Let's face it, Super Bowl Sunday isn't about touchdowns, halftime shows or hot cheerleaders. Second only to Thanksgiving in the quantity of food consumed by Americans, it's a foodie holiday more than anything else. And for this particular caloric onslaught, beer is the beverage of choice.
But don't let your party guests ply you with mildly fermented water (aka Bud Light). There are far more appealing options to pair with your standard Superbowl foods. Short Order spoke to Larry Goeser (aka Good Beer Larry), Miami beer expert extraordinaire and educator, on the ideal brews for the big day.
The best option for the 3,987 wings you and your friends are bound to put away? IPAs and double IPAs.
"The IPA can stand up to the hot spiciness and if you have a blue cheese dip the DIPA will pair well with that strong tasting cheese too," Larry says. "Highlands IPA is a good hoppy beer for wings and Southern Tier 2X IPA will not be overwhelmed by either the spiciness or the strong cheese."
It's said that more than 8 million pounds of green goodness is consumed on Superbowl Sunday - and your party probably kills a good third of that. Larry says German weissbiers are the best choice for Mexican cuisine.
"With guacamole, weissbier lifts and cleanses fat and avocado, cuts through starches and will meld with the flavor of the dish. Paulaner Hefe - Weizen is a great German choice; American breweries also are making this German style. If your local brewery doesn't have one try Harpoon's UFO Hefeweizen."
Be it from Papa John's or Andiamo's, no game day is complete without bread, cheese and copious quantities of toppings. Larry says your beer choice should rest with the most dominant flavor in your pizza pie.
"Pizza and beer begin with the same basic ingredients, yeast, grain and water. Cheese Pizza will harmonize with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. If it is well spiced with herbs, try Dogfish 60 Minute IPA. Spicer meaty pizzas, pepperoni, sausage etc. will pair better with a contrasting beer. American brown ale; a malty sweet beer will work well here. Brooklyn Brown Ale is a good choice."
Your brew of choice for a bowlful of beans should depend on whether you're into four alarm fires or subtle spices, Larry suggests.
"Amber Vienna Lager will pair with most chili dishes. The meat in chili is usually browned creating roasted and caramelized tastes. Here, the beer will harmonize with those tastes; do its job at cleansing and refreshing your palate and then getting out of the way. With hotter chilies it will help put the fire out. Blue Point Brewing toasted Vienna lager will go well here. Sam Adams Boston Lager would also make a good companion here."
It's not likely that you'll be making with the vegetables on Superbowl Sunday, but at least you'll get a little bit of greenery in the form of spinach -- even if it is married to cheese and sour cream. Larry says a Belgian wheat (whit or white) is a good option for a garlicky spinach dip, and less spicy wheat beers are good for lighter versions.
"Allagash White will do nicely with the stronger flavored dip; try Hoegaarden Witbier for the lighter tasting dip. Any of the Witbiers will work; several American craft breweries product the style. (Avery and Southampton both make good examples.) Allagash is from Maine and Hoegaarden is brewed in Belgium."
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As far as setup, Larry suggests letting party guests try smaller samples of each brew (think four ounces) with each different snack. Once they've tried 'em all, they can move on to the full size of whatever they liked best. That way, you can get your buddies to think outside the Budweiser box.
Wanna keep expanding your beer education? Larry teaches brew classes at the Miami Culinary Institute (MCI). You can also sign up for the monthly newsletter on his website, where he keeps Miami's beer drinkers abreast of local beer events and craft brew news.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahalexs.