are too many logistical figures to take into account to speak with ANY sort of authority on matters such as this.

So, I thought, if these analysts can make game picks based on what they think is important, why can’t I?  There are almost 2,000 operating American Breweries all over the country; why not pick a brewery for both teams in a game and decide who will win based on which brewery I think is better?  I think it’s a much more fun way to decide who is number 1.

The ideal

How this will work:

Each week I will select around 3-5 match-ups to highlight.  I’ll tell you why I chose the breweries and pick a winner based on the breweries I have chosen.  By no means am I speaking poorly of the loser, this is all in good fun and I have the up-most respect for all the breweries I will select.  Also, I don’t feel that I will need to correct my incorrect football picks because I’m basing this on beer.  So with that out-of-the-way, ON TO THE GAMES!

Carolina Panthers (Duck Rabbit Brewery) v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Cigar City Brewery)

Duck Rabbit has always been a top quality craft brewery bringing out some solid dark beers.  I love their Doppelbock and Brown Ale.  They have a great handle on rich flavors and I like that they take the time to change the logo to reflect each beer.  It is usually a good sign when breweries are willing to pay that much attention to detail.  Cigar City is a small but large (in comparison to the rest of the Florida Beer Scene) brewery but only brews in 15 barrel batches.  They are also relatively young (est. 2009) but they are really very inventive.  Their claim to fame is the Humidor Series of beers that are aged in the same cedar used to make cigar boxes.  This imparts a fantastic flavor that you don’t really see in many other aging styles.  The brewery is  a very local operation so its hard to find their beer outside of Florida.  They came up to DC for Savor this year and if you ever see their name, they are definitely worth trying.

Winner: Tampa Bay.  Just like this young team, this young brewery has a lot of talent that will only get better as time goes on.  Florida beer has also been a pleasant surprise.  The brewers down there don’t just brew light beers for the warm weather; they really focus on flavor above all else.

Philadelphia Eagles (Yards Brewing Company) v. Cleveland Browns (Great Lakes Brewing Company)

Yards has always been a personal favorite of mine because their beer is   always available in DC.  I like the Brawler as a smooth flavorful session beer and their beers based on Presidential brewing recipes are surprisingly good given the limited resources available to brewers back in the time of the revolution.  One can only hope that they will make a variation on the new White House beer recipes.  Great Lakes is an awesome Cleveland brewery that does a great job infusing a lot of local culture into the beer.  My father is from Cleveland and I will never forget his reaction to the Burning River Pale Ale“That’s really funny, the river ACTUALLY used to catch on fire!”  But their beers aren’t just about the name, it’s also about the quality.  Their Holy Mose’s White Ale is one of my favorite summer beers with a nice spiciness and their Christmas Ale is a must try around the holidays.

Winner:  Really tough call but I’m gonna go with Cleveland.  Great Lakes beers are good top to bottom and I can’t overlook the awards they have taken home.

Something good for Cleveland to look forward to

Green Bay Packers (Sprecher Brewing Company) v. San Francisco 49ers (21st Amendment)

OOOOOF.  Talk about a heavy weight match-up to start the season.  Sprecher is a German style brewery that fire brews all their beers over an open flame which gives them a large range of capabilities to do things like make candy sugar for a Belgian Tripel.  The beers are full flavored and come with a TON of accolades.  My favorite beer right now is their Bavarian Black Lager (That’s overall not just from the brewery).  It manages to be both light/dark/roasty/slightly hoppy/rich/not too heavy and I just can’t say enough good about it.  I LOVE that beer.  21st Amendment is just as interesting.  They are at the front of the can movement and they have great beer names that tie into American events and history.  They also make a natural watermelon beer with has a great flavor without being overpowering or sweet.  To be clear this is natural watermelon not a jolly rancher  These breweries do so many things well that it is really hard to choose.
Winner: Green Bay.  The tie breaker was the 16oz. bottles Sprecher uses.  At first I thought I was being ripped off when I bought their beer.  4 bottles for the price of 6?  Then I realized they were larger meaning I could fill my pint glasses to the top instead of having that awkward empty portion.  Let’s be honest, 12 oz isn’t a serving.

THIS is a serving

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this.  I will try to give you new breweries every week.  This is more about beer than football so please leave comments if you would like me to add more games to the list.


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