One reason to not hate on Dallas.
One reason to not hate on Dallas.
Photo by Kate McLean

With the Houston Texans off to an encouraging start, fans have returned to one of America’s favorite pastimes, Tailgating.

Tailgating is almost always a long event, lasting hours before, during and after a game. With that in mind, we gathered a panel of tasters to sample over 35 beers with sessionable qualities. A session beer is a term referring to beers that are refreshing, easy to drink and relatively low in alcohol. (Essentially, you could crush a six pack over the course of a football game and still function). Listed below is a selection of 10 must try tailgate beers this fall.

Because we tasted such a broad range of sessionable beers, from craft ales and lagers, to mass produced pilsners, we didn’t think the playing field was level enough to rank them. After all, it’s likely that tailgate goers enjoy both craft beer and mass-produced beer. Personal tastes aside, it’s hard to effectively rank a craft blonde ale against a cider against Modelo Especial. Instead, we focused on selecting the best of the best by answering two questions:

Is this delicious?
Is this crushable?

Joey Williams of Spec’s Midtown helped select several craft beers that would be perfect for tailgating. Brian Brossa, former beer buyer for Whole Foods, helped us describe what we were tasting in the beers and why we liked them. Also, a special shout out to all the helpers from my brother’s baby shower, most of them tenured beer drinkers. All of the beers selected are widely available in Houston, and proudly, nine of the ten are made in Texas.

Modelo Especial: American Adjunct Lager, Grupo Modelo, Mexico City. Modelo Especial was, by far, the most flavorful of the gas station variety. This beer has a clean structure with a reasonable pilsner hop quality. It’s relatively inexpensive and satisfactorily crushable. 4.4 percent ABV.

Lonestar: American Adjunt Lager, Pabst Brewing Co., Fort Worth. Of the quick buy beers, Lonestar was the obvious second place choice to Modelo. It didn’t taste like bitter hops or floral hoopla or, thankfully, carbonated water; it tasted like your first beer memory. Lonestar is a balanced pilsner made with malted barley and corn. Without calling out the watery brands, Lonestar is good for what it is — affordable and drinkable. 4.65 percent ABV.


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