The Super Bowl (of Beer)

All right, sports fans, let's go to the tale of the tape. In the blue corner, I give you the dynasty of the aughts, the golden boy quarterback, the irascible coach everyone hates to love--the New England Patriots!* They hail from the Bay State, famous for tea parties and baked beans. They like their clam chowder creamy and they drive like lunatics.

  • Claim to beer fame: The Green Dragon pub, where revolution was hatched.
  • Number of breweries: 42 (rank: 13th)
  • Per capita: 1 in 156,000 (rank: 22nd)
  • Largest brewery: Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams)
  • Most interesting brewery: Pretty Things
  • Best brewery (arguably): Cisco Brewers (I'll accept Harpoon as well)
  • Secret shame: Clown Shoes
  • Classic pour: Harpoon IPA

And in the other blue corner, I give you the usurpers, the underachievers, the whingers, the team that plays in New Jersey--the New York Giants!** They hail from the Empire State (sort of), the point of origin for everyone from Joey Ramone to Donald Trump. They like their chowder tomayto-y, unless you're on Broadway, where it might be tomahto-y. In Manhattan, they don't drive at all if they can help it.

New York
  • Claim to beery fame: home of America's first brewery.
  • Number of breweries: 59 (rank: 8th)
  • Per capita: 1 in 328,000 (rank: 40th)
  • Largest brewery: Matt Brewing (Saranac)
  • Most interesting brewery: Captain Lawrence (I'll accept Ithaca)
  • Best brewery (no argument): Ommegang
  • Secret shame: Bronx Brewery (brewed in Connecticut)
  • Classic pour: Brooklyn Lager

We cannot say who will win the Super Bowl, but I award New York the win by decision in the beer bowl. Any state with Ommegang is going to be damned tough to beat. Massachusetts underperforms in New England, and if they could call on the favors of Portsmouth, Geary, and Allagash, the judges would be in trouble.

*Having married into a New England family, I am helpless to resist the Patriot charm. Gronkowski, Welker, Woodhead--I mean, come on.

**But I'm truly a Packer fan, and twice the Giants have eliminated us from the playoffs recently. Peyton's little brother has always bugged me; the guy's constantly got a look on his face that says, "hey, you can't do that, I'm a Manning." And Coughlin always just looks bewildered. Go Pats!