Opponent: NIU Huskies
Brewery: Forge Brewhouse
Beer: Waaait For It
IBU/ABV: N/A; 5.6%
Waaait For It. No, not you, that’s the name of the beer. It is also the mantra of NIU fans this year. After a near decade of being atop the MAC, the Huskies have seen some turnover in the coaching staff, resulting in less than stellar play this year.
NIU is situated in the north western corner of DeKalb, IL, a town of 45,000 or so, and only 50 miles from Chicago. It’s considered part of the Chicago metropolitan area. It’s also a university town, although there is quite a bit of agricultural in the area. Notably, DeKalb was the hub for barbed wire manufacturing.
DeKalb has one brewery, Forge Brewhouse, in the city limits, and another under construction. There are plenty of breweries in the surround areas, but Forge produces beers for the immediate area, making it the perfect brewery for NIU.
The Huskies (who should consider changing to a barbed wire inspired nickname) are a local team. They are in the MAC, a group of five conference, that specializes in teams with local ties and lack national brands. The best thing they have going for them is ESPN’s Tuesday Night MACtion.
You can turn it on, and no matter who is playing, you’ll find that you’re watching a wild game with spread offenses slinging it around to 1⁄3 full stadiums while the band plays inspiring marches. These teams care. But to you, they’re just a football team.
Which brings me back to Waaait For It. Waait For It is a solid beer, a Belgian Dubbel. It is malty and caramelly, with just a little spice. I considered Coal Dust, Tomorrow, and definitely Featherweight. But Waaait For It spoke to me (it had nothing to with it being the only one of the four I could find in Beer Advocate).
The Huskies have some spice, they have some body. They’ll get you where you need to go on a Tuesday night. But in the end, as the only review on BA says, “Overall it’s a
beer football team.”
So my very sober prediction is that the Vandy defense looks dominant but has two big play mistakes. The offense puts together multiple long drives and NIU will try and stop Vaughn, so Lipscomb and Pinkney will have big days. Don’t count out the body blow theory (that after a game against a physical opponent, the team looks slow and worn out in the next game) to be a factor in the 1Q.
Ps. Forge has a converted an old brewpub on Airport Rd into their own restaurant The Forge of Sycamore. It’s more than a taproom, and appears to be delightful.
This is how we know they are local and salt of the earth! On their website they put that the old restaurant on Airport Rd is now their restaurant as if it’s the DKILW (DeKalb IL Web) not the WWW. Genius!