Super Sunday is coming, and it’s party time. Meredith Goad is telling you what you should eat. What you should drink is beer – and not only because it seems like half the Super Bowl ads are for beer. Beer just fits an American sport.

Wine fits tennis, scotch fits golf – beer is football and baseball.

But what beer? You’ll want a low-alcohol beer – what is known as a session beer. With all the ads and the halftime show by the Black Eyed Peas, the game is going to last at least four hours. And you’re going to need a lot of liquid to soothe your throat from yelling at the TV. In short, avoid the words “imperial,” “double,” “triple” and “barley wine.”

If the Patriots were playing, any New England beers would be OK – although my personal Super Bowl superstition requires Sam Adams Light. I forgot about the Sam Light for the Jets game, and look what happened.

The Super Bowl is in Dallas, but I couldn’t find any Texas beers in my regular beer stores. I have had Shiner Bock, a great beer brewed in a tiny town between Houston and San Antonio, but you can’t get it in Maine. The closest you can get is Abita, brewed in Louisiana, which makes very good beer.

With the teams, you have some choices.

Green Bay is close to Milwaukee, and Milwaukee means beer – for the most part, generic and watery American lagers. Schlitz is “the beer that made Milwaukee famous.” In 1956 – while my baseball passion was Hank Aaron and the Braves and we were attending a double-header – our entire family toured the Schlitz Brewery. (My training as a beer columnist started early.)

There is also Milwaukee’s Best, a sub-label of Miller. Pabst Blue Ribbon was originally made by a Milwaukee brewery, but no longer.

I am going to recommend Leinenkugel, brewed in Chippewa Falls, Wis., which is actually closer to Minneapolis than Green Bay. Last weekend at Hannaford’s and Shaw’s, I found the Sunset Wheat and the Fireside Nut Brown, but you might find others.

Call your nearest serious beer store – RSVP, Downeast Beverage and Oak Hill Beverage in Scarborough come to mind, but you probably have one of your own – and see what they have.

For Steeler fans, there are fewer options. The local beer is Iron City, pronounced something like “Aurncity.” My Pittsburgh-native son-in-law brought some to Maine one time for a Steeler-Patriots game. It was throw-away awful. It tasted like slightly fizzy water left too long in a rusty tin can.

Victory is a Pennsylvania beer, but is too close to Philadelphia (called “western New Jersey” by my son-in-law). And most of its beers are too high in alcohol content for Super Bowl watching.

Yuengling (pronounced “Ying Ling”) is a great Pennsylvania beer brewed in Pottsville – as well as Tampa, Fla. Pottsville is closer to Philadelphia than it is to Pittsburgh, but since it is in coal country, it has more of an affinity to Pittsburgh.

My favorite Yuengling beers are Lord Chesterfield, Black and Tan, and Porter. But you can’t buy Yuengling in New England. There are several online campaigns to “bring Yuengling to New England,” but that is not going to happen before Sunday.

That leaves you with Rolling Rock, founded in Latrobe, Pa., a Pittsburgh suburb. But Budweiser bought the brand in 2006 and moved the brewing to Newark, in the real New Jersey.

So if you are a Pittsburgh fan, I don’t know what to tell you. I think that if I couldn’t get someone to drive in some Yuengling, I’d go with Rolling Rock for the tradition. My son-in-law did tell me while we were discussing this piece that he has a case of Yuengling in the cellar.

Personally, I’m going to buy one can of Schlitz to look back to my personal past and a six-pack of Leinie Fireside Nut Brown.


Tom Atwell’s beer column What Ales You appears Thursdays in GO. He can be contacted at 791-6362 or [email protected]