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Game day beer picks: Syracuse vs. Middle Tennessee

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

IRONMAN European Championship Frankfurt Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images for Ironman

We’re back to a Saturday kickoff for the Syracuse Orange this week. And at a 3:30 p.m. ET, that’s prime drinking time for any of us in the continental United States -- even for me out on the Left Coast. A beer with lunch never hurt anyone.

So whether you’re drinking before, during or after Saturday’s game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, 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.

Middle Tennessee Beer Pick: Mayday Brewery Evil Octopus

Tennessee’s not the biggest beer state. They do have plenty of other top-notch booze to enjoy, however, including their signature whiskey brands. But when I was in Nashville a couple years ago, I did end up giving Murfreesboro’s Mayday Evil Octopus a try and was pleasantly surprised. The black ale was a nice mix of malt-forward character and hoppy finish. It wasn’t a porter, nor was it an IPA. And at just over six-percent ABV, there’s no reason to avoid tossing back a few of these.

‪What's a kickoff without a tailgate!? Get your Willow Rock crowlers for opening day! ‬

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Syracuse Beer Pick: Willow Rock Brewing Co. BRUNCH

If you consult Untappd, BRUNCH is actually one of the highest-rated beers brewed in Syracuse proper (a 4.13 rating on an appropriate 444 check-ins). So with that high praise, it’s at least worth a shot. The oatmeal stout is not just a local beer, however -- it also brings some local ingredients in the form of Recess Coffee and Cedervale Maple Syrup. Supporting local breweries is great, and supporting other local businesses that enhance a beer is even better. You’re getting a sweeter coffee overtone here that’s maybe more befitting of a porter. But nonetheless, a local trifecta that wins together.

Los Angeles-Area Beer Pick: Smog City Brewing Co. Grape Ape IPA

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.

If you’ve listened to the podcast at any point in the last few years, you’ve probably heard me mention one of my favorite L.A. IPAs, Grape Ape. Torrance-based Smog City releases this one a couple times a year and in the other months, you’re wishing there was more of it. It’s a West Coast India Pale Ale with citrus notes, a nice hop punch and the kicker, wine grapes. Since it’s different grape varietals added at different points in the brewing process each time, it’s always a little different. But also always enjoyable.

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