We're not in the playoffs, but we can win the drink-offs

ASSOCIATED PRESS Patriots coach Bill Belichick - the face of sobriety.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Patriots coach Bill Belichick - the face of sobriety.
Posted: January 17, 2014

THE EAGLES' absence notwithstanding, this should be a pretty decent NFL conference championship Sunday for beer lovers. I mean, we could've been stuck with third-tier suds outposts like Green Bay, Arizona and (the gods forbid) Kansas City.

Instead, the four teams vying for a shot at Super Bowl XLIII represent some pretty awesome beer towns. If you're going to do up a blowout this weekend, you'll have no problem putting together an appropriate beer list.

I've offered suggestions, including "impossible" beers that aren't readily available around Philly. If you're serving one of these, invite me over!

Just remember: Wanna get drunk? Drink up every time Mike Pereira gets it wrong. Wanna stay sober? Chug one beer whenever Bill Belichick smiles.

Denver

Oh, man, did Peyton Manning really say that "priority one" after last week's victory over the Chargers was getting "a Bud Light in my mouth?" Either the best quarterback in the NFL has no taste (see Papa John's, celebrity shill), or he hasn't had the opportunity to explore Colorado's second-favorite local product.

Blue Moon Pine in the Neck - a double IPA from Coors? This 22-ounce bomber is exactly why small brewers are worried about the big guys co-opting their turf.

Give Joe's Premium American Pilsner, from Avery, a try because I'm pretty sure it was named after me.

Great Divide Denver Pale Ale is brewed just five minutes from the stadium formerly known as Mile High.

Impossible to find in Philly:Odell Friek. No, it's not named after Jevon Kearse. This one is a sour cherry (kriek, in Flemish) blend.

San Francisco

Northern California is loaded with excellent breweries, including Bear Republic, Lagunitas, Firestone Walker, Anderson Valley, Russian River and Sierra Nevada. But if you're going to live up to the spirit of the 49ers, you really ought to focus on beer brewed in the City by the Bay.

21st Amendment Sneak Attack, a wintertime saison, sounds as if it were made for fourth and inches.

Drink enough Anchor Old Foghorn barleywine, and Colin Kaepernick's biblical tattoos start to come alive.

Speakeasy Payback Porter recently returned to the Philly market. Pour a splash of this roasty dark ale into your halftime chili.

Impossible:Niner Nation IPA. It's available only on draft at eight bars in San Francisco. So grab a growler, cash in your frequent-flyer miles and good luck.

Seattle

Washington state - one of the pioneers of the modern craft-beer renaissance - boasts nearly 200 breweries. But they're into that whole "drink local" thing, which means that the state sends very few beers to the East. So, while Russell Wilson may have no problem slurping down the likes of Chuckanut and Hale's, you're going to have to do a little digging.

Pyramid Apricot Ale is easy drinking, with a fruit flavor that goes well with its hops.

Redhook Audible Ale was brewed at Seattle-based Redhook's New Hampshire plant, but how can you say no to a beer made in honor of sportscaster Dan Patrick?

You actually picked the Saints on Sunday? Drown your sorrows in Elysian Loser Pale Ale, crisp ale that's bittered with Sorachi Ace hops.

Impossible:Old Schoolhouse Hooligan Stout is surprisingly smooth for such a strong oatmeal stout. This one's actually available in some New Jersey liquor stores.

New England

What kind of beer town are you when your star QB can't suck down a few without his skinny supermodel babe making fun of his paunch? And how fearsome can your football team be when one of your best breweries is called Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project?

Samuel Adams Boston Ale is not to be confused with ubiquitous Boston Lager. This pale ale is a bit sweet - a nice match for nachos.

You know that Rob Gronkowski, sidelined with a late-season injury, will be in front of the TV this weekend, shotgunning six-packs. Harpoon Polskie Mastne, a rare Polish-style ale, might be the ticket.

Clown Shoes, of Ipswich, Mass., evidently did not get the memo on CTE risk factors when it bottled Very Angry Beast, a headbanger of an imperial stout.

Impossible:Jack's Abby/Lawson's Smoked Maple Lager. This smoky, amber brew brings together two of New England's favorite cult breweries.


"Joe Sixpack" is written by Don Russell. For more on the beer scene, sign up for his weekly email update at joesixpack.net. Email: joesixpack@phillynews.com.

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