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Ultimate 6er | ACL Pros Favorite Cornhole Beers

Ultimate 6er | ACL Pros Favorite Cornhole Beers
Rich Stoner

Summer still managed to show up on time amidst all that is currently going on in our country. Coincidentally, most states have also relaxed on the number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings. Bring on BBQ season! Nothing says backyard BBQ like meat sizzling on the grill, cold craft beer and a few games of cornhole. Fortunately for us, you only need four to play the ultimate backyard game. So, not only does cornhole fit well within the standards of a small gathering, but it also lends itself to good conversations over many craft beers.

Cornhole’s Popularity is on the Rise

The popularity of the game of cornhole has been on the rise in recent years. This is not only true in the backyard and outdoor bar scene but also at the professional ranks. Yes, the sport of cornhole has its own professional league. The American Cornhole League (ACL) was founded in 2015 and has been growing ever since. It’s even on ESPN! In fact, cornhole was one of the first live sports to return to television during the quarantine. Now being broadcast regularly, the ACL’s best players are set to throw down on July 4 in the National Cornhole Championships LIVE on ESPN.

Hosting tournaments around the country, the ACL attracts players of all ages and abilities to watch and play the game. Oftentimes if you are playing cornhole it’s with a bag in one hand and a beer in the other. “If cornhole and craft beer have one thing in common – it’s the fact that they bring people together,” says ACL pro, Dave Sutton. “The beauty of our sport is that we can drink while we play… on the pro level… on television. Where else do you see that?” emphasizes Sutton. “Honestly, you just don’t.”

ACL Pros Recommend Their Favorite Cornhole Beers

Cornhole and craft beer literally go hand in hand. The professionals of the sport know this all too well, so it only made sense to seek their advice for some of their favorites. Whether you’re ready to join the ACL or just down for a little backyard fun here are their recommendations for six beers you can throw back as you’re tossing bags.

 

Follow the Gull | Cape May Brewing Co.

John Kitchin

Cape May Brewing Follow the Gull
Image courtesy of Cape May Brewing Company’s Instagram page.

Pro John Kitchin’s go-to summer beer is Cape May Brewing Follow the Gull. “It’s a very drinkable and citrusy refreshing IPA that I can drink at any time of day and a perfect summer beer especially when playing cornhole all day outside in the heat,” says Kitchin. Coming in at crushable 5.5% ABV, this juicy American IPA is light-bodied but quite hoppy and bursting with mango, pineapple and grapefruit flavors.


DDH Fallen Flag | Narrow Gauge Brewing Co.

Dave Sutton

Narrow Gauge Brewing Company DDH Fallen Flag
Image courtesy of Narrow Gauge Brewing Company’s Instagram page.

The aforementioned Dave Sutton prefers, barrel-aged stouts and New England IPAs, specifically DDH Fallen Flag, a double dry-hopped IPA from Narrow Gauge Brewing. “These may be the most-hyped styles, but they are for good reason, and anyone who says otherwise is likely a haze-boy or pastry boy themselves at heart.” DDH Fallen Flag’s herbal dankness is countered quite well by the heavy orange and grapefruit flavors and, at 7%, this American IPA will definitely increase your confidence in those airmail shots quickly.


Konig Ludwig Weissbier Hell | Warsteiner

Ryan Smith

For Ryan Smith, who with his partner James Washington, makes up one of the top duos in the sport, it’s all about the wheat beers. “Hefeweizen is my #1, specifically, Konig. It’s not too light or strong and has just the right amount of fruity sweetness.”  Konig is exactly what you’d expect in a traditional German weissbier. At 5.5% it is a bit lighter in alcohol but full of sweet banana and bubblegum flavors with a mild, spicy finish.


Green Zebra | Founders Brewing Co.

Brittany Emge

Founders Brewing Green Zebra
Image courtesy of Founders Brewing Company’s Instagram page.

Hot summer days, cornhole and backyard cookouts lend themselves to lighter beer styles. So for ACL pro, Brittany Emge, it’s all about a good Gose, specifically, Founders Green Zebra. “Green Zebra has the perfect balance between the sourness and watermelon flavor making it the perfect thirst quencher for those hot summer days. Every time I take a sip of the Green Zebra, it takes me back to our summer cookout playing cornhole with great friends and family.” Highly drinkable at only 4.6% Green Zebra fits this description perfectly. The slightly tart watermelon and cantaloupe notes are not overpowering and balance perfectly with the touch of sea salt rounds out the finish.


DayTime | Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Blake Demale

Lagunitas DayTime
Image courtesy of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s Instagram page.

Finding the right balance between drinking craft beer and still playing cornhole successfully is crucial. You want to have just enough to calm your nerves but too many high ABV IPAs and you’ll be sending your bags off the board every throw. Blake Demale calls this, “consumption control” and therefore suggest, Lagunitas DayTime. “During a tournament, a good, recommended craft beer is Lagunitas DayTime IPA. Coming in at only 4% ABV this American IPA will help you find what Demale calls your “happy zone” without skimping on the juicy citrus flavors and slightly piney finish.


Jai Alai | Cigar City Brewing Co.

Samantha Finley

Cigar City Brewing Jai Alai
Image courtesy of Cigar City Brewing Company’s Instagram page.

Samantha Finley likes “IPAs from all over.” I often go for the hazy New England IPAs and Double IPAs, but her go-to choice is Cigar City Brewing Jai Alai. She explains, “I like it for cornhole because it just takes a couple to shoot for those riskier airmail shots without overthinking.” You definitely won’t be overthinking anything with this American IPA. Higher in ABV at 7.5% and full of flavor, you’ll be completely relaxed and enjoying the bready, brown sugar sweetness that balances beautifully with the beer’s citrus flavor.


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