Lee Breslouer

The new NFL season is upon us -- which means it’s time to forget about all other inferior sports and start focusing on football. But because the NFL Draft introduced 253 (!) new players to the league this year, it’ll take some time to get used to all of the new faces on the field.

To help acclimate you to some of the rising talent, we’ve paired our six favorite rookies of the ten that The Big Lead predicts will have the biggest impact this season with our six favorite beers from the cities for which they play. After all, what’s a football season without a go-to beer?

So let’s raise a glass to the rooks...and some new brews!

Christian McCaffrey

RB, Carolina Panthers
NoDa Brewing Co. Good Cookie Pecan Sandie
If you had the pleasure of watching a Stanford game last season, you know that McCaffrey is an explosive talent. And even though he’s listed as a running back, chances are, he’ll be catching passes from Cam Newton with the frequency of a wide receiver. In short: he’s going to drive defenses nuts. Which is why he pairs so well with a beer brewed with over 200 pounds of pecans (incidentally, almost exactly what McCaffrey weighs!), NoDa’s Good Cookie Pecan Sandie. This blonde ale from Charlotte is meant to taste like the cookie your grandma always used to bake (No? Just mine?). And even better: a dollar from every pint you purchase goes to Cookies For Kids’ Cancer.
credits:"[nodabrewing / Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/p/BXgLTHcFWLa/?hl=en&taken-by=nodabrewing)" width:800 align:center

Myles Garrett

DE, Cleveland Browns
Great Lakes Brewing Co. Nosferatu Imperial Red Ale
Another unbelievable talent, Garrett was the #1 pick in this year’s draft. And he’s out for the blood of every opposing QB -- which is why the newly returning, ruby red Nosferatu Imperial Red Ale from Cleveland’s Great Lakes is his perfect match. (Though Garrett’s probably got a penalty coming if he draws blood as red as this beer.) At 8% and 70 IBUs, it also likely packs a bigger hop bite than you were expecting. Conversely, Garrett’s got a lot of expectations to live up to -- but clips of his play indicate that he’ll likely be as dominant as the experts predict.

DeShaun Watson

QB, Houston Texans
Karbach Brewing Co. KR&D Experimental IPA
Quick timeout from football and beer to acknowledge that Houston is going through some serious hardship right now. If you can spare any donation, the folks at Houston’s Karbach Brewing recommend giving to the Houston Food Bank or the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund set up by the mayor. With that said, back to football and beer! Tom Savage is currently Houston’s starting QB, but who the heck knows how long that will last. Our guess? Not the entire season! Watson, like this New England-style IPA (part of Karbach’s KR&D project, and available only in the taproom), is an experiment. It’s always risky to throw an inexperienced QB under center, but considering his success at Clemson and his poise under pressure, it’s an experiment the Texans could afford to undertake this season.

credits:"[brooklynbrewery / Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/p/BYa-DamH0Hs/?hl=en&taken-by=brooklynbrewery)" width:450 align:right

Jamal Adams

S, New York Jets
Brooklyn Brewery The Defender Golden IPA
Remember when the Jets had a scary good defense? It was only a few years ago! And last year they were only 21st in defensive DVOA, a far cry from seasons not too far off in the past. One of the glaring issues was in the secondary, and Jamal Adams should help to transform the Jets’ D from embarrassing to average. Way better than average are the beers from Brooklyn Brewery, which brings us The Defender Golden IPA, official brew of New York Comic Con. The 5.9% ABV india pale ale features tropical fruit notes and a touch of pleasant hop bitterness, all packaged in a bottle with a label that features some sweet comic book art. The cape donned by Brooklyn’s beer-themed superhero probably wouldn’t fly in the NFL, but the beer name describes Adams to a T.

Leonard Fournette

RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Aardwolf Brewery Pilot Batch: Dry Hopped Citrus Berliner
Here’s a sentence you don’t hear much: “I’m excited to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense!” But ever since Fournette was drafted by the Jags, one can utter such a phrase sans sarcasm. Go ahead: log into YouTube, type “Leonard Fournette highlights” in the search box, and kiss your next hour goodbye. The perfect beer for a man who runs like the wind is this Pilot Batch brew from Aardwolf that’s here one minute and gone (into the end zone) the next. And even though Fournette will likely have a memorable rookie year, the Jags season will presumably have a sour finish just like that of any Berliner weisse. Hey, that’s gonna happen when your QB is Blake Bortles. Or Chad Henne. Does it even matter? You might need to order a few of these beers to make it through the year, Jags fans.

Corey Davis

WR, Tennessee Titans
Yazoo Brewing Co. Hail Fellow Well Met
Marcus Mariota is a solid QB...in fantasy. He looks like he could be a solid QB in the real world too, someday -- but he hasn’t had many worthy wide receiver targets to date (no offense, Rishard Matthews). Changing that is 6’3” Corey Davis, who looks like he could be an absolute stud, resulting in a beautiful working relationship with Mariota. Similarly, Yazoo’s Hail Fellow -- a 10% ABV sour brewed with spicebush berries, and aged in Chattanooga Whiskey barrels with black currants and blackberries (uh...wow) -- is the result of a two-year working relationship with the beloved Athens, Ohio, brewpub Jackie O’s. We recommend you run as fast as Corey Davis to the brewery to pick up a bottle. A beer this good usually doesn’t stay in stock for long.


Note: Karbach Brewing Co. is a member of The High End, owned by Anheuser-Busch.