Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Tailgating Recommendations

Back in January Richard from The Drug Is Football (TDIF) contacted me and asked if we would like to do a collaborative post on beer and football (soccer). Naturally, I said sure!

Although I have never officially tailgated before a sporting event, 99% of the time you will find me in a local watering hole prior to a Bruins or Red Sox game (usually Boston Beer Works). When Richard asked for some New England beer recommendations for early season tailgating sessions (March/April), I knew I could come up with a few ideas. With that being said, I have compiled a list of beers that would compliment any pre-Revolution match activities, such as grilling food, helping you keep warm, and getting you ready for the action!

Beer #1: Wachusett IPA

Wachusett Brewing Co. – Westminster, MA
Wachusett IPA
5.6% ABV, 50 IBU

This is a bold, robust, and flavorful IPA! It features a great blend of aroma and hoppy, bitter, and crisp body that leaves you satisfied. Wachusett IPA is pretty easy to find, but we like this beer so much if you can't find it one place, it's worth the drive to find it. It will pair well with hamburgers, hot dogs, or many of the other tailgating favorites!

Suitable substitutes: Wachusett Larry, Smuttynose Brewing Co. Big A IPA, Shipyard XXXX IPA, Ipswich IPA

Beer #2: Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project Baby Tree Quadrupel

Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project - Boston and Westport, MA
Baby Tree Quadrupel with Dried Plums
1pt 6oz, 9% ABV

The Baby Tree Quad is a dark, malty, heavy, and subtly sweet beer. It also has the notes of plum, which help give the Quad it's earthy and sweet flavor. It would be paired best with stews, and with it's 9% Alcohol by Volume, it's going to keep you warm! It's best if shared with friends, which you will be thanked for after they try this beer.

Suitable substitute: Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project Jack D’Or

Beer #3: Mayflower Spring Hop Ale

Mayflower Brewing Co. - Plymouth, MA
Seasonal Spring Hop Ale
5.2% ABV, 37 IBU, 12 oz
Also available on draft

The Spring Hop Ale is the latest release from this up and coming Massachusetts brewery. It is incredibly aromatic, and is easily complimented by the malt and sweetness found in the brew. It is not overly bitter, but does pick up the nice hop flavor. It is slightly sweet as well, but finishes dry. This beer is great on its own, but will pair up nicely with more grilled food!

Suitable substitutes: Mayflower IPA, Sam Adams Latitude 48, Magic Hat Demo Black IPA

Beer #4: Cape Ann Brewing Co. Fisherman’s Navigator (Winter Release, may be difficult to find)

Cape Ann Brewing Company – Gloucester, MA
Fisherman’s Navigator Special Winter Reserve
Double Bock German Style Lager
7% ABV, 37 IBU, 12 oz

Here is a smooth, colorful, and delicious beer. It has hints of caramel, in both its aroma and flavor, which makes this a pleasant beer. It is a winter seasonal, so it may be somewhat difficult to find, but it's worth picking up if you find it. It clocks in at 7% ABV too, which can sneak up on you.

Suitable substitutes: Redhook ESB, Sam Adams Stony Brook Red

Beer #5: Harpoon Brewery 100 Barrel Series Island Creek Oyster Stout

Okay…we haven’t officially reviewed this beer, but we’ve had it enough times to suggest it to you all! Sure, it may sound a little gross because in fact the beer is brewed with 100 lbs of oysters; however, it helps gives the beer an incredible earthiness and body without causing the beer to become fishy. It will officially be re-released next week, just in time for the start of the MLS Season!

Suitable substitutes: Berkshire Brewing Co. Coffee House Porter, Gritty McDuff’s Black Fly Stout, Shipyard Brewing Co. Blue Fin Stout

It should also be noted that one of my favorite summertime/fall cookout meals is beer brats. I take a package of Johnsonville Beer Brats, poke a hole in both ends, and simmer them for about 40 minutes with two or three Long Trail Brewing Co.’s Amber beers, along with one sliced red onion. You don’t have to submerge the brats completely in the beer, but you’ll want to make sure the beer comes most of the way to the top. Definitely add some spicy mustard and top it with the cooked onions and you’ll be in heaven.

You can check out how to make Beer Brat Burgers here, which was a recipe designed by Sarah. They are incredibly tasty, easy to prepare, and will not disappoint!

For more beer reviews, brewery tours, and general news on New England craft breweries, please check out www.BrewEngland.com!

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