Switchbacks fans have a new signature beer to enjoy while watching a game at the new Weidner Field or pre-gaming at Pikes Peak Brewing’s Lager House, the now-official Switchbacks pregame party spot.
In May, Monument-based Pikes Peak Brewing launched its Hooligan Juice, a beer brewed exclusively for the Switchbacks Football Club and its adoring fans.
Chris Wright, founder and president of the Pikes Peak Brewing Co., said the new beer is a way of honoring the Switchbacks and the community surrounding the team.
“Part of our philosophy is always naming beers from things that make the Pikes Peak region special,” he said. “We’ve been partners with them since their inaugural season and recognize what they bring with professional sports to Colorado Springs.”
The beer launched at the same time as the opening of Weidner Field, the Switchbacks’ new home turf for USL Championship league games.
“We wanted them [Pikes Peak Brewing] inside the new stadium, and we talked about how we could do a special beer that’s specific to the Switchbacks and specific to Pikes Peak Brewing to celebrate our long partnership,” said James Ragain, executive vice president of the Switchbacks FC.
The name is just as special as the vision behind the beer, too. Instead of going with something like “Switchbacks Ale,” the Pikes Peak Brewing team sent a few choices to the Switchbacks, where several departments, including players, chose the name “Hooligan Juice.”
Wright explained that soccer fans are called hooligans, a name reference that goes back to a British saying between soccer and rugby players.
“The old saying is that soccer is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans, and rugby is a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen,” he said.
British football (soccer) fans have been known as hooligans for hundreds of years, dating back to the Middle Ages. Confrontations between opposing team fans were often passion-driven and sometimes violent. Pikes Peak Brewing’s Hooligan Juice pays homage to those origins and celebrates the Switchbacks’ fans who support the team.
“It touches a little more to the soccer culture and history of the hard fan base,” Ragain said.
Hooligan juice is a Belgian witbier with notes of orange peel and coriander. Wright described it as a very “approachable beer” for those new and experienced in the craft beer scene.
“The fruit-forward notes you get come from the orange peel, coriander and rich Belgian yeast,” he said. “It’s a nice light-colored and crisp beer that’s perfect for a hot summer’s day.”
Ragain is confident that Switchback fans and Colorado Springs residents in general will love Hooligan Juice.
“First of all, it has to taste good, and people need to like the experience of drinking it, and I think this one has a great experience,” he said. “And then the looks, too. People are particular in what they’re drinking and how it looks, and I think this design is awesome. It’s catchy and I think it’s going to do really well.”
Hooligan Juice is available at Pikes Peak Brewing’s Lager House in Downtown Colorado Springs and its original taproom at 1756 Lake Woodmoor Drive in Monument. The beer will also be sold at Switchbacks home games throughout the season. It will be available every soccer season from March through September.
Pikes Peak Brewing, which just this month celebrated its 10th anniversary with music, food, and games on June 19, has always found ways to celebrate the community and give back. Wright said the partnership with the Switchbacks is a big part of that.
Pikes Peak Brewing has been partners with the Switchbacks FC since the team’s inaugural season in 2015, and their partnership is stronger than ever, according to Wright. The brewery opened its downtown Colorado Springs lager house at 514 S. Tejon St. in August 2020, which Wright said is known as the “official pregame party spot” for Switchbacks fans.
“Our motto is ‘life is better when lived together,’ and everything we do tries to embody that motto,” Wright said. “And that’s more than just drinking beers and more recognized what makes us special or makes our community special.”