Tailgate Week: FBM's Top Picks
Supporters from coast to coast are veterans when it comes to breaking out the grills, popping tents and cracking a few cold ones before a match. And as the MLS season works its way into the hot summer months, there are few things more refreshing than enjoying a beer with your fellow fans.
Dan Wiersema, founder of The Free Beer Movement, provides his sudsy suggestions for MLS fans to enjoy wherever they're supporting their teams — from the parking lot to the pub. Note: All of these are American beers and most are available nationwide.
Anchor Brewing Co. “Summer Beer” American Wheat Ale (San Francisco)
Well-known for their flagship “steam” or “California common” beer, Anchor also makes a refreshing summer ale. The beer pours a heavy head that quickly settles and its color is darker than most wheat beers, almost orange. At 4.6 percent ABV it’s still light enough and the taste is simple and crisp.
Brooklyn Brewery “Summer” English Pale Ale (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
A modern-version of what the English called “Light Dinner Ales” or “luncheon ales” Brooklyn makes this summer beer that’s perfect for a hot afternoon without getting to heavy. Brooklyn may not have a team (yet), but they’ve got a welcoming beer when the time comes.
Bell’s Brewing Co. “Oberon” American Pale Wheat Ale (Comstock, Mich.)
This 5.8 percent ABV beer empties into your glass (or straight into your mouth!) about as orange as the label. Best thing about this quality brew? It can be found not only in bottles, but five-liter mini-kegs. Perfect for sharing with all those newbies you brought to the game.
Budweiser’s “Patriotic” Canned Lager (St. Louis)
With the Fourth of July fast approaching you’re going to want something as American as apple pie and … er… soccer! Budweiser, the “Great American Lager” is packaging their goods in limited-edition “patriotic” cans. The only way this beer could be more American is if it poured out red, white and blue beer. (It doesn’t, for the record.)
Deschutes Brewing Co. “Twilight” American Blonde Ale (Bend, Ore.)
Fans of craft beer know that the Pacific Northwest is where it’s at when it comes to a quality brew. While the region is known for its hoppy beers we’ve decided to highlight a less intense, but just as flavorful contribution from Deschutes. “Blonde” as a beer style and color is definitely a misnomer as it escapes the bottle in with copper tones. Amarillo hops also give it just enough kick to let you know it’s from Cascadian Cup country.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery “Aprihop” India Pale Ale (Milton, Del.)
We couldn’t pen this column without mentioning one of the most popular and fastest growing craft breweries in America. This is the brewery that produces “off-centered ales for off-centered people.” Sounds like they’re describing your average soccer fan! Normally we’re weary of fruit-beers, but Dogfish Head manages to balance the flavors in this IPA so the beer isn’t all about the fruit, but a nice complement to the hoppiness of the beer. The apricots help take the IPA edge off, but at 7 percent ABV, be careful how many you take down.
Lagunitas Brewing Co. Little Sumpin’ American Pale Wheat Ale (Petaluma, Calif.)
Golden like a game-winning goal in extra time this beer is the toast of “hoppy wheats.” A taste as big as the state is comes from without scaring you off from a second. It’s big taste will hang around long after you’ve sipped on it. And please do sip on this one — at 7.5 percent ABV, it’s a slow drinker.
Victory Brewing Co. “Prima” Pilsner (Downington, Penn.)
The German pilsner done right in the ol’ US of A. Herbal and spicy this has a modest hop kick that you wouldn’t see in a European pilsner. This East Coast take is a fine straw yellow color and absolutely the most session-able (meaning you’ll want to drink more than one) pilsner we’ve ever had. At 5.3 percent ABV, the beer is just encouraging you to have several.
There you have it. The Free Beer Movement’s top picks for beers that are best enjoyed under the sun or in the bars, but, most crucially, with fellow MLS fans, friends and family (with a few newbies thrown in there as well!).
Free Beer Movement is a grassroots organization “Building American Soccer One Beer at a Time.” Their mission: to get soccer fans across the nation to lure new fans to the game with the offer of a free beer (or two). Once you’ve got them through the door, use the opportunity to educate these soccer newbies about the American version of the world’s game. Find out more by following @FreeBeerMovemnt on Twitter, Fan Free Beer Movement on Facebook, or visit their website at TheFreeBeerMovement.com today.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Major League Soccer or MLSsoccer.com.