All right, this is it. The Final Four is set and the teams are focused on the title. Whether you're a diehard fan of the Villanova Wildcats or Oklahoma Sooners, or if you can't help but root for the North Carolina Tar Heels now that the Syracuse Orange (sorry UVA) ousted your team, you're pumped for the remaining games no matter what. Of course, your lucky jerseys, caps and foam fingers are all on standby and your man-cave (or woman-cave!) is decked out in collegiate swag. As you watch the nail-biting action this coming Saturday, all the excitement can work up an appetite.
No worries, we've covered the food and brews for you. We know you need a great selection of beer for game day and some killer snacks to go along with it, and that’s why we have put together a few MVP pairings to take you through the rest of the season. If you're into burgers, chili cheese fries or hot wings, there's an IPA, lager or stout ready to join your March Madness meals.
Burger and Fries With Knockout Blonde
The simplicity of a burger and fries is sometimes all you need to cheer on your all-star team. American blonde ale, like Knockout Blonde Ale from Lawson’s Finest Liquids, will get you jazzed up for a thrilling game. Load your burger with crisp lettuce, juicy tomato, ketchup, and mustard for a wining meal. Click here for the best burger recipes.
Carnitas-Topped Nachos and Tecate
Nachos are near and dear to our hearts — especially when topped with carnitas (pork that has been braised or roasted until super-tender). Match the cheesy, tortilla mound with a cerveza like Tecate. The brew is perfect match for the cilantro, white onion, radish, and mounds of cheese found in these nachos. This pairing is a definite halftime hit. Click here for nacho recipe ideas.
Cheese Fries With Nitro-Poured English Brown Mild Ale
Hands down, French fries are one of America's most beloved finger foods. And when fries are adorned with mild or sharp Cheddar cheese, the dish is even more enticing. Such a treat begs for a nutty brown ale, like a Nitro-Poured English Brown Mild Ale, as a complement. This beer will enhance the taste of Cheddar, while still being crisp enough to cut the richness of the cheese fries.
Chili Cheese Fries With Morning Wood American Porter
This pairing is a great example of how cooking with beer really amps up your dish. Add some Morning Wood American porter from the Funky Buddha Brewery to your meat when browning and then drink the rest with your dish. The flavors of both the chili and porter are similar: smoky, with hints of dark coffee. This coupling is a slam-dunk crowd-pleaser.
Chips and Dip or Salsa and Dos Equis Amber
Practice your chip and dip combos while your team warms up for the big game. Whether you fancy queso, ranch, guacamole, or a classic tomato-based salsa, the perfect beer for this snack is amber lager. Ambers tend toward the sweet side, so they balance nicely against the heat of a good salsa or the fresh herbs in the ranch dip. Wash the chips down with Dos Equis Amber or Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager. As a lager, this beer cuts through the salt of the chips and cleanses the mouth.
Classic Buffalo Wings With Southern Tier Brewing Company's IPA
It’s do-or-die time for the remaining four teams. You'll need a nosh that matches the intensity of these big-game moments. Opt for a fried drumstick drizzled in your choice of fiery hot sauce and seasoned with cayenne pepper and paprika. Extinguish all that heat with blue cheese and a hoppy India pale ale, like one from Southern Tier Brewing Company. This IPA’s zesty hops can cut through some of the vinegar qualities tasted in Buffalo sauce, while still holding its own bold piquancy. Click here for the Authentic Buffalo Wing recipe.
Fried Chicken Wings With Munich Helles
Fried chicken and beer is a guranteed three-pointer. Graba few Munich Helle beers (like a pilsner, but way more malty). Munich Helles are a thoughtful complement to wings since it’s light-bodied and lightly sweet. The bready malt factor balances the salty, savory notes in fried chicken. The best examples are Weihenstephaner Original and Bikini Blonde Lager, which have subtle toasty notes that pick up the chicken's toasty crust. Just enough bitterness and a dry, crisp lager finish helps to cleans the palate for the next juicy bite.
Hero Sandwiches With Allagash Dubbel
Who could resist a classic hero bursting at the seams with deli meats, unlimited cheese, and plenty of vegetables, like ripe red tomatoes and banana peppers? This is a game-day standard for the Final Four. An ideal teammate for this dish is the Belgian Dubbel. This rich, malty, beer makes a great companion for the sandwich no matter how it’s stuffed. The full, malty flavor pairs very nicely with the meats and bread of the sandwich, while the zest yelements of the Belgian yeast will showcase with the vegetable toppings.
Pepperoni Pizza With Wood Jack Black IPA
Pepperoni is full of Italian spices and adds a kick to its mellow mozzarella cheese counterpart, so go with a beer that has some spicy hops and bitter roasting notes. Try the Woody Jack black IPA, which has the right amount of bitterness to assist pepperoni’s bold flavor. The slow roast draws out the smokiness of the meat, creating a game-changing pairing. Click here for a pepperoni pizza recipe.
Dark Chocolate Cake With Sea Dog's Wild Blueberry or Raspberry Wheat Ale
We didn’t forget about those sweet-toothed fans. Create a dream team with chocolate cake and a fruity craft beer, like Seadog's Wild Blueberry or Raspberry Wheat Ale. The sweet flavors help to tame the acidity of the beer.