Over 100 million people will be tuning into the Super Bowl this Sunday. Plenty of them don’t actually care about the game and just tune in for the commercials. Well, here’s a fact: Denver’s own Coors can’t even advertise during the game! Anheuser-Busch has the exclusive rights to Super Bowl locked up through this year, hence the fun little statue you see above. Yes, crocodile tears will pour for Coors, but now onto the real action.

While it’s practically a national holiday every year, Super Bowl 2014 will be particularly exciting because of the teams involved: this could very well be the first craft beer Super Bowl. When it comes to breweries (and mountains and other legal stuff), Seattle, Washington and Denver, Colorado are among the best cities in the country. While you should definitely check out the thriving brew scene in both states, there can only be one Craft Super Bowl Champion.

Football isn’t a game of ties, so we have to pick a winner. Below are seven of the best brews from both cities in the category of IPA, sour, stout, barleywine, wheat, fruit beer and ballsiest beer. I know that’s not a style but hey, it’s a game of balls. 

Denver – Great Divide Brewing Company: Hercules Double IPA
Hercules is right, this is a big beer at 10% ABV but it has a ton of flavor to back up its mythical name. Grapefruit, orange, peach, lemon and pine mixed with enough malt to keep things smooth. As smooth as a 10% double IPA can be, that is. 

Denver – Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project: Surette Provision Saison
Chad Yakobson is perhaps the quarterback of brettanomyces and sours in the U.S. And Surette is a delicious sour saison. You get some funk from the brett yeast up front with sour notes of lemon, green apples and oak. At 6.2%, its remarkable drinkability will have you wishing it came in six-packs.

Seattle — Fremont Brewing Company: Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star
This is perhaps still one of the best-kept secrets of bourbon barrel-aged stouts in the U.S. So maybe I shouldn't blow its cover…nah! This is amazing stuff! Tons of vanilla, toffee, chocolate, followed by oatmeal and some coconut. It’s a big beer at a recently boosted 11% ABV but the drinkability is still there.

Seattle — Black Raven Brewing Company: Old Birdbrain
Black Raven is one of the best small breweries in the country – a name to watch out for in the coming years. While its limited distribution might make Old Birdbrain a hard one to track down, it’s worth it. Tons of caramel, vanilla, oak and bourbon, and for 11.5%, this is one smooth raven.

Wheat Beer
Denver — Dry Dock Hefeweizen
Wheat beers should be drinkable and fruity, and this one has both of those qualities down. At 4.3%, Dry Dock’s Hefeweizen goes down smooth with tons of banana, clove and breadyness. It also comes in a can. We love cans!

Fruit or Pumpkin Beer
Seattle – Elysian Brewing Company: Dark O’The Moon
This one can be settled pretty easily: when it comes to pumpkin beers, no one does them better or more consistently than Elysian. This one is a 6.5% pumpkin stout with pumpkin, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon added. Pumpkin stouts are a rare breed, and this one just nails it.

Ballsiest Beer
Denver — Wynkoop Brewing Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout
Oh Wynkoop, you make things so easy. Here’s a category just for you, worthy of pulling team Denver over the top. What we have here is a good export stout with a lot of great roasted malt flavor and 25 pounds of bull’s testicles per batch. I wish I was making that up folks but yes, that’s your ballsiest beer.

Winner: Team Denver! And all beer aside, that’s my Super Bowl prediction, too. Peyton Manning is totally going to go off for his second title in unbelievable fashion and after he wins he’s going to need a beer. Wynkoop, are you listening?

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