Talking about a New England-New York beer battle of Super proportions.
The Massachusetts-New York rivalry continues Sunday as the New England Patriots and the New York Giants lock horns in Super Bowl XLII.
The two states are always rivals when it comes to sports, and it's no different in the world of beer.
It is hard for many states to compete with New York. With a population of more than 19 million people, it's just too big. In all, there are 29 breweries and 44 brewpubs in New York.
Massachusetts simply can't compete with those numbers, but, luckily, the Patriots represent all of New England, not just the Bay State.
The New York-New England comparison is much closer a combined population of more than 14 million people in the six states; and 59 breweries and 91 brewpubs in the region.
But higher numbers are not always better. Brewers in both areas say they are on top when it comes to fermented barley beverages. "We kick ass," said Ithaca Brewing Company's head brewer Jeff O'Neil. "We have Southern Tier, Ommegang, Blue Point, Captain Lawrence, South Hampton. We have a lot of great breweries."
But, New England shouldn't be overlooked, said Will Meyers, brewmaster at the Cambridge Brewing Company, a popular brewpub.
"To a certain extent, it's almost unfair to say New England versus New York, because we have six states," said Meyers. "We certainly have one of the granddaddies of the craft brewing movement in Sam Adams. There's Smuttynose in New Hampshire, Harpoon here in Boston, the Portsmouth Brewing Company, and the Alchemist and American Flatbread in Vermont. I wouldn't say we're at all ethanol-challenged."
O'Neil said New England has a lot to be proud of when it comes to beer.
"A lot of us craft brewers would be somewhat lost if Sam Adams hadn't paved the way," he said. "There's some great, great beers in New England. I don't get to drink as much New England beers as I would like."
However, O'Neil said New York still comes out on top.
"They've got (New York) beat on the mega-brewer side with Harpoon and Sam Adams," he said, "but I think we've got (New England) beat in the 5,000 to 15,000 barrel-range breweries."
A U.S. barrel of beer is 31 gallons. Most craft breweries fall within the 5,000 to 15,000 barrel range.
New York brewers, O'Neil said, are more adventurous with their beers. He cited Brewery Ommegang's Belgian-style ales, and other makers, such as Blue Point and Southern Tier, as brewers more likely to roam off the beaten path.
"New England brewers have the Old World styles hands down with a lot of British styles," he said. "Harpoon IPA is still pretty amazing. They were one of the first to be fearless enough to call their beer an 'IPA."'
Meyers disagreed. He thought New England brewers were more likely to take a chance.
"We're more likely to be experimental," he said. "Portsmouth makes Kate the Great, a 10 to 11 percent (alcohol by volume) stout. The boys out at Berkshire (Brewing Company of South Deerfield) are consistently making rocking beers."
Not that New York beers are anything to ignore, he said.
"New York has some strong breweries, like Ithaca," said Meyers. "One of my favorite breweries is Ommegang."
But, what plays against New York is its size. There are huge portions of upstate New York that have not embraced the craft beer movement.
"You have to look at the entire upstate New York situation places like Rochester where breweries don't last," Meyers said. "They're fairly entrenched in the world of Anheuser-Busch."
In the end, it doesn't matter if New England or New York wins the better-beer argument, because it is the beer drinker who really wins, both brewers agreed.
What's most important these days, though, is what happens on the field on Sunday, O'Neil said.
"Giants all the way," he said. "The Patriots have to lose sometime. I think the Giants will beat the spread, at least."
Try a barleywine
Speaking of the Cambridge Brewing Company, it will be hosting a Barleywine Festival tomorrow, 5 to 10 p.m., at the pub at 1 Kendall Square, Building 100.
This event will feature several different versions and vintages of CBC's barleywines.
The beer menu is: 2007 dryhopped Blunderbuss Barleywine; 2007 Buffalo Trace Barrel Aged Blunderbuss Barleywine; 2006 and 2007 Chardonnay Barrel Aged Arquebus Barelywine; 2004, 2005 and 2006 Blunderbuss Barleywine; and 2005 Woodford Reserve Barrel Aged Blunderbuss Barleywine.
There will also be a tapas menu to include wild mushroom marsala soup; Thai steamed mussels with anisette broth; and Chinese five-spice duck medallions with edamame succotash and herb-truffle oil.
For more information, call Cambridge Brewing Company at 617-494-1994.
Norman Miller is a Daily News staff writer. For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, e-mail email@example.com or call 508-626-3823.Check out the Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/