A super match-up: Beer and game day munchies
February 3rd, 2012
03:00 PM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

Not to beat a dead horse, or a major national sporting event, but a few more Super Bowl beer recommendations seem necessary in order to avoid tragedy this weekend. I mean, what if, for instance, you went to the store Saturday night and they were out of your favorite brand? Rather than going berserk and hurling yourself into the chip display, perhaps one of the following might be an option.

And in order to make life even easier, these suggestions - primarily American craft beers and imports, i.e. breweries that aren’t apt to spend $3 million on a 30-second ad during the game - are matched up to some of the most popular Super Bowl snacks.

There actually is some sense to this, though I’m fully aware that anyone whose team is winning is going to be too maniacally psyched to care what they’re eating, and anyone whose team is losing, well, in that case it’s all going to taste like dust and ashes anyway.

Hot, spicy and sort of greasy too - yes, that’s the sign of a great TV-sports-watching food. For me, I’d go a touch more in-your-face than pilsner and shift to a hoppy IPA, or India Pale Ale. Some top craft brewery versions come from Russian River Brewing Company (Blind Pig IPA), Bear Republic (Racer 5), Dogfish Head (60 Minute IPA) and Saint Arnold (Elissa), though there are many more.

Pizza is a funny category, as pizza toppings range from plain cheese to, er, unusual choices - the Swedish version of a Hawaiian pizza, for instance, apparently involves bananas, ham and curry powder. What beer goes with that? I do not know, but in general, either a good crisp lager or lighter style pale ale is an excellent pizza partner. Spaten Premium Lager is mighty fine, as is Full Sail’s Session Lager from Oregon; on the pale ale side, Sierra Nevada (California), Bell’s (Michigan), Stoudt's (Pennsylvania)…the list goes on.

Chips and salsa
The light bitterness that comes from the hops component of a classic pilsner is a great complement to spicy salsa. Go for one of the classics, like Pilsner Urquell or Radeberger, or a good American interpretation, like Victory’s Prima Pils or Trumer from Berkeley.

Burgers, chili, burgers with chili, chili with cheese, cheese on burgers, burgers with chili and cheese, and so on. You get the idea.
For the big, meaty, cheesy snacks - and a double-bacon-chili-cheeseburger is a snack, right? - go for a beer with some richness and oomph, like an amber or brown ale. You could open something English, like Newcastle, or Samuel Smith’s terrific Nut Brown Ale, then stand around staring at the TV and saying things like, “Cor blimey! This ent bloody football at all!” Or, you could go with something American. Options there: Brooklyn Brown Ale from Brooklyn Brewery; the tasty Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale from Duck Rabbit Brewery in North Carolina; Deschutes Brewery's Green Lakes Organic Ale from Oregon; Tröegs HopBack Amber Ale from Pennsylvania; or Boont Amber Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing in California. Or, you know, just say the heck with it and open a Guinness.

More from Food & Wine:

50 Best Bars in America

Best Burgers in the U.S.

Best Pizza Places in the U.S.

Best Sliders in the U.S.

Super Bowl Recipes

© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Filed under: Beer • Bite • Content Partner • Events • Food and Wine • Holidays • News • Sip • Sports • Super Bowl • Tailgating

soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Seriously, how about some recommendations? Both of these beer articles end up listing the names of some beers without actually telling you much about them. Are the IPAs super hoppy? Find some adjectives and describe them! Saying that "Spartan Lager is mighty fine" is completely worthless. It doesn't make it sound appealing at all. Taste them, describe them, and tell us why you think they're good. As it is, now I have to drink a six pack of each of these to figure it out for myself. Good work, CNN, you made me an alcoholic.

    February 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  2. Steve

    This doesn't matter. People that like beer for it's flavor will search out good beer pairings. Most people want something they can drink quick, 'look cool', not rock the boat on originality, and .... get drunk. Hence Bud Light and Coors Light.. The 2 worst tasting beers in the world, but the best selling; all because of advertising and conformity. Btw, if you didn't already know, these beers shouldn't be called 'beer'. They are now made with malted corn, not barley, as beer is supposed to be made.

    February 5, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Bill

      True, if you need a bottle of beer to tell you it's cold enough to drink, you're a certified idiot.

      February 5, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  3. Paul

    Article is a waste of time. This dude is spouting off craft beers (albeit good beers) that most people can't get. Unless you live in California, Washington or Oregon you will have a real difficult time getting anything from Russian River Brewery. What is the point of recommending beers that most people can't even get???

    February 5, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Bob

      Paul, first of all, many people CAN get it so it is for them. Second, if you're interested in having a decent beer instead of the piss-water American macro brews, you can look those types up and see if you have any local equivalents. This is about educating people about quality beer that may be used to AB/Coors/Miller and that's it.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Walker, Austin

      I'm in Austin and can get, easily, 60-70% of these beers. Probably more if I went to more than 1 store (specs or Central market). Sucks you live somewhere that does get good beer.

      February 5, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  4. Zach

    4 imperial IPA and a few Trinidad Scorpion sauced wings? Sure.

    February 5, 2012 at 3:08 am |
  5. alice58

    too bad there isn't an article about which is the right strain of MJ to smoke while watching the game - but yep, let's keep giving beer and alcohol a pedestal, cuz gee nothing bad ever happens when people drink

    February 4, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Duh

      No silly. Because it's LEGAL.

      February 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Brian

      Because you can also drink beer without getting drunk

      February 5, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • massbytes

      Well, everything goes well with MJ so not much need for an article on it. I am still surprised someone hasn't done that yet though.

      February 5, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  6. jeff

    I like my beers and appreciate quailty, but for most people watching the Super Bowl, after voluminous eating and imbibing, expecting them to care about 1 specific beer matching their food will not matter after their 4th or 5th bottle anyway.

    February 4, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • pinball

      Yeah, but it happens earlier than 3 or 4. This whole subject makes me sad, For a while now, beer has developed a subculture of self-described "aficionados" in the same way the wine industry has for decades or centuries. Coffee has trailed right along with the trend.

      I believe that some beverages go better with some foods – like a glass of icy milk with a stack of Oreos. But the whole subject by its nature creates another subculture - of snobs. arguments in that fantasy land are best left alone.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:46 am |
  7. monah

    It's bad enough that there is a "right wine" to drink with certain foods, but now we have "right beers" to go with certain foods. It shouldn't have to be so "froufrou." Drink what you like and enjoy it and get over all this hoity toity crap.

    February 4, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Informational Appreciation

      monah, it's not "hoity-toity cr@p" if someone is looking for match ups like those you are poo-poohing. I don't drink much beer so I wouldn't know what to serve my partying guests. Articles are usually helpful for people like me ... so back off on the haught.

      February 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
      • pinball

        Just lay in a variety of beers, taking into account preferences you know about. Most beer drinkers will 'settle' for a type they don't drink, especially halfway through the first quarter.

        But the subject of matching is just another way of drawing a line between 'us' (the snobs) and 'them' (the people who aren't so anal about their preferences – like me). Don't encourage it. Ask your guests what they like. It will be a wonderful party, you'll see.

        February 5, 2012 at 4:53 am |
  8. studdmuffins

    The problem with Americans, a generality for certain, is their tendency to overeat and over-drink anything and everything which would otherwise be okay in moderation.

    February 4, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • VladT

      The problem with people generalizing Americans is they usually sound condescending as they look down on us from their pedestal. I am fairly skinny ( as my friends think I need to gain weight ), play basketball with kids half my age ( I am a middle school coach ), and eat very healthy during the week. However, if invited to a party where a lot of tasty food abounds, I will happily stuff my face. Live a little, stop trying thumb your proverbial nose at Americans, and get laid or something. Sheesh
      I will now get off my tiny soapbox.....

      February 4, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Irony

      The problem with over-generalizations is that they're always wrong.

      February 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • pinball

      ...and overthink it as well. Then they create a social game of it and waste more time and energy.

      February 5, 2012 at 4:54 am |
  9. Nuther?

    The only thing that would logically go with a Swedish pizza of bananas, ham, and curry powder is Pepto Bismal.

    February 4, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • Nuther Muther?

      Abstinence and ipecac are also options. Not necessarily at the same time.

      February 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  10. Sandra LeVin

    @ Tina! You're hilarious! I'd love to come. Don't spoil the day by inviting you know who!

    February 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  11. cosmicsnoop

    Sam Adams. Deeelicious! All of them. Yum. Yum, yum, yum. I'll have one now.

    February 3, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  12. Sandra LeVin

    @Matthew – is stubborn your favorite word? Guess you're no stranger to it!

    February 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • TrailerTrashTina in Her Luxury Double Wide@Sandra LeVin

      I've just stocked up on 6 Kegs of Shiner Beer,4 Gallons of Cheez Whiz and enough BratWurst to feed the whole Trailer Park. You and Matthew need to come over,shake Hands and come out fighting.I'll be in my recliner out front selling tickets.

      February 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
      • HomieDaClown

        Jest tell me where, and I am there.

        February 4, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Matthew

      Take your spiteful angst elsewhere.

      February 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  13. Sandra LeVin

    @Matthew – so go sit in the corner alone and eat your organic celery stick.

    This was supposed to be an enjoyable fun post. If you ever left the house, you'd realize many people enjoy overindulging during a "special" occasion. So what? It's their perogative and nobody needs your NEGATIVE comments.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, you also sound humorless.

    February 3, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Matthew

      Oh please, that is such a broken record atop of being a common mantra for any stubborn spoiled child.

      I simply do not advocate the choice of food recommended by the media, if you don't like my opinion i suggest you continue living.

      February 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  14. Sandra LeVin

    @ Matthew: I am not overweight, stubborn, angry or malnourished.

    But you sound arrogant, judgmental, unhappy, obsessed. Not like somebody many people would enjoy being around.

    February 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Matthew

      First off, you are the one who instigated name calling towards me initially. I responded in a manner i felt appropriate to the tone you had set. The purpose of my comments has been to simply bring light to the fact that the top known cancer causing foods are amongst the top favored super bowl snacks. For you to contribute a comment slamming me as some buzz-kill, and advocate that people should run from my opinions and consume more 'carcinogens' then i believe you are the one who is out of touch with reason. And i am OK sounding a bit arrogant or judgmental in that claim.

      February 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
      • jzaks

        Thanks Matthew for giving me the real facts on what I will be eating during the game. You are like a public service message and I appreciate that. But if I get cancer from my Super Bowl snacks, so be it. Just thinking about it now makes me hungry.

        February 4, 2012 at 7:11 am |
      • Mike

        Know what causes cancer, old age and genetics. Next.

        February 5, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • David

      Sandra – I don't think Mathew gets invited to many parties, so he is probably not attuned to having a good time.

      February 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  15. Sandra LeVin

    @ Matthew – is your nickname El Complaino or Mr Negativity? If I lived by you I'd want to ingest as many carcinogens as possible, anything to hasten getting away from you!

    February 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Matthew

      That is kind of sad. Your logic sounds like any other overweight kid or adult these days, too stubborn to learn, and too mad to hear different. Nothing new, just a condition of your malnutrition.

      February 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  16. Trailerpark Prince

    Maybe some of you can afford that fancy micro-brew stuff cuz you're gonna have one or two all evening. Here at the park we're going for volume so gotta go cheap

    February 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Sgt Hony?

      Is that you Andy?

      February 4, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  17. Scrape

    Just stay away from all of the Inbev, coors, miller type "beer". You'll notice that in all of their silly commercials they never mention beer flavor. Cold is not a flavor.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • VanHagar

      LOL–that was good. As an Oregonian, readily accessible to Deschutes, Full Sail, 10 Barrel and all the others, I concur. Since when did the beer drinking community become so stupid that we have to be told when our beer is cold enough to drink?

      February 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
      • cosmicsnoop

        Well right now you can only "see" that it's cold. But having you're beer "tell" you it's cold! Man you're on to something; get R&D going. Who cares what the stuff tastes like if it's talking!

        February 3, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • HomieDaClown

      You have to serve beer like that, very cold, so your taste buds shrink, and you can't actually taste how bad it is.

      February 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  18. Greg Malor

    Most of these beer choices are from local, regional breweries and therefore of no value at all to most readers.

    Great job idiot!

    February 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • You are the idiot

      I travel around the USA for business all the time.
      I have found most of these beers in EVERY city that I have visited.

      Where do you live, Kabul?!

      February 3, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
      • Nuther?

        So what's your favorite activity? Last call?

        February 4, 2012 at 4:33 am |
    • Bob

      Greg, even if you can't find these specific brands, if you look into them there is likely a local equivalent. It takes a little more effort but it is worth it to avoid the macro garbage that wins because of advertising, not quality. Besides, who cares? Should the author of the article found you, Greg, and asked where you lived so as to make an article worthy of your grand persona? OH NO! Greg can't find one of these beers! Maybe he should call a liquor store or a grocery store or any place that might sell it. Maybe he just hasn't seen it because he is blinded by ABcoorsmiller's gleaming advertisements!

      February 5, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  19. Jay

    "For me, I’d go a touch more in-your-face than pilsner and shift to a hoppy IPA, or India Pale Ale."

    Not to be a beer snob, but does the person who wrote this article know IPA is an abbreviation for? Do some research and proof reading before you put an article that will be on the internet. This sentence is like saying that instead of drinking Coke, I'd rather go with a Pepsi or a Pepsi.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • jim

      He was simply explaining what IPA stands for.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • Wastrel

        "IPA" stands for "hipster".

        February 3, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
      • Great White North

        IPA is what a Canadian does after a couple of beers.

        February 5, 2012 at 2:20 am |
      • pinball

        @Great White North: Aye! Eh?

        February 5, 2012 at 5:01 am |
    • I love beer

      Jay, you're a TJK, or Total Jack Knob.

      February 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  20. Matthew

    If you are curious about what is killing our nation. Simply look up what the top 5 or 10 most cancerous foods known are. The entire Super bowl line up, contains nothing but those cancerous options.

    February 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • randoid1234

      It's a good thing sentence structure isn't a carcinogen or you'd be in trouble.

      February 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • randoid1234

        I meant "bad sentence structure" btw.

        February 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
      • Matthew

        your comment is a carcinogen.

        February 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
      • randoid1234

        Nice middle school comeback. I'm surprised you didn't tell me my mom is a carcinogen.

        February 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
      • Matthew

        Felt it was appropriate for your reactionary comment.

        February 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Eli Manning@Matthew

      I like to eat Pigskin...Does it make my Butt look Big?

      February 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
      • Matthew


        February 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Bob

      I find that nothing tingles the tastebuds quite like fried cancer balls. I like to harvest the cancer cells myself, when possible, to give it that extra zip of freshness.

      Cancer itself isn't a carcinogen, is it Matthew?

      February 5, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  21. Matthew

    but what about other ethnic favorites. beer and nachos are like the altime most unhealthy, next to the coca cola and hot wing pair up. this food does not represent my American upbringing whatsoever. The super bowl included are a waste of anyones time. The media makes it soo large, even people of no interest in the sport or people who dont even know whos playing, end up watching the superbowl.

    February 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Pete

      What a killjoy. Some people just can't get any enjoyment out of life....

      February 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • Matthew

        'Beer and Nachos' should not symbolize enjoyment in life. Those items together symbolize Overeating, Alcoholism & Cancer.
        Most people don't like being told the truth, and the media is powerful enough to make you think that im an outsider.

        February 3, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
      • I love beer

        Matthew, I stopped reading after "'Beer and Nachos' should not symbolize enjoyment..."

        February 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
      • Matthew

        @I love beer

        Thank you

        February 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Jerry

      You sir are a bigger buzzkill than Buzz Killington

      February 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Thank you for your opinion. You may now return to your PBS broadcast.

      February 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
      • Matthew

        But i don't want to watch PBS anymore. all they do is sell the bowers museum all day.

        February 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Mensaboy

      Could you please get a life and stop preaching?

      February 3, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Knit one, purl two

      Back to your knitting. Is is good for you?

      February 4, 2012 at 4:39 am |
    • Brian

      I would rather slowly die of my self indulged cancer then to have to spend an evening listening to you.

      February 5, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  22. David

    Mickeys Big Mouth! 'Goes with anything, even other beer!

    February 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • VanHagar

      I weep for you.

      February 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
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