College Football Bowls & Beer

Battle of the Breweries: A Frothy College Football Bowl Preview

Entertainment Food & Drink

College football bowl season is here, and you know what that means? It’s time to preview some of the more interesting matchups. There are plenty of sites you can visit for a more traditional review of these games. Here at Man Crates, home of epic gifts for men, we prefer to be much more arbitrary—focusing on the best college town breweries before making our picks. To paraphrase a famous Greek expression, “in cervisia, veritas.” Sure, the more popular expression is “in vino, veritas” but that’s only because the Greeks were notoriously bad at brewing beer. Let’s get to the games, the college town brewery matchups and more importantly, the beer.

Armed Forces Bowl, Dec 23 – San Diego St. vs. Army
Folks, throw out the records when the Aztecs meet the Golden Knights, just a ton of history here. Likewise, there’s great history in the town of Newburgh, NY (very close to West Point). People have been brewing beer here since before the Revolution, which is probably why George Washington stationed his army here over 200 years ago. What those men would’ve given for a taste of the Newburgh Brewing Company’s finest ales. Much newer on the scene, San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Co. has quickly blazed a trail with experimental, limited-edition and seasonal offerings in addition to their traditional favorites. They continue to innovate with their “Genius Lab,” which encourages new recipes and ideas from their employees. I asked my friend Nick, who is a third-generation San Diegan, what his favorite beer at Green Flash is and he said, “It’s a tie between the one I’m holding and the next one I’m about to have.” Fair enough. It was 11:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, you gotta love San Diegans. Try their tasty BarleyWine Ale or the Blond Ale, it’s where “craft meets crushability.” Winner: Crushability, obviously.

Quick Lane Bowl, Dec 26 – Duke vs. Northern Illinois, Dec. 26
Yes, Duke has a football team that is actually decent. We were also surprised! And the town of Durham, NC has a very popular brewery in Ponysaurus. Not just fun to say, it’s home to some brews that are “forward thinking and backward tasting.” Their wide selection includes IPAs, Belgian Pale Ales and the robust Imperial Stout that no doubt cancels out the bitter taste of watching Grayson Allen for four years. Northern Illinois is not exactly a football power either, but they do have the Forge Brewhouse  in the town of DeKalb, where you’ll find a variety of beers and wood-fired pizza. You had us at wood-fired, Northern Illinios. We smell an upset! Or maybe just a pepperoni with extra cheese.

Holiday Bowl, Dec 28 – Washington St. vs. Michigan St.
Put down your pens and papers, it’s an epic battle of state schools and you won’t need them here. Zing! Look, there’s not a lot to do in Pullman, Washington other than find a good bar and settle down for about two to 12 hours, and Paradise Creek Brewery is a fine place to do just that. Their beer is brewed in the basement of an old post office, which is why you know the Postal Porter always delivers. For a lighter choice, we suggest J-Dub’s Northwest Pale Ale. In East Lansing, Spartans love O-zone’s Brewhouse, which claims to brew “Liquid Art.” We respect that confidence. Spartans will conquer by a field goal.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Dec 29 – Ohio State vs. USC
This excellent bowl matchup of college football blue bloods has confused fans asking “hey, shouldn’t this be the Rose Bowl?” But there is no confusion that Golden Road Brewery continues to be the best in Los Angeles.

We highly recommend partaking in their Heal The Bay IPA or the Hefeweizen on their sun-splashed outdoor patio if you ever get the chance. In Columbus, OH, the Land-Grant Brewing Company has a mouth-watering selection housed in its 12,000-square-foot historic building. Be sure to check out the aptly named Stiff-Arm IPA. You haven’t seen a stiff-arm this strong and smooth since Walter Payton. The winner? We’re all winners here.

Remember, if you sadly cannot get to any of these fine breweries this month, we’ve got you covered. Check out our college barware swag and our home brewing kit and bam…you’ve got your own little brewhouse! And now, the real prediction….

National Championship – Georgia vs. Alabama
If it feels like these teams play more often than the Red Sox and Yankees, you’re not wrong. For fans of the SEC, this will be heaven and more evidence of their college football superiority. For others, it’s just another opportunity to watch Nick Saban rampage for three hours, which is also entertaining. Prediction: Georgia 27 Alabama 20.

Enjoy the games, everyone!