It has been 18 years since the San Francisco 49ers won their fifth Super Bowl. Just one other team has won more championships, so the "Quest for Six," as this season has been dubbed, is an attempt to tie the rival Pittsburgh Steelers for the title of winningest team in Super Bowl history.
On Sunday, fans will have a lot to root for as they cheer their team on to football immortality -- and with that hunger comes powerful thirst. Here are six perfect, Niner-centric beers to add to your Super Bowl party menu.
Anchor Liberty Ale
For more than 40 years, Anchor Brewery has been the quintessential San Francisco beer maker. The obvious choice might be Anchor
Speakeasy Payback Porter
The 49ers have played the Ravens just three times since 2001, but Baltimore has won every single time. It's time for a little Payback -- Porter, that is. The Speakeasy Ales & Lagers porter is a big beer, 7.5 percent a.b.v., with wonderful chocolate,
North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout
The 49ers had been on a winning streak when coach Jim Harbaugh benched injured quarterback Alex Smith. When Colin Kaepernick took over as quarterback, fans fretted. That first game, in week 10, ended in a tie. The next week, Kaepernick beat the Bears 32-7 and launched a winning streak of his own. But when Harbaugh made the decision to stick with Kaepernick, fans endlessly debated whether the coach's decision was genius or madness, or a little of both, Einstein or Rasputin.
North Coast's Old Rasputin Imperial Stout is a world-class beer, big and complex. At 9 percent a.b.v., you don't want to be downing these all afternoon. It's made for sipping from a snifter. The flavors are rich milk chocolate and roasted coffee with a warming sweetness.
Uncommon Brewers Golden State Ale
Whether you're tailgating or just prefer your beer in cans, Santa Cruz's Uncommon Brewers Golden State Ale is a great way to express state pride. The refreshing golden-hued ale, which is 6.4 percent a.b.v., is flavored with poppy seeds from California's state flower. The organic Belgian-style pale ale is spicy and tangy, light-bodied and very drinkable. The finish is tart and dry.
Widmer Brothers Drifter Pale Ale
This is the only out-of-state beer on my list, but it's brotherly love and competition that makes it an obvious choice. The Har-Bowl pits Harbaugh's 49ers against the Ravens, which are coached by his brother, John Harbaugh. Not only is this the first time two brothers have faced off against one another in a Super Bowl, it's the first time it's ever happened in any major U.S. professional sports championship.
The Widmer Brothers' tasty pale ale (5.7 percent a.b.v.) features West Coast Summit hops, giving it grapefruit and pine aromas, with crisp, clean flavors of underlying malt sweetness -- and an equally aggressive herbal, tropical hop character. Like two brothers, the hops and malt struggle for domination.
Dust Bowl Hops of Wrath IPA
Hops of Wrath is easy to find if you live near Turlock, Kaepernick's hometown. Dust Bowl is Turlock's only brewery, and this IPA (6.6 percent a.b.v.) is deservedly its most popular beer. It's a bit harder to find in the Bay Area, although it does have distribution in the East Bay. This hoppy beer is well worth seeking. Despite its big citrus and floral hop character, it's big on malt, too, making it a wonderfully balanced beer.