The fall football season looks quite a bit different in 2020. Game schedules are delayed as players and staff deal with COVID-19 testing and small outbreaks, and there’s no telling when fans will be able to fill stadiums. For fantasy football, altered training camps and no preseason of course mean unreliable statistics.

But for many fantasy leagues, it’s not just the NFL’s issues that are affecting their season. Ongoing social distancing and the inability to meet up in person while watching the game takes away a lot of the fun. So, here at Beer-Flicks, we’ve decided to add some cheer to the season with a fantasy beer lineup you and your buddies can do from home. Hey, what’s a fantasy football season without a few brews?

The Offense – A lineup chock-full of IPAs. Hop power for the win!

Quarterback – New England-style Hazy
Much like Tom Brady, some IPA “purists” resent it, while others say it’s already peaked. But no matter where you land on it, there’s no denying the NEIPA is still a choice pick for a lot of people. Also like good ol’ Brady, the NEIPA is now found outside of the Northeast.

Offensive Lineman – a Milkshake IPA
They don’t always come with the highest ABVs, but no matter. A good Milkshake IPA is boldly thick and uncompromisingly fruit-forward. It doesn’t actually care whether you think it actually deserves to be called an IPA or not— it’s here to just blindly mow down the competition.

Tight End – Imperial American IPA
Today’s 8% ABV+ Imperial hopbombs deliver enough musclepower for offensive slots like the tight end. Pick one with huge hop quantities for extra juice.

Running Back – American Pale Ale
A regular Pale Ale may seem less powerful because of its lower ABV and (usually) lower hop quantities. But make no mistake; a good one is supremely drinkable. For a quick running back in your lineup, a nice American Pale Ale will flow fast and smooth enough, with just enough surprising bursts of fruit and pine flavor for the win.

Wide Receiver – Sour IPA
It’s young. It’s daring. And it sure is moving fast! Sour IPAs are still a tough find, but keep on the lookout because they are rising across the country. A good one has surprising flashes of fruit and tanginess amid the hops, giving it the kind of dazzle needed for wide receiver.

Fullback – West Coast-style IPA
If anything, fullback is the unsung hero of any decent offensive lineup. Just as he clears the way for the rest of his teammates, the West Coast-style IPA was the O.G. IPA that paved the way for all those crazy hop styles we know today. Plus it’s known for its intense aromas of pine and earth in addition to high bitterness on the tongue, akin to the powerful traits needed in a good fullback.

The Defense – While everyone’s watching the offense, you need a strong defense with a lot of different flavors to steal the show!

Front defensive Lineman – Fruited Berliner Weisse
At a glance, this brew looks cool and collected. Heck, it might even look light. But once the play starts, it reveals its true power. Today’s Fruited Weisses often pack big ABVs and positively massive fruit quantities. There’s even a little funky flavor in there too for the element of surprise. It’s this powerful flavor complexity that means it’ll hold its own even when on the playing field with more openly aggressive styles.

Middle Linebacker – Marzen Lager
The middle linebacker spot calls for a grounding stance. A good Marzen Lager (seen in many Oktoberfest beers) has the kind of depth that will satisfy, while still running smooth when the occasion calls for it.

Outside Linebacker – Fruited Sour
The outside linebacker should have at least a few tricks up their sleeve, just like a Fruited Sour comes with surprising amounts of actual fruit. Many (like The Brewing Projekt’s marshmallow-loaded Puff Tart series) pack further tricks that are sure to be winners.

Cornerback – Pilsner
The cornerback is largely there for support (and realistically, helping maintain the interest of spectators). Long gone are the days when a Pilsner automatically meant some watery macro beer. Done right, a Pils is highly refreshing as well as flavorful. No matter how many times you’ve tried it, a good Pilsner delivers on these notes play after play and always knows how to please a crowd.

Safety – Coffee Porter
The defense’s safety positions serve as the last line of resistance against the offense, which means only the strongest, more resilient beers will stand up to the challenge. A good Coffee Porter with plenty of cocoa-vanilla intensity works here, especially when the flavors are more roasty than they are silky smooth. Look for one that’s at least 8% ABV+ and contains plenty of coffee or espresso additions.

On the Bench

All craft fans should try letting a beer age at least once, but not just any beer. For “the bench” this season, opt for a nice Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout. If you grab a 2020 vintage, it may be a rookie, but let it sit for a year or so. In time, that boozy hotheadedness will mellow out, and more nuanced flavors will rise to seasoned excellence.