Boston is home to Samuel Adams, the largest-selling craft beer company in the country, as well as some smaller, notable breweries like Trillium Brewing and Cambridge Brewing Co.
Seattle was one of the key players in starting the microbrew revolution, partly because of its proximity to fresh hops in the nearby Yakima Valley. One of the leaders of that revolution was Elysian Brewing Co., now famous for its creative pumpkin beers and flagship Immortal IPA. Just last week, Elysian announced that Anheuser-Busch bought the company
to further expand its craft portfolio. So, for better or worse, you're likely to start seeing much more from this craft beer forefather.
In fact, Elysian and Boston's Harpoon Brewing have set up a friendly wager for Super Bowl Sunday: Three kegs of beer from each brewery will be poured in the opposite breweries' taprooms the week after the big game. The loser will be required to fly the flag of the winning team until the beer is gone.
In keeping with that friendly competitive spirit, let's break down the roster of these two craft beer cities.
The quarterback is the leader of the team and, in many instances, the most recognizable name to viewers. This brew must define what the city is all about and be the No. 1 "draft" pick at the local sports bar.
XXXXX Stout -- The Pike Brewing Co.; Seattle, Washington
Just blocks from the iconic Pike Place Market, Pike Brewing is one of the oldest and most respected breweries in Washington. Its XXXXX Stout, much like the Super Bowl, has a fondness for Roman numerals. It's the quintessential Seattle beer with rich chocolate and espresso flavors, because what would Seattle be without its coffee?
Harpoon IPA -- Harpoon Brewery; Boston, Massachusetts, and Windsor, Vermont
Since 1993, Harpoon's hoppy pale ale has been a New England staple. This style of beer is right out of the Pacific Northwest playbook, but Harpoon was one of the first to produce an IPA on the East Coast.
These brews are among the most widely available from each region, but still great representations of the area. If you're looking to cheer on a particular team but do not live in the Boston or Seattle area, you can still most likely catch one of these brews at your local store.
Boston Lager -- Samuel Adams; Boston, Massachusetts
Samuel Adams Boston Lager is the most widely recognized craft beer in the country. It's crisp, refreshing and arguably the most "patriotic" beer you can find.
Audible Ale -- Redhook Ale Brewery; Woodinville, Washington
While Redhook makes its home in Woodinville, it also has a brew house in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which is about an hour's drive from Boston. This pale ale is fairly low in alcohol, and thus a pleasing session brew, meaning you can drink a few over the course of a game and not get inebriated. Don't call an audible -- stock up on this one.
These brews might be stars locally, but they haven't received much national attention ... yet. Their scope is still pretty small, but they are hitting the gym and building a pretty strong following among local craft beer fans.
Mass Rising -- Jack's Abby Brewing; Framingham, Massachusetts
Jack's Abby is a unique craft brewer that specializes in lagers. Some craft beer snobs might think lagers are boring, but Jack's Abby gets pretty inventive with the style. One standout is Mass Rising, a double India pale lager that is hopped-up, crisp and drinkable.
Tamerlane Brown Porter -- Black Raven Brewing Co.; Redmond, Washington
Black Raven has been producing some of the best brews in the state, and its Tamerlane Brown Porter is an all-out winner. It combines the nutty, malty characteristics of an English brown ale with the coffee flavors of a porter.
The 'Hail Mary'
The Super Bowl calls for times to be bold and take a chance. A little divine intervention doesn't hurt either. Same goes for your beer.
Spencer Trappist Ale -- Spencer Brewery; Spencer, Massachusetts
Massachusetts is home to the only Trappist brewery in the United States. The monks of St. Joseph's Abbey brew this Belgian-style "table beer" sustainably and consume the fruits of their labors only on Sunday evenings, which is impeccable timing for the big game.
Sky Hag IPA -- Airways Brewing Co.; Kent, Washington
Sky Hag is bitter, loaded with West Coast hops and may not be pretty, but it will get you where you want to go. Airways has a number of delicious brews with air travel themes
, like Seat Kicker IPA and Pre Flight Pilsner, because founder and brewer Alex Dittmar was a full-time airline employee before starting the brewery.