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Game day beer picks: Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh

What are you drinking? And mostly, what am I drinking for this one?

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

It’s (just about) Saturday yet again. And whether you’re high on our chances against Pitt or not, your day will likely be accompanied by an alcoholic beverage (or several, in some cases).

The Syracuse Orange (2-3) host the Pittsburgh Panthers (2-3) at 12:30 p.m. ET, which may lend to some drinking back East, but won’t offer me many options three hours behind most of you.

So whether you’re imbibing before, during or after Saturday’s game against Pitt, see below for three beer picks that are worth your while. You probably won’t be able to acquire at least one of these. Sorry in advance.

Pittsburgh Beer Pick: East End Brewing Co. Gratitude

The city of Pittsburgh has plenty of breweries available, but East End may very well top the list. Gratitude, a barleywine, isn’t your first choice as a tailgating option at a hefty 11.5 percent ABV. But in the case of a Syracuse win over Pitt, perhaps this is an appropriate post-game selection. The beer gives you plenty of caramel and toffee notes on the nose, plus a nice balance of malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness. No guarantees you’re actually getting your hands on this one, but if you do, it’s a strong start to your... late afternoon.

Syracuse Beer Pick: WT Brews Bourbon Barrel Breakfast Stout

Over in Baldwinsville is farm brewery WT Brews, which focuses in on local ingredients, and a sizeable amount of dark beers. Based on some research, the best of those is probably Bourbon Barrel Breakfast Stout — made with cocoa, oatmeal, maple syrup and coffee from Shamballa Coffee (also located in Baldwinsville). This is another beer you’re not pre-gaming with, but one that finishes off pretty sweet. It keeps balanced with the bourbon, however, playing off the adjunct sugars nicely.

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Los Angeles-Area Beer Pick: Highland Park Brewery Hello, LA

Just like it’s pretty tough for me to get the beers listed above, it’s going to be tough for any of you to get the beers listed in this section each week. But it would be irresponsible to celebrate local beers without highlighting some of the best from the exploding L.A. scene.

HPB is one of a handful of local breweries currently excelling with “hazy” New England-style IPAs. But long before they started finding success with that style, they started making some real hay with West Coast-style IPAs like Hello, LA. Plenty of their West Coast IPAs since have arguably had just as much if not more success. But Hello, LA remains a standard for me. It’s gorgeously tropical and bitter, creating the refreshing sort of beer you’ll need on most of Los Angeles’s very warm days. I wish this one was on draft this weekend when I head up there, but alas...


So what are you drinking? Share your own game day beer picks for the weekend below.