What time is it? It’s time for the Big Dance. Since national productivity is going to grind to a halt once basketball tip-offs start in the coming days, we figured it’s as good a time as any to crack open some beers, sit back, and watch some games. Over the next few days, we’re putting together some of our favorite beer-game pairings to maximize your basketball enjoyment (or, at least, our basketball enjoyment). To help us out, we caught up with New Belgium’s resident basketball expert and Wisconsin Beer Ranger James Marks to suggest some picks. Stay tuned as the games roll out, because this is clearly some important stuff and you're welcome.
For our weekend pairings, we didn’t have enough time to catch back up with resident basketball expert and Wisconsin Beer Ranger James Marks, so we’re going to give it the old college try and top-of-the-head this one. Enjoy the games everyone!
Trippel & Ohio St. vs. Arizona
“Hey, what team are you rooting for?” asks a stranger at the bar. “Can’t you tell by the red color of this beer label?” you respond, holding up Trippel. “Oh, right…,” the stranger nods, looking confused. Sports conversations are fun! Drink Trippel if you’re rooting for either red-colored team.
Blue Paddle & Arkansas vs. UNC
I did a Google image search for “Roy Williams Ping-Pong” and nothing came up, which makes me wonder if the UNC coach even likes Ping-Pong. Either way, I bet if you played against him, he’d insist on using the kinda-UNC-themed blue paddle, even though that’s your favorite one. So, here’s a Blue Paddle for you UNC (but only one).
1554 & Utah vs. Georgetown
The Salt Lake Tribune ran a headline on Friday that read “Utes’ next opponent 4-seed Georgetown playing angry.” Why so angry Georgetown? Remember when basketball put a smile on your face? Let’s all calm down here and talk it out over a…well, you all have a game to play, so never mind. Around here, though, 1554 always puts a smile on our faces.
Sunshine Wheat & Wichita St. vs. Kansas
Ah, Kansas. The land of sunny wheat. Lawn chairs. Fun times. Good people. But what about when two of its prized college teams are fighting each other for a ticket to the Sweet 16? I dare say, scary times. Whatever happens during this game, remember the salad days of yore while nursing a happy bottle of Sunshine Wheat. See you on the other side, people of Kansas.
Fat Tire & Louisville vs. Northern Iowa
You know what a beer-back is, right? Well, it’s a beer you use to chase a nice shot of whiskey or bourbon. Our favorite beer-back is Fat Tire, and we have a name for it: Fat-back. Seeing as this is a night game, and one of the teams hails from Kentucky, a bourbon and Fat-back should do just right.
Abbey & Oregon vs. Wisconsin
One of the coolest dunks in the tournament so far came from the Oregon team—one-handed + hang time = oooh, yeah—so while we watch this game in hopes to see more slammin’ twos, we’re popping off a few dubbels of our own: Abbey. (Seriously though, don’t say, “slam dunk!” every time you take a sip. That’s not cool.)
Snapshot & Notre Dame vs. Northeastern
It’s one of the first games of the tournament, so it’s time to snap your head into the gravity of this win-or-go-home situation. Snapshot, our tart, sessionable wheat beer, should whip you into the right context (plus, its low ABV means you’ll still be on your feet after the buzzer).
Any Lips of Faith & Villanova vs. Lafayette
According to people who know what they’re talking about (like our Ranger Marks), a 16-seed has never knocked off a 1-seed in the first round. For Lafayette to beat Villanova, they’ll need to have a lot of faith in their skills, much like our brewers do when they experiment with our Lips of Faith releases.
Ranger IPA & Arizona vs. Texas Southern
When we think of Texas, we think of Texas Rangers (the lawmen, not the baseball team). So, whether you’re rooting for Arizona or Texas Southern, crack open a Ranger to really get into the vibe of the two old-school wild west towns (Tucson and Houston) these teams call home.
Fat Tire & Kentucky vs. Hampton
Kentucky’s a classic, stalwart contender every year. Fat Tire is our tried-and-true amber ale, and it only makes sense to pair two classics together. Also, we just started distributing in Kentucky (Hi-yah Kentucky!).
Slow Ride & Virginia vs. Belmont
So, we heard Virginia stings teams with its defense, rarely allowing over 50 points in a game. That must leave a slightly bitter taste in their opponent’s mouth. Sounds like an appropriate time to pop open the slightly bitter Slow Ride Session IPA—though, the beer’s vivid tropical notes make its bitterness a lot more enjoyable.
Rampant & Oregon vs. Oklahoma State
Sources tell us that this one could be a pretty high-scoring game. You know what else is high? The ABV and IBUs in Rampant Imperial IPA (8.5% ABV, 85 IBUs). So, yeah, that’s a good enough reason to crack open this Mosaic-hopped IPA…as if you really needed one.
Trippel & Wisconsin vs. Coastal Carolina
Wisconsin has a knack for sinking three-pointers. We’re known for knocking back Trippels, too. So, let’s go all in on the number three during this game. After all, it is the magic number.
Shift & Iowa vs. Davidson
We love unexpected things, like the back-and-forth between these schools on Twitter. Kind of reminds us of the untraditional Nelson Sauvin hopping of our Shift lager. Not what you’d expect, but it sure is delightful.
Stay tuned for our favorite Saturday/Sunday pairings…