Taste test: Two beers for the 12th Man

In the NFL, success breeds imitators. Win and you can bet other teams are going to copy your blueprint.

But when it’s the Seahawks, that imitation goes far beyond the white lines. Since winning the Super Bowl in February, the Seahawks and their legion of 12s — the legion of fans who support the 11 men on the field — have been co-opted in a number of ways. From coffee stands to $12 Seahawks tattoos, everyone wants to ride the blue and neon-green wave.

Two beer companies were early adopters of the 12th Man world: Seattle’s Hilliard Beer and Centralia’s Dick’s Brewing Co. They started brewing 12th Man-inspired beers — both carefully named to avoid trademark disputes — that have become regulars at Sunday morning tailgates outside CenturyLink Field.

As Thursday’s season opener approaches, we decided to taste-test the two beers. Here are the results:

The 12th Can

Brewery: Hilliard’s Beer

Type: Session Pale Ale

Stats: 4.5 percent ABV (alcohol by volume), 32 IBU (international bittering units), 16-ounce cans

About: This light pale ale is very drinkable and has a light hop finish. There’s nothing remarkable about this beer, but it’s perfect for sitting back and watching the game.

From the brewer: “We brew it with Cascade Hops (C Hops!) to produce a beer unmistakably Northwest in flavor and super drinkable from beginning to end. Pairs well with victory.”

If it were a Seahawk … it’d be Max Unger. Like Seattle’s starting center, the 12th Can is efficient, reliable and a great starter.

12 Man Pale Ale

Brewery: Dick’s Brewing Co.

Type: American Pale Ale

Stats: 4.5 percent ABV, 18 IBU, 12-ounce cans

About: Pouring a hazy golden color with a light hop character, this pale ale is similar to its brother in 12 from Hilliard’s. It’s light and smooth and has a nice, subtle bitter finish.

From the brewer: “The beer is a great, easy drinking sessionable beer that is a well-balanced pale ale that everyone can drink and enjoy as and for the fan.”

If it were a Seahawk … it’d be Tarvaris Jackson. Not quite a starter, but you can count on it to produce if forced into duty.

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