Hi and welcome. I for one am outraged, and you should be too. And if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.
Because yesterday — Day 15 — our very own Chris Landon offered up four beer options for a rally beer. “Flip yeah,” I thought, eagerly scrolling through his picks. But then I realized something sinister. Something that threatened to unravel the very fiber of Huskydom. And beerdom. And PNWdom. And, through extension, America.
I’m sure you all picked up on this Day 15 blasphemy.
I’m speaking, of course, about the fact that our Mr. Landon over here included not only any non-PNW beer, but exclusively non-PNW beer. For a rally beer. For Washington — the most Northest and Westest and Pacificest of all of FBS.
Listen, Landon, we get that you had to move back east for “work” and “other legitimate reasons,” but c’mon. Frankly he should be fired or, at least, written a strongly worded letter by everyone here.
Obviously, if we’re gonna talk about a rally beer for Washington, there’s a few things I take umbrage with. First off, bitch you expect us to accept some beer from Michigan or whatever as a Washington rally beer? Mm-mm no way. Second-of-ly, what were the options there? Like 8% ABV? There was definitely one that was 12%. Now I don’t know about you guys but, while I, just like anybody, enjoy a good buzz, I prefer to not black out by the third quarter.
So today we get a redo with
two three four added rules: 1) Only Cascadian beers, gall darn it Christopher! 2) That being said, no Oregon beers — just on principle — even though Full Sail is my jam and drinking your way through Portland is delightful. So I guess, just Washington and BC beers... 3) None of this knock-your-brains-out ABV-level nonsense. We’re trying to enjoy a football game with a delightful go-to beer, not play the world's worst game of dizzy bat. 4) Lastly, listen. I love a good stout or 3,000 IBU triple IPA or scotch ale but, with very few exceptions, who wants to down a bunch of those over a three hour period? After a while, your taste buds go numb and it’s not enjoyable. So, for today, I’m nixing most beers that are a bit too much for a Saturday kickoff.
Without further ado, I present to you a second take on exclusively Pacific Northwest rally beer:
Redhook ESB — Seattle and Woodinville(ish)
Having been around since 1981, you can’t not include Redhook. And, of their arsenal of beers, the Extra Special Bitter is the prime choice for a football-watching sesh. Longhammer IPA and Winterhook are good, yes, but for today’s choice, context matters. And that context says ESB.
While they’ve outgrown their humble beginnings as pretty much the original craft brewery and, subsequently, some snobs turn their nose up at them, ESB is such a reliable pick that there’s no reason it doesn’t belong here.
Georgetown Brewing Manny’s Pale Ale — Seattle
Motherf*^&er, obviously. If Redhook has to be here, then Manny’s has to be here. Not only are they a consistently great go-to, their “About” section on the Georgetown Brewing website is charming as heck.
Manny’s perfectly straddles the line between being a good beer and being an accessible beer that doesn’t take itself too seriously. While “crisp” and “refreshing” are usually euphemisms used by crappy beer advertising campaigns for “has no flavor and is terrible,” Manny’s actually is crisp and also has a legitimate flavor profile that isn’t just “wet.” Plus, it isn’t so complicated that you spend the five minutes post-first sip trying to figure out if you actually enjoyed that taste or not. It’s a little bit bitter, a little cutty (an adjective I just made up that I don’t know how to describe but, if you’ve ever had Manny’s — which you have — you know what I mean), and one of the few beers that’s refreshing without being either too sweet or just watery garbage.
Legit everybody loves Manny's because why wouldn't we?
Long story short, Manny’s is Washington’s pale ale.
Kokanee — Creston, BC
Speaking of garbage beer, Kokanee is garbage beer. But it’s the best garbage beer in all the land; a garbage beer that’s not garbage, ya know?
Normally I’d try to go with a Washington beer, but none of the Washington garbage beers are even remotely tolerable. Rainier and Oly are fun for the nostalgia and Washington pride factor, but they’re also bonafide disgusting. In my experience, BC is the regional capitol of crappy beer that doesn’t make your esophagus bleed as it goes down the hatch — and of all of them, Kokanee is by far the best. (To any British Columbians reading this: Yes, Cariboo is fun and Lucky makes me happy solely on account of it’s weird tradition on The Island, but they’re so trash it’s borderline illegal.) As a proudly Kootenay-brewed, mountain-based crap beer, it’s like if Coors had the balls to make a beer even a little bit tolerable or with an ounce of even slight flavor.
Certainly, this isn’t something I’d recommend to someone who actually wants a “good beer,” but when it comes to refreshing beer that you can session throughout a football game without it tasting like watered-down Shih Tzu pee? Kokanee’s got you covered.
Alaskan Amber Ale — Juneau
Kay, I lied about today’s beers only being from Washington and BC but, really, if we’re talking about Pacific Northwest beer, Alaska can’t not be considered. They’re like the contiguous PNW’s more rugged cousin (and, to be fair, are north-er and west-er than all of us, sooo... ).
Most importantly though, while Alaskan Amber might not be a Washington beer, it’s still a “Washington beer.” Does that make sense? No? Whatever. You know what I mean: You can’t go anywhere without seeing shelves stocked with Alaskan, and their amber is the classic.
While the first options so far have been a bit on the blonder side, Alaskan Amber is the first in this list to get even remotely dark. It’s got a bit more of a malty sweet side plus some nuttiness and, as far as ambers go, isn’t overwhelmingly heavy. If it has a downfall for the popular vote here, it’s that its color and toastiness tends to not appeal to those who only go for lighter beers and pale lagers, while its still relative sweetness and lack of a strong hop presence detracts for those who prefer something more powerful and heavy.
Regardless, if you need something easy and tasty that goes beyond the golden brews, this is a good call.
Dru Bru Kölsch — Snoqualmie Pass
Listen, I have a quick thought on the whole “Hi, we're an American brewery and this is our kölsch” thing. If you know anything about kölsch, you probably know what's coming up and so can skip the next couple of sentences.
Kay. Here's the thing. For those of you familiar with basic German brewing shenanigans and subsequent EU laws, you know that kölsch can only be brewed in Köln/Cologne and has very strict characteristics to which its brewers must adhere. Hence, not only are beers brewed in the US and Canada legally not kölsch, but, in my experience, none of these beers really taste like actual kölsch, anyway. Why do North American brewers insist on calling what is essentially a slightly funkier pilsner a kölsch? I have no clue. But here we are.
That being said, there's plenty of kickass beers that are wrongfully called "kölsch” this side of the Atlantic. Dru Bru's is fantastic. Is it a kölsch? No. But is it delicious and refreshing? Freakin’ absolutely.
It's not super common but, when I find myself in a bar or restaurant with Dru Bru Kölsch and am in the mood for something tasty and refreshing but not overpowering, it's a common pick. It's sweet but not nauseatingly so with a wee bit of hoppiness at the end. When it comes to the hotter, early season games where the weather hasn't made up its mind whether it's summer or fall, Dru Bru Kölsch isn't a half bad pick.
Bale Breaker Field 41 Pale Ale — Yakima
Somehow this APA is simultaneously mega-crisp and still quite flavorful and I've never been able to adequately articulate how it does that.
The funny thing is its six-pack of cans, which, if you saw from afar in the beer section, you'd think was some crappy mass-produced garbage. Lo and behold, that isn't the case. It's a great summery session at 4.5% ABV but still carries with it that tart pine-y undertone that provides just a bit of kick to prevent it from being one dimensional. When it comes to pale ales, Field 41 makes no ambiguities as far as whether it falls into the American or more malty English variety that becomes more common once you cross the border into BC, especially on Vancouver Island. The miracle is that it's able to have some punch to it and still be improbably drinkable. While some American pale ales are just a bit too strong to enjoy many over the course of an entire football game, Field 41 sacrifices neither its flavor nor accessibility. It's a secret how Bale Breaker is able to achieve this.
Plus my dad loves this beer, so I know they'll be getting at least one vote.
Blewett Brewing some kind of porter but I forget — Leavenworth
Kay, two things here: 1) I know I said I wasn't listing any crazy dark beers today. 2) Yes, you did read that title right. So what, I forget what it's called. They're not even brewing it until halfway through the season. Heck, my memory might even be of a stout and not a porter. Still, this one couldn't not be included.
If anyone familiar with Blewett knows the name of what I'm describing, by God say so in the comments.
This beer gets in — despite the ban on stouts and porters — because it's somehow everything a porter should be but without that common quality where it feels like, halfway through the pint, you've been chugging chocolate-coffee sludge that was spilled out of Exxon Valdez. It's full-bodied but has that spiced caramel flavor that cuts through — the end result being it's neither too sweet nor too heavy.
The one problem here is that you have to drive to Leavenworth to pick it up, something which is a bit of a hike for those Dawg fans outside the Wenatchee Valley. But, once there, you can buy it by the truckload via Blewett's on-demand crowler machine. I recommend doing so.
Boundary Bay Bellingham Blonde — Bellingham
Doing a complete 180 from the previous candidate, this beer's delicious. The end.
Which non-Chris Landon-approved beer is the REAL rally beer?
This poll is closed
Manny's Pale Ale
Alaskan Amber Ale
Dru Bru Kölsch
Bale Breaker Field 41 Pale Ale
Blewett Brewing porter or maybe it was a stout who knows (but it's delightful!)
Boundary Bay Bellingham Blonde
One of the bajillion other Cascadian beers
Probably Manny’s. I’m not here to argue that it’s the best, or the most distinct, or whatever — but we weren’t trying to answer that question. We're here to pick the beer that best represents and goes with four quarters of UW football, and in the end it can’t be anything else; that would be like picking anyone other than Mario to be on the cover of Nintendo’s flagship game series’ covers — just... off. All the other beers kill it — and many if not all (besides Kokanee) have more complexity of flavors — but if “home” could manifest itself in a beer, it would be Manny’s. And home never tasted so great.
Do good things, don't do bad things, and bow down to Washington.