FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — A “supporter scarf” is now a homonym for fans of the New England Revolution.
There’s the one you wear around your neck at games, and then there’s the one that you drink – assuming you’re of age, of course.
The latter is a beer from Springdale by Jack’s Abby Brewing of Framingham, Mass. It’s a collaboration between the brewery and the Midnight Riders, one of the New England Revolution supporters groups.
Midnight Riders president Matt Zytka, a graphic designer by trade, came up with both the name, Supporter Scarf, and the look of the aluminum can in which it is stored.
Springdale director Joe Connelly, a longtime soccer lover, said the pale ale has a juicy aroma with a bright, snappy flavor. It’s made with Citra and Comet dry hops and contains notes of black tea, melon, and lemon juice.
“It’s actually a very simple pale ale, but its brightness is really a good match for the energetic support and tenacity you see from the Midnight Riders in The Fort at Gillette Stadium,” Connelly told Pro Soccer USA. “This is an awesome collaboration. I got to combine my two great loves, my passion for brewing and my passion for soccer.”
Connelly played soccer growing up, but didn’t graduate to the level of supporting a club until he was much older. Six years ago, he visited a friend in Portland, Ore., who is a member of the Timbers Army. Captivated by the support and atmosphere at the Timbers games, Connelly fell back in love with soccer and started attending Revolution games in Foxborough.
He has since added Liverpool to his list of favorite teams and has formed close ties with Revs fans, particularly the Midnight Riders.
“We certainly had a fun season when we launched last year, but it was very much under the radar,” Connelly said. “This year we want to be more focused.”
Supporter Scarf was available at Gillette Stadium for most games last year and is expected to make a return this season. Springdale also has it on draught at its Framingham facility and sends it to stores across Massachusetts. Expansion for Supporter Scarf is possible, especially since the brewery’s other products can be found throughout the northeast, including in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.
Connelly’s love of soccer has also helped make Springdale one of the most soccer-friendly breweries in New England. Scarves representing clubs from around the world hang in the tap room (“But not Manchester United’s,” Connelly notes), and the brewery streams international games live.
There is a community service angle to this collaborative effort, too. Part of the sales for Supporters Scarf go to Soccer Without Borders, an international non-profit with an outpost in Boston that uses the game as a vehicle to bring educational and personal growth opportunities to underserved communities around the globe.
Springdale recently finished brewing its first big batch of Supporter Scarf and is expecting to produce at least three more smaller batches later this year.
Connelly is even teasing a supporter scarf for Supporter Scarf.