Most Washington State alums and fans remember the “Go Cougs” commercials. In each, you’d have a couple people talking about some animal research breakthrough, or crop science project, or something else in which WSU specializes. At the end, the tagline would always hit, either verbally or visually, with a “Go Cougs.” My favorite of these is, of course, “Allez les Cougs.”
Now, imagine if WSU were to bring these commercials back, this time featuring a brewery taproom. A bearded customer is served a barleywine by a bearded brewer.
Customer: “Wow, this barleywine is really unique, and delicious.”
Brewer: “It’s brewed with a new specialty grain.”
Customer: “Awesome, which malting company created that which helped concoct this heavenly brew?”
Brewer: “Not a malting company, it’s Washington State University.”
Customer: “Go Cougs.”
You may be thinking, “what prompted this?” Well, you must have skipped reading the headline, so I’ll catch you up: Baxter’s beer of the game this week was made with help from WSU. Before continuing on to learn about this week’s beer, go ahead watch the video below, or linked here if you are reading on Apple News, if you like hearing me talk and watching Baxter pose uncomfortably while we recorded in the rain.
The beer is Cat Fact IPA from Three Magnets Brewing in Olympia, Wash. I have a special place in my heart for 3Mags, as they opened up right around when I moved to Olympia at the end of 2014. The downtown taproom was a frequent stop in the 2.5 years I took residence in Washington’s capital.
For Cat Fact, 3Mags partnered with WSU to use specialty malt that was originally bred by the WSU Sustainable Seed Systems Lab in Pullman. The barley was then grown by two farmers in Adna, near Chehalis, in a spot known for its high quality soil. WSU along with the Port of the Olympia helped fund the growing project, which was intended to be used for experimentation by local brewers.
Four different brewers used the barley, and there was a special tasting for each of the beers conducted at the Tumwater Artesian Brewfest earlier this month. Baxter and I are both bummed that we missed out on that tasting, but thankful 3Mags canned their batch.
The label is pretty great. There’s a tiny Coug logo representing the collaboration with WSU, as well as an image of a Cougar. I know the co-owner of 3Mags, Nathan, loves to use royalty free images to create unique labels, so I’m sure he had a hand in creating this one. Baxter’s friend Boycat is also pretty fond of the beer’s name.
As for the beer, it pours looking like a malt-forward IPA, as is promised on the label. However, it’s not as malt-dominated as one might think. There’s something different about the grain profile, something balanced and enjoyable. The beer also features a nice citrus aroma from the hops.
This is certainly a beer worth grabbing if you see it around. Obviously given the WSU connection that is a no brainer, but the beer stands out on its own merits as quite tasty.
So, that’s what Baxter (and Boycat) and I will be having for Washington State vs. New Mexico State. What will you be drinking?