Bartenders Tell Us The Best Beers To Bring To Your Next Tailgate

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Fall has officially begun, and you know what that means? It’s tailgate season. The NFL and college football seasons are in full swing and every weekend from Buffalo to Baton Rouge there are tailgates aplenty. This means that before any of the hard-hitting gridiron action, you and your friends and family will probably spend a few hours standing around a parking lot getting a buzz on. There will be games (cornhole is a must), food (sausage and peppers are a staple) and lots of beer.

So how do you decide which beer is right for your Tar Heel Blue clad party in Chapel Hill or your cheese head-wearing gang in Green Bay? We asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us their favorite tailgate beers. You can find all of their responses below. Don’t like their choices? Tell us your favorite tailgate beer in the comments below.

Founders Breakfast Stout

Fawn Doucette, Howells & Hood in Chicago

“A few beers I like while tailgating are Sweetwater 420 for the warmer days and Founders Breakfast Stout for the cooler days. They both pair well with burgers, brats, potato salad and all that ‘stick to your ribs’ kind of food you need while you’re getting ready to go cheer for your team. I’m really into stouts these days so that would also pretty much turn out to be my meal for the game.”


Will Benedetto, cocktail curator at In Good Company Hospitality in New York City

“I just like to have ample quantities of Mexican beer at a tailgate. Tecate, Modelo, Pacifico, and Sol are all great choices. They’re relatively light but still full of flavor so they are great to session and they pair comfortably with any of your favorite tailgate foods.”

Estrella Damm

Jennifer Arroyo, bartender at AC Hotel Miami Aventura in Miami

“Estrella Damm is a great tailgating beer for the hot and humid Miami climate. Originating in Spain, the lager has a light refreshing finish that goes with just about anything.”

Newcastle Brown Ale

Chuck Webb, Old Town Pour House in Oak Brook, Illinois

“For winter tailgates (GO BEARS), I love nut brown style beers — very malty, nutty, and on the sweeter side. I like Newcastle for a go-to. We typically get skirt steak and make tacos, and I think the combo is great! When in a pinch and going domestic — it’s Miller Lite for me!”

Heineken Lager

Camilo Tavera, lead bartender at Hakkasan located inside Fontainebleau Miami Beach

“Heineken Sleek can 8.5 oz – This version of the popular pale lager is the perfect size for outdoor activities. The refreshing brew pairs well with pretty much everything tailgate-related from BBQ meats, rich and savory bites, to sweet desserts.”

Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin

Melissa Forgea, bar manager at Giordano’s in Las Vegas

“Football season is finally here and great brew is essential when tailgating. My favorite is Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin IPA to balance out those salty and savory game day snacks.”

Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils

Kaitlyn Chiletti, beverage director at Public School On Tap

“I love crisp session-able beers such as Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Founders All Day IPA. Subtle hops make the beers crushable — plus there’s lower abv (so you can keep them coming for the duration of the game), and great fruity, floral aromas.”

Founders All Day IPA

Zach Sasser, head bartender at Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar in Austin, Texas

“I think a session IPA is the way to go. Founders All Day IPA and Friends and Allies Noisy Cricket come to mind. Both beers are enjoyable for their crisp, citrusy and hoppy flavors, but you they’re easy sippers — so you can drink them for four hours and still stand upright.”


Aura Perrone, head bartender at UVA at Atton in Brickell in Miami

“My favorite tailgate items are a cold Corona with limes and guacamole, and chips with chicken wings.”

Narraganset Lager

Spencer Elliot, head bartender at Mondrian Terrace in New York City

“Tailgates to me are the communal part of football. With that community, I like to bring beer everyone can enjoy. I’ll bring a Narraganset lager, with its light and easy body and crisp finish. It’s a nice change of pace from the normal tailgate lineup without getting too nerdy.”

Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’

Gretchen Thomas, Vice President of Beverage at Del Frisco’s Grille

“One of the many refreshing ales on Del Frisco’s Grille’s extensive beer list, Lagunitas’ A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ is my favorite beer to enjoy at a warm afternoon tailgate. With smooth and crisp flavors, this hoppy wheat beer is ideal for pairing with game day bites.”

Karbach Weekend Warrior

Jason Miller, general manager of Little Red Wasp Kitchen + Bar in Fort Worth, Texas

“My favorite tailgate beer is Weekend Warrior Pale Ale by Karbach Brewing Co. I love the citrus flavors and it’s easy to drink. It pairs well with a burger or brat and even wings on the grill. At 5.5% ABV, you have to pay attention, but you can drink it throughout the day.”