One Cougar alumnus decided to celebrate the upcoming football season and new coach at WSU by crafting a new beer.
The brew, called Swashbuckler Pale Ale, is crafted at Harmon Brewing Company located in the heart of Tacoma. Despite its home on the West Side, this beer bleeds Crimson.
“The name came about after reading Coach Leach’s book ‘Swing Your Sword,’"said Patrick Nagel, owner of Harmon Brewing Company and WSU alumnus. “I was reading the book one day and I knew that this was going to be the way to go - a way to ride on the new wave of the Cougar spirit that followed by the hiring of Coach Leach.”
The beer is completely Washington-made: All the hops were grown in Yakima, and then brewed in Tacoma by a third-generation Cougar, Nagel.
“This beer couldn’t be more of a Washington product,” he said.
The inspiration for the brew came from a gap in the microbrew market Nagel thought he could fill.
“I have seen a lot of Cougar alums who own wineries and other Cougar products, and so I figured it was about time for a brew to be on the market,” said Nagel. “I wanted to keep the WSU spirit alive without putting the Cougar on the tap. I think this ale captures the excitement surrounding this year’s Cougar football.”
But the look of the beer tap is not the only sight Nagel was concerned about - how it flows from the tap is just as important.
“It was my goal to make a well-balanced beer that sits clean on the palate,” said Nagel. “It is just a great beer; you can enjoy more than just one.”
Local vendors who are picking up the pale ale are sensing the pirate trend as well.
“Anything pirate right now is really hot on the Palouse,” said Christopher Conway, assistant manager of The Coug bar.
Many local bars will start offering the brew, which they anticipate to be a hit because of its versatility.
Conway said he thinks the beer will fit in perfectly with all of the microbrews The Coug offers.
The Coug tapped its first keg of The Swashbuckler on Friday Sept. 7, just in time for the first home game against Eastern Washington University.
The Coug isn't the only local bar to jump on the pirate-themed bandwagon. The beer is available at a variety of locations throughout Pullman, including Zeppos, Southfork Public House, Stubblefields, Rico’s Public House and Valhalla Bar and Grill.
“I have to say that the beer tastes like liquid delicious,” said Conway. “It had no funky after taste. It is one of those beers that people who are beer drinkers can appreciate, but it also works well as a beer for someone who is just starting to drink."
Students and alumni who have tried the ale agree a Cougar beer is long overdue.
“It tastes good, but in all honesty – let’s get real - it's a Cougar beer,"said Damien Schlobohm, a WSU alumnus."I don’t think any true Coug could say anything bad about a WSU beer.”
The ale is also available for Cougars on tap at Marco Polo in Seattle and The Joker Pub in Issaquah. The beer is only available wholesale and in kegs, though Harmon Brewery Company hopes to one day bottle the product.