Football season is here and you know what that means, don’t you? If we weren’t so freakin’ beer happy all year round, we would call it beer season, because there really is no better way to cheer your team than with a pint or mug of your favorite local craft brew. All season we will be taking a look at the beer scenes in cities representing all 32 NFL teams — from local brewers to beer-centric bars to the finest beer shops.
And if you’re not into sports but enjoy a quality imperial oatmeal stout (it’s OK, we’re not judging), then read on anyway to see how cities across the country are taking their suds more seriously than ever. Up next, the Minnesota Vikings. And when you’re done reading about the city’s excellent beer scene, check out our interview with the team’s guard Kevin Williams. He’s very much into his smoked meats.
WHAT TO DRINK
Summi Sága: Redolent of fruity hops, this golden India Pale Ale also boasts strong hints of spice, pine and some citrus peel. At 6.4% ABV, it makes for a nice food pairing. Think spicy, like Indian or Thai. summitbrewing.com
Brau Brothers’ Ring Neck Brown Ale: Made with toasted oats, this English-style brown ale is malty and nutty, with a slight molasses sweetness. Surprisingly, you also find chocolate-covered berry notes in there. braubeer.com
Fulton Russian Imperial Stout: Most people are hit by the coffee flavors and aromas in this stout, which are nicely balanced with dried fruit notes and some roasted malt sweetness. Rich and creamy. fultonbeer.com
WHERE TO DRINK IT
The Happy Gnome: With 76 taps pouring a rotating cast domestic craft, sought-after imports and seasonal beers, this place also manages to have a superb food menu. So superb, in fact, that it hosts regular beer-pairing dinner. 498 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, 651-287-2018, thehappygnome.com
Muddy Waters: Bakery by day and gastropub by night, this place also specializes in vegetarian and vegan food. But it’s the vast selection of drafts that will draw beer lovers. There are also bottles and several tall boy options for the less fancy. 2933 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, 612-872-2232, muddywatersmpls.com
The Triple Rock Social Club: Punk rock bars are not usually known for their great beer selections, but this place manages to carry a fair share of craft brews. Or opt for a can of PBR if it’s going to mess with your image. Your loss. 629 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis, 612-333-7399, triplerocksocialclub.com
WHERE TO BUY IT
Blue Max Liquors: Arguably the best beer selection in Minneapolis, the store stocks some 1,100 different brands from around the world with solid local representation. If you’re headed to a party, opt to build your own six-pack; if you’re hosting, go for a keg. 14640 10th Avenue South, Burnsville, 952-432-3350
The Four Firkins: A true beer store, it claims to be the only liquor store in the state that sells only beer. Per the website: “No Bud, no Miller and no Coors. Just good beer.”
With certified beer servers and a bona fide cicerone on staff, feel free to ask for help. 5630 West 36th Street, St. Louis Park, 952-938-2847, thefourfirkins.com
Read more about the beer scenes around the NFL: