The official start to the 2013 NFL season is almost here, and we’re counting down to Sept. 5 by ranking the most impressive rookies out there: Rookie breweries, that is. Whether your team goes 0-16 or dominates into the post-season, you win either way if there’s an all-star brewery in your ’hood. Each week, we’ll examine and rank the most impressive new breweries in each NFL division. Vote for your favorite brewery, and lay out your convincing argument in the comments.
Today, we’re tackling the AFC East.
New York Jets
Rookie player to watch: Geno Smith, who might solve the Jets’ long-time quarterback troubles (but, probably not).
Rookie brewery to watch: SingleCut Beersmiths in Astoria, Queens and its ultra-local approach to brewing beer. The brewery officially launched last winter and splits its portfolio between riffs on lagers (the spiced Jan Olympic White Lagrrr and Pre-prohibition 19-33 Queens Lagrrr) and bold ales (like the citrusy, piney Billy Full Stack IIPA and Dean Pacific NW Mahogany Ale). They’re one of the most buzzed-about names in the burgeoning Queens beer scene.
New England Patriots
Rookie player to watch: Quit talking about Tebow and keep an eye on the high-jumping, deep-threat Aaron Dobson at WR.
Rookie brewery to watch: From its hand-carved tap handles to its farmhouse ales, everything about Boston’s Trillium Brewing speaks to artisan craft. Opened since the spring, the nanobrewery’s charmed area drinkers with hoppy saisons like the citrusy Sunshower super saison, wild ales like the oak-aged New England Red and perfectly hopped brews like Fort Point Pale Ale. Even better? It plans to start bottling before the year’s out.
Rookie player to watch: Rookie QB EJ Manuel finished his pre-season debut against the Colts with an impressive 102.7 rating and one touchdown.
Rookie brewery to watch: Community Beer Works, comprised of a bunch of beer loving friends, is barely more than a year old, and it’s already gained a loyal crowd of local supporters due to its aggressive use of hops (its The IPA won the National IPA Championship) and creative experiments (see Funkrays, an American barleywine spiked with wild Brettanomyces yeast). Prepare to hear more about Buffalo: A handful of breweries are slated to open around the city within the next year.
Rookie player to watch: Stunted by a nagging shoulder injury, the Dolphins’ first-round pick Dion Jordan is questionable at best.
Rookie brewery to watch: The Miami beer scene has been questionable (read: stagnant), but that’s about to change: Next month, the determined Wynwood Brewing is slated to finally open its doors and release a lineup of beers that include La Rubia, a blonde ale; Pop’s Porter; Wynwood IPA; and Octopus on the Wall, an imperial IPA. Two more production breweries slated to open soon will also help bring this new beer scene into focus.
My pick: Trillium Brewing Co.