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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tourney Time Beer

In comments below, Anon asks a pertinent question:
I need the perfect beer for the opening weekend of March Madness. It's gotta compliment the spicy snacks but also be low enough in alcohol so that it can be consumed all day.

Come on beervana, this is THE best weekend of the year. I need your help and so does everyone else who will be calling out sick the next two days to watch the madness unfold!
Anon, you're a (wo)man after my own heart. As the non-sporty among you don't know, the next four days will present basketball fans with an orgy of non-stop excitement. Forty-eight games spread across vast, time-gobbling stretches in which a person's hand will naturally reach for food and drink. But in all things you must pace yourself--you can't bust out a case of Fred and hope to make it to halftime of the first game. So which beers?

Patrick recommends Full Sail Session--always a reliable choice. Soggy Coaster gets seasonal with newly-released Cinder Cone. Personally, I like variety. If the day is grim and harsh, I might start with some Black Butte Porter. It's roughly the same alcohol as FS Session, so you're still going to stay alert. Similarly, you could grab an Irish Stout, apropos of the season. I would suggest Beamish, but if you go to a regular store, you will be looking at Guinness. I would definitely have some BridgePort IPA in the fridge as something a little special for celebrating. It's not a true IPA, and at 5.5%, you're just barely above the Session and Black Butte.

If the weather's good, on the other hand, you might give the new Widmer Drifter a try. It's probably too early to get into the real sunshine beers, but you could do worse than picking up a sixer of traditional Czech pilsner--Urquell or Czechvar (aka Budvar) would be tasty and hearty enough to keep you interested. If you really want to knock your socks off, head to Belmont Station and grab a few Bluebird Bitters from Coniston. We were talking about wonderful session ales earlier, and this English beer is one of the best sessions made in the world. A great time to try something new.

After that, well, just make sure you get your cheer down. It goes something like this: "Stand tall you Badgers!" Variants include, "Go Zags!" and "For God's sake, it's Xavier, you can beat these chumps, you mighty PSU Vikings!"


  1. Also, recommendations on _where_ to catch the games would be welcome. Concordia? Saraveza? other?

  2. My choice would be the Pilsner Room. Full Sail's best on tap, a nice view of the river, a giant screen and lots of other TVs and the very best food deal in the city: $1.95 happy hour cheeseburger!

  3. If you want to try greatest beer in the world try lithuanian Svyturys.

  4. Many thanks for the tips!

    I have to say the Black Butte Porter is a perfect compliment to my morning espresso. Also picked up some Cinder Cones and Drifters upon your advice and think they will be a great beers for the day. And to finish it off, I also grabbed some Allagash Whites and a Spring Reign from Ninkasi.

    Thanks again for all the great beer ideas!

    (As for the place - if the viewing experience is the most important criteria, you can't beat Big Al's in Vancouver).

    Come on Cinderella's, directional schools, and anyone under 6 feet!

  5. moorhouse's black cat is incredibly tasty, too.

    it's too bad stone's levitation ale doesn't seem to be available in Portland -- -- it's one of the few commercial examples I know of a domestic bitter.

  6. I'd have to agree with the Widmer drifter.. for me all year around, and breakfast!

    Other choices and favorite sessionals of mine:

    - Full Sail Amber Ale or Pale
    - Bridgeport Blue Heron Pale
    - Laurelwood Hop Monkey IPA or Spring Trainer Pale.