The Super Bowl is undoubtedly a beer-filled occasion. But it’s also a long-haul drinking day, with plenty of time to overdo the alcohol between tailgating and spectating a game that typically stretches over three-plus hours. Combine with that the variety of traditional snacks, from nachos and bean dip to wings and pizza, and you’re going to need a very specific beer — nothing too heavy or filling, and something that will pair well with lots of different foods.
To come up with the perfect Super Bowl beer, we asked brewers and beer pros for their game day recommendations. Here’s what they said.
The best beers for the Super Bowl, according to brewers:
- Tin Hoagie lager
- Firestone Walker’s Pivo Pils
- Hofbräu Original Lager
- Dry cider
- Czech-style pilsner
- Classic ale
“Well, we are all big Eagles fans here — GO BIRDS! We brewed a beer specifically for tailgating, with an appropriate name, Tin Hoagie. Tin Hoagie is a 4 percent American light lager brewed with U.S.-grown pils malt and non-GMO corn.” —Jake Atkinson, brewer, Human Robot Brewing, Philadelphia
“I think I’ll be sticking with Firestone Walker’s Pivo Pils. It’s hoppy and crisp but not going to knock me out before halftime. Days like Super Bowl Sunday are marathons, not sprints, so something with a relatively lower ABV like Pivo is a safe bet. Plus, it’s one of the best examples of a pilsner that is readily available.” —Rob Jahn, co-owner and founder, Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company, Croydon, Pa.
“I don’t know if people are excited to drink this kind of beer during the Super Bowl, but I know that more people should be drinking Kölsch and Kölsch-style beers during sporting events. A hybrid of an ale and a lager, this beer is highly drinkable yet reasonable enough in ABV that you won’t blow your lid by drinking a few. I highly recommend drinking in the traditional 200-milliliter glasses to allow the beer to be at the correct temperature. What you are looking for here is a nice dry beer, reasonably hoppy (in the European way, not the American way), and pale. While this is primarily a German style of beer (and in fact is a protected designation in the EU), many American brewers have tried their hand at the style.” —Bryan Donaldson, brewer and innovations manager, Lagunitas Brewing Co., Petaluma, Calif.
“Given that game day has a lot of buildup and excitement involved, it’s wise to not go too heavy too quickly. I recommend an easy-drinking pilsner with an average ABV (4.5 percent). There is also the option of the session IPAs if you’re looking for something with a bit more character. Save the heavy hitters for the finale!” —Kevin Schmunk, brewer, Urban South Brewery, Houston
“Here at Frankford Hall, one of our top-selling beers during big sporting events is the Hofbräu Original Lager, a crisp and refreshing lager that is imported from Munich, Germany. You can easily put down a liter or two of this Bavarian malty, light, yet flavorful lager with ease during the big game.” —Raymond Vlug, general manager, Frankford Hall, Philadelphia
“A dry cider is a fun and versatile pairing for so many Super Bowl favorites. The best big game spreads are always heavy grazing on things like cheeses, dips, wings, and the like. Dry ciders with green apple aroma and citrusy acidity are a natural match for bacon-wrapped scallops and cheesy dips. Plus, the acidity can clear your palate for the next smoky, salty snack.” —Ben Wenk, owner, Ploughman Cider, Aspers, Pa.
“You’ll find me sipping some Czech-style pilsner. I love that they have a dry finish so they’re endlessly drinkable, while packing in more flavor than what is typically available at a Super Bowl party. The subtle herbal and spicy notes of the Saaz hops liven up typical football-watching foods, like nachos or wings, and the low ABV ensures that you can still be enjoying them in the fourth quarter.” —Justin Boehle, brewmaster, San Francisco Brewing Co., San Francisco
“For the Super Bowl, you can’t go wrong with a classic, crushable ale, like our Sapling. Light and refreshing with a lower ABV, you can keep the beer flowing for the whole game!” —Lisa Allison, brewer, Fogbelt Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, Calif.