Covering University of Colorado sports, mostly basketball, since 2010

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Beer Post: 2012 Gameday Beer-o-the-week: Washington St. Edition

Each week throughout the football season I'm going to suggest a good beer for the ubiquitous pre-game tailgate. Let's be honest, with tailgates it's not always top quality that you're looking for. To steal a phrase from the heinous beer terrorists at Budweiser, you want "drinkability." (or what a real beer connoisseur calls "a session beer") So, be warned, these may not be "the best" beers around. But, in the words of Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson, "IT'LL GET YOU DRUNK!"

Washington brewing takes a backseat to regional powerhouses like Oregon, Colorado, and California.  Flagship local craft breweries like Widmer and Redhook have gone the merger/corporate route, leaving much of the state's exported product distinctless, especially when compared to other West Coast offerings.  That tale is similar for Seattle's Pyramid Brewing, who have been absorbed by the group which owns Genesee Brewing (Mike's Hard Lemonade, among others) and Magic Hat. Corporatized as they may be, their collection isn't entirely without note, however.

Founded nearly 30 years ago, and originally known as Hart Brewing, Pyramid Breweries gained quick notoriety for jump-starting the fruit beer craze.  They won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 1994 for brewing a habit-forming unfiltered wheat ale, tweaked with plenty of an often forgotten Southern European fruit.  That beer, Pyramid's Apricot Ale, is my gameday beer-o-the-week.

Honestly, I'd rather have this, or something of its ilk, then a tired wheat like AveryNew Belgium's Sunshine Wheat.  It's a nice, light wheat ale, with strong notes of dried apricots in both the taste and smell.  Spicy, bready malts on the front end, with very little hops in support.  It's not intensely sweet, like some fruit beers can be, but it's definitely not a bitter pale ale.  I doubt they use real fruit any more, more likely extract, and I can't help but wonder what a home-brewed clone made with real fruit would taste like...

The beer is available in just about every liquor store, so you should have no trouble finding some before the game.  It's a nice change-of-pace, something both my palate and the football team could use.

Happy Friday!  Go Buffs, beat the Cougars!


Kevin Peters said...

Sunshine Wheat is New Belgium. If you like Apricot beers you can go local and do Dry Dock Apricot Blonde. It's better and its brewed in Aurora.

RumblinBuff said...

My Bad, had to cold start the engines this morning, leaving the beer post poorly edited.

Dry Dock's is fantastic, I just wanted to go with the Washington angle.