I had this whole post written about the in-state rivalry between Purdue and Illinois, with a bunch of really good Illini jokes, but then I realized that West Lafayette is actually in Indiana. This makes zero sense to me. My experience with the state of Indiana has been as follows:
1) I think Notre Dame is there. I went there a couple times and it rained every single time.
2) I think there are a lot of chickens. My dad went to GMI/Kettering and his summer job assignment was at the old Delco plant out in Kokomo. My dad said he could smell the chickens from miles away.
3) This guy I was OK with in high school went to Indiana for business school and he was kind of a smart guy so ok.
4) I have had both good and bad beer from there.
This is a fairly scientific analysis of what's going on in Indiana. I try to stay away from those exhaustive analyses you'll find elsewhere, but sometimes it can't be helped. I also am OK with Purdue for this reason:
OK. So we now know where they are, and they've beaten Ohio State a few times. Great. But what should you, the sophisticated consumer of brewed goods, know about Purdue? If you're like me, you also watch football with your brews, so you'll want to know something about that. So here's some kind of hybrid look at beer and football and whatever.
Name you should know: Darrell Hazell.
This one's a stretch. I'm not really sure what's going on with the Purdue program, but the same college that turned out Griese and Brees and gave us decades upon decades of Tiller and Keady and hilariously mediocre seasons went and hired a guy whose head coaching experience was two years at Kent State. One of those years they went 5-7, then in 2012 The Flashes won the conference and Hazell was named the MAC Coach of the Year. Purdue liked this, so they gave him twelve million dollars over six years to be their coach. Hazell promptly went 1-11, beating only Indiana State in his inaugural year as head coach. Say what you want about Indiana State (they're whatever the division that isn't D-1 is) but at least I know definitively that the school is in Indiana. Purdue and Notre Dame can't say that. We're simple Midwesterners here, not cartographers.
I'm going to go off the beaten path for a minute and actually say I like the Hazell hire. Purdue should be taking shots on finding the next James Franklin because they can't actually get James Franklin. Targeting an up-and-coming players' coach with some swagger seems like the right move to get recruits to stay in-state and not get poached by the Bowling Greens of the world. Since I cannot name a single player on the Purdue team, he's your name to know.
Obvious statement: They need a quarterback.
HH touched on this earlier in his well-written look at the Purdue program - but a school calling itself the Cradle of Quarterbacks should probably have a quarterback. They seem to have found one in Danny Etling, a sophomore who was a decently well-regarded recruit coming into last year. He started seven games and they like him, but will need to surround him with more weapons and protection than he currently has. Hopefully for them, Year Two of the Etling-Hazell era will result in more people being on the same page, and a climb back to respectability will start with a six-or-seven win season.
State of Beer in the State:
Urp. So here's the thing - if I hadn't been alerted to Peoples by fellow Brewski Logan, I would have ignored them. Indiana has Three Floyds, which is amazing beer, so more power to them. But with all good things (Purdue quarterbacks before Brees) and great (Brees) comes bad (Purdue quarterbacks since Brees) and worse (Rob Henry). Which brings me to Peoples. They're in Lafayette, which I can surmise is east of West Lafayette, but not by much. Google Maps tells me... wait, I'm not going to look. I don't care that much. I haven't had Peoples' beer before but Logan says they're overrated, and since he's with me on the anti-Heineken/Stella crusade (I think) until he corrects me, I'm going to go ahead and agree. Let it be stated: Peoples is the Rob Henry of beers. So instead, if you want a good Indiana beer to celebrate the obvious majesty that is our Purdue preview, go with:
Three Floyds' Jinx Proof. It's a pretty simple pils. 3F tends to hop the shit out of their beers, and this is one of the lighter/simpler ones they do. I haven't tried their seasonal this year (supposedly an easy drinking farmhouse) and I'm excited to do so, but until then, I'll grab a six-pack of this stuff because it's good. Simple as that.
Until next week, Michigan Faithful. Cheers!