Coming from Melbourne, it’s pretty hard not to get caught up in AFL finals fever, and even in the (occasional) years when the mighty Hawks aren’t in the big dance, it’s still a tradition to load up on snacks, crack a few cold ones with mates, and enjoy the biggest game of the year from the comfort of a lounge room somewhere in the great state of Victoria!
Now I know the Hawks aren’t in it this year, but both senior coaches are former coaching protégés of Al Clarkson, and the Hawthorn coaching legend wouldn’t be where he is today without a sound game plan. It’s imperative that you the viewer have one too. To have a truly enjoyable grand final experience, you’ll need to plan for the following:
A fully stocked Eski
Well worn arse-groove on the couch
Selecting which beers to enjoy during such a prestigious game of footy is a lot like selecting your premiership side. I’ve gone ahead and based my team selection around the four quarters of the match, as well as a few other key stages of the game.
Pre Game Warm Up: When I think of a beer at the footy, I think mid strength commercial lager by the plastic cup at exorbitant prices... Well you can keep the plastic cup if you really want I guess, and I definitely want a crisp lager on game day, but maybe the choice of said lager can be improved? For this year’s granny, I’m selecting a Suburban Brewing staple of the past few years (and one of Paddy’s all time faves), Doss Blockos Pale Lager. This beer is clean and refreshing, and the perfect way to kickoff your day. It just wouldn’t be a Grand Final without a cold lager in hand.
First Quarter: The first bounce soars into the air, the crowd erupts, the commentators can barely contain their excitement…This is the big dance, it’s why we’re all here, so come out of the gates strong and start feeling out your opposition. This isn’t the time to blaze away, just steady yourself, contain those emotions and stick with what you know. Honey River Brewery Easy Ale. A strong malty backbone, and fragrant hops make this ale a real crowd pleaser. I will admit I was struck by the bright green can, and part of this selection was in honour of the Greater Western Eye-Gouger himself, Mr. Toby Greene. It’s lucky spec-savers sponsor the AFL because there will be a few new prescriptions filled at the punt road store on Sunday after Toby’s done with the yellow and black brigade (this beer can be used as an emergency eye wash if required).
Second Quarter: The second quarter is all about endurance. We don’t want to peak too early, there’s still the second half to think about. So for this I’m drawing inspiration from Richmond’s on field leader, captain sensible himself Trent Cotchin. Balter famously named their highly popular session ale after Cotchin’s performance in the 2017 grand final (ok I made that up, but it seems quite plausible), and hence it’s a great way to pace yourself for the rest of the game ahead. Speaking of heads, check out the hair do on Cotchin, it’s like the end of a microphone...Anyway, the key here is, moderation. You still get all the hoppy aroma your heart desires, but at a lower ABV, letting you pace yourself so you don’t run out of legs later. Just take it one beer at a time, it’s a team effort, anyone can win it on the day etc etc.
Half Time: Stay sharper than Razor Ray and refuel for the second half with a couple of bottles of ice cold water from the eski (no need to leave the couch). Nothing heroic about dozing off in the third coz you downed a six pack by half time...
Third Quarter: The premiership quarter. This is where games are won and lost. Be bold, shoot for the stars, bring out your best and all that...I don’t want to leave anything behind and wonder “what if” either, so I’m opting for the one of the bolder brews in the our collection… Fox Hat Red Pelt has some serious flavours, and an ABV that’ll shake you to your core harder than a Shane Mumford hip and shoulder. As all home brewers would agree (I’m breaking out one of my signature sweeping statements), red ales are not only amazing, they are highly underrepresented in the craft beer world. Paddy and I are therefore delighted with the current trend of Red IPAs. This beer is all rich warming malt, huge hop aromas and an IBU that’ll jumper punch you into next week. Give it your all, the game is hanging in the balance.
Fourth Quarter: In the final quarter of the biggest game of the year, I want to finish strong. I want to finish tough. I want to reach into a tank I didn’t know I possessed and give that extra 1% to get across the line. Enter the squealer. Good George Brewing’s IPA is served in a 946ml bottle, it’s big not only in size, but also in flavour. This beer looks like a good IPA should when poured into the glass, and it’s got more tropical fruit aroma than the MCG has empty seats after the Richmond “faithful” walk out at three quarter time. I wouldn’t normally attempt a beer like this at this point in a session, but lucky for me I will have refilled on water and snacks at half time (planning - thanks Clarko!). Bring it home and drag your team across the line.
After the Siren: Sierra Nevada Torpedo. The name says it all. I want to see Jeremy Cameron kick an after the siren torp from outside 50 to pinch the win by a point. The Giants have been underdogs since they started, are the youngest club in the comp, yet still they’ve built a winning culture, and I for one wouldn’t mind seeing them win one. Plus I don’t want to have another 6 months of Richmond flogs rolling around like they didn’t suck for 30 years prior (Cam/Chris I’m looking at you lads). A massive beer, from an all round great brewery, who from modest beginnings have grown into a winning team themselves. So, home brewers rejoice, I couldn’t pick a winning team of beers and leave these guys off the list.
Suburban Brewing drinking game
Gee, boy oh boy, wowee, all that wasn’t enough for you? Ok, if you want to take a different approach, grab yourself a few of your favorite session IPAs and play along as below:
Beginner: Have a drink every time Dylan Grimes kicks a goal. You’ll be waiting a while, this level is probably suitable for the designated driver.
Intermediate: Have a drink every time Dusty gives some lowly Giant the don’t argue. *Play this level with caution in the third quarter.
Expert: Have a drink every time Richmond supporters scream ball before the Giants player even has time to take possession of the pill.
God Mode: Have a drink every time BT goes off topic during live play and talks about how high the ump is bouncing the ball today or how many siblings some rookie player has. PLEASE NOTE: Medical professionals strongly advise against playing this level, consumption of alcohol at this volume can be harmful or even fatal.
That’s it, enjoy, stay social, and may the best team win (well the best available team since the Hawks aren’t in it).