It’s that time of year again. Football is back. College football teams are starting their preseason camps. The NFL is already into its preseason schedule. It’s time to start planning for game day. Nothing goes better with food and your favorite team than an easy drinking, versatile beer. If you live in the state of Georgia or maybe you are visiting friends or relatives for a weekend, what are some good local beer choices that are perfect game day? No worries, LUDB is here to help. Let’s start with selection criteria and then move right into the picks.
Game day is little different from your normal night out for the craft beer enthusiast. You’ll either be at the stadium tailgating for 4 to 6 hours or you may be hanging out at a friends home or even hosting a party. When thinking about your beer of choice, there are a variety of things to consider: portability, food parings, alcohol level, etc. There there’s the potential brain freeze in beer aisle – Pilsner, Pale Ale, Blonde Ale, IPA, DIPA, Witbier, Weissbier…yikes! With so many variables, making a selection can be a daunting task. This is especially true if you are hosting and want to have beers that appeal to the largest majority of your guests. Putting together my list, I considered all of the variables and decided on the following for selection criteria:
- Georgia brewed – Since someone is bound to do a “Best For” list that considers craft beers across the country, I thought the craft beer fan in Georgia deserved a more localized list.
- Availability – An obvious one, but a recommendation is not much good if it is not readily available in most areas. I tried to select beers available at most large adult beverage retailers in Georgia.
- ABV 5.0% or lower – Sessionability is very important. If you are drinking a 6.5% ABV IPA or 8% Belgian Triple all day, you are not only going to be fractured before the end of the day, you will most likely have a nasty hangover the next morning.
- Bitterness – While you don’t want a flavorless beer, because we’ll be enjoying this beer throughout the day, you also don’t want palate fatigue from a highly bitter or overly hoppy beer either.
- Food Pairing – You need a beer that gets along well in a variety of food circles. Especially if you’re not planning the meals. Must play well with others.
- Portability – Thankfully, most craft beers are available in cans these days; however, if only available in bottles, I eliminated it.
- Light to medium bodied – Light, refreshing and not too filling is an essential characteristic for sessionable beers.
Now that we’ve laid out the ground rules let’s get to the selections, in no particular order:
Arches Lloyd’s Light
This is not your ordinary American Light Lager. Pours a brilliant, clear pale gold. Exhibits great head retention. Moderately sweet malt backbone carries the spicy hop aroma and flavor with a restrained bitterness. A clean lager profile with a short, semi-dry finish. This beer wins the award for lowest ABV of the bunch, clocking in at 3.8%. Perfect for a day of tailgating.
Creature Comforts Bibo Pilsner
Rated a 92 by Beer Connoisseur, this Czech style Pilsner excels in flavor & refreshment. Bibo sports an 4.9% ABV. Herbal and floral aromas keep things interesting while a restrained, but noticeable, bitterness provides nice balance. The beer has a moderate finish that is crisp and semi-dry. This beer pairs well with a variety of foods. You can’t go wrong with selecting Bibo for your game day party.
Creature Comforts Classic city lager
Creature Comforts managed to sneak two onto my list. It was just too hard to leave both off and each has a distinctive. Classic City Lager is a easy drinking American Light Lager. Saphir and Hallertau Blanc hops give it pleasant spicy, floral and lemongrass aromas. Light bodied, restrained bitterness and a 4.2% ABV all add up to an all day drinking beer. What else would you want on a big game weekend but just a simple “Good Cold Beer”
Line Creek Maverick (Helles)
The Munich Helles style is not as popular as IPA in the U.S.; but it makes a great game day beer. Maverick is a relative newcomer to the Georgia craft beer scene, yet it quickly elbowed it’s way onto my list. Medium bodied and malt forward, it has a generous helping of Hallertau Mittelfruh hops proving a spicy aroma and flavor. Its low 4.5% ABV and restrained bitterness makes it a top choice for your tailgate or game day festivities.
Monday Night Brewing I’m On A Boat Golden Ale
This beer made the list for those that prefer a light, yet hoppier ale. Lemondrop hops provide citrus and pine aromas and flavors. Malt backbone is not overly sweet. A moderate bitterness provides a nice balance. This beer is crisp and easy drinking with a 4.8% ABV. Should pair well with a variety of foods and won’t overwhelm heavier foods. Solid choice from Monday Night Brewing. Rated 90 by Beer Connoisseur.
New Realm United craft lager
Another solid entry in the American Light Lager category is New Realm United Craft Lager. Nothing fancy, just herbal/floral hops supported by a sweet malt backbone on a clean Lager profile. Crisp and refreshing with a 4.5% ABV; this beer will not rob you of a fun time by sneaking up on you with a high ABV.
Reformation Haddy Belgian White
For the Belgian Witbier fans out there, we have Reformation Haddy. This Belgian style white is brewed with lemon peel for citrus notes and coriander for a slightly spicy character. Crisp, refreshing, and checking in at 4.8% ABV, this beer is a versatile companion for game day. Grabbed an 86 score from Beer Connoisseur.
Southbound Light lager
The fourth American Light Lager to make my list is Southbound Light. This beer checks all the boxes. Low 4.2% ABV. Floral hops and grainy malt aromas. Malt forward with minimal bitterness. Light bodied and easy drinking, Southbound Light Lager is fundamentally sound. When it comes to food, this beer is a good teammate.
Terrapin Golden Ale
Terrapin Golden Ale was a tasty, refreshing beer before the recipe was updated earlier this year. Now, with a lower 4.6%, it made my list. A triple hops combo of Azacca, Idaho 7, and Mosaic gives it fruit forward profile. Light bodied and smooth, this golden ale pairs well with bar-b-que, hamburgers, brats and even fried chicken. Even better, it’s now available outside the state of Georgia.
Tucker TKR Pilsner
Last, but certainly not least, Tucker TKR Pilsner makes a solid addition to the list. A German style Pilsner, it is flavorful, crisp and refreshing. Floral hops aroma and herbal/spicy flavors. A bready malt backbone is well balanced by a moderate bitterness. A 4.8% ABV tops off what is a fine Pilsner for your game day refreshment.
My list wouldn’t be complete without a NA selection. At this time, I am not aware of any breweries in Georgia that make NA beer, so I broke criteria and went out of state to select Athletic Brewing’s Run Wild IPA. Run Wild pours a clear, light amber color with good head retention. Unlike so many NA beers, this one is not boring. It is packed with citrus and pine aromas and flavors from Citra and Mosaic hops. This NA beer is remarkably good and a welcome edition to your get togethers.
There you have it. My picks for the best game day beers from the Peach State – plus one NA beer from out-of-state. If you have a favorite that you just can’t leave home without, please be sure to leave a comment. I would love to know what other craft beer lovers are drinking on game day.
Thanks for reading and until next time…Let Us Drink Beer!