Are you ready for some football? Football fans have been impatiently waiting for the NFL season to return since, well basically since the last season ended. And the wait is finally over. Regular season kicks off next week, and even though 3.2 beer reigns supreme in the world of hail Mary’s and pigskins, there’s still plenty of great beer to be found at craft breweries near stadiums across the country. Check out these nine taprooms that are the perfect place for craft beer aficionados the pregame at this NFL season.
1.) Little Machine — Denver, Colorado
Broncos fans live in the heart of Coors country, but most Denverite’s will reach for a locally-made craft beer over the fizzy yellow stuff any day of the week. If you’re catching a game in Denver, start your game day at Little Machine. Located a stone’s throw from Sports Authority Field at Mile High, this small but innovate brewery opens at 11 a.m. on Sundays, and serves up a handful of delicious beers, like the B.B. Rodriguez Coffee Double Brown, which at 8 percent ABV, might be the only beer you need to get the party started.
2.) Hinterland Brewing Co. — Green Bay, Wisconsin
The city of Green Bay, Wisconsin lives and dies by the Green Bay Packers (literally—one of the only ways to get season tickets to watch this team is to inherit them from a deceased family member). If a trip to iconic Lambeau Field is on your bucket list this season, Hinterland Brewery is the go-to place to pregame with a cold craft beer. The brewery recently opened a spacious and inviting location across the street from Lambeau. Hinterland’s line-up of beer is on point, and instead of bland game day food, the brewery’s restaurant offers up an elevated menu of delicious gameday favorites. And if that isn’t awesome enough, special gameday liquor laws allow football fans to grab a to-go cup full of their favorite Hinterland beer from the brewery, and take it across the street to their tailgating site.
3.) Vice District Brewing Co. — Chicago, Illinois
While not quite in stumbling distance from Solider Field, Vice District Brewing Company is close enough, and one of the best places to grab beer before cheering on da Bears. The large taproom is a great place for you and your jersey-clad friends to grab one of Vice District’s signature unfiltered, unpasteurized beers — like the Cluster? Damn Near Killed Her! Imperial IPA. At 8.4 percent ABV, this smooth and tasty beer will warm you up in the winter before making the short trek over to Solider Field.
4.) Cigar City Brewing Company — Tampa Bay, Florida
You’ll most likely have to grab a Lyft or rally a designated driver to make your way to Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium from the Cigar City taproom, but savoring a hoppy Jai Alai IPA before catching a Buccaneers game makes it all worth it. If you’d rather pregame in a parking lot with hundreds of strangers, that’s cool, too. Just swing by the iconic brewery and fill a super-portable Crowler with as much Cigar City goodness as you need to make your neighboring Budweiser-drinking tailgaters super jealous before heading into the game.
5.) Southern Tier Brewing Co. — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pumpkin beers and football are two of the best things about the fall season, and you can find both at Southern Tier’s Pittsburgh brewpub. Well within stumbling distance to Heinz Field, this brewpub is basically the place to be and be seen before a Steelers game. For starters, it’s huge. Which is why it’s the perfect spot to pregame with your posse. On tap, you can take your pick from 30 Southern Tier and Victory Brewing Company handcrafted beers. And be sure to fill up your stomach with a mouth-watering plate of BBQ pork nachos, or a delicious burger.
6.) Tow Yard Brewing Company — Indianapolis, Indiana
A few blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, craft beer drinkers and Andrew Luck fans will find Tow Yard Brewing Company — a brewery and deli housed in a beautiful industrial building. Start your pregame with the brewery’s Impound IPA, a popular American IPA hopped up with Apollo, Columbus and Crystal hops. And finish off your visit with some beer can wings, loaded waffle fries, or one of the $10 burgers found on the deli menu.
7.) The Unknown Brewing Company — Charlotte, North Carolina
Headed to a Carolina Panthers game this season? Start your game day on the beautiful outdoor patio at The Unknown Brewing Company. This N.C. brewery has a long list of fresh brews on tap, including a Pregame Session Ale, which at 4.25 percent ABV, you can (almost) drink all day. Every Sunday, Unknown also releases a limited-release small batch brew — so craft beer aficionados can geek out on beer before painting their faces and taking their foam fingers into Bank of America Stadium.
8.) Day Block Brewing Company — Minneapolis, Minnesota
In Minnesota, drinking beer is just as beloved of a pastime as watching the Vikings. For the ultimate craft beer pregaming near U.S. Bank Stadium, head to the Day Block Brewing Company, located a mere two blocks from the stadium. In addition to a lunch, dinner, and killer Sunday brunch menu, Day Block also serves flights of house-cured bacon… Grab a flight and wash it down with a Stadium Blonde Ale before throwing on your Viking horns and heading into the game.
9.) Intuition Ale Works — Jacksonville, Florida
A short jaunt from the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium, is Intuition Ale Works — a brewery specializing in flavorful small batch brews. This place has a little bit of something for everyone, including a hard cider for that one friend in your group who’s gluten-free. Beer drinkers can sip on beers like the Liver Kick Imperial Black Ale, the SMaSH Tart Saison, or if you’re trying to pace yourself, the Easy on the Eyes Session Ale. Intuition’s kitchen is also serving up plenty of calorie-packed dishes, like fried pickles and pork rind nachos, to balance out your beer-drinking.