Craft beer in the United States has a new spokesperson, coming from the unlikely world of the NFL. No, it’s not Peyton Manning or the wild mane of Troy Polamalu (no brewery could ever afford them), but Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC’s Football Night in America. I’ve been a long time reader of his Monday Morning Quarterback column, mainly because he tends to cover different storylines then everyone else. At the end of every column is a grab-bag of non-football notes, usually related to his coffeenerdness, The Office or the Red Sox. He recently added a weekly beernerdness note and his picks have been fairly impressed so far.
From his MMQB column on December 19th: “Beernerdness: Debuting the new category today, by popular demand. I won’t use it every week, because there will be some weeks when I have either no beer or boring beer and won’t waste your time. This week was a good week for beer variety, because I had the weirdest-named beer of my life (Clown Shoes Brewery Eagle Claw Fish Imperial Amber Ale, from Massachusetts — a little yeasty for me) and, at an airport bar in Dallas, had my first Lone Star longneck in 20 or so years. I’m not a beer snob. When I’m writing, as I was at the airport, a light, simple beer like Lone Star is perfect. But the beer of the week goes to Ommegang Witte wheat ale, with a lemon, from a brewery in Cooperstown, N.Y. Took me back to summer for a few sips. Very good.”
December 26th: “Beernerdness: Winter’s the time for some heavy beers. Tried two this week — St. Botolph’s Town Rustic Dark Ale (Pretty Things brewery, Somerville, Mass.), recommended by my buddy Steve Gilarde, the bartender at the Butcher Shop in Boston’s South End. Thick and very dark, like a British ale, with a copper head that lasts. Very good. And then Saranac’s Vanilla Stout. I’m not normally a Stout guy, but Christmas Eve does funny things for your taste buds, and the vanilla isn’t overpowering. Just a hint. Nice job. Oh, and good labels on your winter brews, Saranac.”
January 2nd: “Beernerdness: Had a bunch of different beers in the run-up to New Year’s Eve, from far-flung breweries. My pick: Victory Pima Pils, from the Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pa. Bordering on the bitter, but tremendously smooth with a taste of a German pilsner. Never had it before, but I liked it a lot. I did have one beer on a very wimpy New Year’s Eve in Pittsburgh — a highly recommended Arrogant Bastard, from California.”
And yesterday, January 9th: “Beernerdness: Goose Island IPA was the draft of choice at the NBC wrap party Saturday night at the Playwright in midtown Manhattan, I think because the tap was a goosehead. Kept expecting it to say “AFLAC!” The reviews were positive.”
For someone who is “not a beer snob,” those are some good breweries to name drop: Ommegang, Victory, Goose Island and the reference to Stone’s Arrogant Bastard. It is really refreshing to see sports associated with beers other than ice-cold pale lagers, especially from someone with a large following (almost 500,000 people on Twitter, where he mentioned Dogfish Head 90 yesterday). It may only be one man standing up against a legion of light beers with heavy advertising dollars, but it is nice to see regular media coverage from a surprising source. Keep up the good work Peter!