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Game day beer picks: Syracuse vs. North Carolina

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

Oktoberfest 2018: Opening Day Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

I’m back in action, and so are the Syracuse Orange this week. After two straight losses and a bye, SU returns home at 4-2 to face the struggling North Carolina Tar Heels as both teams attempt to right the ship on Saturday.

Despite sharing a conference since 2013, this is the first time these two teams will face each other since Syracuse joined. To commemorate the occasion, the ACC handed them a 12:20 p.m. ET start on Raycom Sports (check your local listings). Not the best time for drinking, but you do you.

No matter when (or if) you’re imbibing before, during or after this game against UNC, see below for beer picks that are worth your while. You probably won’t be able to acquire at least one of these. Sorry in advance.

North Carolina Beer Pick: Steel String Brewery Big Mon IPA

We’ve covered the issue with evaluating “nearby” beer as it relates to the three Research Triangle schools before, but it’s worth repeating before diving in here: Well aware that Raleigh and Durham beers get to Chapel Hill. However, we limit the geographic scope to the closest cities for each campus. In this case, that brings us to Carrboro and Steel String.

One of their staples, Big Mon IPA, definitely falls into the conversation around “juicy” beers, but comes in at a manageable 6.3 percent ABV. It’s bright and crisp, while trending on the lighter end than most of its cohorts in the market today. Centennial, Cascade and Mosaic hops highlight the bill, too — making for the sort of piney flavor combination I’m a fan of.

Syracuse Are Beer Pick (from Steve): Mortalis Brewing Co. As Above So Below

Mortalis is a name that if you don’t know on the East Coast, now you will. They’re putting out solid beer left and right out in Avon, N.Y. The brewery actually started up as a kickstarter and has grown like crazy. Since we’re getting toward the colder weathers and it’s a breakfast tailgate, I opted for their As Above So Below, their coffee stout. The 9.5% imperial stout is definitely “of the season,” with a warm feel and hearty character.

Los Angeles Area Beer Pick: Beachwood Brewing Co. Amalgamator

From humble beginnings, Beachwood grows more and more each year, and yet still churns out some of the best beers in L.A. (and most of the best options are West Coast IPAs, much to my delight). Amalgamator is bitter and dank, while serving as a showcase for Mosaic hops which you can sense in every sip. It’s crystal clear, smooth and refreshing even at just a tick over 7 percent ABV. If you’re in the L.A. area at all, try it out on draft at any of Beachwood’s locations or pick up fresh six-packs at beer shops around the county.