Ah, the Super Bowl, that all-American rite of overheated rivalries, really expensive commercials, and coolers full of beer. Last year we put together a short list of great canned craft beers for the game. And this year, from our beery perspective, the rivalry is especially delicious given the hop-happy West Coast home of the 49ers and the upstart Ravens from Baltimore, which has a newfound sturm und drang in the beer aisle. Both cities bring their A-game to the booming craft scene year after year. Below, the main reasons why. So who takes the trophy?
With a smart, new beer week and a collection of world-class and classic beer bars (Alewife; Max’s Taproom; The Wharf Rat), gritty Baltimore is fierce when it comes to selection and scene. Nearby DuClaw Brewing Co. has four area locations including one in the Baltimore airport—nice touch. Try the Venom, a juicy American Pale Ale of 5.6%abv. Pioneering local brewpub Brewer’s Art recently began selling its 7%abv abbey ale Resurrection in cool-looking cans, upping the ante. Gypsy brewer Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales opened Of Love and Regret, a gastropub, in May 2012, and there the taps (and critical raves) have flowed like mighty rivers ever since. Just to keep it real while you’re eating like a champ, you can still order an old-school can of “Natty Boh” for $2.50 (National Bohemian lager) at Wit & Wisdom, famed chef Michael Mina’s sleek new gastropub inside The Four Seasons. Because that’s how you roll, Baltimore.
San Francisco, CA
With local brewery heroes 21st Amendment Brewery, Magnolia Pub & Brewery, Social Kitchen, Southern Pacific, Almanac, and Anchor in the ‘haus, San Francisco simply comes loaded for bear (or Ravens, if you will) in the brewhouse department. We hardly even need mention Toronado and Zeitgeist, those grizzled, old, legendary coaches of beer bars everywhere. But add to that a massive beer week coming up (Feb 8-17, 2013), scores of stylish, new beer bars, bottle shops, and gastropubs (City Beer; Anchor & Hope; Healthy Spirits; Monk’s Kettle; Press Club; and Abbot’s Cellar just to name a few), and you have a true force to be reckoned with.
We’ll let you call the winner and tell us who are you rooting for below. (Or better yet, what you’re drinking.)