With the Super Bowl looming, we are gearing up for an occasion where beer seems to be the only beverage thought to be appropriate. I almost feel I should give a wine writer a shot at convincing you to serve a nice cab during this year's game. Almost.
Sunday will be a massive beer day. During the week preceding the Super Bowl, beer sales are 20 percent higher than in other weeks in January and February. Beer is to the Super Bowl party what turkey is to Thanksgiving—indispensable. And once the game starts, a sizeable part of the audience is as interested in the beer advertising as the football. Anheuser-Busch will be the only national beer advertiser this year, with the beloved Clydesdales back by popular demand in support of Budweiser, and a minute spot devoted to Bud's Belgian cousin, Stella Artois.
Given the central role of beer at this event, let's cast an appraising eye at the teams that will meet in Arlington, Texas. Leave the passing rates and total first downs to the sports pundits: Here's how the Packers and the Steelers stack up in terms of home state beer credibility. On this unscientific measurement, careful readers will find that the two teams are tied, obviously not an acceptable Super Bowl result. So the overtime sudden-death beer question is: When Prohibition began in 1919, which state had more breweries, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin? The answer: Pennsylvania, with 191 recorded breweries; Wisconsin had 116. (North Carolina had ... none.)