The Super Bowl is an excuse to gather friends, eat a lot of cheese and spiced meats and concoct the most outstanding excuse for not going into work Monday morning. With an estimated 49 million cases of beer consumed, Super Bowl Sunday is the eighth-largest day for beer sales in the United States, according to Reuters. Only the eighth, you ask? Well, the other seven are Packer Sundays (wink).
Although Super Bowl parties are presumed to be living room centered, the bar scene offers its alternatives. Bars most likely offer more TVs, there’s no need to cater to or clean-up after your bum friends, many bars provide free food/snacks, and the quantity and variety of beer is exponential. In the case of Romans’ Pub (3475 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue), the variety of beer isn’t just large: it’s monumental, it’s voluminous and it’s mostly high-tiered stuff.
Upon walking into Romans’ on this holiest of sporting days, a protruding dry-erase board immediately seizes bar patrons’ attention with its listing of current beer offerings. Romans’ is a communal bar with beers for the adventurous and beers for the prudent, which means everyone’s happy! The oversized Excel spreadsheet had some beers I’ve never heard of and some I’m sure I’ve tried. Others are maintained on my go-to list, “Mark’s Beers for Cheers.”
After ogling the beer menu, I parked my keester at one of the two remaining bar stools directly in front of the deluge of tappers (so as to further survey the selection) and just below the object of my attention for the next few hours: the large, flat-screen TV (in my best U.P. voice, “She’s prolly a 52-incher, ya know?”).
As I mentioned earlier, some bars offer free snacks during the Bowl. Romans’ is one of these magnificent dispensaries. I was luckily located near the pretzel rod and Nacho Doritos bowls while my lady sat within arms reach of the Ruffles and French onion dip. There were other bowls of snacks on the tables and across the remaining portion of the bar, but I had my Doritos. Happiness is orange fingers, folks.
Now, the building that Romans’ inhabits is quite old and possesses a storied history. Here’s the 5-cent
history lesson: Built in 1885 as a stagecoach stop, the building immediately became a gathering place
while eventually reducing to a speakeasy during Prohibition. Mark Roman purchased the building in 1978. Fast-forward…Romans’ offers 30 rotating taps, a stocked humidor, a beer garden and a list of accolades: Imbibe Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Drink Beer in 2008 and one of America’s 100 Best Beer Bars for 2011 and 2012 by Draft Magazine! Sheesh! Let’s get to the beer, eh?
My first beer of the night was Michigan’s Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury Belgian Strong Ale. I’m a big Bell’s fan and will always list their Oberon Ale on “Mark’s Beers for Cheers.” So, since I had yet to hear about, let-alone taste, this slice of Hell, the choice was easy. It has a deep brown color, fruity aroma and is warm with notes of coffee and chocolate. $6.50 for the flavor was perfect company for the Super Bowl.
Speaking of company, my lady was my accomplice this evening as we watched the East Coast powerhouses battle it out here in the Mid-Best. She’s not always one to order a beer, but I think, by the looks of the offerings, she had to give the menu a shot. A quick look and she gave a bewildered, “whoa!” She ordered a Southern Tier Imperial Mokah Stout ($7.50). This chocolate dominated beer is smooth and malty. It’s a blend of their Jah-Va and Choklat stouts, so it was very dark in color but medium bodied, spewing chocolate and coffee aromatics. Oh so delicious and quite the alcohol powerhouse coming in at 11%.
Please, do not let the prices scare you away from Romans’. They have so many beers on their list that everyone’s price range can be accommodated: $4.50 for a Goose Island I.P.A, $5.00 for a Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils and $5.00 for a Blanch De Bruxelles White Ale. They even have cellared beers that are snuggling up in the cool basement waiting for their time to shine (probably intermingled with their hefty wine selection). As mentioned before, they have a stocked humidor too, but unless you want to savor your stogie out in the February chill, hold off until the beer garden is open and you have the opportunity to really take in Romans’.
That Sunday night as we patrons at Romans’ kept one eye on the Super Bowl and the other on our beers, I had to wonder how this place would be any different on any given night. Note: they are normally closed on Sundays (barring a special event) and Mondays, so plan accordingly. Even though beer is the sporting event’s best friend, it’s many flavors and receptacles should be enjoyed with or without sports. Try it with friends, try it with strangers and make some friends. Romans’ will play host to any evening. No football for how many days? Too bad, the beer is always cold at Romans’.