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Beermakers Raise Glass to USL’s Clubs

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 04/05/18, 2:50PM EDT


Collaborations between fans, clubs and brewers have produced great gameday beers

For many soccer fans there’s nothing like having a beer while watching the game, and with the boom in local breweries that have sprung up across the country in the past decade it’s never been easier for fans to support their local brewer as well as their local club, or for the two to combine to make a special gameday beverage for their fans.

Ahead of National Beer Day this Saturday, April 7, here’s a look at the wide range of beers that combine the love of a good pint with the love of a good game.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Elephant Rock IPA

One of the most popular beers made by Pikes Peak Brewing, Elephant Rock IPA became the official IPA of Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC a season ago, giving the Trailheads and other Switchbacks fan a robust brew for gameday at Weidner Field. Weighing in at 7.7 percent ABV, the beer gets its name from Elephant Rock, a major sandstone formation near Palmer Lake north of Colorado Springs, and its deep flavor from the addition of more than two pounds per barrel of late-addition hops which helps produce a resinous pine and bright citrus flavor profile.

FC Cincinnati – Moerlein Blood Orange IPA

Originally released midway through the club’s inaugural season in 2016, FC Cincinnati’s collaboration with Cincinnati brewer Christian Moerlein that has proven consistently popular just at Nippert Stadium but around the city throughout the year. At its base the India Pale Ale combines Cascade, Centennial, and Citra hops, which were used to balance the malt with an array of floral and citrus aromas. The added element of citrus through the blood orange also adds some depth to the flavor while also paying homage to the orange elements in the club’s crest and home uniforms. 

Fresno FC - Zorro Especial

The Foxes partnered with Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company prior to the start of the club’s inaugural season to be the official pre- and post-game destination for fans while also coming up with a Mexican Lager named the Zorro Especial that features the club’s fox-head alternate logo. Founded more than a decade ago, Tioga-Sequoia has become an institution in the San Joaquin Valley, and its newest creation is already appearing to be a hit with Fresno’s soccer fans and beer drinkers alike.

Indy Eleven – Battalion Pale Ale

Launched prior to the 2017 season, Supporters group the Brickyard Battalion teamed up with People’s Brewing Company to Battalion Pale Ale, which has been a resounding success ever since. An American Pale Ale that uses pale malt and Azacca and Citra hops, the beer provides a balanced flavor as the brewers aimed to take away some of the bitterness that can be associated with bigger pale ales. With the tagline of beer “of the people, by the People’s, for the people,” the beer has proven a success not just with the Battalion, but with beer drinkers throughout Indy’s support.

Louisville City FC – LouCity Golden Ale

Louisville City FC had previously teamed up with Falls City Beer to create numerous special releases a season ago, including the original Louisville City IPA (pictured), and the two kicked off the 2018 season with another new release of LouCity Golden Ale. Brewed with rye malt and citrus hops, the beer is not only available at Slugger Field on gameday but also widely around the city and at Falls City Beer’s newly opened taproom about a mile from City FC’s current home venue. 

Nashville SC – Goalden Ale

Photo courtesy Mill Creek Brewing Co.

The Music City’s club embarked on its inaugural professional season in the USL with the release of Goalden Ale, a collaboration with Mill Creek Brewing Co. from Nolensville, Tenn. Another Golden Ale, although using the sort of spelling that opened the door for a social media jab at its regional foe Louisville City FC, the goal for Mill Creek, as is the case for many of those looking to make a gameday beer, was to make it light and drinkable, and still provide enough depth in flavor for its regular followers to enjoy, and according to the reviews at it certainly hits the sweet spot for both.

Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – Golden Hound Ale

Photo courtesy Chris Cowger / Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC

Created prior to Riverhounds SC’s 2016 season, Penn Brewery’s Golden Hound Ale has a lot of the same characteristics as others in this group, with the Hefeweizen available exclusively at Highmark Stadium both on gameday and throughout the week at the club’s on-side pub. At 5.25 percent ABV it’s a little bit stronger than some of its contemporaries, however, and has received solid reviews over the past two years. Hopefully for fans of the Hounds there’ll be the chance to toast many more victories on home turf in the upcoming year.

Phoenix Rising FC – Phoenix Rising Lager

Introduced late in the season last year, Phoenix Rising FC’s collaboration with Four Peaks Brewing Company produced a Vienna style lager that provides a refreshing flavor for gameday enjoyment. Available around the Phoenix area, including at Four Peaks’ three tap houses in Tempe and Scottsdale, the beer has continued to be enjoyed into the start of Rising FC’s new season.

Richmond Kickers – Red Army IPA

Photo courtesy James Loving / Richmond Kickers

Named after the Richmond Kickers’ most passionate supporters, Trapezium Brewing’s Red Army IPA has earned solid reviews both at City Stadium and at the brewery’s tap house in Petersburg, Va. One of the first clubs to dip its feet in the craft brewing scene, the Kickers remain at the forefront of bringing beer and soccer together as a gameday experience, and the 6.3 percent ABV brew will be among a wide array of local and national craft beers available when the club hosts the annual I Heart Carytown Craft Beer Festival before its game against the New York Red Bulls II this Saturday afternoon.

Saint Louis FC – Ale Fleur One

The collaboration between Saint Louis FC and Kirkwood Station Brewing remains extremely popular both at Toyota Stadium – Saint Louis and around the city and is notable for a couple of reasons. The beer itself gets its name from the concept of the brewing process, which uses only one type of malt - Pale Ale Malt – and one hop variety – currently Citra – to showcase the two ingredients. On top of that, all sales of the beer and the club’s Ale Fleur One t-shirts at the stadium and locally see a portion of the proceeds donated to Mission: Saint Louis, part of the club’s efforts to help those in the local community.

Tampa Bay Rowdies – Kick in the Grass

Taking its name from the iconic club song, Kick in the Grass is a refreshing pilsner made by major local brewer Big Storm Brewing that proved highly popular throughout Al Lang Stadium during the 2017 season. With that in mind, the club and the brewer expanded their partnership this year to make the Rowdies’ official beer available more widely with four-packs of the brew now available across St. Petersburg and Tampa. As with Ale Fleur One, the beer also gives both the Rowdies and Big Storm a chance to give back with a portion of proceeds being donated to The Bill Edwards Foundation for the Arts, which funds arts education for school children while providing its member patrons with unequaled services, entertainment and cultural experiences.

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