Happy New Year, everyone!
With the Super Bowl fast approaching in Tampa this year, I’m thinking about sports. I sat down with Brian Prudhomme and Dave Cook from our local FAN radio station at 106.5 FM here in the Northland to have a discussion combining Minnesota sports teams and beer.
We knew it would be fun to assign a beer style or brand to some of our favorite teams. After the tough times over this past year, and also to ring in the new year, it’s a bit of fun for those of you who appreciate sports and beer. So, let’s get started.
The Vikings. They're maybe our most beloved squad here in Minnesota, and with that, we’re going with American Light Lager. This is a style that many of us first discovered beer with — light, refreshing, exciting and fun, but as time goes by, sometimes slightly disappointing with a letdown factor the longer you follow the beer and the team. Example: Busch Light.
The Twins. The boys of summer, a great group with some success but also our guys are sporting an 18-game-in-a-row playoff losing streak, which the odds say is very low and specialized. So, let’s talk MGD.
Michelob Golden Draft is available only in the upper Midwest, and the beer is a wonderful summer classic. It’s a perfect lawnmower beer that we can enjoy as we listen to the Twins this summer and root them on with Dick Bremer. Another good one: Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy. This light wheat beer is infused with lemonade and goes perfectly with a hot dog.
The Wild. The most supported team in the State of Hockey — win or lose. Here, we choose the most popular craft beer style in America: IPA. Fans of IPA are loyal and passionate, and the Midwest and local brewers make amazing versions. Since we’re the State of Hockey, let’s stick with mostly Minnesota and local. Examples: Castle Danger White Pine IPA, Bent Paddle Bent Hop, Blacklist Brewing IPA, Ursa Minor Bear Hop IPA, Fitger’s Brewhouse El Nino IPA, Earth Rider Caribou Lake IPA (Wisconsin), Bells Two Hearted Ale (Michigan).
The Timberwolves. A very tough franchise with very little success over the years. Kevin Garnett is one of the only bright spots. Garnett never did a beer commercial, but he did do a Crown Royal ad, and as we’re pretty much lower Canada, I wanted to mention that outlier. The Timberwolves are a unique yet somewhat generic team, so I’ll name a blast from the past: Billy Beer (President Carter’s brother Billy’s ill-fated beer). Current great beers that are hopeful for the future after being passed up by younger squads include Red Stripe, Grain Belt and Summit EPA.
The Lynx. Truly the gold standard of Minnesota’s professional teams, with four championships since 2011.
This team does not get the credit it deserves, so we are going to go with a few classic brands: Heineken Lager, Guinness Stout, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Schell’s Pils.
The United FC. Established in 2015, Minnesota’s pro soccer club is a great story and still in their infancy with a bright future. The beer styles that come to mind are Kettle and Traditional Sours with unique and interesting flavors. We'll also include English Pale Ales and German Lagers, as soccer is truly a European and World sport.
Let's not forget these other new teams and much loved teams here in Minnesota.
Minnesota Whitecaps. These professionals represent the state for the National Women's Hockey League. Stella Artois — a classic lager that will continue to take over America.
Minnesota Gophers. Hockey: Pabst Blue Ribbon, a hipster beer that hopes for a continued reassurance of the brand. Basketball: Fruit Beers, fun to drink and not disappointing, like the team this year. Football: P.J. the coach is a great character and so fun to root for with his team, a great pale ale like Surly Furious or Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale.
UMD Bulldog Hockey. Our beloved D-1 hockey squads are very special, and I look forward to watching them in person again soon. Men's: The best American Lager available in the USA , Coors Banquet. Women's: The best local everyday beer in the area, Leinenkugel’s Original. Both are enjoyable beers that will not disappoint, much like our fantastic Twin Ports teams.
Dave Hoops lives and works in Duluth and is a veteran brewer and beer judge. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dave Cook and Brian Prudhomme are longtime local sports announcers who host the Northland Sports Page radio show Saturdays at 10 a.m. on The FAN 106.5 in Duluth.