Lawn chairs and painted fans, team colors flashing on every jersey, the best local food and people to share it with: tailgating brings together the spirit of an entire city, and this shouldn’t stop at beer (especially for warming up as the weather turns for the worse). So instead of something mass market, bring a drink from the city you are celebrating and step up your pre-game ritual. Wash down a brat at Lambeau Field with Moon Man, or Texas BBQ with an IPA from Saint Arnold. Pair crab cakes with Flying Dog, gumbo with Abita and Rocky Mountain Oysters with something from Great Divide. Below are 32 craft beers, one for every tailgate across the nation, so that you can eat, drink and celebrate where you call home. And so that you can drink your fill while remaining standing, we kept the ABV below 7 percent, unless otherwise noted.
San Francisco 49ers
Down to Earth Session, 21st Amendment Brewery: Biscuit, citrus and grass on the nose. Tropical fruit and pine along a malty backbone on the tongue.
Autumn Experimental Ale, Goose Island: Sweet nut and dark fruit on the nose. On the tongue it’s earthy, hoppy and a little bitter at the end.
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Truth IPA, Rhinegeist Brewery: Pine, floral and passion fruit on the nose. Melon and malt on the tongue with a hop aftertaste. For something lighter, try Zen at 4.8% ABV.
Pumpking, Southern Tier Brewing Co: We aren’t extremely fond of pumpkin beers, but this is one of the best. Roasted malt, sweet caramel, nutmeg and pumpkin pie come through on the nose. Pie crust, pumpkin spice and vanilla sweetness on the tongue. Good for one before moving onto something more drinkable. And for craft beer in downtown Buffalo, head over to Resurgence Brewing.
Titan IPA, Great Divide Brewing Co: A classic IPA. Pine, citrus and biscuit on the nose. Grapefruit, caramel and earthy florals on the tongue. For something lighter, try Fresh Hop Pale Ale at 6.1% ABV.
Eliot Ness Amber Lager, Great Lakes Brewing: Simple and great lager. Dark fruits and caramel on the nose. Bread and nuts on the tongue with hops coming through in the aftertaste.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jai Alai IPA, Cigar City Brewing: Intense pineapple, mango and citrus on the nose. A little hoppy, a little malty, a little bitter and a lot of fruit on the tongue. One of the best. For less alcohol, try Invasion Pale Ale at 5% ABV.
Dragoon IPA, Dragoon Brewing: A classic West Coast IPA with onion and tons of hops on the nose. Intense herbals and dank hops followed by a malt backbone and a bitter finish. Worth the drive to Tucson. For less alcohol, try Daisy at 4%.
San Diego Chargers
SD Pale Ale .394, AleSmith Brewing Co: Pine and tropical fruit on the nose. More light fruit on the tongue before the sweet malt comes through, with tons of hops. Very balanced.
Kansas City Chiefs
Dark Truth Stout, Boulevard Brewing Co: Booze, espresso and a little hops on the nose. Chocolate, coffee and dark fruit on the tongue. A good winter warmer. For less alcohol, try their 80 Acre Hoppy Wheat at 5.5% ABV.
Alpha King, 3 Floyds Brewing Co: Pine, citrus hops and malty sweetness on the nose. More fruit on the tongue with biscuits and malt with some hops on the tongue.
Deep Ellum IPA, Deep Ellum Brewing Co: Citrus first, then hops linger on the nose. Pine, dark fruit and grain join in on the tongue. For another great local IPA, check Mosaic IPA at Community Beers.
Sweet Potato Casserole, Funky Buddha Brewery: Big vanilla, sweet mashed potatoes with cinnamon on the nose. Pronounced marshmallow on the tongue, but more subtle than the name implies. For a more traditional beer with less alcohol, check out the Floridian Hefeweizen.
Prima Pils, Victory Beer: We really like this beer. Light hops and pine on the nose. Subtle and balanced tongue, with crackers and bitterness from the hops. For another great Victory beer, try HopDevil.
Lyric Ale, Orpheus Brewing: We just wrote about Orpheus Brewing’s Transmigration of Souls. The Lyric has citrus, pear and grass on the nose. Saison funk, sweet wheat and cut grass on the tongue.
New York Giants
Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn Brewery: What can we say — Brooklyn Brewery offers a great selection, but the lager is so drinkable it’s a given for a Sunday football game. Biscuits covered in honey on the nose. More caramel and malt on the tongue, ending in the slight citrus of hops.
1901 Red Ale, Bold City Brewery: Coffee colored with huge roasted notes on the nose. More black bread with nuts on the tongue, that turns from smoke to hops at the finish. Try Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale, for less alcohol at 6%.
New York Jets
Boat Beer, Carton Brewing Co: Grapefruit and wet hops on the nose. Huge lemon on the tongue with hops coming in later with the malty backbone.
Baudelaire IO, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales: Leather and roses on the nose. Big saison flavors with sour, tart and barnyard before oak finishes it out. For a more traditional tailgate, grab some Founders All Day IPA.
Green Bay Packers
Moon Man, New Glarus Brewing: Pine, lemon and grass on the nose. Nothing that’s trying too hard. Crisp, light malt and subtle hops on the tongue. Very drinkable. For more adventure, try their Raspberry Tart.
Freak Of Nature DIPA, Wicked Weed Brewing: Pine, pineapple and a ton of hops on the nose. Biscuits joins in on the tongue. For less alcohol (and a true hometown brew), check out Jam Session from the NoDa Brewing Company in Charlotte.
New England Patriots
Fort Point Pale Ale, Trillium Brewing: Arguably the most refreshing pale ale we’ve ever had. Tropical fruit on the nose and light hops on the tongue. Unbelievably clean.
Home, Sour Home, The Rare Barrel: Funky peach on the nose with a little vanilla. A little cinnamon and malt comes through on the tongue, helping to curb the super tart taste. If you can’t make it to The Rare Barrel, grab a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Los Angeles Rams
India Pale Ale, Angel City Brewery: Some pine and tropical fruit on the nose. Light mouthfeel but gets more aggressive as the beer warms.
The Truth, Flying Dog Brewery: Lots of hops and citrus on the nose. More citrus and grapefruit on the tongue with a bitterness that cuts through from the hops. For less alcohol, look for Doggie Style Pale Ale at 5.5%.
On The Wings Of Armageddon, DC Brau Brewing Co: One of the best from our Double IPA testing. Tropical and piney on the nose. Massive, juicy hops on the tongue with mango and a bitterness that comes through at the end. For less alcohol, pick up The Corruption.
ABV: 9.2 %
New Orleans Saints
Turbodog, Abita Brewing Co: Toast, chocolate and coffee on the nose. More chocolate and coffee on the tongue. For a more local brewery, check out offerings from The Courtyard Brewery.
Session Pale Ale, Fremont Brewing Co: Biscuits, pine and citrus on the nose. Grapefruit, earth and bitter lemon rind on the tongue. A good drinking session. Mark your calendar for their upcoming winter releases, like Abominable, which always sell fast.
Big Hop IPA, East End Brewing Co: Crisp pine and lemon on the nose. More malt and caramel come throuhg on the tongue, along with a big hop profile. For another local option, try Centerline Black IPA from Hitchhiker Brewing.
Saint Arnold Elissa IPA, Saint Arnold Brewing Co: Flowers, earth and pine on the nose. More pine on the tongue, which is accompanied by citrus for a surprisingly bright and bitter IPA.
Sue, Yazoo Brewing Co: Smoke, dark fruit and chocolate on the nose. Coffee and toffee come in on the tongue for a monster of a porter. For less alcohol, try Dos Perros at 4.9% ABV.
Hell, Surly Brewing Co: Bread, malts and nuts on the nose. More citrus on the tongue, with some green fruit and hops. A very refreshing pilsner. For another local option, try Masala Mama IPA from Town Hall Brewery.