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The Pride, Fifty West team up for orange and blue beer

One of FC Cincinnati’s largest supporter groups has partnered with a Cincinnati brewery to create a beer that is — of course — orange and blue.

The Pride announced this week a collaborative beer with Fifty West called Lionhearted, an orange peel and blueberry Belgian wit. The beer launches at 2 p.m. Sunday at Fifty West Production Works on Wooster Pike in conjunction with FCC’s 3 p.m. road match against Bethlehem Steel.

Lionhearted will then be available only at The Dime and future Pride pregame spot Top Cats — both on Short Vine — as well as at Fifty West. Pride official, Matt Broo, said the beer is the culmination of a group idea sparked by Christian Moerlein’s creation of FC Cincinnati Blood Orange IPA, featuring the club’s logo.

“It was always a neat little side idea until recently, when we realized it was something that could actually happen,” Broo said. “As far as contact went, there was never any grand ‘meeting,’ it was just a lot of commingling between people involved in the brewing scene and the soccer scene coming together and realizing this would be a neat project.”

The beer is a true collaboration, with the Pride deferring to Fifty West on the selection and brewing. Fifty West Head Brewer Chris Siegman said the beer is a derivative of an old home brew recipe of Lead Pub Brewer Ryan Hayes.

“Naturally we started thinking about orange and blue ingredients,” Siegman said. “That (old) recipe was a hefeweizen brewed with blueberry and orange peel. We decided to switch it to a Wit base because they tend to be more quaffable than a hefeweizen.”

The Pride came up with the name and helped with the tap handles and promotional materials.

“We gave general parameters of wanting a lighter/easier drinking beer, given that we’re planning on having these before matches in the summer,” Broo said. “They handled the rest because they’re really good at this.”

Lionhearted is indeed a lighter beer at 5 percent and low on the bitterness scale with just 12 IBUs.

Broo and a few other Pride members were offered a preview.

“It’s a dangerously smooth beer,” Broo said. “The kind of beer you don’t realize you’ve had 4 or 5 of until you see all the empty glasses on the table.”

Said Siegman: “Visually it’s really striking with a purple hue and a slightly hazy appearance due to the yeast. It has great Belgian yeast aromas including, pepper, bubblegum and citrus. The flavor is really smooth and on the sweeter side, just enough bitterness to balance the sweetness along with soft blueberry flavors paired with a soft and creamy mouthfeel. Really light and approachable so you can easily knock a few back during a match.”

The two groups found it easy to work together. The Pride even gave Fifty West a scarf to hang in their brewery. Whether there will be future collaborations remains to be seen.

“To be honest, we’re so excited about this that we haven’t even considered what the next step would look like,” Broo said.

For now, the Pride’s pregame hangout spot continues to be Ladder 19 on Short Vine. They had hoped to switch to Top Cats in time for the home opener last week, but license issues with the city has delayed the move. Broo doesn’t have a timeline for when The Pride will be able to switch.

“As we’ve learned in this stadium process, the city moves at the city’s speed,” he said.

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