In the spirit of competition, we’ve brought you a head-to-head boozy battle between each team's hometown. Will the winning team in our battle win the actual game? It’s possible. We’re no scientists, but we’re fairly confident the team with the best libations probably has the best football team as well...But we’ll let the players duke it out on the field on Sunday, just for kicks.
Read on for our Super Bowl Drinking Town Face-Off predictions, and see which boozy hometown we predict will be the winner of the big ring on Sunday night. Got any favorite regional sips from these towns? Let us know about them in the comments section!
San Fran- Niner Punch
California is known for its incredible agriculture, so it’s no surprise that the Niner Punch, made at Brasserie S&P in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in San Francisco, goes extra heavy on the fresh produce. Made with Encanto Pisco, Charbay Blood Orange Vodka, Blood Orange, Bergamot Sour Orange, Sweet Chili Syrup and Banana Milk, this cocktail sums up San Francisco in one healthy, produce-heavy sip.
Baltimore- The 401
Concocted by Master Mixologist Brendan Dorr of B&O American Brasserie in downtown Baltimore, The 401 cocktail is quickly becoming the signature drink of this eclectic city. The ingredients include Bluecoat Gin, Pimms No. 1, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup and Champagne, with a garnish of cucumber spear and mint sprig. Expecting something a little more crabby? In my opinion, this drink is a perfect representation of the city of Baltimore and the Baltimore Ravens: full of surprises.
The Winner: Baltimore. I have a real devotion to gin as an all-year kind of spirit, and as much as I love blood oranges, The 401 has a flavor profile that is very unique, and I can never say no to cocktail creativity.
San Fran- San Francisco Cocktail Week
San Francisco Cocktail Week, or SFCW, is one of the largest cocktail events in the country every year, and with good reason. All sorts of spirits are represented at this week-long exhibition of the cocktail scene in San Francisco. The week is littered with seminars teaching the liquid culture of this beautiful city, as well as spirited dinners hosted by some of the best restaurants in town.
Baltimore- Baltimore Beer Week
People in Maryland love three things, very much. Two of them we already know: crab cakes and football. The third? Beer. Baltimore Beer Week is a fun and exciting week full of brewery tours, pub crawls and dinners sponsored by local breweries, such as Flying Dog. This is a perfect opportunity to try a variety of beers of different styles, and most importantly, to find crab cakes to pair with them.
The Winner: San Francisco. SFCW is one of the best cocktail weeks of the year, and while I have never had the pleasure of going myself, it is definitely on my wishlist for the new year. I am a beer drinker, but a cocktail lover.
San Fran- Bourbon & Branch
The cocktail scene in San Francisco has gained a lot of notoriety over the past several years. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Bourbon & Branch is one of the bars that has seriously raised the standard. Known for their exquisite spirits list and speakeasy demeanor, this cocktail haunt shouldn’t and doesn’t come across as snooty. In fact, they offer bartending classes so the drink-drinkers can become the drink-makers.
Baltimore- Wit & Wisdom
If you find yourself in the Inner Harbor, you’ll most definitely want to check out Wit & Wisdom. With Michael Mina at the helm, this tavern is American-style dining with an Eastern Seaboard twist. The food is definitely something to gab about, but it’s the cocktails that have residents of the Inner Harbor and tourists alike really blown away. No matter what your cocktail taste, the bartenders behind the stick at Wit & Wisdom will be able to mix up your idea of cocktail perfection. My personal choice? Try the Sticky Wicket: Jim Beam, Fernet Branca, Smoked Maple Syrup and Soda, garnished with an orange peel.
The Winner: San Francisco. I’ve had the great pleasure of having a few tipples at Bourbon & Branch, and they really are extraordinary. I am always intrigued by bars that carry spirits that I have never heard of, and Bourbon & Branch stole my heart with their library of rare spirits.
Snacks for the Boozin’
San Fran- Cioppino
Commonly known as Fisherman’s Stew, Cioppino is a signature dish in San Francisco. With all that fresh seafood caught in the Bay, it would be difficult not to have a meal focused entirely on crustaceans. When you’re watching the big game on Sunday and looking for a San Francisco-inspired snack to pair with your libations (and love for the Niners), Cioppino is definitely the way to go. It’s hearty and warming, perfect for the chilly month of February. Check out this recipe for Cioppino here.
Baltimore- Crab Cakes
This is no surprise, and if it is, you should most definitely get your fanny down to Baltimore and indulge in a crab cake made with Maryland Blue Crab meat. As a native of Maryland, I grew up on these crispy, savory cakes, and I can think of nothing more delicious than a crab cake sandwich and cold, frothy brew. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on that bad boy, slather it in tartar sauce, and you will be in crab heaven. And if anybody ever tells you that you can find a better crab cake outside the state of Maryland, you should tell them that nobody likes a liar.
The Winner: Baltimore. I am from Maryland, and I imagine that my first few words were “this crab cake is great, can you pass the tartar sauce?” As much as I love seafood stew, I’m a firm believer that if there is such a thing as crack that’s good for you, a crab cake is made up entirely of that. Seriously, pass the tartar sauce.
San Fran- Anchor Steam
An interesting shared fact about these two cities: they both have beers that they can truly call hometown beers. Not every city can brag about a beer made in their backyard, and San Francisco lucked out, with Anchor Brewing, and Anchor Steam Beer, at their red and gold fingertips. This hoppy beer pairs perfectly with your favorite potato chips, a bowl of homemade queso, and your devotion to Jim Harbaugh.
Baltimore has the pleasure of being home to National Bohemian, lovingly referred to as Natty Boh by Baltimore natives. Made by Pabst Brewing Company, Natty Boh is a much more mellow and light beer than Anchor Steam. This beer would appeal to the “lite” beer drinker who wants something easy to chase down a plate of buffalo wings, and to see Ray Lewis’ final season end with a ring.
The Winner: San Francisco. The warmth and flavor in a hoppy and toasted brew like this is perfect for the chilly weather outside, and Anchor Steam hits those notes flawlessly.
Our Big Booze Game Prediction: San Francisco
While Baltimore definitely has a lot going for it in terms of being a good drinking town, it is San Francisco that really comes out on top. Great cocktail bars, a fantastic cocktail week, and a fantastic hometown beer the city can be proud of. Does being the best drinking town equal having the best football team? We sure hope so. Cheers, and go Niners!