January 31, 2018
You're a Philadelphia Eagles fan. You're a craft beer fan. And you've got PTO to burn. It's the perfect combination for a beer drinker's road trip to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
All you need to do is gas up the car and make room in the trunk for all the beer you'll be bringing home. The itinerary for the road trip is mapped out below – 11 breweries in eight states and about 1,300 miles on the road.
Split this up however you'd like – after all if you're driving to Minneapolis, you have to drive home, too. Share the breweries you'd add or subtract to this trip. But most importantly, make sure there's a designated driver.
Yes, Weyerbacher's beers are abundantly available in the Delaware Valley. But should a Eagles road trip/beer quest really begin anywhere but the local brewery that produces the perfectly named pale ale Dallas Sucks? Because no matter who the Eagles are playing, one thing is always true – the Dallas Cowboys suck.
Since the brewery opened in Easton in 1995, Weyerbacher's forte has been its big buzzy beers – like Blithering Idiot (11.1 percent ABV), Merry Monks (9.3 percent ABV), and Tiny (11.8 percent ABV) – but the hoppy Dallas Sucks and crisp Line Street Pilsner should be stocked for any pre-game celebration.
After driving across Pennsylvania, stopping at a brewery that offers beer and food will be important. Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood won't look like the other breweries on this road trip; it won't look like most restaurants, either.
Church Brew Works is located in the former St. John the Baptist Church, a Catholic parish that opened in 1903. But by 1993 it had closed and was facing demolition. The brewery opening saved the historic building and today the brewery's tanks and kettles are perched on the former altar, where they produce a variety of beers that includes Pipe Organ Pale Ale, Pius Monk Dunkel, Barrel-Aged Baltic Barleywine and Lost Love Stout.
Kevin from @LibPoleSpirits just delivered us some nice and #moist barrels for us to fill! Scottish ale going into the peated bourbon barrels! All @LibPoleSpirits will be $2 off a pour this weekend! pic.twitter.com/xmQcuFSTxr— Dan @ Beaver Brewing (@beaverbrewing) January 18, 2018
Beaver Falls is about 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and the home to Beaver Brewing Co., a tiny brewery that produces unique beers. Beaver Brewing makes three beers year-round – the hybrid I.Porter.A; an amber ale brewed with homegrown basil called, what else, Basil; and Chamomile Wheat.
The most unusual beer on its roster is the Kvass, based on a malted beverage sold by street vendors in Russia that traces back to the year 989. Bread is one of its main ingredients, along with wheat or rye, lemon juice and peels, raisins and sometimes mint or lavender, depending on the season. Beaver's owner, Dan Woodske, calls it a 10th century health drink and has even written a book about the unusual concoction.
A growler will be necessary to tote any of Forest City Brewery's beer all the way to Minneapolis. The self-described neighborhood brewery never bottles its beers, so everything is served fresh.
Forest City Brewery just opened in June 2016, but its owners designed its taproom to make patrons feel like the place has been around for at least 100 years. The tap list this week includes its Duck Rabbit coffee porter; Duck Island, an amber ale named for the Cleveland neighborhood where the brewery is located; and a spicy, rye-laden roggenbier called Waldorf.
Be kind while in Cleveland, Eagles fans, as the city's football team is coming off an 0-16 season (and likely still stinging about the Browns management's decision to pass on drafting Carson Wentz). Browns fans marked this futility by marching through the city's streets in January, in what was dubbed the Perfect Season 2.0 Parade. Planning meetings for the parade took place at Forest City Brewery. While it has never been that bad for the Eagles, Philly fans certainly can sympathize with futility.
Cocoa Cocoa Bourbon Nibbler Stout is a flowing!!! This beer was the winner at our 2015 Staff Brew-Off Competition. Super chocolatey, bourbony, creamy goodness coming in at 8.5% & 29 IBUs. Draft release only. Growlers, yes. Mark your calendar for this year’s Staff Brew-Off on Saturday, February 17th!!!
A post shared by Dark Horse Brewing Company (@darkhorsebrewco) on
True, you don't have to drive all the way to Michigan to sample beers from the Dark Horse Brewing Company. Some are available in the Philadelphia area's better bottle shops. But since this trip will take you in the vicinity, why pass up the opportunity?
Dark Horse's line is extensive and diverse. Yeah, there are the obligatory IPAs and creatively named temptations like Scary Jesus Rock Star – an apricot chamomile pale ale – and Boffo Brown Ale. But the brewery's stout series will delight any dark beer fan. The series begins in October and includes the releases of a different variety of the style each month through February. Check out the lineup of dark beers here.
Dark Horse also collaborated with the next brewery on this Super Bowl road trip itinerary to produce the barleywine Oil of Gladness (11 percent ABV). It's named for a fermented concoction some Union Army soldiers brewed during the Civil War. It's flavor profile is smokey and fruity, topped off with piney hops, according to the Detroit Free Press.
If you make this trip, and somehow you don't like Dark Horse's beers, the brewery at least deserves to be respected for this: In 2010, the brewery's owner Aaron Morse turned down an offer from the band Nickelback to use Dark Horse beer in a music video.
A post shared by 3 Floyds Brewing (@3floydsbrewing) on
Though it's located in Indiana about a half mile from the Illinois state line, 3 Floyds Brewing Co. is considered a Chicago beer – the brewery is just 30 miles south of the city, putting it squarely within 3 Floyds limited distribution radius. Among craft beer drinkers and critics, though, the brewery's reputation has spread well beyond Chicagoland.
Second only to its beers, 3 Floyds is recognized for the elaborate, heavy-metal-style artwork on its bottles, like skulls with bat wings, battle-axe-wielding warriors with helmets adorned with antlers, bloody swords and lots of zombies.
Dark Lord Russian imperial stout and Zombie Dust pale ale are perennial favorites. The brewery also is the other half of brewery collaboration that made Oil of Gladness. And 3 Floyds' Apocalypse Cow (which is brewed seasonally) is commonly regarded as one of the first – if not the first – milkshake IPAs. (To try this new style in the Philly area, check out Tired Hands Brewing Co.)
Help us give back next week during “This Crazy Winter”, a week-long promotion of charitable events. Locations throughout Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, and Wisconsin will be participating in "This Crazy Winter" by hosting events that will benefit a variety of charities. We'll be collecting winter gear, canned food, & more. In addition to benefitting charities, our Belgian Style Pale Ale, A Little Crazy, will be featured on draft or in cans. Follow the link in our bio to find a location near you. #alittlecrazy #revolutionbrewing #revbrew #charity #winter #craftbeer
A post shared by Revolution Brewing (@revbrewchicago) on
Revolution Brewing in Chicago is firmly on the radar of most craft beer fans, but it's generally not easily found around Philly.
The brewery's year-round mainstays include Rev Pils, a crisp pilsner made with all German hops and malts; Eugene, a robust porter; and Anti-Hero IPA, brewed with Citra, Crystal, Centennial and Chinook hops. For the Super Bowl road trippers, Revolution Brewing's seasonal offerings include Amarillo-Hero – an IPA featuring the citrusy namesake hops – and the Belgian-style pale ale A Little Crazy.
This year, for the first year, Revolution Brewing has canned the special-release, barrel-aged beers of its Deep Wood Series. It's an unusual and ingenious move because these big beers are too strong for the 22-ounce format in which they had previously been available. Each beer in the Deep Wood Series is aged in bourbon, rye or cognac barrels and sold in four-packs. There are several stouts in the series, all built upon Revolution's Deth's Tar barrel-aged imperial oatmeal stout, which was released in November. The most potent of the January releases is Double Barrel Very Special Old Deth (DB VSOD), which after spending a year in oak sits for another year in barrels formerly occupied by Woodford Reserve and Whistle Pig 10 year Rye. It clocks in at a numbing 17-percent ABV.
Pint cans of Half Acre Beer Co.'s Daisy Cutter are sold in Philadelphia, so long as you find them before PhillyVoice writer Brian Hickey buys them all. The pale ale was one of the brewery's first beers when it opened in 2009, and it's popularity has spawned special releases like Double Daisy Cutter and Galactic Double Daisy Cutter.
If there's something familiar about Half Acre, perhaps it's co-owner Gabriel Magliaro's New Jersey roots showing. He grew up in Lambertville along the Delaware River, before eventually ending up in Chicago to attend art school and study photography. Magliaro told the Chicago Tribune that for a time Half Acre had been eyeing a rural location outside of Philadelphia for a brewery expansion project about five years ago, but ultimately decided against venturing outside of Chicago.
Add or subtract breweries on this itinerary at will, but one that should remain is New Glarus Brewing Co., for two reasons: It regularly ranks among the best breweries in the United States (and even the world), and its beers are only sold in Wisconsin, making this trip a rare opportunity to try them.
New Glarus' owners Daniel and Deborah Carey have explained that out-of-state regulations and their focus on the Wisconsin market contributed to their decision to keep their beer local. But that hasn't stopped fans from attempting to take distribution matters into their own hands. While it's not illegal for you to fill your trunk with New Glarus Spotted Cow farmhouse ale, others have smuggled bottles across Wisconsin's borders with more nefarious intentions, like the 50 cases of the brewery's signature beer that ended up at Manhattan bar one time.
As another article noted, "Spotted Cow is a beer so good that it makes people desperate." And Forbes included New Glarus on its list of 15 U.S. craft breweries that beer drinkers should visit, noting how the brewery has "skipped all the hype around hops, extreme flavors and big beers," which puts it in stark contrast to the previous three stops on this road trip.
In the year of the underdog Philadelphia Eagles, could there be a more appropriately named brewery to visit than Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. in Decorah, Iowa?
About 160 miles south of Minneapolis, Toppling Goliath started in the garage of owners Clark and Barb Lewey in 2009 and expanded to a roster of nearly 30 year-round, seasonal and specialty brews. To hop heads' delight, the brewery has its Hop Patrol series, featuring 10 varieties of pale ale that supplement Toppling Goliath's regular selection of IPAs and American Pale Ales.
But among rare beer aficionados, Toppling Goliath get most attention for its three big stouts: Assassin, Mornin' Delight, and Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout (KBBS).
Right now, none of those are on tap at the brewery. So if you're serious about Toppling Goliath's limited releases, be ready to spend some time chasing them down or shell out some cash – or both. When the brewery released 500 tickets for people to sample Mornin' Delight in 2016, 80,000 people logged in from their computers in attempts to land one.
And Esquire ranked Kentucky Brunch Brand Stout No. 1 among 10 Great Beers You Will Never Taste in 2015. In January 2017, Toppling Goliath released 1,000 12-ounce bottles, sold in gift packs that included glassware and two other beers. Now bottles of KBBS alone are listed on a beer resale site for upwards of $750. Even Toppling Goliath acknowledges KBBS is "notoriously difficult to track down."
A post shared by Surly Brewing (@surlybrewing) on
You've arrived in Minneapolis, and if your vehicle isn't bottoming out under the weight of all those cases and growlers you've collected, there's one more stop: Surly Brewing Co.
Surly thoughtfully has provided a primer to its hometown on its website, offering Super Bowl visitors tips, historical facts about Minneapolis and points of interest in the city. The brewery also translates what a native Minnesotan really means when he says that old-school Ron Jaworski jersey you're wearing is "interesting."
Surly has been included as a destination in multiple things-to-do in Minneapolis lists published in the run up to the Super Bowl, but that shouldn't be a deterrent. Surly's stellar reputation for innovation and hop-forward beers is rightfully earned. Avoid looking like a tourist and celebrate your arrival at the Super Bowl with the amber-colored Furious IPA; the citrusy Overrated! West Coast IPA; or Todd the Axe Man, a collaboration with Denmark's Amager Brewery brewed with Citra and Mosaic hops.
In the map below, click on the icon in the upper left corner to deselect and select different portions of the route.