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Apple Cup 2017: Baxter’s beer of the game for No. 13 WSU vs. No. 17 Washington

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Baxter is going back to what works in Apple Cup beer-picking.

Washington State has not won an Apple Cup since 2012. That was Baxter’s first year with this beer column, and he chose a beer for that game from an out-of-the-way Vermont brewery that most readers could not obtain without travel (you may remember that we lived in Vermont at that time).

This year, Baxter is going back to what works: He is picking a beer from an out-of-the-way Vermont brewery once again. Luckily, I went back to Vermont for a wedding this summer and was able to grab a few beers for him to choose from at Hill Farmstead, my favorite brewery in the country.

Before we get into that beer, let’s take an aside to talk about a big life change that hit Baxter and I this week: We welcomed a tiny human into our home. Beatrix Lynn Powers was born last Friday (baby high-five for picking a bye week), and upon coming home for the first time, our favorite little beer-reviewing dog immediately embraced her and saw his responsibility as a protector. It was pretty adorable.

Beatrix is a night owl, so Baxter and I are a little tired. Bear with us if the rest of this column goes off the rails. (This is also why there is no video today, I’m just too sleep deprived to accomplish that.)

Okay, now that you all know where we are at, let’s get back to the beer: Hill Farmstead Farmer Wave. Read the beer’s commercial description, and you’ll get an idea as to why I chose it:

“Hugs feel great. But when you find yourself behind the wheel of a 4,000lb truck rumbling over the gravel, hugging each person you pass just isn't in the cards. So you raise your finger off the wheel just enough to acknowledge your neighbor. The Farmer Wave is a completely legitimate and wholly appreciated acknowledgement. It really is the least you can do to recognize that fleeting moment that you share with another person. It is simple, but meaningful.”

The connection to WSU and farm country is obvious, but beyond that the “Farmer Wave” reminds me of every Coug fan’s favorite greeting: Go Cougs.

I don’t need to get that deep into it, we all know the tradition: You see someone in WSU gear out in the wild, you give them a “Go Cougs.” It often doesn’t go beyond that, but much like the Farmer Wave described above, it is a “completely legitimate and wholly appreciated acknowledgement.”

Earlier this week, as I went out to the hospital parking lot to bring the car around to take Beatrix and her mom home, I got a “Go Cougs” from a friendly stranger. I shot one back, and it made me smile.

So, what is Hill Farmstead Farmer Wave? It’s a tart farmhouse ale brewed with oats, lime zest, lime juice and salt. Not exactly fitting for the winter months, but sometimes we have to mix styles to fit our narratives.

That’s what Baxter and I will be having as the Cougs take on the Huskies in the Apple Cup. What will you be drinking?