Welcome to the first annual Hooch & Hops Top 10 Craft Draft. We are here to tell you who we think the top 10 picks in this year’s NFL Draft will be along with that player’s matching beer. Indianapolis is on the clock…
1.Indianapolis Colts- HE’BREW Messiah (The Chosen Beer) Schmaltz Brewing Company Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford University
Messiah, an earthy nut brown ale, takes the top pick for two reasons. First, Colts fans obviously think they have found their savior in Andy Luck. Second, just like Luck, Schmaltz Brewing founder Jeremy Cowan is Stanford grad. It doesn’t hurt that Schmaltz Brewing has locations in San Fran, a mere stone’s throw from Palo Alto, and New York City, home to the draft, so fans in both locations can celebrate accordingly.
2. Washington Redskins- Russian Imperial Stout, Sprecher Brewing Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor University
Just like the Skins we’re going with a Griffin. Longtime Wisconsin stalwart Sprecher Brewing Company has RGIII’s namesake mythological creature as their logo (see Griffin logo to the right). Just like RGIII, their Russian Imperial Stout has taken home numerous awards. Fantastic coffee and roast malt flavors lurk within. Buy one now and stick it in your beer cellar. Open it when RGIII wins his first MVP trophy in a few years. Both he and this beer are going to age very well.
3. Minnesota Vikings- Blindside Pale Ale, Leech Lake Brewing Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Write Matt Kalil in at left tackle for the next 10-15 years for the Vikes. Whoever their QB is next year (definitely not sold on Ponder), his blindside will be well protected. P.S. Matt, choosing a Pale Ale was not an accident. Prepare yourself for a long, cold, sunless winter. Soak in those rays while you still can.
4. Cleveland Browns- King Crimson, Peak Organic Brewing Trent Richardson, RB, University of Alabama
Not getting a sufficient offer from the Dolphins (who are desperate to get their hands on a certain A&M QB) the Browns make the smart choice and take Trent Richardson from the Alabama Crimson Tide. Like Trent, this Red Ale is strong and well balanced. It checks in at a hefty 9% ABV, but isn’t overly heavy on the alcohol taste. It does come off a little on the piney side (dry hopped with Simcoe), but a good dose of roasted malts keeps the hops in check so your tongue won’t get run over. Trent’s AFC North opponents won’t be so lucky.
5.Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Tin Roof Bandit Blonde Ale, Tin Roof Brewing Maurice Claiborne, CB, LSU
LSU has been working on a collaboration beer with their neighboring brewery, Tin Roof, for almost a year. The university has put it on hold for the time being, but Tin Roof has gone ahead with production and released it just in time for homecoming. Maurice is known for his smooth transitions in bump and run coverage, so we wanted an easy drinking beer to match his style of play. (Abita Purple Haze was a close second, but that just seemed too easy).
6. St. Louis Rams- Single Speed Session 4 Hands Brewing Company Justin Blackmon, WR, OSU
Shocked that he’s fallen this far, the Rams jump on the chance to draft WR Justin Blackmon. While only having two of them, Justin has arguably the best hands in the draft. He showed deep threat speed in game tape and at the combine. And, like a good session beer, Sam Bradford will be going to him all day.
7. Miami Dolphins- Landshark Lager, Margaritaville Brewing Company Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Hearing rumors that the Jags are talking to other teams about a trade, the Dolphins give up their 1st Round and their 3rd Round pick to move up one spot to take the best qb available. Unfortunately, just like Landshark, Tannehill is vastly overrated by the Dolphin fan base. The Jags get the better of this deal as they will still be able to get their man, and pick up an extra pick to fill one of their many holes.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars- People’s Pale Ale, Intuition Ale Works Stephen Gilmore, CB, University of South Carolina
Just like this Gamecock, Intuition Ale Works has been shooting up the rankings lately. Gilmore’s name has been mentioned more and more as draft day approaches and is a solid top 15 pick in almost every mock draft out there. Intuition, with their flagship People’s Pale Ale, has been making a name for itself in the nascent Florida craft scene. Cans, growlers, and kegs are available at the brew house, a mere 15 minutes from EverBank Field, so stock up for your tailgating.
9. Carolina Panthers- Torpedo, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State University
Fletcher Cox and Sierra Nevada have something in common. They will both be dominant forces in Carolina for years to come. Soon to start construction on their new brewery in Asheville, Sierra Nevada is adding major clout to an already strong craft beer town. Fletcher will be a huge addition to the growing youth movement in Carolina. Torpedo IPA was chosen to match Fletcher’s explosive, penetrating style of play. Whole cone hops crank the intensity level way up (65 IBU’s)!
10. Buffalo Bills- Aviator Red, Flying Bison Brewing Company
Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College
Dick Butkus Award? Check. Bronco Nagurski Award? Check. Ronnie Lott IMPACT Award? Check. 500+ tackles in the last three years? Check. Adding Mario Williams and Marc Anderson to a D line that features a star in the making in Marcel Dareus and All-Pro caliber Kyle Williams returning from injury, the Bills will take the top guy left on their draft board. Wisely ignoring the calls to take Rielly Rieff (not worthy of a top 10 pick) Buffalo will solidify their run defense with Kuechly. This BC product is a straight up baller. Think Paul Pozlusny, but stronger, faster, and smarter. Luke, look for Hooch & Hops after the game in the parking lot at the Ralph. Aviator Red is a perfect tailgate beer. First round is on us.
Thank you for joining us for the first annual Hooch & Hops Top 10 Craft Draft. Feel free to comment on our choice of picks (beer or player) by joining us on twitter (@hoochandhops) or on our Facebook page. And remember Drink Better!