Let’s get something out of the way: I’m not a Patriots fan, and I don’t believe Tom Brady is a god. There, I said it. I feel about Tom Brady the way Red Sox fans often felt about Derek Jeter: He’s a great player and I have tons of respect for him, but at the end of the day, I hope he loses whatever game he’s playing.
Still reading? I hope so. Don’t worry, I’ll get to beer soon.
Though I don’t swoon over Tom Brady or the Patriots, I love the Super Bowl. Regardless of the uniforms being donned on the field, the Super Bowl is an American institution of hanging with friends, gorging on chicken wings and 6-foot subs, and swilling craft beer.
Whether you’re hosting the big party or heading to a friend’s house, choosing the right beer for this Sunday’s celebration is more important than what’s going on with Tom Brady’s throwing hand.
Here are some tips for the big game to keep you and your friends satiated as you ogle number 12 for another Super Bowl.
THE NEED: Hosting a big party
THE BEER: 12-packs of Fresh Cut from Peak Organic
ALSO TRY: 12-packs of Frye’s Leap IPA from Sebago Brewing or the variety pack from Baxter Brewing
A lot of craft beer is expensive and only comes in four-packs. There’s a good reason for that: Great craft beer takes time and quality ingredients, all of which cost brewers money. There are a few solid Maine beers that still come in 12-packs, slaking your craft beer desires while also filling a cooler at a great price. If you’re hosting a big party, grab some 12-packs of Fresh Cut from Peak Organic. This hoppy pilsner will please aficionados as well as craft beer newbies. Fresh Cut is a beautiful pilsner with refreshing grassy, floral hop notes. It’s also 4.6 percent, keeping you and your guests alert for Brady’s big collapse. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
THE BEER: Four-pack of Flume DIPA from Battery Steele Brewing
ALSO TRY: Daikaiju DIPA from Banded Horn Brewing and Tesselation DIPA from Lone Pine Brewing
If you’re not hosting, it’s good form to show up to a Super Bowl party with great craft beer to share. My beer of choice right now for raising the game on beer is Flume Double IPA from Battery Steele. Simply put, this is a brilliant imperial IPA. Flume bursts with a tropical fruit eruption in nose and flavor, brandishing notes of pineapple, grapefruit and peach. This beer is a gorgeous, juicy hop ride from first sip to the clean finish. What I also like about Flume is that it’s widely available at most beverage stores in the Portland area. It’s a line-worthy beer you don’t have to stand in line for. (Look, I didn’t even take a swipe at your boy Brady in that one.)
THE NEED: Celebrating the big win
THE BEER: 750-millileter bottle of Pastiche from Allagash Brewing
ALSO TRY: Barrel Aged Farmhouse Pale Ale from Oxbow Brewing and Adaira Barrel-Aged Wild Ale from Banded Horn Brewing
Tom Brady, that Ugg-wearing knave, has pulled out another impossible comeback and you want to celebrate. I suggest popping a bottle of specialty beer from one of Maine’s finest breweries. Allagash’s recent release of Pastiche, a blended, barrel-aged beer, is a great option for Super Bowl LII. Pastiche shows off the prowess and ingenuity of the much-lauded Allagash brewing team. The beer began as four different beers, then those four beers were aged in, get this, eight different barrels (rye whiskey, vermouth, port, rum, bourbon, red wine, gin and brandy), before being blended back together. Pastiche has endless complexity without overwhelming the palate. Pop the cork off this bottle and tip back those champagne glasses.
THE NEED: Drowning your sorrows after a loss
THE BEER: Two-pack of barrel-aged Barleywine from Sebago Brewing
ALSO TRY: Cant Dog Imperial IPA from Marshall Wharf and Forge Russian Imperial Stout from Foundation Brewing
Did Brady blow it? If so, I’m drinking Pastiche; however, if you’re a Brady acolyte, you’ll need something strong to salve your wounds. Fresh off its big win of ranking third out of 62 barleywines nationwide in a blind tasting hosted by Paste Magazine, Barleywine from Sebago will help you and your friends commiserate a Pats loss. This beer has endless corridors of flavor with notes of vanilla, caramel, oak, currents and plenty of bourbon to sooth your mournful soul. At 11.8 percent, this is a good one to pass around in a circle while you and your compatriots muse over Brady’s future as a Patriot.
OTHER BEER HAPPENINGS
Extreme Beer Fest: Boston
6-9:30 p.m. Friday, noon to 3:30 p.m. and 6-9:30 p.m. Saturday, 1 Seaport Lane, Boston. $65 per ticket.
This beerfest is not for the faint of palate. Every year, BeerAdvocate hosts Extreme Beer Fest to highlight big, bold, way-outside-the-box beers. If you’re finding the world of craft beer to be too dominated by the ubiquitous IPAs and double IPAs that all have juicy characteristics, prepare to have your mind blown with the fearlessness and audacity of the beers on display. This event will be hard to get tickets to (both Saturday sessions are already sold out), but tickets can be found through Craigslist and other online forums as the festival approaches. It will be worth the effort to track down some.
Norway Brewing commits to increasing local grain usage by 250 percent
Tasting room hours: 4-8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 4-9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 237 Main St., Norway
In another big victory for Maine malt houses, Norway Brewing has become one more local brewery committing to the purchase of local grains in the coming year. In 2018, Norway Brewing will purchase 24,000 pounds of malt from Blue Ox Malthouse, located 30 miles from the brewery, as well as 4,000 pounds of Maine-grown oats, wheat, rye and spelt milled in Skowhegan at Maine Grains. Buying beer that uses Maine grains helps to build a more vibrant local community, putting more Mainers to work in breweries and malt houses and on local farms. Cheers to Norway Brewing for this commitment!