Food & Drink

It's Washington Beer vs. Massachusetts Beer In The Super Bowl Of Taste Tests

Who's going to take it all???
01/27/2015 06:26pm ET | Updated January 27, 2015

Beer and the Super Bowl go together better than Bill Belichick and controversy. Americans reportedly drink 50 million cases of beer the day of the big game -- which translates into about six cans of beer per drinking-age adult.

Most people surely plan to drink cheap, drinkable beers from brewing giants Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors on Sunday. But let's face it: In 2015, macrobrews are totally #basic. The Seahawks and Patriots both hail from states with relatively robust beer cultures, so why not upgrade your beverage game by serving beers from Washington state and Massachusetts?

To find out which specific beers you should serve, HuffPost decided to hold the Super Bowl of Taste Tests, pitting Massachusetts beers against Washington beers. We invited a panel of football- and beer-loving staffers to taste five beers from each state and tell us what they thought, then translated their reactions to each beer into football plays to determine which state reigns supreme.

Before we dive in, a note on the selection: It wasn't easy to assemble a strong lineup of Washington beers here in California -- though over 200 breweries call Washington home, almost none of them distribute their beer outside the state. For that reason, we included two beers, Olympia and Rainier, that are based on traditional Washington state brands, but are now brewed by Pabst Brewing Company. We also included a beer branded with The Hobbit, which was made by Fish Brewing in Olympia, Washington. On the face of it, that should give Massachusetts, which had an all-craft lineup, a sizable advantage in the tasting.

As always, the brands included did not in any way sponsor or influence the outcome of this taste test.

The Lineup
Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
Massachusetts:Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Mystic Brewing Spectral Evidence, Cambridge Brewing Company Tripel Threat, Brash The Bollocks, Clown Shoes Undead Party Crasher Washington: The Hobbit Bolg, Olympia Beer, Rainier Ale, Pyramid Hefeweizen, Red Hook ESB
Massachusetts: Cambridge Brewing Company Tripel Threat -- Touchdown, No Extra Point
Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
Style: Belgian Tripel ABV: 10 percent Cost: $8 per 22 oz. bottle Tasters Said: "Very interesting and unique flavor." "Awesome. It's like the 12th man is my tastebuds!" "A little sweet, tangy at the finish." "Definitely Belgian, with spicy notes. There's an alcohol presence but it's not overpowering." Score: Touchdown, no extra point (6 points)
Washington: The Hobbit Bolg -- Field Goal
Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
Style: Belgian Tripel ABV: 9.5 percent Cost: $8.50 per 22 oz. bottle Tasters Said: "I really liked the citrus aftertaste." "Not my favorite. Very bitter." "Pretty sweet, but has a lot going for it. Lots of notes: caramel, bread, blackberry jam. A certain brightness." "Well balanced, good mouthfeel, slick but full across palate." "A little hint of spice or nutmeg? Similar to Hoegaarden. Yum." Score: Field goal (3 points)
Massachusetts: Samuel Adams Boston Lager -- Fumble
Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
Style:Vienna Lager ABV: 4.9 percent Cost: $8.50 per six-pack Tasters Said: "Like a Patriots football, it's a bit… FLAT." "This tastes stale." "Not the worst, not the best. Pretty middle-of-the-road." "Steely. Crisp. No overt flaws, but also not much excitement." "Boring flavor. Weak." Score: Fumble (0 points)
Washington: Red Hook ESB -- Touchdown With Extra Point
Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
Style:Strong Bitter ABV: 5.8 percent Cost: $7 per six-pack Tasters Said: "Kind of cool and strange. Zings the taste buds at the start. It's good." "Mild, pleasant." "Delightful, flavorful, fruit accents." "Sweet, bigger, more malt than hops. Heavier. Butterscotch notes." Score: Touchdown, with extra point (7 points)
Massachusetts: Brash The Bollocks -- Fumble
Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
Style:Imperial IPA ABV: 12 percent Cost: $9 per 22 oz. bottle Tasters Said: "Tastes worse than medicine." "Worst aftertaste. Bitter and no-can-do." "Bigger bitter IPA. A tasty brew, big mouthfeel." "If you were to make mead from a bucket of pinecones, it might taste something like this. Totally bizarre." Score: Fumble (0 points)
Halftime! (Featuring Beyonce)
We're halfway there, and Washington is leading Massachusetts, 10-6. Those two fumbles were brutal for Massachusetts -- but it still has time to turn this game around.
Washington: Olympia Beer -- Safety
Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
Style:American Ale ABV: 4.8 percent Cost: $8.50 per 12-pack Tasters Said: "Light and mild, which is good if you're out to drink 12 during the Super Bowl -- as I am!" "Very easy to drink." "A little watery. Not much flavor." "No taste." "Reminds me of a macrobrew. I can imagine drinking this while watching football." Score: Safety (2 points)
Massachusetts: Clown Shoes Undead Party Crasher -- Touchdown With Extra Point
Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
Style:Imperial Stout ABV: 10 percent Cost: $9 per 22 oz. bottle Tasters Said: "A delicious, powerful stout. Not too sweet. Some metallic bite and more hops than I expect from a rich stout like this." "Tasty. Nutty brown. Smooth and balanced." "Deep caramel flavor. Roasted finish. Tastes like Guinness." "Nice coffee finish. Bitter. It's a first down … of flavor!" Score: Touchdown, with extra point (7 points)
Washington: Pyramid Hefeweizen -- Field Goal
Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
Style:Hefeweizen ABV: 5.2 percent Cost: $7.50 per six-pack Tasters Said: "Not a lot going on." "Malt forward, weak, light." "Flabby. Not much character." "Light flavor, not much hops, clean finish." Score: Field goal (3 points)
Massachusetts: Mystic Brewing Spectral Evidence -- Field Goal
Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
Style:Imperial Stout ABV: 12 percent Cost: $15 per 750 mL bottle Tasters Said: "Strong. Hard and bitter. Astringent." "Straight-up coffee." "Big alcohol. Pretty good for the style." "Tastes sort of like a candy apple. Mouth-coating." Score: Field goal (3 points)
Washington: Rainier Ale -- Touchdown With Extra Point
Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
Style:American Ale ABV: 7.3 percent Cost: $6.50 per six-pack Tasters Said: "Solid beer. All-around good balance." "This is good. Light, crispy, dances on your taste buds." "It's a good beer -- and it might be perfect for a football game." "If champagne were a beer, it would taste like this." "Drinkable. A bit sweet, but I'd have a glass at a tailgate." "A little more interesting than a typical macrobrew." Score: Touchdown, with extra point (7 points)
And the winner is ...
ryuivst via Getty Images
Washington! The home of the Seahawks overcame its relative lack of beers distributed out of state to pull off a surprise victory with 22 points to Massachusetts' 16. The Massachusetts lineup ended up being a little too weird and uneven to overcome the solidness of the beers from Washington state, at least for this panel of tasters. Patriots fans had better hope this result doesn't translate onto the gridiron this Sunday.

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