Game Day Brewhaha: 10 Best Beers for Under $10

01/27/2014 at 01:22 PM ET

10 Super Bowl Beers for Under $10
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You’ve been invited to watch the game at a buddy’s house, so naturally you’re planning to pick up some beer. (A fridge packed with bottles and cans is as much of a game day requirement as a bucket of wings or a viewing of the Puppy Bowl.)

But it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the options: You don’t want to just grab a ho-hum case of watery macro brew while you’re at the supermarket getting tortilla chips, but you also aren’t loving the idea of dropping a wad of cash on a random highfalutin’ imported brand.

We knew there must be a sweet spot between the two, so we asked craft-beer consultant Matt Simpson, owner of The Beer Sommelier, to help us find affordable, distinctive beers that would pair well with food and football. Check out his short list of 10 domestic varieties, all costing less than $10 for a party-sized portion.

1. El Steinber Dark Lager, Anderson Valley Brewing Company (Boonville, CA)
This dark Northern California lager has a light body thanks to the addition of roasted blue corn (it’s also got more traditional malt and hops). Simpson likes that it’s refreshing but also offers hints of toasty malt and chocolate. “It’s sort of creamy with a nice frothy head, and it’s definitely easy drinking for a long game,” he says. Price: $9.99 for four 16-ounce cans

2. Hennepin Farmhouse Saison, Ommegang Brewery (Cooperstown, NY)
“One of my all-time favorites in the beer world,” was how Simpson described this effervescent golden ale, which is food-friendly and approachable enough to win over even the self-proclaimed beer haters. It’s got hints of floral and citrus and pairs beautifully with the rich dishes that tend to dominate a Super Bowl spread. “I don’t know any beers that go better with cheese,” Simpson says. Price: $7.99 for a 750 ml bottle

3. Simpler Times Lager, Trader Joe’s (brewed at Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, WI)
According to Simpson, this straightforward beer is a step above most supermarket lagers, which can feel like “fizzy yellow carbonated water.” Simpler Times is richer, fuller, and the finishing note is sweet — just like the price. Price: $3.99 for six 12-ounce cans

4. Samuel Adams Holiday Porter, Boston Brewing Company
Thankfully this medium-bodied seasonal porter is usually still widely available around Super Bowl season. It pairs well with football menu mainstays like hot dogs, burgers, and chili, and its chocolate and coffee characteristics also go well with dessert. Price: $9.99 for six 12-ounce bottles

5. Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Oskar Blues (Longmont, CO and Brevard, NC)
Broncos fans will want to raise these beers high: Oskar Blues, one of the first brewers to popularize craft beer in cans, first started in Colorado. Simpson calls this German-style Pilsener an ideal partner to wings and chili. “It’s refreshing, clean, a little bready and malty, and just light enough on the finish to let their spicy flavor come through,” he says. Price: $9.99 for six 12-ounce cans

10 Super Bowl Beers for Under $10
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6. Stone IPA, Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, CA)
“It’s your prototypical West Coast IPA — well-balanced and citrusy on the nose with a big, caramel malty note,” said Simpson of Stone Brewing Company’s flagship beer. India pale ales tend to be especially hoppy and aromatic, which means that they will pair well with sharp cheeses and foods with lots of acidity, like tomato sauce. Price: $9.99 for six 12-ounce cans

7. Trois Pistoles Strong Dark Ale, Unibroue (Chambly, Québec, Canada)
This big golden ale is another one that’s popular with the beer’s-not-really-my-thing crowd. To explain what makes it so awesome, Simpson gave us a bit of a science lesson. “Unibroue uses a specific Belgian yeast that’s super-efficient at eating the sugars, so you’re not left with a sweet, heavy aftertaste. Instead, it’s dry, effervescent, and incredibly floral and malty,” he says. This beer would also be ideal for meat-lovers, since it goes well with stew, steak, burgers, and all types of barbecued dishes. Price: $7.99 for a 750 ml bottle

8. Celebration Ale, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, CA)
Why do so many people look forward to the release of Celebration Ale every winter? Along with its “beautiful ruby color,” Simpson praises it’s complicated combination of flavors: Pine and citrus, but also a chocolate malt backbone and darker hints of toffee and caramel, making it an ideal beer for a chilly Super Bowl Sunday. Price: $9.99 for six 12-ounce cans

9. Kalamazoo Stout, Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo, MI)
According to Simpson, this award-winning beer should come with a warning: “It’s very flavorful and almost dangerously drinkable,” he says. The body, creamy texture, and notes of roasted chocolate make it one of the most balanced stouts available today. Save this one for after the halftime show, since it’s an ideal partner for chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Price: $9.49 for six 12-ounce bottles

10. Hairy Eyeball, Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, CA)
This full-bodied, food-friendly brew goes well with most bold and spicy foods and has a name that will get guests talking. Simpson calls it “a no-style mutt of a beer” because it’s got a smooth mix of hoppy and caramel malt flavors. “It’s really a noteworthy beer for all occasions,” he says. Price: $9.98 for two 22-ounce bottles

RUNNER UP: Gose, Westbrook Brewing Company (Mount Pleasant, SC)
Want to impress your hosts with something unexpected? Simpson predicts that the Gose, a traditional German wheat beer made with coriander that’s both salty and sour (you read that right) is making a comeback. Westbrook is one of the only brewers in the U.S. currently making this style, and although the “odd, lightly salty character” takes a bit of getting used to, it’s low in alcohol and extremely refreshing. “For something like Super Bowl, it’s perfect because you can sit and drink and drink but not get too silly,” he says. Price: $7.50 for a 32-ounce growler

—Lexi Dwyer

FILED UNDER: Food , Super Bowl

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Showing 3 comments

Caml on

Good idea, but I can’t help but feel that this info is already a little out of date. Sam Adams Holiday Porter and SN Celebration are both out of season (Holiday Porter is only in mix packs to my knowledge, and Celebration has been cycled out for Ruthless for a month).
Also, caught some errors:
There’s no chocolate malt in Celebration, just pale and caramel (http://www.sierranevada.com/beer/seasonal/celebration-ale)
Trois Pistoles is not a golden but a strong dark, the listing and the description contradict themselves:
“7. Trois Pistoles Strong Dark Ale, Unibroue (Chambly, Québec, Canada)
This big golden ale is another one…”

That said, the suggestions were great and sure to please a really wide variety of drinkers!

JM on

Spell check: Kalamazoo

Brian on

Awesome that you’re including Sierra and Stone, but Sierra doesn’t can Celebration and it’s currently not in season. Also, Stone doesn’t can at all.

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