Hey friends! You remember last year, when I wrote up a guide on how to best prepare and execute the perfect tailgate experience? I’m back to expand on that. Last year’s End Of The Season Tailgate was great, and preparing for it was no easy task. But this year? This year is the boss battle of tailgates. Starting at 9 in the morning and going to the Jaeger pass at 6, it’s going to be an epic tailgate on Saturday. Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to break down the play-by-play of optimal nine-hour tailgate beer preparedness hour by hour. Are you strapped in? Because you should be. Click it or ticket, friends.

7:00 AM

Wake up. Good morning! Brush them teeths and get a-showering! Normally, I’d recommend a good shower beer, because it’s refreshing, but…there will be plenty to drink today, so let’s skip the shower beer. Put some coffee on and go scramble some eggs. Pour in a little bit of milk (ed. note: nah, that will just mess them up), add some minced garlic and a touch of oregano, and when they’re just about done, sprinkle some sharp cheddar cheese on top. Grab that coffee and make it how you like it, and sit down to a nice breakfast. This is going to be a great day. Get caught up on social media and news, play some Flappy Bird because you somehow still have it downloaded on your phone, and make sure you’re mentally prepared for the day.

8:00 AM

Time to start packing up that cooler. Now, New Belgium will be providing some beers, and Donatos will be providing some pizzas, but you’ll still want to make sure you’ve got your own stuff, because there will be quite a few people there. Throw those cheese filled brats in the cooler, then turn your attentions to beers. Now, last guide I suggested Trophy Wife from Trophy Brewing. For around 10 bucks at BottleMixx, you’ve got a six-pack of them. Now I like to have variety in my tailgate beers, especially for a nine hour long event, so I’ll throw in some Founders All Day IPA, which comes in a 15 pack for 18 dollars, or maybe Ceremonial from Burial, a 4-pack of delicious tall boys for $11. Make sure to pack a bomber of a special beer, that big one you’ve been saving for a special occasion. This is that occasion. Think you’re done with your cooler prep? Think again! fill up any available space with water, Gatorade, Powerade, something to keep yourself hydrated. You’re gonna need it! Now head on out to the PNC! It’s time to get this party started.

9:00 AM

OK, time to get to the real guide here. Start early with some orange juice or water. You’ve got plenty of beer and plenty of time to work on it, let’s wait to get going on it until later. Begin with hydration and you’ll have a more successful day. Get those tents and chairs set up and get crackin’ on relaxin’! What a morning to be at the PNC! Look, it’s the MS Walk! Cheer on those cool folks raising money for a good cause! Go ahead and get in that first game of cornhole. You gotta dust off the skills and get back into mid-season form! There’s going to be lots of games today.

10:00 AM

Between 10 and 11 is a good time for the first beer. Pop open a good session beer (under 5% for those who don’t know) and enjoy it along with some good snacks that might go well with those eggs you made this morning. Those were good. You should get up early and make breakfast more often! It’s a great time to check on social media and invite some of your friends to come hang out! Before moving on to beer #2, have some more water. Remember, this is a longer haul than usual, and you don’t want to find yourself falling over trying to go up first step of a flight of stairs, like someone who is writing this article did at a game once maybe. Hydrate!

11:00 AM

OK, it’s 11. You’ve played some cornhole, maybe thrown a frisbee or football, maybe played some parking lot hockey with a pinecone and a couple sticks then had to run off after hitting someone’s car and making the alarm sound. This is a good time to open up one of the Ceremonial sessions from Burial; it’s a tallboy, and drinks smooth and deliciously. This hour is a safe one to have more than one beer in; start building that buzz up to get to Optimal Intoxication Point! A can of Ceremonial and then another beer sounds great. Plus we’re about to have food! Ooooooh, yes. Lunch time!

12:00 PM

If you’ve been snacking properly since you arrived, you should be not quite hungry but open to food. Like the ideal appetizer working its magic, your appetite has been worked into craving that delicious [INSERT FOOD OF CHOICE HERE]. And nothing pairs better with that then a good beer! Have one to pair with your meal, then another to reward yourself for having such a good lunch. Then a water or Powerade wouldn’t be a bad plan.

1:00 PM

1-2 is the perfect time to do some trash-talking in cornhole, back it up (unless you’re Mike, then you do all the trash-talking and Derek scores all your team’s points), and celebrate. More people have shown up; this is a great time to engage! Catch up with friends you know! Meet other Canes fans and make new friends! Keep that Snapchat streak going! Sit in your car and read a book! Whatever sounds good to you, this is a great hour for recharging, because this next one is TIME.

2:00 PM

OK, fam. Now it’s time for the big dog beer. I always recommend one special Big Beer at each tailgate, something you can get excited for and provide variety from the session beers you have, even if you have a variety of sessions. Avery has a Bourbon Barrel aged Vanilla Bean Stout that is just to die for, and is only 14 bucks for a 22 oz bomber at BottleMixx. 2-3 is the perfect time for the bomber, because you should be just buzzed enough that it won’t put you over the edge into Drunk Territory, but it will keep take you from Buzzed to Tipsy. Let the beer last most of the hour, and when you’re done? You guessed it! Water! It’s only a few hours before the Jaeger pass.

3:00 PM

One of your friends will ask you to grab a beer for them out of their cooler, and tell you to grab one of theirs too, if you want it. Go for it! Bonus beer is good! Alternate sips of Bonus Beer and water, unless it’s JC’s cooler, because his beer will be Coors Light, which is water run through a room where someone said the word ‘beer’. PRO TIP: It’s going to be around this time that Mike is going to be insistent on making drinks for people. Be careful. Mike’s version of a weak liquor drink is most people’s idea of instant blackout juice. Know what you’re getting into before agreeing.

4:00 PM

At this point we’ll want to have one or two more sessions, enjoying the buzz at its peak without letting it get out of hand. Drink these two and put one aside; we’ll talk about that later.

5:00 PM

Powerades, food, water, repeat. Replenish your electrolytes, hydrate, and get some food in you. You’re starting to look a little sloppy and no one wants that. The Jaeger pass is soon and you’ve gotta come up with something meaningful to toast to! You don’t want to slur your words, so get on that Sobering Up Train and punch the throttle! Someone brought some coffee this morning that’s probably cold but still coffee? CHUG IT.

6:00 PM

Jaeger pass time. Everyone’s happy, we’re toasting to the end of this…roller coaster of a season. Say something that gets a cheer, take a swig of Jaeger. PRO TIP: make it a small one. PRO-er TIP: close your mouth and just let it touch your lips. You don’t need that Satan Ink in your body. Pack up the tailgate and get ready to go in and say goodbye to the season. Remember that beer we set aside earlier? It’s a great walker. Open and drink it on the walk from the tailgate to the arena. Enjoy the smooth taste of it as you-oh, you’re already at the doors and have to trash it? Boo.

7:00 PM

You made it! Get some BBQ nachos as a reward (and because they help sober you up) and enjoy the game! Most importantly, enjoy the season finally ending.

Cheers, everyone! Looking forward to seeing you all out there Saturday!