By Ed Palumbo
The dog is fed and the kids are asleep… (Did you feed the kids? You did feed them, right…?) No matter; you’re back in the locker room with your teammates, breaking down the game—i.e., complaining about the officiating; the soft goal your keeper allowed; or the one that hit the pipe but should’ve gone in—and cracking open that first, ice-cold, refreshing postgame beverage.
So what will it be? My extensive research on the subject has yielded a variety of tastes and preferences.
“First, it’s always canned beer in the locker room. Bottles break and there are a lot of bare feet. I used to bring heavier IPAs, but we’re all dehydrated so lighter, cheaper stuff goes down easier. I bring Pabst Blue Ribbon when it’s my turn,” said one player on the subject.
Many would agree with the thought process of “lighter, cheaper stuff” as the preferred choice, and PBR seemed to dominate the conversation.
“Nothing better than a cold PBR after a good skate,” claims one Ontario-based beer leaguer. While another in Charleston, SC, said, “Miller High Life or PBR for me.”
Others prefer more nationally recognized brands.
“If I’m bringing, it’s Yuengling. Most bring Coors Light or Michelob Ultra. I don’t complain though, as it’s free to me,” said one participant from Huntsville, AL.
Another player from southern California said, “Coors Light most nights (goes down smoother after wanting to die). Any Canadian beer is a nice treat, though.”
It would seem beer leaguers don’t care much for anything too fancy when selecting a postgame beverage. For the most part, cost and convenience seems to be the more important factors.
While I do enjoy most light beers, when it comes to the postgame beverage here are 3 of my own recommendations:
Guinness Some players who go out to a nearby bar afterwards, as opposed to knocking one back in the locker room, prefer the Irish Stout to a light beer. Guinness has been proven (yes, by science) to replenish a lot of the important vitamins and minerals that are depleted after any workout, not just from hockey. Enjoy it best with a postgame meal, and only if you don’t plan on drinking more than one.
Molson Ice or Labatt Blue The crisp, clean, slightly tastier-than-water feeling with the pure flavor of the True North that makes you think, I just worked harder than I ever have in my entire life. I deserve this.
As one beer league hockey player from Michigan said it best, “Labatt’s is the only choice. My buddies do Molson sometimes, but you need a good, cheap, Canadian lager to honor the game.”
Rainier Lager If you’re in the Pacific Northwest (or lucky enough to find it elsewhere), some prefer Rainier as their postgame beverage. Like hockey itself, this beer is rich in tradition, as the Rainier Brewing Company has been a Seattle-based brewer since the late 1800s. Now owned, oddly enough, by Pabst Brewing Co., Rainier Lager won Gold as “Best American-Style Lager” in the 2016 World Beer Cup.
Need another reason to try Rainier? In 2004, a bear drank 36 cans of Rainier he found at a campsite. Now that’s one bear that really knows his beer.
So, what have we learned? To summarize:
1. Keep it light Drink light beer after a game. It’s cheaper for you and your teammates, and while it may not have the best taste, neither does the sweat from your helmet.
2. Blue Ribbon choice No matter where you ply your trade, it seems Pabst Blue Ribbon should really take advantage of this possible niche market in the adult rec hockey community.
3. What your postgame beverage says about you Choose a beer that identifies with at least one of the following:
- You, the rec hockey player
- Canada, because… well, Canada
- Bad-ass things
As always, please drink responsibly. And don’t drink and drive.
Ed Palumbo is now a regular contributor to CrossIceHockey.com. He has been scouting with the North American Tier II Hockey League for five years. He is also the founder of Prospective Hockey Central, a mobile app that connects players and parents with scouts, coaches, and teams.