Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday Night Games and Tasting

If anything I am a person of too many hobbies (and too few areas of expertise). One of the best things about fall, however, is the joining together of two of my favorite pastimes – college football and high quality beers.

If you are of the mind that “high quality” equals Budweiser, please stop reading now. However if you enjoy craft beers and trappist ales, and agree that merging Thursday night football with a fine sipping beer is as close to heaven as this earth allows, I urge you to join me for what I hope to be a weekly venture this season.

In choosing a beer for game watching, I will pay attention not only to beers I enjoy, but ones that are reasonably available. Everything I choose should be available at Total Wine and More, or other like outlets.

For the season kickoff and the inaugural night of Thursday football I will be drinking St. Bernardus Abt 12, the flagship of the St. Bernardus beers. St. Bernardus is brewed in that hallowed region of beer – Belgium – in the village of Watou in West Flanders.

Those Monks can brew!

Per the website description –

The absolute top quality in the hierarchy of the St. Bernardus beers. It is also the beer with the highest alcohol content (10.50 %).A dark ivory coloured beer with a high fermentation. The show piece of the brewery. Thanks to its soft and unconditionally genuine aroma, the beer can be smoothly tasted.The Abt has a very fruity flavour.

The style of St Bernardus Abt 12 is known as “Quadrupel”, a Belgian style of strong ale with bolder flavor compared to its Dubbel and Tripel sister styles. Typically a dark creation that ranges within the deep red, brown and garnet hues. Full bodied with a rich malty palate. Phenols are usually at a moderate level. Sweet with a low bitterness yet a well perceived alcohol. The beer, although not an official “Trappist” like some of its Belgium brethren, is still one of the region’s best, and gets an “A” rating from Beer

And that’s right folks – 10.5% is the alcohol content, so proceed gingerly. The previously maligned Budweiser comes in at 4.8%, so one of these is more than 2 of those. For the “men” among us we will be sipping the “bomber” (the larger bottle of the two above, or a 750 ml corked bottle), but if you can get the 11.2 oz version that is just as good. Tradition dictates that Belgian beers are consumed in their brewery specific glasses (a St Bernardus chalice is pictured above), but if you don’t have that, a classic red wine glass should suffice.

Tonight’s game slate –
Thursday, August 28

7:00 PM ET Northeastern at Ball State
7:00 PM ET UTEP at Buffalo
7:00 PM ET Eastern Illinois at Central Michigan
7:00 PM ET Indiana State at Eastern Michigan
7:30 PM ET Hofstra at Connecticut
7:30 PM ET Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech
7:30 PM ET Vanderbilt at Miami (OH)
7:30 PM ET Eastern Kentucky at Cincinnati
7:30 PM ET Charleston Southern at Miami (FL)
7:30 PM ET Troy at Middle Tennessee
8:00 PM ET South Dakota State at Iowa State
8:00 PM ET North Carolina State at South Carolina
8:10 PM ET No. 23 Wake Forest at Baylor
9:00 PM ET Oregon State at Stanford
That’s an unbelievable 14 games kicking off in the 2 hours between 7:00 and 9:00! Instead of sticking a toe in the water like college season beginnings of years past, we are getting an unblocked-linebacker-to-the-blindside smackdown right from the start!

Sure, most of the games pretty much suck. And most can’t be found on television. But it looks like a bookie’s dream.

I’ll be watching while sipping St. Bernardus –

NC State at South Carolina – Our Ol’ Ball Coach has lost 5 in a row, the worst streak of his college coaching career. Whether that career experiences a rebirth or goes completely off the rails starts tonight. If he can’t do it at home against the Wolfpack it is going to be a long, long season. On ESPN.

And flipping back and forth to -

Oregon State at Stanford – Yeah, two lame Pac Ten teams. Why would I watch any of this? Because it’s on TV! ESPN 2.

To celebrate the start of football season, I’m taking tomorrow off – and heading to Gainesville.


Anonymous said...

Oh wow I read this post too late. I would TOTALY buy this beer and watch thursday night football... Ironically I bough budwiser. I love BL lime, but the gas station didnt have a 12 pack. From now on I'll drink all the beers u suggest. Is this only for thursday games or what?

- Gator Boys

Anonymous said...

Also, you know we cant do this for sunday due to tailgating... Nobody buys tappist ale kegs

Anonymous said...

Damn... I meant saturday. Not sunday (the bud)

kevinh said...

Well Mergz, I hope you've had your fair share of trips to Stubie's in downtown Gainesville. They've got every kind of beer you can think of, except Bud!