It’s that time again; the time when thousands upon thousands of diehard Buffalo Bills fans, aka the Bills Mafia, descend upon Orchard Park to fill the parking lots of New Era Field, Erie Community College and every vacant lot and field you can fit a group of cars in within walking distance of the stadium.
Buffalo fans are serious about their tailgating, and are just as serious about the beer that fuels the game before the game. Grills, games and great beers are the name of the game before the clock strikes kickoff each week, and while there are more beer options out there than you can shake a stick at, we compiled a list of seven Buffalo born beers that would make a great addition to any tailgating lineup. You won’t find any fizzy yellow macro stuff here (not to name names, but *cough* Labatt Blue *cough*).
This list offers a nice variety of beer styles too, from a bigger bodied beer like a coffee porter and New England IPA to brews that go down a bit easier, like a light lager and pilsner. So, before you hit your local beer store for Sunday morning, let us help you write your shopping list.
12 Gates Brewing Coffee Porter (5.8%): Skip the drive thru at Tim Hortons. Just find a parking spot, set up your tailgating accouterments and crack one of these bad boys to get your coffee intake for the morning. It’s smooth and roasty, making for a good first beer to grab out of the cooler.
Big Ditch Cinnamon Make Me Wanna Stout (5.2%): Fall game days call for fall beer, so why not get something with some body, like Big Ditch’s Make Me Wanna Stout. This coffee and cream stout is brewed with Revolution coffee beans from Public Espresso. Not to mention the Bills tie-in made it was must-have and obvious choice for this list. Plus, it might warm you up while tailgating this season.
Community Beer Works Let’s Go Pils Pilsner (4.2%): Alright, alright, this one is a bit of a gimme I’ll admit. A light American Pilsner brewed specifically for Bills fans to crush while they do what they do. This one has several things going for it – it’s a pils, it’s named Let’s Go Pils and pairs easily with anything you happen to pull off the grill and slap on a bun. And that’s not even to mention that a portion of sales of this beer will go to charity.
Flying Bison Brewing Juice Caboose (7.5%): I could not not include an IPA on this list, right? And what better IPA to enjoy before heading into New Era Field than Flying Bison’s latest creation Juice Caboose, a juicy New England style IPA with major notes of citrus, pineapple and melon. Another good reason for Juice Caboose on this list? If you happen to enjoy a few of them, it might not matter to you what happens on the field.
Hamburg Brewing 550 Game Time Pale Ale (5.2%): Well, this one was essentially a no brainer – a pale ale brewed specially to bring tailgating? Sounds like something that should be on this list. Subtle citrus and mild malt bitterness with a crisp finish. Pun time! Drink a Game Time before game time. Boom.
Pressure Drop Brewing Citra Screamer Cream Ale (4.9%): A light-bodied crusher with a crisp, clean lager-like finish with notes of citrus. This is pretty much the perfect beer for beer pong, cornhole, flip cup or just passing the football around while high-fiving other Bills fans.
Resurgence Brewing Vanilla Cappuccino Pumpkin Ale (6.2%): Tailgating starts early, we know this. So why not treat yourself to 16 ounces of cappuccino, and some spices, pumpkin and vanilla to go along with it. This is a sweet and delicious fall beer for a fall Sunday morning.
Southern Tier Brewing Pilsner (5%): Another beer perfectly suited for your tailgating gaming needs because STBC Pils is crisp and refreshing with a great dry finish. This one is crushable in so many words and will pair well with hot dogs, burgers, sausages, and diving through folding tables.
Thin Man Brewery Pills Mafia Pilsner (4.9%): Much of what I said about Let’s Go Pils can be used to describe why Pills Mafia made this list, except that this is a German Pilsner. If local breweries are going to brew beers specifically for the Bills in what could be a rough season for us fans, why wouldn’t I include both? Also, a portion of proceeds will benefit superfan Pancho Billa‘s foundations including Fans Against Child Abuse, Fans Against Violence, NFL and MLB Go Gold for Kids Cancer, and his personal cancer relief fund. Those are all good things.
Woodcock Brothers Brewing Niagara Lager (5%): Whether you’re playing beer pong, flip cup, Kan Jam, cornhole or just simple catch, this is the beer to reach for. Niagara Lager is light and easy drinking, so stock up on these if you plan on imbibing more than a few before the game.
Drink responsibly, be safe and above all else, go Bills! If you need a ride home, let someone else get you there safely. Grab an Uber or Lyft, or try Ride Local (Liberty Yellow Cab). Or hell, call me for a ride. Just be safe.
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.