As the winter footy codes prepare for their final showdowns across the country, we reckon the best way to see out the season in style is to enjoy the action at home surrounded by plenty of good company and good beer. But which beer is best to pair with the ebb and flow of the on-field action?
Just like players have their ideal positions, different beers are better suited for different times and situations. To help ensure you’re fully prepared for the drama of finals footy, we’ve put together a solid team of craft brews you can pull out in any situation, whether you need a reliable legend, something light to sip away at slowly, something bolder to help cut through the tension, or something to raise a glass in celebration.
No team is complete without a few older, experienced heads that can be relied on year after year. In footy they’re the ones first picked on the team sheet. In beer they’re the first ones added to the shopping cart. If you’re looking for dependability from local producers, Coopers’ iconic Sparkling Ale, Three Sheets Australian pale ale from the Lord Nelson brewery and Stone & Wood’s perfect Pacific Ale are difficult to overlook, these three legendary beers from equally legendary breweries spanning the annals of Aussie beer history.
While the legends keep things ticking over all year, every year, sometimes you need an extra spark to change things up and make things more interesting. To get this from your beer, look out for seasonal or annual releases using different recipes; James Squire recently released Hop Thief 8, the eighth iteration of its ever-evolving American pale ale, Coopers Vintage is an annual and always-unique take on a strong ale, and the Endeavour Vintage Beer Co. changes the recipes on all its beers every year with the intention of showcasing the best of each growing season.
One thing both sport and beer have in common is that extra special feeling they offer when you’re supporting your local. With the current upward trajectory of Australia’s craft beer scene there are plenty of locals to be proud of, but even the best local team can be boosted by a few quality imports. A couple of good options for when games seem set to go the distance are the Speakeasy Session IPA from the USA and Dead Pony Club from Scotland’s BrewDog. Both fit into the loose category of Session Ale; essentially low alcohol beers with higher aromatic qualities, fruiter flavours and greater bitterness that what your average mid-strength is going to offer. If you need something with a bit more impact as the pressure builds towards the final whistle, the huge tropical fruit flavours and bitter bite of the ParrotDog IPA will set you up nicely for a big finish.
Cheers to the champions
If your team gets up on the day, you’ll probably want something suitable to celebrate. While the most obvious pick is Coopers Celebration Ale, for something with a true champion’s touch look to the 2016 Australian International Beer Awards where Two Birds Brewing was awarded the title of Champion Medium Brewery. And the most appropriate of their beers to enjoy as the lights go out on another footy season? It has to be their trophy-winning Sunset Ale.