Enjoying a beer or two (or more) is probably more of a Super Bowl tradition than betting on the coin toss, critiquing the halftime show or shouting profanities at the referees. So deciding which beer to offer at your Super Bowl party can be an important part of the planning. Unfortunately, finding beers locally that properly represent L.A. and New England can be challenging. So we visited some local liquor stores and called on a couple of experts to come up with some recommendations.
To represent New England, Boston-based Samuel Adams is the most obvious go-to brewery, with plenty of products available in our valley. Cicerone, award-winning mixologist and bartender about town Adam Rains recommends Sam ‘76, a hybrid ale/lager.
“That one would be awesome with nachos because it’s just light, golden, super-drinkable, smooth, refreshing (and) has a little tropical fruit,” says Rains, who currently tends bar at Golden Tiki.
Also from New England, check out Magic Hat products, which are brewed in Vermont. Among those we encountered at Lee’s Discount Liquors and Total Wine &More’s Summerlin locations were an IPA, Citrus IPA, Wheat IPA, Vermont IPA and #9 Not Quite Pale Ale.
For another way of honoring New England without buying a beer from the region, Sam Merritt of Southern Glazers’ Wine and Spirits offers that “a nice twist might be New England-style IPAs.” The dry-hopped beers allow you to enjoy the hop aroma without the hop bitterness and are available from breweries around the country. Henderson’s CraftHaus offers one called Implosion Countdown in cans.
Finding a Los Angeles beer is a little tougher. The one true L.A. brewery that’s readily available in our valley is Golden Road. Visits to some local stores found its Melon Cart Watermelon Wheat Ale, Mango Cart Mango Wheat Ale, Hefe Weizen and Wolf Pup Session IPAs available by the six-pack. Rains, however, suggests a different option: Get Up Offa That Brown ale.
“It’s rich caramel and chocolate that still tastes like beer. It’d be awesome with ribs, I think. The only (bit of a) downside for beer snobs is that it’s made by Anheuser-Busch. Some people won’t like that, but the beer is good.”
For those who aren’t as obsessed with geographic boundaries, there are plenty of good Southern California beers available locally, even if they hail from closer to San Diego than the City of Angels. Some have opened satellite breweries in, or at least near, L.A. or Orange counties.
Pizza Port, for example, has a brewery in San Clemente. Of its brews, Merritt says the most popular is Swami’s IPA.
Ballast Point has expanded its operation into Long Beach, and Rains says its California Kolsch is a great game-day beer.
“A kolsch is like a hybrid lager/ale style that kind of fits in with Super Bowl-style beer drinking because you can have three or four or five or six and not be totally wrecked. And I think (it) can work with chips and dips because it’s refreshing and it won’t interfere with any other food.”
He’s also partial to Tropic of Thunder Lager from Escondido’s Stone Brewing, which has a taproom in Pasadena.
“That one would work really good with wings, hot wings, because sometimes that bitterness in the hops kind of cools down the wings a little bit,” Merritt says.
Contact Al Mancin at firstname.lastname@example.org. aFollow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter.