Most Husky fans are excited and wholly focused on what looks like could be a special 2018 season. And rightfully so.
There are a lot of things looking good for UW: the return of healthy stars like Jordan Miller, Trey Adams and Chico McClatcher, a four year starter in Jake Browning who was able to participate fully in off-season conditioning, the presence of a four year star RB in Myles Gaskin, the best defensive secondary in the PAC and a schedule that could portend great things even UW can find a way to win game #1. Heck, we can even talk positively about a rising kicking game being fueled by a surging Patrick Henry.
But, to be fair, we were all feeling just as optimistic a year ago. Then this happened:
The loss to Arizona State last year was the clear low-point of the season. It derailed a run at the PAC 12 championship and, most likely, a second-straight playoff berth.
In hindsight, I have to admit that this loss was probably my fault. My rally beer from a year ago - Surly DOOMTREE - was not available to me as I was in Tempe watching the game from the alcohol-free press box. No rally beer, no rally.
I won’t make that mistake again this year. Let’s jump into our options.
Option 1: Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale (7.0% ABV)
I’m guessing that more than a few of you have enjoyed a few Two-Hearted’s in your time. UPPERs (OOO-pers) will recognize the name of the beer being derived from the Two-Hearted river in Michigan’s upper peninsula. That is the only thing about this beer that is not west coast.
This IPA is brewed exclusively with centennial hops sourced out of the northwest. It’s flavor is distinctively pine as if you were drinking it out in the open air at a Husky tailgate on the shores of Lake Washington. There is a humble bitterness common to IPAs, but it is well-balanced with an unusually detectable sweet malt taste.
Two-Hearted is absolutely a go-to and a great rally beer candidate.
Option 2: Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA (6.7% ABV)
New England style, unfiltered IPAs are becoming all the rage and may well lend themselves to a football crowd. The presence of “juicy” citrus flavors make popping one open during the morning broadcast seem less like a sin against sobriety. At the same time, the sharp hops and lingering bitterness satisfy the palate of even the most discerning IPA fans.
Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing offering clearly checks the box on being an excellent New England style IPA. On top of that, the west coast brewery produces their offering out of California and distributes it throughout the entire PAC 12 footprint.
Trendy, well built and west coast ... just like the Huskies.
Option 3: Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (12.3% ABV)
The KBS has been around for a while, but is still a relatively unknown from a brewer that is becoming more well known around the US. I try to always have stouts available in the fridge as the weather turns cold and I’ll be sure to be stocking this one. The hallmark of this stout is that it is aged for a year in bourbon barrels for a year before bottling. The benefit of this is that the smokiness of the wood and the spice of the bourbon that once was contained in the barrel translates into the beer. Along with those unique flavors, you can expect a little coffee and a little vanilla in every bottle.
At over 12% alcohol, this is clearly a “once a game” offering. If you think UW is destined to handle most of their games with ease, you might consider this a good option as a “victory beer” more so than a “rally beer”.
Option 4: Surly Hell (5.0% ABV)
Hell is a lager beer from popular Minneapolis-based brewer Surly. The word “hell” is less about the destination and more about the German word for “light”. Therein lies the great attribute of this offering as a Husky rally beer. At a sinfully drinkable 5%, Hell is an “all game long” type of offering that is both refreshing and satisfying.
Hell is an unfiltered lager. The color is light and mostly translucent. I would say that it is probably more like an American lager than a German style that it’s name might convey, but it is always refreshing and a good alternative for those of you that don’t appreciate the bitterness of the lower alcohol versions of IPAs and Pale Ales.
Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale
This one checks all the boxes. Bell’s is already well-stocked in my fridge, it is readily available at many taphouses across the nation, and it comes in at a reasonable alcohol level. The topper for me is that it is brewed with 100% Pacific Northwest hops. That seems like good karma for a Husky fans to embrace.
What is your choice for a 2018 Husky rally beer?
This poll is closed
1. Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale
2. Sierra Nevada Little Hazy Thing IPA
3. Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout
4. Sury Hell Lager
Something else that I will discuss in the comments.