Baxter and I have made an effort to pick beers that y'all can find on the West Coast this season, and we had every intention of doing the same for WSU vs. Oregon. But then I went out to what I thought was just another Vermont beer pop-up sale (they are common with the small breweries) and it turned into something much more interesting.
I follow my favorite local breweries on Twitter to keep up with their latest releases and events. Fiddlehead Brewery out of Shelburne, Vermont has taken to selling their canned releases straight off the canning line at the brewery. But on Friday, I noticed they were releasing something new at a local ski resort, Smuggler's Notch.
"Smuggs", as the locals call it, is just on the other side of Mount Mansfield from where I live in Stowe, through the notch for which the resort is named. That's a lot closer than the Fiddlehead Brewery, so I figured it was worth the trek. I hadn't tried this particular beer, but I'd been loving everything that Fiddlehead had been cranking out lately.
The tweets announcing the event kept mentioning disc golf and a live band, so I figured Fiddlehead had set up some sort of party around the can release. Sounded like fun.
I drove to Smuggs and wandered until I found a tent where the beer was being sold. I picked up a couple four packs for myself and another pair for my friend, then noticed a spot being set up to sell draft beer and cans outside. After returning the beer to my car and thankfully finding a jacket for the 40-degree weather, I returned to the beer.
After a period of awkward standing, I was allowed to purchase a draft beer I hadn't tried--a delicious funky berry beer brewed with brettanomyces yeast. I then struck up a conversation with a guy wearing a Kansas Jayhawks shirt, assuming him to just be a tourist enjoying the event.
We chatted about various things, including the beer in Kansas City and why he moved up to Massachusetts. Eventually another guy came over and it turned out he was also from Kansas, and they discussed a third Kansas native. They also discussed disc golf. A lot.
So I asked my new friend, "Is disc golf big in Kansas City?" It is. And disc golf was the reason he was there. Apparently Smuggs was hosting a professional disc golf tournament with some of the best players in the U.S.
It was at that moment I looked at the cans displayed of the beer I had just purchased earlier. The label featured a disc golf hole and a description saying that the beer was made specially for this very event (instead of my initial hypothesis that the event was constructed around the beer).
Suddenly I realized I was sort of a weird outcast who had wandered into the group uninvited. To be honest, I'm not even sure I was supposed to be there, but most of the disc golfers were about my age so I'm sure no one bothered to check.
Eventually my new friend introduced me to another, who he described as "the best disc golfer in the world." Later, I had a nice conversation with the No. 2 player in the world, who travels to Europe and Asia for tournaments. He's only 21. I was jealous of his travels. I need to get out of the country more.
Eventually my new friend and I finally exchanged names--because I wanted to look up how he was doing in this tournament. In case you are wondering, he is Cooper Arnold and he described himself as a bit of an underdog. But in checking the PDGA live scores, he was sitting in 6th halfway through the second round--tied with the man he introduced as "the best in the world."
So Baxter's beer today--Fiddlehead Hyzer Flip* Double IPA--is in honor of my random Friday night and my new disc golfing friend Cooper. WSU fans always love an underdog, and I'll be following the scores all weekend rooting for him.
*A Hyzer Flip is a type of shot in disc golf, I've now learned.
Craig's Review: Hyzer Flip is a seriously unique Double IPA. There's a unique malt flavor that I can't quite pinpoint--almost creamy and coconut. The aroma is a blend of that oddness and hoppy citrus. The finish is balanced well, making it dangerously easy to drink at 8.2 percent.
Baxter's Review: After hearing Craig's story, I thought this would be a good beer but COME ON CRAIG THAT WHOLE THING WAS OUTSIDE AND YOU DIDN'T BOTHER TO BRING ME ALONG. DOGS LIKE BEING OUTSIDE AND ARE GENERALLY ALLOWED AT OUTSIDE VENUES.
Settle down Baxter, you don't handle the cold well anyway.
That's what we'll be having as the Cougs take on Oregon this evening. What are you drinking on this fine football (and disc golf) Saturday? If you are in Pullman, buy one for my sister Stephanie as well. It is her birthday.