When we're kicking back at a football game, many of us reach for one thing: beer. Whether we enjoy a classic, All-American Sam Adams or prefer to sip on local craft beers, a cold beer goes hand-in-hand with the tailgates, hot dogs, and body paint that make up the NFL season.
With the NFL season already rolling, we had to know: which stadium has the best craft beer selection?
#5) Pittsburgh Steelers — Heinz Field
Heinz Field makes the list for two craft beer concession stands (located in multiple sections throughout the stadium) with one of the biggest craft beer selections you can find in an NFL stadium. Inside Hero’s Pub and Beverage Blitz are bottled beer selections that won’t disappoint: local favorite Church Brew Works, Harpoon, Anchor Steam, and Great Lakes Brewing, to name just a few. The draught selections are pretty standard, including Samuel Adams, but we’ll take a bottled craft beer over a Coors any day. Click Here to See More of the Best NFL Stadiums for Craft BeerPhoto Credit: © Flickr / Matthew Paulson
#4) Carolina Panthers — Bank of America Stadium
This ought to make some North Carolina brew-hounds very, very happy. The Carolina Panthers have made their love for craft beer known by adding several new breweries to the lineup, particularly the NoDa Brewing Company, Big Boss Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company (a new addition to the Carolina beer scene), and the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. Even more impressive: a beer garden stationed at section 101, with an even bigger beer selection, shares Carolina Beer
. Photo Credit: © Flickr / James Willamor
#3) Houston Texans — Reliant Stadium
Texans fans have a lot to be grateful for at the beer concession stands: there are local favorites like Karbach Brewing Co., Shiner Bock (practically the Texas state beer), Southern Star Brewing Co., St. Arnold Brewing Company, and others on tap. For such a local craft beer list, we’ll even forgive the stadium for its recent addition of Goose Island (another brewery owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev.) Photo Credit: © Flickr / Ed SchipulClick Here to See More of the Best NFL Stadiums for Craft Beer
#2) Detroit Lions — Ford Field
We’re not too surprised that Detroit is near the top of our list of craft beers; after all, the stadium itself hosts a number of favorite Michigan breweries
. Bell’s Brewery, New Holland Brewing Co., Founder’s Brewing Co., Atwater, Liberty Ales, and Short’s Brewing Co. beers can be found on tap throughout the stadium and in the Michigan Craft House, a must-visit for beer lovers. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Axel Drainville
#1) Seattle Seahawks — CenturyLink Field
Seattle’s Safeco Field
took the cake for best baseball stadiums for craft beer
, and now the city's CenturyLink Field
takes the top spot for football, too. Hey, we didn’t mean to stack the odds for Seattle, but we can’t deny that the CenturyLink Field has more than 30 different beers for sale throughout the stadium. There’s the new Brougham Beer Hall, as well as the craft house, that offer enough selection to satisfy even the snobbiest craft beer and Seahawks fan. And by selling brews from even the smaller breweries of the Northwest, like famed Elysian Brewing and Two Beers Brewing, CenturyLink is dedicated to its hometown brews (and wines; the selection of Washington wines at the beer hall isn't too shabby, either). Note to self: become a fan of Seattle sports, if only to enjoy a good drink at the games. Click Here to See More of the Best NFL Stadiums for Craft BeerPhoto Credit: © Flickr / M I K E M O R R I S
Last year, we published our list of The Best NFL Stadiums for Craft Beer for 2013. This year, we added a new winner to the list: the New England Patriots' Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., which came in at number seven out of the 10 best stadiums. Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis was knocked down to number eight and M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore to number nine.
Granted, it isn't so easy to find these elusive craft beers at the 31 NFL stadiums across the country. In case you were unaware of this, big beer sort of has a lockdown on NFL football, as well as on any other major-league sport. (At least we get some amusing Budweiser commercials during the Super Bowl out of it.) So unless you're tailgating with a great craft beer in hand (we're particularly indebted to CraftBeer.com for giving us the most in-depth guide to the craft breweries nearby each stadium), you most likely have to suck it up and hand over the big bucks for a mass-produced beer.
But if you're willing to take a bit of a hike during the game -- obviously, we recommend doubling up on beer orders to make up for lost time -- and search, certain NFL stadiums will have the local craft beer you're craving. In fact, stadiums now are heeding the craft beer cry and building in beer gardens and craft beer "houses" to provide dozen of local draughts. That makes game day just a bit more exciting for the beer lover.
Of course, it goes without saying that you'll be paying up to get a better beer. This year's research showed that an "average" beer at the stadium costs $7.53, up 25 cents from 2013. And this year, the winner of the most expensive beer at the game goes to the Oakland Raiders at $10.75 apiece. But in making our list, we left price aside and researched how many craft beers were on tap, how accessible they were to the public, and which stadiums have the most variety. After all, circling the stadium for a beer can make for an exhausting beer run.
Wisconsin is the newly crowned capitol of craft brewing, if the most recent beer awards are anything to go by. So it should be no surprise that Lambeau Field, home to the Green Bay Packers, makes our list. The Carolina Panthers have made their love for craft beer known by adding several new breweries to the lineup, particularly the NoDa Brewing Company, Big Boss Brewing, New Belgium Brewing Company (a new addition to the Carolina beer scene) and the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. Even more impressive: a beer garden stationed at section 101, with an even bigger beer selection, shares Carolina Beer.
We know which stadiums are now on the bucket list for the craft beer lover-cum-sports fan in all of us.
-Marcy Franklin, The Daily Meal
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