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The Surly Guide to the Large American Football Game

The Large American Football Game is this Sunday. You might know it by a different name, but we prefer this one as it observes the game’s outsize stature without inviting litigation.

Some watch it for the commercials. Some tolerate it to get to the halftime show. Some use it as an excuse to indulge in a staggering array of chips, wings, and dips. Some even view it for the football game.

(Some also embrace counterprogramming like MTVs eternal Ridiculousness marathon or whatever Animal Planet airs for people who think “sportsball” is a clever putdown. We understand the need to avoid Boomer Esiason too, but some of this feels like an overcorrection.)

Regardless of what brings you to the warming glow of America’s flatscreens late Sunday afternoon, a Surly beer makes the whole experience that much better. Below, you’ll find some recommendations and observations.

  • One of the teams involved is the Cincinnati Bengals. They’re not usually here. Like, almost never. But for a brief, beautiful moment in the 1980s, they were good enough to play in two championship games. Cincinnati quarterback Ken Anderson earned the honor of being a Coffee Achiever alongside Jane Curtin, Cicely Tyson, Kurt Vonnegut, some New Wave bands, and ELO in a 1983 commercial. Sure. In defense of the National Coffee Association, it was the ‘80s and everyone was on cocaine. BEER RECOMMENDATION: Coffee Bender. Achievement unlocked.
  • “What do you want us to bring?” “Beer.” “What kind? “I dunno.” BEER RECOMMENDATION: Unusual Suspects, our new variety pack, delivers you from your host’s indecision with two new IPAs, a smooth dark lager, and Furious.
  • “Oh yeah, pick up some ice and some Furious, too.” BEER RECOMMENDATION: More Furious. Unusual Suspects has three Furious cans. If you need to supplement it with a 6-pack, a 12-pack, or a 4-pack of tallboys, we’re here for you.
  • You will see a commercial for yet another brand rolling out their all-new seltzer. Why does Menards have a hard seltzer now? We don’t know. We just don’t know. BEER RECOMMENDATION: Supreme Variety Pack. Tart, crisp ales with a ton of fruit flavor (Grapefruit, Mango, Key Lime, Black Cherry). Since any good promotion builds anticipation, here’s where we tell you to look for even more Supreme flavors in the coming months.
  • You will also see a commercial for a new truck or SUV called the Warhammer that is even more rugged and durable than the competitor’s, with the power and off-road capability you need for dropping your kid off at piano lessons twice a week. BEER RECOMMENDATION: Axe Man, Double Bladed Axe Man, and Permanent Echo. One of America’s most-acclaimed IPAs, its double IPA companion, and our new spring seasonal. You want top of the line? Here you go. (Pretend we said that last part in Denis Leary’s voice for the full effect.)
  • This year’s halftime show looks real promising: Dre, Snoop, Mary, Kendrick, and Eminem. This wasn’t always the case. The first few decades were dominated by the truly grotesque Up With People and the nearest land-grant university’s marching band. The one and only Metrodome halftime gala involved Gloria Estefan, Brian Boitano, and Dorothy Hamill. At least two of those people are skaters. Skaters! BEER RECOMMENDATION: +1 Golden Ale. The best halftime show ever belongs to Prince. This is not an opinion or a debate, just observable fact. Please enjoy the beer we make in collaboration with First Avenue, the venue he turned into a shrine.

In addition, you can find these beers and 25+ others in our Beer Hall this weekend. We’re open 11am-11pm on Saturday and 10am-3pm on Sunday for brunch service. Enjoy the game. Before we die, maybe the Vikings will be in one of them. Please.

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