Craft beers and soccer: This must be Portland

Craft beers and soccer: This must be Portland
FILE - In this March 12, 2012, file photo, Portland Timbers fans celebrate after the Timbers beat the Philadelphia Union 3-1 in an MLS soccer game in Portland, Ore. The Timbers open their 2013 season against the New York Red Bulls in Portland Sunday. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Green Bay Packers fans have the cheese head. For fans of the Detroit Red Wings, there's octopus.

Portland Timbers supporters? They have their own beer.

It seems only natural that the Rose City's love affair with microbrews and soccer would somehow intersect.

But Widmer Brothers Brewing's new Green & Gold Kolsch is not just a random beer with the Timbers' colors slapped on the label: It was actually created by a longtime member of the Timbers Army supporters group. Abram Goldman-Armstrong's recipe won last year's Timbers Army Homebrew Competition.

"I imagine that some folks may be surprised that a group like the Timbers Army has a homebrew competition, but in Portland that's completely normal," said Rob Widmer, who with his brother Kurt founded Widmer Brothers in 1984. "Everybody either brews or knows somebody who brews. It's part of the fabric of what makes Portland Portland.

Goldman-Armstrong got the idea for the Kolsch during a trip to Cologne, Germany, for the 2006 World Cup. Even some of his backyard hops — he's been crafting his own beers for decades — went into the Green & Gold batch. Just for effect.

"I obviously can't grow enough to supply Widmer," he laughed.

The special beer is another example of how the Timbers have really become ingrained in the city's identity. The team itself has embraced the relationship, like last season when they invited different food carts from around Portland to offer menu items at home games.

Green & Gold Kolsch, which Goldman-Armstrong described as a lighter, straw-colored ale with both fruity and spicy aromas, will be on tap at all Timbers games at Jeld-Wen Field this season, starting at the opener on Sunday against the New York Red Bulls.

Goldman-Armstrong and the Widmer brothers — already sponsors of the Timbers — will be at the game for first toast.

The beer will also be available in pubs and retail stores in the Pacific Northwest, including Washington. Just don't tell supporters of the rival Seattle Sounders.