This is it! The weekend football fanatics wait for all season: Super Bowl Sunday (and Saturday). All across the land, fans will gather to cheer for their favorite team—or, if they don’t have a favorite team, watch the commercials. To fuel the party, mounds of chips, dips, barbecue, chili and a plethora of other delectable eats will cover counters, tables and buffets. To wash it all down, coolers full of cold, delicious beer will be consumed—more than 325 million gallons of the stuff, if some statistic-spouters are to be believed. Sure, most of it will be fizzy, yellow macro-lagers, but more than a few savvy party organizers will toss some quality craft beer in the mix.
It may be hard to believe, but Budweiser was not the first beer brand to air a commercial during the Super Bowl. That distinction goes to Schlitz, and it happened during Super Bowl III, way back in 1969. (Yes, the game that Broadway Joe Namath predicted his Jets would win; despite the ridicule he got for that, they did win.) The company, once the largest brewer of beer in the United States, was based in Milwaukee and ran the ad with its famous tagline: “When you’re out of Schlitz, you’re out of beer.” Budweiser did not debut its ad until 1975; it featured a skiing theme. This year, the brewing behemoth airs an ad featuring the brand’s iconic Dalmatian, ears flapping in the wind to the strains of Bob Dylan’s iconic song, “Blowin’ in the Wind.” You’ll have to watch the ad to learn why. Another ad from AB/InBev stars Chris Pratt, of Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World, milling around in the background of Michelob Ultra commercials.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to put a theme to your Super Bowl party, you might like to include beers local to the competing teams. New England is home to several highly recognizable brands like Samuel Adams and Harpoon, but it’s also represented by highly sought beers from craft darlings Trillium and Tree House.
When you think of Los Angeles beer, you probably draw a blank. One of the nation’s most popular cities is not really a hotbed of craft brewing. That’s not to say there are no great breweries—there are—you just haven’t heard of them. Orange County’s The Bruery should be at the top of your list for tasty Belgian-style brews, some of which are available around here. Though it isn’t from the immediate Los Angeles area, a great Southern California brand to add to your Super Bowl cooler is Stone Brewing. This legendary brewery is actually in San Diego County, but SoCal is SoCal, right? So grab a sixer of Stone IPA to round out the California representatives.
Whether you root for the Patriots or the Rams, beer should be part of any Super Bowl celebration. Just remember to take it easy, though. There’s a reason antacid sales go up 18 percent the day after the big game.