I always enjoy Big Ten preview season. It lets me go find beers and be snarky about other Big Ten schools. Plus, in the long cold summer before football, thinking about football keeps me going.
This week, we're previewing Champaign, the home of Illinois' flagship state university and stunning mediocrity on the football field. I always get a little scared when I see a Scheelhaase or a Juice Williams, but I don't really remember any of them panning out. AJ Jenkins was a MAN but that's the only Illinois player I can remember.
I can't be too mean because Illinois fans are actually some of the best tailgaters in the Big Ten. At some point this year I'll make a post trashing eight schools and saying nice things about Illinois and Nebraska... anyway, I've been to Champaign twice for football and once for basketball, and all three times I ended up in a dive bar with a bunch of people I didn't know and really liked. So there's that.
I've written before about all the beers I can remember from Champaign, including a delicious strawberry wheat - but the last time I was there, I went to Seven Saints and had a Tank 7 and a Dead Guy. Good place. Good food, too.
So the Tank 7 is a Farmhouse Ale and perfect for summer. I've got a six-pack for Memorial Day barbeque purposes, and it's gonna be great. It's a little bit bitter, but has a nice grapefruit hint to it. I think I had about five of these last time I drank them. Boulevard is from Kansas City, and there's a couple of really good barbeque beer sauce recipes floating around on the Internet if you're game. My opinion: dump the beer over whatever you're grilling. Eat. Drink more of it. Cool?
hey guys remember this game I was terrified but then we won and it was awesome click this
Illinois fans are really nice. Nice enough to share a keg of Rogue Dead Guy - like, how did they even find a keg of that stuff? - at a tailgate last year. Rogue is dark and delicious, but not really a summer beer. Then some dude opened up some vanilla ice cream and put it in a pint glass. I don't ordinarily condone beer beer floats, but this actually hit the spot. The vanilla worked really well. Take some vanilla ice cream and dump it in your Rogue Dead Guy. Go now, do this, and thank the Illini fans that I met that one time.
At right: ice cream and beer. It's delicious at any point in your drinking experience. Show up with one at a Memorial Day barbecue and watch the new friends line up to bask in your glory.
Illinois is a vague place, and I can't say I've explored their beer culture that much, but I'm looking forward to going back for basketball sometime soon. Oh - and guys, don't hold your breath about that converted-wr-or-rb quarterback that puts up 6 TDs against Toledo or NIU. He's probably going to suck.