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Beer Goggles: Wildcats

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The Marks Stoops Era has been Heaven or Hell or Both

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Opponent: Kentucky Wildcats

Brewery: West Sixth Brewing

Beer: Heller Heaven Double IPA

ABV, IBUs: 9.0%, 27

In case you missed it, Kentucky is starting a preseason All SEC wide receiver at quarterback. It hasn’t been unsuccessful in practice but it has been in results. They’ve gone 1-3 since Lynn Bowden Jr has moved behind center. The last loss to Tennessee with an end game opportunity to win, would have put a better shine on this necessary experiment.

This kind of hit or miss result from Kentucky is not uncommon during the Mark Stoops era, it just has resulted in different ways. There was the 2017 game against UF when they had the Gators beat but forgot to cover a wide out.

Or last year, when Stoops won SEC Coach of the Year, they went 5-0, beating two Top 25 teams, fell in OT to aTm, barely beat us and Missourah, then lost two in a row, including a really bad Tennessee team before finishing the season on a three game win steak with a victory over No. 16 Penn State. They produced an All American in Benny Snell Jr and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Josh Allen, but it felt like it should have been so much more.

Point is, it feels like Stoops and Co. are always just right there, but may not be enough to get over the edge. Or they will lose an inexplicable game in an inexplicable fashion.

That’s why the Heller Heaven is the beer for them. Because it might be hell or it might be heaven. It’s described as “A balanced Double IPA with a sweet and full malt profile and assertive fruity hoppiness.” Yes please. Did I mention it was 9.0%?

I’m a sucker for marketing, and West Sixth Brewing doesn’t do much for me. But the Heller Heaven is a step above the rest of their shtick.

It wasn’t an easy choice. The DankeChain Oktoberfest (it tastes like biscuits!) was my third choice- for obvious reasons. And the Half-Bite Session IPA spoke to me because it was “light and bright, but aggressively hoppy.” I kind of feel like that might be UK football.

So story time: I once attended a Louisville football game (I know different schools, rivals, etc, but hear me out). I bought tickets on the way in and sat next to a very hospitable 30-something year old man. He told me how it’s a basketball school, and most of the people there were there because it was a party and a big game.

The Cards got up in the first half, but then blew it in the second. This guy was devastated. He was also pretty drunk, but it was really cold and I’m certain the alcohol helped prevent getting too cold. His face was downtrodden, and he was mumbling about it being “just Louisville football.” He must have said it seven times.

That’s how I picture Kentucky football. It’s not the most important thing at the University, but there is a small faithful few who love the program and are often let down. But when they aren’t, it probably feels like heaven. Yet most of the time, it’s hell.