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Game day beer picks: Syracuse vs. Western Michigan

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

Real Ale Enthusiasts At The Great British Beer Festival Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

We’re back for another season of merging two of my favorite things: Syracuse Orange football (why, I’m not sure) and craft beer.

The 2018 kicks off on the road, with Syracuse visiting the Western Michigan Broncos. For the East Coasters among us, it’s a 6 p.m. game, which presents a perfect time to begin holiday weekend beverage consumption.

No matter when (or if) you’re imbibing to unwind before, during or after this matchup vs. the Broncos, 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.

Western Michigan Beer Pick: Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted Ale

This will be among the most obvious picks we make all year. Bell’s primary brewery in Comstock is just outside of Kalamazoo, and they also have a facility in Kalamazoo itself. Two Hearted is among the best widely-available IPAs on the market today, especially as U.S. breweries keep fueling the NEIPA juice/haze craze. The beer’s citrusy and smooth, and not too heavy. It’s not complicated — and instead, just drinks really well, especially when fresh.

For those on the more adventrous side (or just want something heavier/darker), other Bell’s options include Hopslam (Double IPA), Black Note or Expedition Stout.

Syracuse Area Beer Pick: Prison City Pub & Brewery 4 Piece Pale Ale

Obviously there are only so many Syracuse-area breweries before we’re repeating ourselves from last year. But despite doubling back on breweries, we’re going to pick different beers. After covering Mass Riot last season, we pick some slightly lighter fare here in 4 Piece Pale Ale. The beer has plenty of citrus and piney notes, and it’s a great example of the style as it was originally popularized. Refreshing, smooth and flavorful, it checks the right boxes without adding a steep ABV percentage, which is nice for those of us 30 or older.

Los Angeles Area Beer Pick: Smog City Brewing Old Friends, New Kicks

If it’s still hot where you are (and it probably is), something like Old Friends, New Kicks is a welcome respite. The dry-hopped pale lager is made with Citra and Huell Melon, drinking light and crisp. There’s fruity notes to start and a bitter finish that makes you think you’re enjoying a much heavier beer. It’s become a recent addition to the regular rotation at Smog City (located in nearby Torrance), and you can get growler fills of it as well. Other options there, for those looking for a little more gravity: Bourbon O.E., Benny & the Bretts, and Brix Layer.