A full Saturday of basketball (after a full Thursday and Friday) seemed like the perfect time to spend a day boozing and blogging. You've heard of beer pairings with food, but today I'll be pairing beer with basketball, taking into consideration how my brackets shape up as the day progresses. Low percent hoppers when things are looking up, bog-downing stouts when the brackets kick me in the pants.
1:13 pm: After UCLA was blitzed by Villanova, I felt like punishing myself for overvaluing tournament guile and senior guards. No worse punishment than a lukewarm Bud Lite courtesy of a fridge-emptying friend. Off to a blazing start.
2:52 pm: Memphis/Maryland looks to be a blowout, but we've got UConn/Texas A&M on tap, with a diehard A&M fan on hand. Looking for something lightish but with some flavor to pick me up after a couple BL smoothies. Grab a Sam Adams White Ale from the mini fridge.
3:24 pm: Memphis 53, Maryland 33. UConn 29, Texas A&M 11. Games aren't shaping up as we'd like, so we've entered a pact to try as many different beers today as we possibly can. The three of us have each already tallied three, and there are serious talks of hitting a dozen. Meanwhile, the White Ale doesn't deliver what I expected it to, but recently my witbiers have been spicier than they have fruity. This is definitely more fruit than spice. Everything is subtle. It is refreshing, but in this couched-out, flatscreen basement, it's hard to get into a summer beer mood.
4:42 pm: Tipoff between Purdue and Washington, the most anticipated game of the session. Pairing that with a Southern Tier IPA. I picked up this one in Hudson, WI, because for some reason, the 12 oz Southern Tier beers don't come to Minnesota. We only get the big bottles, which are generally outstanding, but I wanted to try one of their standard offerings. Fundamentally sound game, sound balanced beer. Has a nice earthy quality that balances out the hops quite well.
With each of us starting our fourth beer, the prop bets/side action is picking up. We've agreed on ten pushups per dunk, and money has begun to make its way out into the open, a visible tease for any potential gambler.
5:04 pm: Almost done with the IPA. This one's smooth and drinkable. Too drinkable for a basement dudefest.
5:12 pm: Three consecutive Blake Griffin dunks in the Oklahoma/Michigan test. 30 pushups. Pretenders falling to the side of the road.
5:15 pm: Beer's flowin', pushups galore. Dudes posing in the mirror. Gettin' crazy at 5:15.
5:30-6:15 pm: MGD buffer.
6:38 pm: Beer #7: Stella Artois. Not a favorite, but running out of options to get to 12. Saving the good stuff for the gourmet dinner.
7:29 pm: Beer #8: Summit IPA. Not the hoppy California style IPA, this Euro recipe is meatier, creamier and sturdier. If you can allow yourself to break free of the hopped-out IPA mindset, it's a good sipper.
Monday evening: Never made it to 12 beers.