The time of year has come when us outdoor game enthusiasts get our hopes up and then almost immediately get our souls crushed by the weather roller-coaster we call March. In an effort to get myself out of this late winter lull I begin thinking about being outside in the warm sun engaging in some sporting activity while quenching my thirst on a well-earned beer. If anyone knows me, they know that my competitive spirit will not allow me to just sit in the sun listening to the birds chirp and enjoy the beautiful weather; I must be playing a sport, ideally, at all times. Unfortunately, I have not been blessed with a level of skill that gets me paid to play a sport, so nowadays when I am playing one, I find it necessary to drink while doing it, you know, to make it harder. I present you my list of outdoor games and the perfect beverage accompaniment:
Horseshoes – Growing up in a rural area we played a lot of horseshoes. I remember growing up watching the grown men of the family competing and drinking an ungodly amount of light American lager. I distinctly remember the day when I was old enough to be invited over to the pits to play, since I was now strong enough to reach the other pit (I think I was in my early 20s). The most obvious beer for this type of activity is Pabst Blue Ribbon. It’s an American classic that is no frills, and cheap enough where if a rogue horseshoe knocks it over, you’re not too sad. Also, it’s the beer of the hipster, which is funny since they are probably too frail to really participate in a game of horseshoes in earnest…so I guess they would just be doing it ironically.
Bocce Ball – Thanks to a great experience at the Captain Lawrence Brewery this recent fall with some fellow Noblers I have become very fond of this outdoor game. There is an heir of refinement to it, but you’re still essentially standing in dirt, so it walks that fine line of not being too pretentious. My choice of beers for this game is Birra Moretti. It’s a Euro Pale Lager that also walks that fine line of refinement (because it’s Italian). I think it’s fitting because the guy on the label looks like he was born and died on a bocce ball court.
Ladder Ball (Bolo toss) – This game is best played on a beach so the beer accompaniment was going to be basic, since you don’t want too much to think about while chilling by the ocean. I first experience this game down in North Carolina playing Ladder Ball with my dad, both with Coors Lights in hand, when two rednecks from Virginia, both named Jim, each drinking an Ice House, came over to us and started making fun of our beer by calling it “Girls Light”. I respect their stance, but still believe that Coors Light is the perfect beach beer. You can drink it ALL day (my dad starts at 10am), it feels like it’s actually hydrating you, and if you get sand or salt water in it, it barely alters the taste….and sometimes improves it.
Cornhole – When I think of cornhole I think of tailgating, when I think of tailgating I begin to think about a versatile beer that is cheap since you will definitely be giving these away to people wearing Namath Jerseys (I always assume it’s tailgating at a Jets game), but you’ll also be shot gunning, kicking over, stepping on, and spilling this beer in the course of a game of cornhole. That is why I choose the humble Bud Light. Again, you’ll be drinking all day and this game takes a surprising amount of hand-eye coordination, hence the light. Go Jets.
(Beer League) Softball – My only glorious moments in life at this point really only happen on the softball diamond. This is the last bastion of middle aged competition that exists in my life. I don’t think I need to tell you that it gets hot out there, so you’re going to need something thirst quenching. Many red blooded Americans will tell you that you should be drinking Budweiser while playing softball, but those same Americans love Sean Hannity and probably beat their wives. My choice is Modelo Especial. I tip my hat to those Latin Americans that have made baseball what it is today, by tipping a tall boy in their honor while I scoop grounders. Also, it’s the only reasonably priced beers at any bodega around Central Park.
Kan Jam – Get your damn act together if you haven’t heard of or played this game yet. It’s the Vultron of games, taking elements of many to make one perfect game. It involves intense teamwork and steady hand. The game involves a lot of hacking at, punching, elbow dropping and kicking a frisbee, so you WILL get bruised. Obviously the best way to soothe pain is through high alcohol percentage beer. My beer of choice to drink while playing Kan Jam is Southern Tier IPA. A nice local New York IPA that is well put together and refreshing enough to drink in the sun. You won’t want to spill a drop of this delicious beer so a wide stance is suggested.
So once the weather gets warm enough to be outside, please give one of these games a shot and enjoy some day drinking!