BrewBrawl Week 4: Giants vs Packers

Another great autumn weekend, another amazing opportunity for two of my favorite things–
football and craft beer!

This Sunday’s matchup, New York Giants vs Green Bay Packers, has all the makings of a very interesting game. While both are recent Superbowl champions, the 2016-17 season is off to a rocky start, with both unexpectedly defeated by the injury-plagued Minnesota Vikings.

As for their respective brews, I am anxious to see how this week shakes-out. While ‘The Creature” Black IPA had been drafted for the Packers in week 1, one of my go-to American Pale Ale’s was absolutely the perfect fit for the Giants… So, without further delay, lets play BrewBrawl!

[Rules Refresh: Based solely on name and/or label appearance, a craft beer is assigned by me to each team. The matchup’s will reflect the two teams playing Sunday Night Football that week. Thus, all post-season playoff games and championship rounds are TBD.]

New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers

dales-pale-aleNew York Giants: Dale’s Pale Ale
Oskar Blues Brewery
[American Pale Ale] 6.5% ABV
65 IBU
Assertive but not overpowering. Medium bodied, prickly, slightly resinous with lively carbonation. Easy to drink with a clean finish.

the-creature-web1Green Bay Packers: The Creature
Urban Legend Brewing Company
[Black IPA] 8.5% ALC
85 IBU
A sturdy dark, malty flavor with rich, fruity hop aftertaste. Creamy, medium body making it easy to drink.

While it is clear these two beers could not be more different, the authentic deliciousness of ‘The Creature’ Black IPA was far-and-away the star of this game. Don’t get me wrong, as previously stated, I frequently buy and enjoying drinking Dales Pale Ale; especially when I am entertaining and want a reliable, middle of the road American Pale Ale option for my guests. And still it’s clear, ‘The Creature’ is not your typical beer, but the stuff of champions.

WINNER: Green Bay Packers/ The Creature

Please be sure to join me next week for: Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans…

 

The NFL Had Better Straighten Out–Or Else

#BoycottNFL is not just a Twitter trend. It’s a thing.

Both Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football are seeing steep drops in viewership. It’s not just competition from presidential debates, either.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football was down yet again in viewership, drawing in 16.68 million viewers and scoring a 6.19/19 rating in the advertiser friendly 18-49 demo. The numbers mark a season low for SNF and the show’s 11.0 overnight rating is the lowest total since 2007 (ouch). While the NFL still won the night in total viewers, those numbers mark a steep drop from last week’s 18.62 million/6.8 ratings and the week before’s 20.6 million/7.4 rating.

MNF isn’t faring any better, with a year-over-year 8 percent drop in week 4. Throw in the debate, and you get the worst ratings in MNF history.

The 5.7 is likely the lowest in the history of Monday Night Football. Complete overnight records were unavailable, but the lowest final rating in franchise history is a 5.1. No other MNF telecast has gone lower than 5.7 in the final nationals.

Coverage aired opposite the first presidential debate, which had a combined 46.2 rating across nine broadcast and cable networks. The last time MNF faced a presidential debate, Week 7 in 2012, Lions/Bears scored a 7.3 overnight. That game faced both a presidential debate and Game 7 of the MLB National League Championship Series.

Forbes entertainment reporter Brandon Katz asks “how does the NFL fix the problem?” The answer is obvious, isn’t it?

Play fricking football, not politics, money, and media deals.

Outside the U.S., football means soccer. Actual football is called “American football” everywhere else. Americans like our football without a side dish of bullcrap political correctness. Even liberals turn off that junk for the gridiron. We can handle politics in football precisely once a year: for the Super Bowl, and that’s mostly because we have to put up with it, and at least some of the advertisements are entertaining.

Week by week, injecting protests, national anthem sit-downs, kneel-downs and hand-holding, while the league flip-flops over fining Tennessee Titans’ Avery Williamson for wearing cleats honoring 9/11 turns the NFL into a very unfunny joke. Two things need to happen at a football game: play the national anthem while everyone stands, and then play football.

We can stand ESPN and other announcers going gaga over Michael Sam, who couldn’t hack it in the NFL, and then ditched the CFL, walking off the practice field of the Montreal Alouettes for “personal reasons.” We can laugh at that because Sams never made it onto the field. If we don’t like what the announcers say, we can watch with the sound down, and listen to the AM radio broadcast.

But with the NFL increasingly pushing for its own media deals–the NFL channel, Thursday Night Football–and games in London and Mexico–if the league wants to cave to political correctness, it better go overseas for new fans. London wants a franchise.

In a perverse turn, perhaps politics might have a way of fixing the NFL if it doesn’t clean up its act. (League commissioner Roger Goodell is such a jackass that he’s been called “the devil” by former players.) Remember back in the 80’s, when a much younger Donald Trump challenged the NFL’s monopoly with the USFL? Trump and the USFL won its antitrust lawsuit against the NFL in 1986–a jury awared triple damages–for $3 dollars total.

That could be the most valuable $3 the bankrupt league ever collected, if someone like Trump decides a less politically correct option, less dependent on billionaire owners getting new stadium deals every week, every-growing media, and less prima donna idiots like Colin Kaepernick might be worth a gamble. There’s no shortage of cities, stadiums and players.

What such a league lacks is fans.

The way the NFL is going, in the near future there may be plenty of those who are sick of a football league that focuses on everything else except football.

BrewBrawl Week 3: Chiefs vs Steelers

Welcome back, beer lovers!

This week’s highly-anticipated matchup is: Kansas City Chiefs vs Pittsburg Steelers

Before kickoff, I must admit– I am very excited to try these two brews. Unlike last week, I enjoyed a variety of brands to pick from, and therefore could draft the most enticing options for each team.

[Rules Refresh: Based solely on name and/or label appearance, a craft beer is assigned by me to each team. The matchup’s will reflect the two teams playing Sunday Night Football that week. Thus, all post-season playoff games and championship rounds are TBD.]

Now let’s play BrewBrawl!!

Kansas City Chiefs vs Pittsburg Steelers

ale-to-the-chiefKansas City Chiefs: Ale to the Chief!
Avery Brewing Company, Boulder CO
[Imperial IPA] 8.1% ALC
70 IBU
Brewed only in election years, referred to as “Presidential Pale Ale” by brewery. Starts off as smooth, malty backbone, with hints of light toffee, as well as citrus and floral notes. Medium body, finishes warm with bitter, spicy hops.

krank-label-1Pittsburg Steelers: Krank Shaft
Metropolitan Brewing, Chicago IL
[German Kolsh] 5% ABV
28 IBU
Clean, crisp apple and citrus flavors with underlying tones of malt, grains, and sweet honey. Light to medium bodied, with faint hops and tart fruits in the finish. Overall a refreshing, great example of the Kolsh style.

As expected, both team brews in this week’s competition scored extremely high. Ultimately, it came down to a technical foul against ‘Ale to the Chief’ for mistakenly marketing this microbrew as an “Imperial IPA”  While surprisingly tasty, it is a bit too sweet and too malty compared with other brews belonging to this category. To make matters worse, their website unsuccessfully rationalizes this mischaracterization as: “Originally brewed to celebrate Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009. We elected to give ‘Ale to the Chief’ a second term to commemorate the 2012 election!​ ​Not an “Imperial” pale ale, this is a democracy. It’s Presidential!”

Err… well, considering that same twice-elected inaugurated president has worked tirelessly to earn the label of “the Imperial President,” along with his tenure being widely-hailed as the “Imperial Presidency,” I’m not sure the folks at Metropolitan Brewery could’ve been more wrong? In any event, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they were sampling too much of their great tasting products for the last 7+ years.

WINNER: Pittsburg Steelers/ Krank Shaft

Be sure to stay-tuned for next week’s matchup: New York Giants vs Green Bay Packers…

 

 

BrewBrawl Week 2: Bears vs Cowboys

Happy weekend, beer fans!

This week we have an exciting match-up: Chicago Bears vs Dallas Cowboys

And while they may be two of the most widely-known NFL franchises, finding their corresponding ‘team beer’ based solely on packaging was a bit difficult this week… You would think there’d be at least ONE beer label with a bear on it somewhere in this relatively trendy liquor store!?  Nevertheless, I am confident you’ll quickly figure-out why I picked these two intriguing craft brews.

[Rules Refresh: Based solely on name and/or label appearance, a craft beer is assigned by me to each team. The matchup’s will reflect the two teams playing Sunday Night Football that week. Thus, all post-season playoff games and championship rounds are TBD.]

Now, without further delay– let’s play BrewBrawl!

Chicago Bears vs Dallas Cowboys

imperial-mugshot-logo3Chicago Bears: Imperial Mugshot
Myths & Legends Brewery, Westmont IL [Brown Rye Porter] 9.1% ALC
70 IBU
Smooth, dark-roasted start with hints of coffee, chocolate, dark cherry and dry spice note on finish. Noticeable kick, yet shockingly drinkable
 
scape-goat-beer2Dallas Cowboys: Scape Goat Pale Ale
Big Sky Brewing Company, Missoula MT [English Pale Ale, EPA] 5.0% ALC
40 IBU
Vague hops, toasted malt, with notes of caramel and citrus. Refreshing light body and slightly dry finish, making it extremely drinkable.

As someone who enjoys, but seldom drinks the darkest varieties of beer, I was very pleasantly surprised by ‘Imperial Mugshot.’ Despite it’s strong alcohol content and robust flavor, it’s uncharacteristically easy to drink. With ‘Scapegoat’ on the other hand,  I found myself re-checking the label before being disappointed with the lack of that hoppy twinge one expects from a typical Pale Ale. To be fair, I later learned from their website that it is described as a “Classic British Pale Ale with a Montana flare.” In that case, it’s not a bad-tasting beer, but I would suggest they inform the buyer upfront, as the current packaging seems misleading.

WINNER: Imperial Mugshot / Chicago Bears

Be sure to check back next week for: Kansas City Chiefs vs Pittsburg Steelers…

Let’s Play… BrewBrawl!

We’ve all skimmed those bland reviews for appealing craft beer. But in the midst of 2016 politics, it only seems fitting to trash convention and embrace the outlandish— well, at least for the remainder of football season.

Therefore, with exceeding eccentricity, I am honored to present the first official season of “American BrewBrawl!”

The rules are simple: Based solely on name and/or label appearance, a craft beer is assigned by me to each team. The matchup’s will reflect the two teams playing Sunday Night Football that week. Thus, all post-season playoff games and championship rounds are TBD.

So without further delay, let’s play to this week’s BrewBrawl Matchup!
(Sorry fans, but I’m still in the process of recording the theme song.)

Minnesota Vikings  vs. Green Bay Packers

beard-of-zeus3Minnesota Vikings: Beard of Zeus, Short’s Brewing Company
[India Style Pale Lager, aka IPL] 5.3% ALC
82 IBU
Adventurous flavor profile of hops, honey, and lemongrass. Medium body, not too sweet with a light, lingering bitterness.

the-creature-web1Green Bay Packers: The Creature, Urban Legend Brewing Company
[Black IPA] 8.5% ALC
85 IBU
A sturdy dark, malty flavor with rich, fruity hop aftertaste. Creamy, medium body making it easy to drink.

This was a very heard decision as both are great beers in their respective categories. What ultimately tipped the scale towards Beard of Zeus was the unusual hop-quality coupled with ease of drinkability.

WINNER: Beard of Zeus / Minnesota Vikings. 

Stay tuned for next week’s matchup: Chicago Bears vs. Dallas Cowboys…

 

 

The Craft Beer ‘CANundrum’

Now that football season has officially arrived, fans everywhere will spend their Sunday afternoon’s watching the game with family and friends. But have you ever noticed that your buddy with the biggest tv doesn’t always have the best taste in beer? Have you ever found yourself wondering up and down the aisle because you have no idea what to type of beer to buy for all of your guests?

Thankfully, Oskar Blues Brewery has come up with a brilliant solution— the CANundrum. This brewery’s first-ever, mixed 12-pack of multi-award winning craft beers is sure to please a crowd of fans with varying tastes. These include:

Czech Pilsner: Mama’s Little Yella Pils
5.3% ABV
35 IBU
Simple, clean and crisp pilsner. Light to medium bodied with great flavor balance. Incredibly drinkable, yet satisfying.

American Pale Ale: Dale’s Pale Ale
6.5% ABV
65 IBU
Assertive but not overpowering. Medium bodied, prickly, slightly resinous with lively carbonation. Easy to drink with a clean finish.

Scotch Ale (aka Wee Heavy): Old Chub
8% ABV
25 IBU
A dark amber and stunningly smooth, smoky ale. Full-bodied, with a hint of sweetness, but absolutely no bitterness. Perfect beer for those who enjoy stouts and porters.

You can find these mixed 12-packs in most liquor stores, or in the beer aisle at your local grocer. The convenient, easy to carry packaging makes the Oskar Blues CANundrum perfect for tailgating parties as well. Enjoy!

Cheers, Football Fans!

Cheers America! Football season has finally arrived. And yet, if your team sucks as bad as mine, it’s time to find a good beer and a reclining chair. But, what is a ‘good’ beer?
To fans of crappy teams everywhere: You’re welcome!

American Blonde Ale: Big Wave Golden Ale, Kona Brewing Company
4.40% ALC
20 IBU
Perfect craft beer for those settling with bud-light. Crisp, light, refreshing but not overly sweet or hoppy.

India/American Pale Ale: [*Overall Winner*] Anti-Hero, Revolution Brewery
6.5% ALC
70 IBU
My favorite hoppy blend. Not too sweet, bitter or dry, with medium body. Easy and enjoyable to drink.

Pilsner:
GringoLandia Super-Pils, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria
7.20% ALC
65 IBU
Great upgrade for those who typically drink Budweiser, Miller, etc. Thick yet moderate pilsner.

Imperial Stout:
Americano Stout, Stone Brewery
8.7% ALC
65 IBU
Superior alternative to Guinness. Strong coffee, dark malts flavor. Dry with moderate bitterness.

Yeah, I’d say that’s enough “winning” for Week 1… Stay thirsty, folks:)