It’s football season again. Time for tailgating with bratwurst on portable charcoal grills, teaching small children how to raise their arms in touchdown celebration, and finding that old, ragged t-shirt emblazoned with your favorite team’s logo. Time, again, to reach for that noontime beer ahead of a 1 o’clock kickoff. The only thing left to do is sit back and watch the game: a game in which your team is getting blown the hell out.
Despite the fact that the NFL that prides itself on parity, your team might stink this year. But even if your team sucks, there’s still a chance you can find good beer in your hometown to drown the sorrow over four-interception games, tragic losses, and another season in the cellar.
The following eight teams didn’t make the postseason last year and, in this beer writer / football fan’s opinion, are unlikely to make the leap again this year. So if you root for 'em and live in one of their cities, here are the best beer-centric ways to cope.
New York Jets
Though the Jets may be destined to tank this season, at least both of the states the team calls home can lay claim to healthy, growing craft beer scenes. If you’re looking for a less depressing way to spend three hours on a weekend in New York, line up at Other Half Brewing Co for deliciously juicy IPAs and crisp, clean pilsners. Over the bridge in New Jersey, head to Kane Brewing Co. for a Head High IPA, or Carton Brewing for any one of their delicious coffee-forward beers.
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Sorry, Browns fans. The perpetual dwellers of the bottom rung in one of football’s most competitive divisions have plenty to drink about. Fans can head from the Dawg Pound to Masthead Brewing Co. downtown, where American and Belgian styles are specialities. But perhaps the most appropriate spot is Great Lakes Brewing Co., where the best and most famous beer on tap, the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, was named after a legendary disaster. We’ll let you fill in the blanks here.
To be bad in a good division is one thing; to be bad in a bad division is another. Mourn every Blake Bortles interception at Aardwolf Brewing -- but for the sake of your long-term health, please don’t attempt to drink a beer for every missed throw. On the other hand, you could head to the beach, far away from the cruel mockery of TVs, by sidling up to the bar at Green Room Brewing, nestled three mere blocks from the ocean.
After a triumphant Super Bowl win in 2015, the reigning champion Broncos totally missed the playoffs last year. At least Denver fans can hang their hats on their craft beer laurels, as there’s no shortage of great brew in one of America’s best beer cities. Head over to Great Divide Brewing Co. for some well-known, reliable suds. Should you feel more adventurous, stop by Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project or Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales for some wild and experimental sour beers. They'll make you temporarily forget that your team quickly went from dumping Gatorade in celebration to, well, the dump.
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It turns out politics aren't the only thing to argue about in our nation's capital -- D.C.'s also got a frustrating team with a controversial name to quarrel over. D.C. Brau’s huge 9.2% ABV double IPA On the Wings of Armageddon seems fitting for this team, as does Aslin Beer’s Master of Karate -- the orange hue of which matches that of a certain high-profile resident. Damn, there is a lot to drink about in the Capitol, isn't there? (Just a heads up: even though Aslin’s taproom is temporarily closed, you can still fill growlers from Friday to Sunday.)
The Monsters of the Midway haven’t played a meaningful post-December game since 2010, and their longtime starting quarterback recently retired. (And then the Dolphins paid that guy $10 million to forget about retirement! What a wacky league this is....) Otherwise, things are looking great for the Bears. Chicago fans will eventually learn to love Mitch Trubisky -- and pronounce his last name -- after a couple of Old Style lagers. But your best bet for those Lake Michigan winds? Anything barrel-aged at Revolution Brewing (we’re partial to Straight Jacket barleywine).
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San Francisco 49ers
Here’s a fun fact: the 49ers’ Levi Stadium is actually in Santa Clara, about an hour from San Francisco. Maybe this is a good thing. After all, there are a ton of other great things to do in the Bay Area -- one of which includes drinking to forget your favorite team is getting annihilated a few miles southeast. Look to Cellarmaker Brewing Co. if you value highly-rated and hoppy above all else -- but if you’re looking to relive the glory days of both beer and football, head over to Anchor Brewing, which moved into its current location the same year the 49ers drafted Joe Montana.
New Orleans Saints
There’s probably no fanbase more rabid than that of the Saints. Meanwhile, the team's offense may put up a ton of points, but its defense can’t stop a runny nose. The games will be long, high-scoring affairs, so stop by NOLA Brewing (short for New Orleans Lagers & Ales!), where many beers clock in under 5% ABV. (It’s all about endurance, New Orleans. Any Mardi Gras vet knows that.) Honorable mention goes to Courtyard Brewing and its fine brews, located just over a mile from the Superdome.