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What’s the best part of driving through Michigan? The sign that says, ‘Welcome to Ohio’.

What’s the best part of driving through Michigan? The sign that says, ‘Welcome to Ohio’.

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Insert some joke about Bo Schembechler & Woody Hayes.

Refuse to use the letter ‘M’.

Extend Jim Harbaugh’s contract and continue your losing streak against THE Ohio State University.

Getting my three-year-old daughter to parade around the house exclaiming, “WE DON’T GIVE A DAMN FOR THE WHOLE STATE OF MICHIGAN” on repeat for a week straight, and subsequently getting reprimanded by my wife for teaching my daughter a swear word (100% worth it).

These are all traditions that make up The Game. A game so grand in prestige, history, and elite-level collegiate athletes that it isn’t referred to as A game, but THE game.

A game that has seen Charles Woodson, Eddie George, Tom Brady, and Maurice Clarett. A game that stretches over one hundred years and its roots stem from a land dispute that nearly caused a war between the two states (seriously, look it up – the Toledo War had both state militias deployed to the state line, ready to battle).

“What does this game have to do with a beer blog?” is probably running through your head right now, or was getting ready to. Well, a lot, actually.

I have been known to have a beer or two during games. Especially this one. It’s two days after Thanksgiving, you’re at your capacity for leftover sandwiches, you’re on your third day of a four-day weekend, and you just need something to look forward to.

Watching the game Saturday? Here’s my list of best beers to enjoy while watching Jim Harbaugh do what he does best: lose to tOSU.

  1. Bourbon Meyer Buckeye BBA Stout – Barley’s Brewing, Columbus, Ohio

Okay, start your jokes now. I know they’re incoming. It’s a chocolate peanut butter stout. They are basically setting us up for an inappropriate joke regarding Urban Meyer’s off-field antics earlier this fall. But this beer is no joke. Clocking in at a dangerous 8.6% ABV and 0 IBUs, this beer isn’t too ‘big’ or ‘small’. It’s heavy enough that you know you’re drinking a stout, but not too big that it’s a one-and-done type of day for your beer drinking. And who doesn’t love Buckeye candy? They’re like if Reese’s were improved upon. That’s not up for debate. Bourbon Meyer boasts a 4.22-star rating over 2.6k reviews on Untappd (although Untappd should never be your only source for beer recommendations and reviews).

  1. Burner, Summer Forever, or La Nina – JAFB, Wooster, Ohio

No, that’s not the name of just one beer. Those are three separate beers produced by my hometown brewery. They’re all of their hazies. “You can’t have a three-way tie!” Yes, I can. They’re all beautiful in their own ways. Burner is a softer mouthfeel and light on the palate. It is more of a citrusy juicy. Summer Forever is my favorite of the three, boasting four different types of hops: Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic, and Ekuanot (formerly Equinox). La Nina is the biggest of the three, and at 7.3% ABV, it is nearly a DIPA. JAFB is my favorite brewery name in the world. Without being explicit, the ‘J’ stands for ‘Just’, ‘A’ stands for ‘Another’, and ‘B’ stands for Brewery. I will let you fill in the blank for the missing word. Not only do they have the most badass name in brewing, but they are perennial award winners at the GABF. If you ever find yourself between Columbus and Cleveland or Canton and Mansfield, this is a must-stop destination nestled into an old NAPA Auto Parts store. I know that hazies don’t fit the season or weather (usually) for the end of November, but I’m also the type of person to brew an Oktoberfest in January because beers shouldn’t have seasons.

  1. Great Lakes Christmas Ale – Great Lakes Brewing, Cleveland, Ohio

At the expense of not wanting to be crucified for anyone reading in Northeast Ohio, I had to include this one. Just kidding, I love this beer even with its cult following. The worst part about leaving Ohio is not having access to this beer. Luckily, I was able to get my hands on the BBA version of it this summer. This beer is released twice a year, around Christmas and for “Christmas in July”. It is served with a cinnamon sugar rim, which many people think is used to hide a subpar beer, but I disagree. I drink it with a rim and without, either way it is delicious. A runner-up to this is their Ohio City Oatmeal Stout. The first stout to make me fall in love with the style, I swear I could drink a few gallons on a brisk November night.

  1. Truth IPA – Rhinegeist Brewery, Cincinnati, Ohio

This one was chosen as a twofold slam against TTUN. One, because this list is my favorite Ohio beers, and two because Cincinnati will be ranked higher (and hopefully in the playoffs) after Jim Harbaugh does his usual post-Thanksgiving tradition. This is the typical IPA that your non-craft beer friends complain about. “Ew, that just tastes like bitter pinecones” is the usual complaint. At a whopping 75 IBUs, they’re not very far off. But who doesn’t love a classic IPA? No lactose, no fruit, nothing but the grains, hops, water, and yeast.

  1. Busch Light – Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, Missouri

Okay, okay, okay. I know that I said this list was all Ohio beers. But for all intents and purposes, Busch Light is very much an Ohio beer. It is the lifeblood of the entire Midwest. Without it, crops don’t grow and the country crumbles. That’s why it’s on this list. In the rural area that I’m from, football is life. People’s entire lives revolve around it. So, when the best team in the state (including the pros) is on, you watch. Whether that’s a noon kickoff against ITT Technical Institute or whatever out of conference game we start the season with, or a 7pm kickoff in Happy Valley to knock the Nittany Lions out of any hopes of a Big Ten Championship, nearly the entire county is tuned in, Busch Light in hand. I drink Busch Light during every Buckeye game. Death, taxes, Buckeye football, and Busch Light in the tiny slice of heaven known as rural Ohio. It is second nature. It should be noted that this was going to top my list, but many would discredit my opinions after reading that.

  1. Honorable Mention: Stained Khakis – Inside The Five Brewery, Sylvania, Ohio

I had no clue this beer even existed until another FBH member brought it to my attention (okay, it was Nick, but don’t give any Michigan fans credit please). Two former Michigan State players started this brewery and developed this beer. The enemy of my enemy is my ally; go Sparty. If you do not understand the reference, I apologize, but this beer name is worthy of making any sort of list for The Game.

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