With the Mann Cup opening night tomorrow, Sept. 8, lacrosse excitement is at a fever pitch.
And one New West brewery is frothing it up by introducing a pale ale named after the city's home team, the Salmonbellies.
Steel & Oak's Bellies Pale Ale sports the Bellies logo and a short history of the North America's oldest lacrosse club.
It's out in time for the day when New West will be playing their 25th national championship — facing the Six Nations Chiefs — at Queen's Park Arena.
While swilling a beer in Bellies colours sounds apt for the game night, for those who are curious to know what it tastes like, Jorden Foss, co-founder of Steel & Oak has a clear answer: exactly like the brewery's Royal City Ale.
In fact, the Pale Ale for the Mann Cup is actually the brewery's Royal City Ale but packaged specifically for the Bellies, said Foss.
Brewing an all-new beer for the Bellies is tricky as it's too hard to gauge the volume that will be consumed at a game, plus each batch of beer takes about four-to-six weeks to make, he added.
And since the number of games are not fixed (Mann Cup is a best-of-seven series), it's "too quick" a turnaround time for them to brew beer for each game and adjust volume, explained Foss.
But decking out the brewery's pre-brewed beers with the Bellies logo was a hoppy alternative.
The making of the Bellies Pale Ale
"The Salmonbellies beer brewed by Steel & Oak was brought up when we initially chatted with the Bellies about getting our beer into the games," said Foss.
"We thought our New West Cold Lager would go over well with Bellies fans but we also wanted to give them something that felt special for the games."
So, the brewery came up with a Bellies Lager for the regular season and WLA playoffs — which was their cold lager but with a Bellies label on it.
They brewed enough Bellies Lager to get them through the playoffs — "on what we thought fans would go through (having never done this before)."
"But we didn't anticipate how much people would drink at the games and I know beer sales have been higher than the Bellies expected (we hope that's because of our beer being available now alongside the regular macro products)," said Foss.
Soon they ran out of their Lager cans, and realized that a new batch couldn’t be made ready in time for the Mann Cup.
Since the brewery's Royal City Ale was brewed-up and ready to be packaged, they decided to bring out a limited number of Bellies Pale Ale for the Mann Cup — which will be exclusively available at Queen’s Park Arena during the games.
The brewery plans to label more cans as the series continues.
Whether it’s a pale ale or a lager, Bellies fans might agree that holding a chilled can that screams Bellies on its label is a cool way to show up for the historic club tomorrow night.
you can find the full Mann Cup series schedule on Eventbrite.