Friday, January 30, 2009 at 3:52 p.m.
We've made no secret here at New Times who we're pulling for in the match-up between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers this Super Bowl Sunday. Chances are if you're reading this, you're pulling for the Cardinals despite jumping on the bandwagon only after they won the NFC championship. No worries, we did too.
We at New Times take our Super Bowls seriously. So for this Sunday we sought out the best brew to consume not during the game, not at some after party, but at the moment of victory. We picked out three bottles and put them up to our normal panel of judges. The beers we chose include Sapporo by Sapporo Brewing Co., Decadent Imperial I.P.A. by Ska Brewing and Chimay Blue by Scourmont Abbey.
Why these three? Our selection encompasses three price points, three different styles and three different levels of alcohol content. Which beer is the ultimate choice for that winning sip as (insert your preferred team here) snatches victory from the jaws of defeat? Let's find out.
Tastes: Instantly refreshing. For a beer that's under $3, it absolutely can not be beat.
Consideration: In Japan pouring large bottles of beer (into tiny glasses which is where we fail to understand) for each other is custom for any celebration.
And just so we're straight on Japan's gridiron credibility, it's one of the few countries outside the U.S.A. where "football" means the ole pig skin and not that black and white sphere.
Brew: Decadent Imperial I.P.A.
Tastes: like a hoppy punch to the face. This is the strongest of the three beers we chose to try weighing in at a sturdy 10% alcohol by volume.
Consideration: If you were to grant beer levels of difficulty, Decadent would rate advanced. This is not for the Miller crowd. Of the tasters with true beer-drinking experience under their belts, Decadent was well received, but our brew novices wished they had just continued drinking Sapporo instead.
Still, there's something to be said about cutting through a layer of wax to fix your bottle opener on this brew. There is a certain amount of ceremony here. There is an air of breaking out the good stuff. What better time than at that moment of victory?
Brew: Chimay Blue
Tastes: like smoothness in a bottle.
Consideration: Talk about breaking out the good stuff. At almost $12 a bottle it better be damn good! Yet Chimay is the sort of beer you need for those really important moments. Celebrating an engagement, graduating college, getting a new job or just watching your favorite team bring home rings while you sit in your recliner covered in nacho cheese powder are all acceptable moments for a Chimay.
Verdict: Believe it or not, all their highfalutin flavor and texture didn't save Chimay or Decadent from our final verdict: for celebrating that final game-winning score, nothing stands up to the refreshing taste of Sapporo. Now we can only hope our team fights with samurai spirits this Sunday. We'll be waiting to kanpai them when they do.
Happy drinking, er, kanpai!