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Beer Guzzler

Suds for Super Sunday

When it comes to football on TV, I'm back to basics: make mine a bag of potato chips with a glass of beer. For a main course, nothing beats a crunchy dill pickle slathered in cream cheese all wrapped up in a slice of ham. It's about the game, after all, so who wants to spend hours in the kitchen doing food prep. And while rich, malty winter brews and high-octane barley wines have their place, it's not on Super Sunday. I want clean, crisp and quaffable.

I lean toward lager as the perfect match to the salty crunch of a potato chip, and a favorite is Singha, the original Thai beer since 1933 (at least according to the label). Dry, hoppy and distinctively rich in flavor, this 100 percent barley malt brew from the Boon Rawd Brewery in Bangkok offers refreshingly crisp carbonation with a lemony background and just a touch of spice. Across the border in Vietnam, the Hue Brewery produces their lager with a little rice added to the barley mix. It's a surprisingly good brew despite the fast-fading head and pale color. The flavors are nicely assertive in this lighter bodied beer, with a slightly herbaceous component and good hop and malt balance.

The football they play in Australia may not look much like our American version, but their brew of choice works equally well with either game. Coopers Sparkling Ale, top-fermented and bottle-conditioned, throws a light, yeasty sediment that settles to the bottom of the bottle. Unless you pour it with a gentle hand, a hazy glass of Coopers is anything but "sparkling," but with its rich, fruity flavors, aggressive carbonation, good acidity and nice hit of hops, it's an absolute winner.

And of course, nothing goes with Super Sunday like an ice cold Budweiser, but I'm not talking about the ubiquitous American version. Give me the original brew from the Czech town of Budejovice (known as Budweis in German), and sold as Budweiser Budwar throughout Europe. Trademark disputes forced a name change to Czechvar here in the states, but no matter, it's the same exceptional lager with a rich, creamy head, robust flavors and light kiss of hops on the finish that's highlighted by hints of citrus and just the right touch of bitterness.