It’s Tailgating Season!
It’s our favorite time of year. With the changing of the leaves comes tailgating season, and we’re going Fall out. We see ourselves arriving at the game early, breaking out the ice chest, passing out some cold brews, firing up the grill, cooking delicious food, and sharing the excitement for the upcoming game with other equally excited people. It’s one of the greatest traditions surrounding sports where you can play games, eat well, drink some brews, and share within a community of like-minded people.
Tailgating, at its heart, highlights the importance of food, beverage, and community. It brings a group of enthusiastic people together to have a good time and unite over a shared passion for their sport and team of choice.
For the uninitiated, tailgating may seem a little overwhelming to start, but rest assured, it’s easy and accessible to most sports fans. We even took a few tailgating rookies from our San Diego Brewery to a University of Southern California football game with our Taxa Trailer (that you can win!) to watch Athletic Ambassador Caleb Williams play.
What is Tailgating, Anyway?
Imagine pulling into the stadium parking lot of your favorite team. The lot is packed with cars, trucks, and trailers decorated to the nines with sports memorabilia, flags, big foam hands, and team pennants. Friends and fans are wandering around the lot, talking, playing games, eating and drinking. Music plays and laughter is abundant. It’s a joyous scene, with folks barbecuing and cooking out of the back of their trucks and trailers. The bright team colors are displayed with pride on clothing and faces, flags and memorabilia. When you pull your vehicle into the lot, your presence is welcome and the party-like atmosphere draws you into the fray.
Tailgating, in essence, is the pre-celebration for a sporting event. The activity is traditionally enjoyed before a football game, but can also be delighted in prior to basketball, baseball, or any other sporting event.
The beauty of tailgating is that it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. (Find your Tailgating style below!) It can be taken very seriously by the fan-faithful, or be participated in more casually.
The history of tailgating is a bit hazy, with theories ranging across countries and different eras. What we do know is that it is a tradition with roots planted deeply in the asphalt surrounding stadiums and sports complexes across the country.
How to Tailgate
There are few rules surrounding the tailgating experience. As mentioned before, you can make it as big and extraordinary, or as simple as you want.
Guidelines vary depending on which stadium your tailgating party is taking place at. Before showing up, make sure to check the rules for tailgating at your stadium. This can usually be done with a quick internet search of “tailgating rules for [insert your stadium name].”
No Vending. Generally, the rules ask that you do not sell anything at the tailgating party. You probably won’t be allowed to sell food, drink, memorabilia, or any other items to fellow tailgating participants.
Be Kind and Courteous. Always be kind to other tailgaters. This may go without saying, but it’s possible that you may end up parked next to the opposing team’s fans. Remember that you are all there to have a good time, and treat each other with respect. Along the same lines, don’t assume that you can take food or drinks from anyone. While many tailgaters happily share, others only bring enough for themselves.
Stay in Your Lane. Keep your items within the vicinity of your own vehicle. Some stadiums have specific guidelines to follow for how far your spread can… well, spread. Most of the time, you don’t want your gear to take over your neighbor’s space, and you can’t block the path of travel. Other vehicles do still have to be able to pass through – it is a parking lot after all – and there needs to be room for emergency response vehicles to get through.
Be Self Sufficient. You can’t show up at a tailgating party and expect everyone else to share food and drinks with you. While it’s possible, and probably likely, that other tailgaters will be offering food and beverages up for grabs, you can’t rely on that. Bring your own food and beverages.
Clean Up After Yourself. Bring a garbage bag so you can dispose of any waste properly and pick up any food scraps that have been dropped. It’s good practice to have a receptacle for recycling, but leave glass bottles at home.
You don’t have to go all out during your first ever tailgating experience, but there are a few things to keep in mind when planning:
Bring Plenty of Chairs. Obvious? Maybe. Of course, standing, walking around the parking lot, sitting on the actual tailgate, or even sitting on the ice chest are all totally fine options. However, in the four or five hours of pre-game party, you might find yourself wanting a more comfortable seat . Not to mention it’ll keep you from being forced to stand up every time someone needs to get in the ice chest to grab a cold brew. Having extra chairs can also be nice to have for friends new and old to visit with you.
Pack Some Fun Games. Conversations with friends can be a lot of fun, but you can up the entertainment level by bringing along some parking lot games. Some great, packable game ideas are cornhole, a game where you toss corn- or bean-filled bags to try and sink them in a hole in a board. It’s similar to horseshoes but a lot safer for crowds. Spikeball is a game similar to volleyball, but instead of hitting a ball over a net, you “spike” a soft rubber ball into a trampoline-like net on the ground. Or try holding an Athletic Brewing non-alcoholic beer taste test, or play beer pong with your favorite Athletic Brew! Games are a great way to mingle, draw other people in, and spark conversation.
Load Up On Food and Drinks. At its core, tailgating is about food, drink, and community. You certainly don’t have to share your food or your beverages, but some folks feel a sense of joy and pride when they share their special barbecue ribs, or their particularly delicious homemade chili prepared with their secret family recipe. Same goes for drinks. Wow your friends and strangers alike with your fantastic non-alcoholic Micheladas, or hand out some of our award winning, great-tasting flagship brews like Run Wild or Upside Dawn. Don’t forget to stay hydrated by snagging some of our refreshing DayPack Sparkling Water. Make sure you have enough to go around!
Be Prepared. Sporting events can take place in all kinds of conditions and weather. Bring lots of sun protection if the weather calls for sunny skies. This not only includes sunscreen and hats, but you can also think about bringing a portable canopy to create some shade. In cooler temperatures and stormy weather, bring along a cozy Rumpl blanket to wrap around yourself or bring along an umbrella. You’ll have more fun and create better memories if you’re prepared for whatever the weather may bring.
Tailgate Like a Pro. Check out our Grand Adventure Giveaway for the ultimate tailgating setup! The grand prize includes a Taxa Trailer totally decked out with items like a YETI Tundra Haul® Wheeled Cooler and Solo Stove® Ranger 2.0 plus stand so you can tailgate like a pro. The giveaway ends November 15, 2022, so don’t wait!
Keep it Simple (If You Want). Not into making tailgating a big deal? It’s okay if you don’t want to go big for your first tailgating experience; you can keep it simple. All you really need for success is a cooler of drinks, some chairs, and enough food for you and your group. None of it needs to be extravagant, and can be as simple as grilling up some hotdogs on a camp stove. Don’t forget to pack the essentials such as sunscreen, extra clothing layers, paper towels, and ice.
Don’t Forget Dessert! If you want to make a big impression on your fellow tailgaters, don’t forget to pack a dessert to share. There is a lot of importance placed on excellent barbecue, with good reason, but dessert can be a welcome treat.
What Kind of Tailgater Are You?
We believe that what makes tailgating parties memorable are the unique people you meet along the way. Everyone has a different personality, and you may find yourself or your friends relating to one or more of the tailgater styles described below. Read on to find out what kind of tailgaters you might meet at the stadium, along with a matching Athletic brew! Which brew are you?
Best Brew Match: Run Wild IPA
This person’s favorite thing to do is mingle and meet new people. All they want to do is make new friends and have fun conversations. Their friends probably have a hard time keeping track of The Socializer because they’re always joining other groups and finding interesting people to talk to. You might notice that they know almost everyone at the tailgating party already.
The Early Bird
Best Brew Match: Upside Dawn Golden
The Early Bird is at the stadium, set up, and ready to party before anyone else gets there. They want the most primo spot in the lot and they don’t want to waste precious party time setting up while the festivities are going on around them. The Early Bird is such a planner that they probably have all of their food and drinks prepped and ready to go the day before the big event. These folks are in it for the long haul.
Best Brew Match: Free Wave Hazy IPA
Complete with face paint, pom poms, bull horns, and team-specific chants, The Cheerleader probably got voted “most spirited” in their high school yearbook. These folks can be found amping everyone else up with their fiery energy and all-around stoke for the team and the game, and are the most likely to start “the wave” during the event.
The Life of the Party
Best Brew Match: Athletic Lite
Also known as the party animal, this person is pregaming just to party it up. They may not even be that interested in the game, they’re just there to have a good time (without the hangover). The Life of the Party probably seeks out the other tailgaters who are giving away drinks, but in return they give away their infectious energy. They’re the center of attention wherever they go, and you can’t help but love The Life of the Party for their enthusiasm.
The Die Hard
Best Brew Match: All Out Extra Dark
Who goes all out for the big game? The Die Hard. This person is a super fan who faithfully follows their team. They know all of the stats, line ups, facts, and figures. This is a hardcore tailgater and staunch fan, probably dressed from head to toe in team apparel, and with matching face paint to boot. Not only is this person the biggest fan, but they’re a little superstitious. If they don’t do their pre-game rituals the right way, then their team just might lose. They go all out on all things team and tailgating related.
Best Brew Match: Cerveza Atletica
A favorite of all the sports fans, The Foodie is there to cook and share. Their jovial spirit draws people in and they happily share out snacks, appetizers, and the most delicious barbecue you’ll ever taste. They’re proud of their culinary creations and live to see everyone eat well. To The Foodie, cooking and sharing is almost more enjoyable than watching the game. Their secret ingredient is probably Cerveza Atletica.
Which tailgater are you? No matter which of the styles you are, you’ll be able to set up your tailgating space with style and ease using the prizes from our Grand Adventure Giveaway. Enter to win a decked out Taxa Cricket trailer (plus other cool prizes!) This trailer can be a welcome respite from the heat or the cold, or act as the perfect kitchen for all your tailgating food prep.