This the season my friends. The season where we all break out of our tiny apartments, our winter hibernation, and drink alcohol in outdoor spaces! Whether it be on the beach, in a park, or up on a roof there really is nothing better than imbibing in the open air. And we’ve got the ultimate guide to maximize your outdoor drinking experiences here at the Nobler Experiment…so get to it, and Drink Outdoors…
Ricky and I started talking about putting together an Outdoor Drinking Guide for The Nobler last week. Last week it was getting warmer every day, culminating in my wearing of shorts on Saturday. Two days ago it snowed here in Chicago. Since we’ll never see spring or summer again, I’m writing this Guide to Tailgating under protest. “Now AND FOREVER is the winter of our discontent…”
Tailgating is often thought of as a fall “sport,” but I am here to disabuse you of that silly notion and tell you why you should step your tailgating game up and include spring/summer in your “season.” Killer wordplay in that last sentence, no?
Ricky’s opening post listing things you need to remember for a nice afternoon of leisurely drinking in the wilderness (or patio, or park, whatever) hits on a lot of key points. Seriously, remember the cups. You will never be invited anywhere again if you are on cup duty and drop the ball. But I’m going to delve a little bit deeper into the realm of drinking in a parking lot before watching your favorite team eat butt. THERE ARE IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES!
(1) Don’t forget the grill: This seems like a no-brainer, along the same lines as “don’t forget the cups,” but I’ve been apart of tailgates that had to stop on their way to the stadium, buy a grill at Menard’s, and build the grill on a bus, all on the way to a Milwaukee Brewers game. I won’t name names, but suffice to say the person that forgot the grill is the very same person writing this post. To go along with not forgetting the grill, please also remember charcoal, lighter fluid, a lighter (preferably one of the long ones so you don’t burn your hand off), grilling utensils (tongs, spatula, what have you), plates/napkins/utensils, and trash bags. Trash bags are key because most parking lots don’t have a trash can set up every five feet, and you also may have to dispose of a body if a fan of the other team starts mouthing off.
(2) Too much ice: Ice is something you can never have too much of at a party, and the same things goes for an outdoor party in a parking lot. Buy the big ‘ol bags of ice from the gas station and bring more than you think you’ll need. The ice keeps the meat, and more importantly the beer, cold; and it will also serve as an enormous water balloon if you don’t use it and it melts. Perfect for cooling off after the game!
(3) Find beer in cans: Canned beer is ideal for your tailgate. It is easier to transport, it won’t shatter, it is better for the environment, it is lighter, the beer will taste better because no light gets through a can, and they are excellent for throwing back and forth if you forgot a football or baseball to toss around. With the new emphasis on canning beer in the craft beer world, you don’t even need to limit yourself to 30-racks of Keystone Light either! There is a lot of great beer being canned, and you should be able to find something that will pique your fellow tailgater’s interests with ease.
(4) Bring games: Cards, dice, and tables for drinking games are great, but I’m talking about lawn games. Bring cornhole, ladder golf, or washers. Really anything where you toss something at a target while holding a cocktail in your hand is perfect (for more ideas, check out Dan’s Drunk Sport Post). The geniuses at LSU recently received a research grant to continue developing drinking games, and Battleshots is one of their first results. This is one of my fondest memories of going to a Wisconsin football game as a child, seeing drunks playing Drinko. Listen, tailgating is fun in and of itself, but sometimes you need to get your competitive juices flowing with a cutthroat game of ladder gold.
(5) More importantly, bring chairs: You can buy those foldable chairs at Wal-Mart for, like, $5. Bring a bunch of those so people have a place to sit after an exhausting 15 minutes of cutthroat ladder golf.
These are all just guidelines for your first tailgate of the summer. The best part about going and drinking outside is, besides doing it on the street and getting arrested, there is no wrong way to do it! Oh yeah, don’t invite Steve. That dude is a dick.