This last weekend marked the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day. In honor of the holiday, I participated in an intense, day-long Beer Olympics. This really got my juices flowing, so on this week’s Gritcast, Dirty Dietz and I celebrate the beginning of the outdoor drinking season by drafting our favorite tailgate drinking games.
Our rules were simple, we alternated picking games until each of us had 5. Only games that primarily involve drinking were eligible, we call this the Kan Jam rule because while many people have a rule that you must have a drink in your hand while playing, it is not really essential to the game itself. Since I suck at Rock, Paper, Scissors and apparently always choose paper first, Dirty Dietz won the honor of selecting first.
- Beer Ball – Dirty Dietz
- A classic game and a solid choice. We start every Buffalo Bills tailgate with a ceremonial game of beer ball to get the blood pumping. Its simple because you only need a couple ping pong balls and some cans of beer, no pesky cups required. Beer ball doesn’t take the same precision of beer pong, so you can play in pretty much any element, you don’t need to worry about the ball getting dirty and ruining your beer, and hustling after the ball is a great way to build camaraderie before a long day of drinking.
- Beer Darts – Hambone
- This is a bit of niche game because it requires some preparation, but ever since I saw this at a tailgate a couple years ago I can’t get enough. To play you’ll need 2 large pieces of wood to sit behind, metal darts, and beer cans. Beer Darts has it all; you need skill to throw your dart and actually hit the can, but you can play the entire game while sitting down. There is an element of danger thanks to the sharp metal darts being thrown around by drunk people, and there is chugging involved to stop your beer from spewing out of the hole. Note- the psychos in the picture above are not using the protective boards and will probably be stabbed in the legs, I do not recommend this technique!
- Beer Hot Potato (?) – Dirty Dietz
- I have no idea what this game is actually called. We first played it at the Bills – Jags playoff game in Jacksonville and it was legitimately the most insane game I’ve ever seen. A bunch of people stand in a circle, someone shakes up a beer and tosses it to someone else in the circle who can only use one hand to catch it. The third time that the can is dropped, the person to drop it needs to chug or shotgun it. This sounds simple at first, but without fail, after people start to get the hang of it, some asshole always starts chucking this fucking thing to the moon. Then, while simultaneously trying to not get killed by a tall boy of PBR falling at terminal velocity you need to somehow catch the can or else you have to chug a volcano of beer than is just waiting to erupt.
- Stump – Hambone
- Another game that requires a little planning but is a guaranteed way to make new friends. If you roll to a country concert or a football game with a tree stump, hammer, and nails, not only will curious onlookers flock to your tailgate but they’ll think you are a redneck god. A common theme with my picks so far has been danger, which may not be for everyone, but I love a good game that might send some idiot to the hospital because they hammered into their own leg. At this point I think I can throw a hammer behind my back or between my legs better than I can actually swing it at a nail.
- Diamonds Are Forever – Dirty Dietz
- Diamonds is tough to explain without actually watching it in action, but you can pick it up pretty easily. It combines the best aspects of beer pong, flip cup, and civil war. I’m not sure if it was invented at SUNY Brockport but I’m going to give them credit because it was spread like wildfire by anyone who visited there. You’ll need cups and balls just like beer pong, but Diamonds is more like beer pong’s drunk uncle who just polished off the table wine before Thanksgiving dinner. Teams of two stand diagonally across the table from each other, with the goal of throwing the ball into their teammate’s cups. If you sink the ball, your teammate fishes it out and hands it to the opposing team standing next to them. This person then needs to chug the beer and flip it, flip cup style, before they can continue throwing. Once all of one team’s cups have been finished they need to double bounce the ball into the center cup which is generally a witches brew of nastiness. Diamonds is a riot, and the double bounce at the end of the game is a great equalizer, I’ve seen some incredible comebacks because of this- you’re never really out of it.
- Slap Cup/Boom – Hambone
- Slap Cup aka Boom is a ton of fun at the end of the night. There isn’t really a limit on the number of people that can play, everyone just needs a little space at the table. Another advantage is that there aren’t clear winners or losers, unless you consider drinking tons of beer quickly losing. Check out this link if you need a breakdown of the rules, but its fairly straightforward and great for any setting where you don’t care about making a mess. The downside is that you can wreck a lot of cups when you karate chop them off the table like the Karate Kid, so I don’t recommend playing this until you’ve gotten all of the other games involving cups out of the way, or if you bought the 256 pack from BJs, then go right ahead.
- Dizzy Bat – Dirty Dietz
- This was a steal for the double D, I completely forgot about dizzy bat. Although not the most versatile game, nothing quite matches the feeling of chugging a wiffle ball bat full of beer, spinning around until you walk like Jim Lahey after a bender, and absolutely smashing a tater into the upper decks. You need some space for dizzy bat, which does limit you to outdoor areas, but I’ve played in city streets before and mashing a can onto someone’s roof is an incredible rush. Check out this Teletubby send that can into orbit!
- Beer Pong – Hambone
- Chalk pick. Beer pong is a classic. Everyone and their mother knows how to play; I’ve even played this with my mother, and my almost 90 year old grandfather. Beer pong started it all, I’m pretty sure the George Washington and his boys were playing this while they waited to cross the Delaware. You could argue that pong is old and tired, and that can definitely be true. Everyone has gotten stuck in an awful slog of a game where nobody can hit a shot and it lasts forever, while all the people waiting to play slowly go insane. But, the game is accessible for everyone, doesn’t require a lot of set up, and with rules like heating up, roll backs, and island, you can make the game more interesting.
- Flip Cup – Dirty Dietz
- Another classic. Honestly I can’t believe flip cup lasted this long. If George Washington was tossing beer pong balls then Thomas Jefferson was flipping cups in between drafts of the Declaration of Independence. No need for ping pong balls in this game, just good old plastic cups. I personally prefer the Solo cups with square bottoms, they seem to have the best balance, but if you need to use knock-off store brands then more power to you. You can play a lot of different variations of flip cup, the standard team vs team, the more fun survivor version where players get kicked off the losing team, if you hate yourself (and being sober) you can even do 1 v. 1 full-cup flip cup. Flip cup is versatile, it can be played indoors, outdoors, on a tailgate, a kitchen counter, an end table, a dorm room door placed between two couches, a piece of plywood, and the list goes on and on.
- Polish Horseshoes – Hambone
- My final pick is another game that requires its own set of equipment, but is well worth the hassle. You may know this game by one of its other names, like Beersbee, Frisbeener, or French Darts, but the idea behind them all is the same. A glass bottle is set on top of a plastic pole, and the goal is to knock it off using a frisbee. I like this game more than Kan Jam because it requires you to have a beer in your hand and the opposing team has the opportunity to play defense. I think this games qualifies for our draft because you need an empty bottle to play, and sometimes they break so you need to keep drinking more. Points are only scored when the frisbee or the bottle hit the ground, so you can try to catch them as they fall which leads to some insane highlights. I’ve seen some crazy catches where someone grabs the frisbee, flips it over to catch the bottle, and rolls on the ground without spilling a drop.
- Beer Ball – Dirty Dietz
So there you have it, the tailgating drinking games draft is complete. Take a look at the final teams and let us know who you think has the better roster in the comments or on our Twitter, @GritnessSports.
- Beer Ball
- Beer Hot Potato
- Dizzy Bat
- Flip Cup
- Beer Darts
- Slap Cup/Boom
- Beer Pong
- Polish Horseshoes