Best Food and Drinks to Enjoy While Watching the Sabres

<em>Hockey Games Just Aren’t the Same Without the Right Recipes</em>

In a recent DBTB thread, some readers and editors shared their favorite fish recipes. Swapping recipes puts me in mind of what I’ll make when the Buffalo Sabres are playing hockey games again. As a former Delaware North employee who worked at KeyBankCenter, home of the Sabres for eight years, I’m familiar with all the food and drink offerings available to fans at the game. However, it’s even more enjoyable to make your own dishes and drinks while watching the team in the comfort of your living room. Here are some of them:

1)    Best Beers

Sporting events and alcohol go together. There’s something about the camaraderie of watching a game with other people that naturally makes alcoholic beverages an essential component (in moderation, of course). Beer, a traditionally unpretentious drink, makes it an obvious first choice for any sports viewer. These are some of the best beers to crack open while the Sabres are playing:

Labatt Blue

An old standby and a local favorite. Western New Yorkers have been drinking it for generations, and Labatt’s American headquarters is located right here in Buffalo. Blue is, not surprisingly, the official beer of the Buffalo Sabres. You can’t go wrong drinking a Labatt Blue while you’re watching the Blue & Gold.

Community Beer Works

Community Beer Works is one of a number of craft breweries that have opened in the Queen City in recent years. You can buy their products at any decent sized supermarket or stop by their brewery on 7th St. on the West Side. My favorite is That IPA, but there are a plenty of options available.

Resurgence Brewery

Resurgence is another craft brewer that popped up in Buffalo. Their main location on Chicago St. is open six days a week. You can order your selection from their brewery or at your local grocery store. My preferred variety is Resurgence IPA.

Big Ditch

Big Ditch is a third local craft beer maker. Their brewery and tap room are in downtown Buffalo on East Huron St. You can stop by there to sample their offerings and they also list a number of locations in the area where you can purchase their beers. Hayburner is excellent and Low Bridge is also a good lower alcohol content choice.

Sam Adams (honorable mention)

Sam Adams is one of the original craft brewers. You can buy Sam’s at just about any local retail outlet. A word of warning, don’t drink it while watching a Sabres-Bruins game, or people will get the wrong idea about your team loyalty.

2)    Best Food

Anchor Bar Wings

The original Buffalo bar food snack. Everyone in Western New York knows the story of how Teressa Bellissimo invented this dish in 1964 at the Anchor Bar on Main St. John Mitzewich of the Spruce Eats has the recipe to make these authentic wings. If you’re trying to avoid cardiac arrest while you’re wolfing down a fatty side like this, there’s an option to bake the wings instead of frying them.

Also, the blue cheese is for dipping the celery, not anything else. Some people have been promoting the mistaken idea that it’s ok to dip the wings in it. Not at all. The wings are already covered in hot sauce. Dipping the wrong ingredient just ruins the sauce’s flavor. The celery, combined with blue cheese, is a cooling palate cleanser, not an option.

Rachael Ray’s Boozy Wings

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray is not as popular as she once was, but this recipe has stood the test of time. In case you’re not buzzed enough, why not chase your beer with some bourbon-enhanced wings? You’ll need to make a trip to the liquor store to get some bourbon, while you can find everything else at Tops or Wegmans. Trust me, you’ll like these.

Jeff’s Nachos

The other most well-known game day hors d’oeuvre. There are many nacho recipes out there, but all involve topping them with too many ingredients. This is the simple recipe I use: 1) Preheat the oven to 350°. 2) Place taco chips on a pie plate. 3) Bake chips in the oven for three minutes or until crispy. 4) Microwave jar of nacho cheese for one and a half minutes or until thoroughly heated. 5) Spoon melted cheese onto the chips. 6) Top with jalapeño peppers if desired.

Margherita-Style Naan Pizza

Wegmans has a margherita pizza recipe that is delicious, not too greasy and easy to make. If you don’t feel like preparing it from scratch, there’s also a ready to cook margherita pizza that’s easy to put in the oven and bake. Unfortunately, it’s so sought after, the ready-mades sell out fast. Either way, it’s a satisfying snack for any Sabres game.

Those are some of my food and beverage suggestions for anyone watching a Sabres game at home. What are your favorites?