Archive for September, 2011

NFL Beer Cities

As I was prepping for a radio segment this week, “pairing the perfect halftime meal”, I started researching which NFL cities have the best local beer scene.  The initial research was pretty easy but I found that it was skewed just a bit in favor of teams that had cities to call their own like San Diego, Kansas City or even Atlanta.  Teams with geographic or state names like New England or teams that don’t play in their hometown like both of the New York teams suffered a bit because their “hometowns” don’t have much, if any breweries and because those names are to broad of a descriptor.  Also, who wants to drink beer in places like New Jersey? (says the guy from South Dakota)  As you might have guessed the NFL beer scene become more diverse as you move east to west across the country. But before I tell you where the best NFL beer cites are I think I should explain the ground rules…

1. I am interested in fresh beer.  Beer bars and beer stores are great but these rankings will only cover fresh, local beer.

2. I am only listing the breweries that are IN the team’s “hometown”.

3. If there are chains such, as Rock Bottom (some cities have more than one), I will be counting each one because I want you to know how many opportunities there are for fresh beer.

4. This list will always be changing so save your hate mail if I missed your favorite brewery.

5. I know my “hometown” constraints are limiting and I am certainly missing some good brews that lie just out of the city limits but you can always add your favorite brewery from the burbs in the comments below.

The 16 AFC teams host a respectable 113 breweries with an average of  7 breweries per city. The division with the most breweries is the AFC West with 49.  No surprise there with Denver AND San Diego in the same division none of the others had a chance.  San Diego has the most of any AFC  team with 22 local breweries.

The Round-up

AFC East

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West

Jets – 0

Browns – 4

Texans – 4

Raiders – 4

Patriots – 0

Steelers – 6

Titans – 7

Chiefs – 7

Dolphins – 4

Bengals – 7

Jacksonville – 7

Broncos – 16

Bills – 9

Ravens – 7

Colts – 9

Chargers 22





The NFC topped the AFC by hosting 139 breweries with an average of 8 breweries per city.  The division with the most breweries is the NFC West with 62.  Again no surprise there with San Francisco AND Seattle in the same division.  With a whopping 29 breweries, Seattle tops any team in the NFL.

The Round-up

NFC East

NFC North

NFC South

NFC West

Giants – 0

Packers – 3

Buccaneers – 1

Cardinals – 8

Dallas – 4

Lions – 4

Saints – 4

 Rams – 13

Redskins – 5

Vikings – 6

Panthers – 9

49-ers – 12

Eagles – 9

Bears – 20

Falcons – 12

Seahawks – 29

Total =  18

Total = 33

Total = 26

Total= 62

If your favorite team is in the AFC or NFC East division I am sorry.  My research shows that these two divisions are in need of some fresh beer! A combined total of the two (31 breweries) would only move them into 4th place.

Top 10 … err, 11  NFL Beer Cities:

7  (tie) Buffalo, Charlotte, Indianapolis and Philadelphia with 9

6  (tie) Atlanta and San Francisco with 12

5.  Saint Louis with 13

4.  Denver with 16

3.  Chicago with 20

2.  Sand Diego with 22

1.  Seattle with 29

Next week I will be starting with my newest series called Halftime: adventurous beer and food pairings for fanatics.  The series will focus on halftime favorites and the beer to go with them.  I will be focusing on the Steelers, of course, and the teams they play. They will end up playing some pretty great beer and food cities along the way so if your team’s hometown falls into that category be sure to see if they play the Steelers this season.  If they do,come back here the Friday before that game to get some beer and food pairing suggestions for halftime.  Not interested in the Steelers, I get that.   You will still want to check back each week because on the bye weeks and repeat division games I will focus on another set of teams and I might just pick your team’s hometown to feature.


food.pairing: Flying Dog’s Woody Creek White

Woody Creek, Flying Dog

This is the first official shelf talker of many to come.

Recently I have started collaborating with a local beer market called the Village Commons Market and in the back corner is a a little slice of beervana called  the Beer Cave.  Together, we (Ken, manager of the Market and I) have developed a scaled down talker that will fit in the shelves but still be easy to read.  The talkers will also have a QR code that when scanned will take you to a much more detailed description of the beer and the pairing. Next time you need a beer be sure to make the cave your first stop.  If you don’t find the beer you are looking for be sure to request it and they will do their best to get it for you.  Also, let them know you heard about the “Beer Cave” here.

woody creek, flying dog

General suggestion and description: The spicy yeast character and the subtle fruity esters in Woody Creek White complement sauteed bell peppers nicely.  The spicy yeast accentuates the bell pepper bitterness while the subtle fruity esters (especially as the beer warms) enhance the pepper’s sweetness. The elevated carbonation in this beer “scrubs” the savory saute flavors out and refreshes the palate.
Specific suggestion: Sauteed bell peppers, diced yellow zucchini and garlic piled high on goat cheese and salted baguette slices. Woody Creek White

This week’s review probably should have been written a few months ago but here in SoCal we are just hitting mid-summer, perfect weather for the crisp (if consumed chilled) and spicy Woody Creek White.  Flying Dog will always hold a special place in my beer-heart as it was one of the first craft breweries I obsessed over.  Their Old Scratch amber lager was one of my gateway beers that paved the way to more assertive beers like Double Dog or Gonzo.

woody creek, flying dog

California Beer Festival Recap

The California Beer Festival – Ventura has come and gone but I couldn’t let it fade into history without a recap…

I am sure has been around for a while but this was the first event I have seen it used to judge the people’s choice award.   Attendees could use their smart phones to access a website where they could rate the breweries as they made their way around the festival.  The people’s choice winners for CBF-Ventura was: Two Trees Brewing Company !

Al Trevisan Two Trees Brewing

Click to read my interview with Al brewmaster of Two Trees.

I had a great time as one of their beer judges although it was a lot more “work” than I thought it would be.  We used modified BJCP guidelines to score each beer that passed in front of us and the top winners were: 1st Place: Figueroa Mountain Brewery Stage Coach Stout and 2nd Place: Firestone Walker’s Double Jack.

Beer, water, pretzel

Beer judging necessities!

Probably the best part of judging (besides the 27 beers) was that the beer came to us.  Thanks to Sarah and her crew for fetching the beer for us!  I really appreciated it.


Thanks, Sarah!

The judging crew.  In the top middle is John.  He was the organizer and task master:-)  Keeping us on track and making sure we had freshly rinsed glasses and just the right sized pours.  Thanks John.

California Beer Festival

CBF Judges

hombrew.label: Espresso Stout

A few are good, some are OK, most are BAD and all are my homebrew labels! Let me know what you think, or better yet let me know what you think of the beer, even if you haven’t had it.

This one is all bad!  I especially love the black boxes around the mug and the “espresso” and I think I may have assembled this one in Microsoft Publisher with borrowed clipart from the web. It is sooo bad (the design) but it did taste good.  I brewed a whole “pot” (from my Krups) of espresso and dumped it into a five gallon keg.

Espresso Stout

Coming soon…

to a T-shirt I know you will want! My son drew this picture for me the other day when he realized that I was selling some of my beer designs on CafePress. I am going to clean up some of the eraser smudges and erase the pencil box but otherwise the design will stay the same.  I will let you know when the design is available.

beer is love

Happy Birthday HopHeadSaid

It is hard for me to believe that small side project, one I started a year ago to keep me busy writing, has become the major focus of my budding writing career!  Originally I created HopHeadSaid to give me an excuse to try local beers and write reviews of them for a local entertainment blog.  One thing I learned early on was that there are a gazillion beer review blogs, not to mention websites like BeerAdvocate and Rate Beer, so I started looking for another beer niche to write about.  Today HopHeadSaid is a beer education blog, first and foremost. Educating on styles, glassware, food pairings and most recently, breweries. I am using my 15 years of homebrewing knowledge and my various beer certifications like Cicerone’s Certified Beer Server to lend credibility to my writing.

The future looks bright, in my eyes anyway.  I have started writing beer and food pairings for a local CSA (community supported agriculture) who has 250 subscribers.  Each week those subscribers , my very own captive audience, will receive a beer and food pairing suggestion in their “in-box”. This is going to be a fun and challenging writing exercise, pairing beer with veggies isn’t going to be easy.

Also, I started doing a radio segment for KVTA’s number one rated local show, a station that averages 33,000 listeners a day!  There are two segments posted on the front page of  right now.  There will be more, though.  I will be on again this weekend and then I am scheduled to be on the show the first two weekends in October.  Be sure to listen to 805 with Tom and Sand on at 8am Saturday mornings, I will post links to the podcasts if you aren’t local.  This weekend, at a beer festival, I was introduced to another DJ and we hit it off.  He does a sports show on another station and we are going to talk about creating a segment for his show.  The only caveat is that the segment be related to sports. I am not sure if that can be done!-)

Click to visit 805 with Tom and Sandy

As a new year starts, I am most excited about a beer and food pairing book that I am writing.  Without giving too much away, the book will teach you how to pair beer with food.  Most books skim the surface of teaching and are heavy with pre-prepared suggestions without really explaining “why” they go well together.  The proposal is being reviewed by an agent and I should learn soon if she will accept or pass on my proposal.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

So it has been a good year, indeed and cheers to many more!