At DPB, we understand your need for libation to keep you rocking steady through this full dance card Round of 32 this weekend and consulted with our beer and wine experts (basically, a straw poll from a bunch of men and women who are quite content to otherwise “drink what’s close-by”) and asked them what they feel might pair nicely with the weekend match ups.
The criteria are as follows:
• Drinks are wine/beer only. Feel free to pepper in Jagerbombs and J-mo when apprapos.
• Drinks should be chosen based on time of tip off (all times Pacific).
• Drinks should be chosen based (loosely) on participating teams’ home region. Yes, we’re looking at you Pittsburgh.
• Drinks should not be consumed in mass quantities if you have to go look at paint swatches later or drop your kid off at a birthday party, unless, of course, it’s a Tourney-friendly birthday barbecue — then feel free to indulge and share the wealth.
• Drinks are specifically to be paired with basketball, not food.
Here then are six select match-ups/pairings from the Round of 32:
1) 1 Florida vs. 9 Pittsburgh
9:15 a.m. Saturday, March 22
The Beer: Caldera Brewing Company Lawnmower Lager: “For all you people who are afraid of beer you can’t see through this is the one for you.” We’ll “go there” with earwaxy IPA’s later in the day, but this Saturday morning match-up can be enjoyed with a bowl of Corn Pops and a nice smooth go-down-easy session lager. Of course, a PBR tall can can start the day off as well, but who wants to start firing off to the bathroom every TV time out before 10 a.m.
The Wine: 2012 White Blend Pittsburgh Winery. So what if they had to truck in grapes, they’re making wine in the Steel City. As long as it’s not too paint-thinery (is that a word? It should be), we’ll tip this at tip-off.
2) 2 Wisconsin vs. 7 Oregon
4:45 p.m. Saturday, March 22
These schools like to lock horns in the postseason and it’s most likely they do because of the plausible best beverage bro-down of any pair of tourney teams. And it’s not just Miller Time in Wisconsin anymore. Here, we’ll do a pair of beers, one from Madison, one from Eugene — you can enjoy heartily during this Saturday marquee match-up:
The Beer, Madison: Vintage Brewing Company Woodshed Oaked IPA. This is a good pencil-wood-flavored-and-low-abv (6.5) nod to the IPAs of old which had to be packed into hearty barrels to make it across the sea. A road trip across the country, or at least outside of Wisconsin’s campus, for this smooth and (65 IBU) goodness is well worth the travel.
The Beer, Eugene: Ninkasi Believer. Fighting Ducks are green and yellow but their true “Believers” love the red ale. This 6.9-percent abv drinks like a beer of half its heft and will sneak up on you (in ways the day glo Ducks cannot.) This darker, and not-too-hoppy ale is a throw-your-arm-around-your-best-Badger-buddy-and-drink-to-the-Sweet-16 brew. Because, in the end. Who really cares?
The Wine: Usually, this is where we’d recommend a nice, but staid selection from the Wilamette Valley, like Ayoub’s 2011 Meredith Mitchell Vineyard Pinot, but that’s just way too predictable. Plus, you’re not watching this game in the middle of the deal-closing third-date? Are you? …Are you??
3) 4 Michigan State vs. 12 Harvard
5:40 p.m. Saturday, March 22
The Beer: Now you’ve done it, you’ve been drinking swill all day and need a little pick-me-up. You need a little tradition-meets-sophistication. A little bolt of working-class vs. a crimson wave of entitlement. But what beer suits every need. Session vs. Sophistication? There can be only one: Widmer Brothers Drop Top Amber. Easy drinking. No bitter beer face (18 IBU), can down a six pack in less time than it takes you to worry about your retirement (again) and the taste of caramel and honey make this as easy to sip as the match-up on the hardwood. Buy one for a friend.
The Wine: 2009 Merryvale Profile: Big old, stuffy, white-labeled, $200 blow-your-cheeks-out-and-make-your-tongue-Now-&-Later-perma-purple Bordeaux blend. Just because, you know, if you went to Harvard, you’ve got six of these chilling next to the Capri Sun, and only the best will ease the pain.
4) 2 Kansas vs. 10 Stanford
9:10 a.m. Sunday, March 23
The Beer: Marin Brewing Company Mt. Tam Pale Ale: Though you can’t necessarily see all the way down to The Farm (there’s a big orange bridge in the way, for starters) from atop Mt. Tam, you can definitely drink down the signature taste of the Bay with one of the oldest and true Northern California Craft Brews. Before there was Russian River of craft ale running through it, this Pale stood alone as the session brew of choice for mountain bikers, hikers and Marin moms needing a quick little helper while the Rover has the goldfish crackers sucked out of it.
The Wine: 2011 Turley Napa Valley White Zinfandel: White Zin is back and it’s not just for drinking straight out of the box anymore. 30-something Turley next-genner heiress/marketing girl next door Christine Turley rolled out this vintage that shoves everything you know about backyard ice cube wine back in your grill. It drinks a little like a rosé (drier, less sweet, subtle) and is surprising and easy, just like the nerds’ Sunday takedown of the soft Rock, Chalk …Wine o’clock.
5) 4 UCLA vs. 12 Stephen F. Austin
4:10 p.m. Sunday, March 23
The Beer: The Bruery Saison de Lente: A special Lentin-themed brew made just about a 40-minute LA drive from Wooden’s Westwood. The Bruery’s price point alone is known to make beer snobs of even the least-conscious can crusher, but oh that first sip. The latest release, a spring saison, is a good beer to push through the Sunday Tourney blues, light blonde in color, like a California cutie with a “fresh hopes and and a wild and rustic Brettanomyces character.” Which means it pours smooth and finishes creamy like the center of a Cadbury egg.
The Wine: Kunin Wines Viognier: A regular 90-pointer. Just a quick jaunt up the coast past impossible Malibu, is Kunin whose “peach-filled” Voiogner is a big old fruit plate of mouth fun. Probably not enough to move the line better than -8.5 for the powder blue, but, again, more than enough to chase them away.
6) 1 Arizona vs. 8 Gonzaga
6:40 p.m. Sunday, March 23
The Beer: Elysian Brewing Valhalla Red IPA: Both schools are blood red, but only the Zags’ home state produces a red IPA. Good luck finding this one if you’re not watching from the mean streets of Seattle’s gentrified Capitol Hill district. This red rocker and its medium-bodied not too alcohol’y’ (7.5 low for today’s malt liquor-octane IPAs) and not too stingy (Amarillo hops for smooth) IPA is the one that will get you though this Sunday evening tourney wind down.
The Wine: Dos Cabezas Wineworks Pink: Yes, there is wine to be grown and sampled in Arizona. Pink like the Tucson desertscape, this Arizona strip mall tasting room fits the Wildcat lifestyle to the sip. This foamy strawberry-feeling dessert of a wine will surely kick in when this classic West Coast match-up goes into double OT. Work Monday, pfft — my bracket is f*cked and pour me another.