Craft Beer Pairings for the Big 12

Craft Beer Pairings for the Big 12

Warning: this is written from a Sooner fan living in a longhorn world.
Written by Denae Schwab.

If you are like me, you have been counting down the days til Labor Day weekend. It isn’t because you are looking forward to the lake, the day off, or to sleep in (even though those all sound great), but for college football Saturday. So, just for fun, I have compiled a list of craft beers/breweries for each Big 12 team. It is not meant to be taken seriously. To be fair, the list is in order of the pre-season rankings.

TCU : Martin House
TCU is ranked pretty high! It is still strange to me to see TCU is ranked in the top 3 even though they did end last year in the top 5. Congrats TCU. TCU, being in Fort Worth, is surrounded by some great local flavor. If you have not made a trip up there lately, it is definitely worth visiting. Martin House brews creative, flavorful beers. My recent favorite is their The Salty Lady Gose. The Martin House symbol is a Purple Martin, which is a swallow, that is described as an aerial acrobats that have speed and agility in flight. That to me would describe this highly anticipated TCU team. Martin House is making a name for themselves not only in Fort Worth, but most of Texas. TCU is doing the same. They are now the talk of college football and hoping to make it to the next level this year.

Martin House Brewing Company

BAYLOR: Real Ale Brewing
Baylor has been a member of the Big 12 since the Southwest Conference dissolved. The Big 12 division started in 1996. Real Ale was also founded in 1996 and both have seemed to climbed their way in Texas to be some of the best. They both have also rebranded their name over the last couple of years. Some of my favorites of Real Ale are always the ever delicious Mysterum Verum series, but a six pack of Hans Pils is always in our fridge.

If you live in Waco, or travelling through, their first brewery has recently opened. They have already started distributing kegs to local places around Waco. Read more information on Bare Arms Brewery on their Facebook page.

OKLAHOMA: Thirsty Planet Bucket Head IPA
I would say drink Texas SUXS made by Krebs Brewing Co. / Pete’s Place / Choc Beer. Yet, I know nothing about it and I love the state of Texas. So I am going with Bucket Head. The founder of Thirsty Planet lived in Oklahoma and brewed there before moving to Austin. So of course I will pair their beer with the Oklahoma Sooners (this is a good thing.) The label is also exactly what I want to do after almost every season of watching the Sooners. There are such high hopes for the season, but, by the end I want to put a bucket over my head. Hopefully, this year will be different but at least I can just enjoy the IPA all season long.

Bucket Head IPA

You might have thought a Prairie Beer would be paired with an Oklahoma team. We know Prairie is a great Oklahoma brewery, but I can’t see myself sitting down and drinking too many for a football game. Instead, I have chose Shiner, because I have a new respect for their brewery. I recently made the trip to Shiner. It was such a charming, small town. The brewery itself was worth the trip. They are not allowed to sell on site, but have many recommendations to go for a cold one. You receive four coins to fill your glass for free. Then, you are given a tour of their growing facility, which is under construction as of now. They were founded in 1909, which makes them the oldest brewery in Texas. They don’t fall under craft by the Brewer’s Association but they do claim they are craft. I don’t have any in the fridge, but I am always willing to order one for time to time. Yet, I do appreciate and respect them . It is just like my feelings for Oklahoma State. I only root for them when they play UT, but I do respect them.


TEXAS: Oklahoma Suks made by Independence Brewing
It never fails during the Red River Shootout (yes, it is still a shootout) that someone will bring this beer over. I hand it to Independence for labeling this! Oklahoma Suks brings UT and beer fans together. So for one time a year, you can buy a six pack to bring with you to any UT football gathering. For the rest of the season, pick up Independence Austin Amber, which is the same beer rebranded.

Oklahoma Suks

WEST VIRGINIA: Strange Land Brewery
When I think of West Virginia, I think of burning couches, racoon hats, and moonshine. I definitely do not think craft beer. They, with TCU, are the newest members to Big 12. Therefore you should grab one of the newest cans found in your local store: Alemannia Alt by Strange Land. This can just hit the shelves in Austin. Strange Land keg-conditions and can-conditions their beer. This can is the first ever can-condition can in Texas. For most of us, West Virginia is a little strange and less travelled. The beers though from Strange Land tend to follow that trend. Their slogan is The Beer Less Travelled. Maybe one day, I’ll make the trip to Mountaineer Stadium. I mean burning a couch after a game sounds like fun, except in the city it is considered a felony! The city of Morgantown has had to also make a law that bans outdoor upholstered furniture. Oh West Virginia!

Strange Land Brewery


KANSAS STATE: Saint Arnold Brewing
Texas’ Oldest Craft brewery is paired with Kansas State because the Wildcats have the oldest coach in college football. Bill Synder will turn 76 in October. The oldest craft brewery in Texas is Saint Arnold who shipped their first keg in 1994. You, for sure, can find something tasty from St. Arnold’s selection. The “old guys” helped the scene to what it is today.

TEXAS TECH: Austin Beerworks Black Thunder
I have many breweries on my mind when I think of the Raiders. Guns and Oil – because what describes West TX better, Wicked Beaver – because it is brewed in a town outside of Lubbock, Revolver – because Guns Up! Yet, I had to choose Black Thunder. Black Thunder perfectly describes what can happen during a night game in Lubbock.

Black Thunder

IOWA STATE: Blue Owl Brewing
This is my hardest pairing. When I see that a team is playing Iowa State, there usually is not much of a game. One of these days though, Iowa State might show up to play and surprise us all. It’s like Blue Owl, because one these days they actually might open and we can all try their sour mash beers. It will be a brewery I won’t want to miss. I feel the Big 12 is more fun when it is more competitive. Just like Austin is more fun with all these great breweries opening!

Blue Owl Brewing image

KANSAS: Boulevard Brewing Smokehouse Series
I would just skip to the Bourbon Barrel Quad because if you are a Jayhawk fan you are probably ready for basketball season. The higher the percent, the quicker the season will feel like it goes by. They also make a great farmhouse ale known as Tank 7. Kansas will most likely tank their football season. In other news, their basketball team’s first scheduled game is November 13.

The only Big 12 game I am looking forward, surprisingly, this labor day weekend is UT vs Notre Dame. I would give a list of bars to go watch at, but I live in Austin and when UT plays, all of the TVs are on ONE game. Do you have a go to game day drink? What do you take to the tailgates or what is in your game day keg? Enjoy your labor day weekend: Have fun, be safe, and Boomer Sooner (I just had to say it). Here’s to a great football season for your favorite team. Cheers.
Adventurer, Traveler, Reader, Sport lover, board game playin, and of course drinking a beer. From sky diving and tumbling to traveling the world, I love a good adventure. Some adventures lead me to new beer and breweries. Some include an all day binge watching of football games. Others take me on biking trails and trips to the mountains. I’m always doing something and usually on the go!

Denae Schwab

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