This year’s Super Bowl, of course, features the New England Patriots, a team that many football fans flat out hate, and the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that many football fans utterly despise.
We’re not going to have a useful discussion here about which team you should root for, so let’s avoid talking about the actual game and the behavior of the fans from those two cities and instead talk about something more important: What to drink on game day.
Fortunately, there’s some excellent booze made in both Philly and Boston. Neither town is particularly known for wine—and let’s be honest, neither am I—so let’s stick to beer and hard liquor.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that I live in the Philly ‘burbs, and I’m a Birds fan, but when it comes to drinking I don’t play favorites.
In fact, two of the top brewery taprooms in the U.S. happen to be in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Notch, in Salem, Mass, is a quick water taxi ride from Boston, and you can enjoy its delicious lagers and ales all day, since every one of them is 4.5-perecent alcohol by volume (ABV) or less. Second District in south Philly offers the comparable Bancroft Beer that comes in at a modest 4.2-percent ABV. It’s also only $4 a pint during Eagles’ games and you can get growlers if you’ll be watching the Super Bowl at home.
Evil Genius in Philly is known for its cleverly named beers, and they’ve got one for the occasion: Fly Like an Eagle. It’s a “cherry wooder ice IPA.” (“Wooder ice” in Philly is what the rest of the world calls “Italian ice” or “shaved ice.”) It’s made with lots of hops, cherry puree, and actual Madagascar vanilla beans. Be warned: It’s a limited run, and you need to get a ticket to buy it at the Evil Genius website.
Not a beer drinker? Not a problem! The small distillery boom has made cocktails part of tailgating again. Patriot fans who are in a Tea Party kind of mood—the 1773 one that is, not the 2010 one—get some Boston Harbor Rye Whiskey; it doesn’t get much more patriot than that.
There’s also Privateer Rum—now there’s a New England name for you!—that makes great stuff up in Ipswich. The brand has developed a cult following among bartenders and connoisseurs. It has also created a tasty cocktail for the game.
The Killer TB
1 oz Privateer Silver Reserve Rum
1 oz Privateer True American Amber Rum
1 oz Honey syrup*
1 oz Fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Sriracha (or other) hot sauce
Garnish: Ground black pepper
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a dusting of ground black pepper and a 6th Super Bowl ring.
*Combine equal parts honey and hot water and stir until integrated. Let cool, bottle, and refrigerate between use.
New England may have the Patriots, but Philly bows to no town when it comes to Revolutionary War history and even boasts Bluecoat Gin. It’s a citrus-forward spirit that’s named in tribute to George Washington’s bluecoats, the soldiers that took the torch from New England’s minutemen and fanned it into a flame that lit the way for a new nation. Distilled in Philly’s resurgent Northern Liberties neighborhood, it makes a great Martini, another all-American drink.
Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey is made in the town of Bristol, just up the Delaware River and not far from where Washington crossed to Trenton in his famous Christmas Day raid. Get some of its rye, and you’re already halfway to a Manhattan, which is close to halfway between Philly and Boston. However, a Super Bowl is still far, far away from New York Giants fans! (Sorry, I guess when it comes to the Giants, I can’t stay impartial.)
What if you’re far from either teams’ home city? Long-distance New England fans, you can tear into the new Sam Adams ‘76, a juicy and crisp ale/lager hybrid. At 4.7-percent ABV and jammed with flavor, this little beauty will get you through the whole game. Eagles fans, you’ll, of course, want to look for beers from Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing. You can’t go wrong with its HopDevil when you’re on the (cue “Fly Eagles Fly” song) road to victory!