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No. 8 WSU vs. Cal football: Baxter’s beer of the game

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Baxter is so excited. He’s so excited. He’s so scared.

The Washington State Cougars are 7-1 and within range of the College Football Playoff. Only the most optimistic Wazzu fans would have expected that in August. They can smugly nod while the rest of us enjoy the ride.

Last week’s win against Stanford was fun and being placed at No. 8 in the CFP rankings is fun. Those things also create higher expectations. Before the season, we might have been happy with a bowl game. Now, there are real, relevant things ahead of WSU if it can keep winning.

So, while the Cougs’ success so far has Baxter happy and excited, it also has him a little scared for the good times to end. That’s why his beer of the game for WSU vs. Cal is Scary Joy from Skookum Brewery.

Skookum isn’t new to the craft beer scene, it’s been around since 2007 up in Arlington, Wash. In 2011 it hired Hollis Wood to brew beer, and after years of steadily improving their core offerings, Wood is now at the point where he can really play around and make some excellent beers.

If you see a Skookum beer on draft, it will often be an IPA—the brewery rotates a number of them, as well as many one-offs. They are almost always on point. However, keep an eye out for Skookum’s more ambitious offerings—those aged in oak barrels.

The most common of those is Murder of Crows stout. I also tried a grisette-style beer aged in gin barrels from Skookum this year that was excellent. The brewery also puts out a number of excellent bourbon barrel-aged offerings—Barrel-Aged Breakfast Stout, Barren Wood barleywine, and today’s beer.

Scary Joy is a bourbon barrel-aged oatmeal brown ale with coconut and vanilla. It’s name is no doubt inspired by a certain candy, and it delivers on that. The brown ale and barrel provide a nice chocolate and caramel base for the coconut and vanilla. It’s tasty stuff.

Check out a Skookum beer next time you see one on offer. You won’t be disappointed. That’s what Baxter and I will be drinking as the Cougs take on Cal. Let us know what you’ll be having.