Hello Wisconsin: Giving Thanks for Packer Football and Tasty Brewed Beverages

It's hard not to be thankful for being a Packers fan.

There were some moments during and shortly after Sunday’s game where I felt transported to another time.

Years back, the way the Packers lost the game against the Colts likely would have stuck with me for the entire week. I’d have spent the rest of the evening stewing, and probably would have avoided any kind of football-related media for at least several days following the defeat. I felt some of those emotions stirring in me, but they quickly subsided.

This year, I have to say, the losses, even the heartbreaking ones, just don’t affect me like they used to.

I’ve gained a lot of perspective throughout the pandemic on a lot of things about my life, and the football season certainly is one of them. I find myself frequently remembering there was a time as recently as late August where I wasn’t certain the NFL season would happen at all. 

It might seem silly now, given how the NFL has trudged along even as cases have skyrocketed, but there were legitimate concerns that the league might not be capable of putting on more than a month’s worth of games this season, if that.

I think the combination of how close we were to not having football combined with the state of… well… everything this year has given me a greater appreciation for what we have right now as Packer fans.

This is a team that’s been a consistent winner for nearly three decades. It’s currently 7-3 atop its division, a game back from the first seed with six games to go, and a quarterback playing at an MVP level. 

In a year that’s caused me to look at my life and reevaluate my priorities and reassess my convictions, I think I appreciate more than ever the remarkable nature of what we have with the Packers, and how at any moment it could be gone.

Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have too many years of football left, and I could spend the rest of my life watching the team try desperately to find its next franchise quarterback to lead them to glory, like the Browns of the last two decades, or the Dolphins since Dan Marino’s retirement. 

I’ve spent my entire 32-year existence on this planet knowing nothing other than a Packers team that just wins. If, after everything we’ve gone through collectively this year, we can’t take a step back and realize just how incredible that is and how fortunate we’ve been as fans of this franchise over the last several decades, what does that say?

Don’t get me wrong, I still will yell at the TV, or send out my impassioned tweets and in-the-moment overreactions.

But ultimately, holy shit, have we ever been fortunate. And this team is still a contender for this season.

And I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for Matt LaFleur’s face of incredulity 

By now, just about every Packer fan is familiar with the absolute god-awful question reporter Mark Daniels asked Matt LaFleur in the post-game press conference in Indianapolis.

“Matt, I hate to be blunt, but how do you live with MVS?”

LaFleur’s face in response says it all:

To LaFleur’s credit, he gave a very diplomatic answer to an absolute bush league question that honestly should probably get Daniels’ credentials revoked, at least temporarily. It’s one thing to be critical of a player, but phrasing it like that is unprofessional at best and malicious at worst.

But I’m thankful for this screenshot, because the memes it will be able to be used in for years to come will be glorious.

Wisconsin Beer of the Week

Someone on Twitter recently suggested I look into beers by Humble Forager. I’d had an Untitled Art collaboration with the Waunakee distribution brewery (founded by the owner of Minnesota’s Forager Brewery) before, the Oat Cream IPA that I featured several weeks ago. However, I’d never had one of Humble Forager’s solo projects.

I have to say, after trying this one, I’ll be on the lookout for a whole lot more.

My chosen brew for this week is Humble Forager’s Voyager’s Getaway, an absolutely fantastic stout that features flavors of marshmallow, cocoa, vanilla and coconut. It’s so incredibly rich and smooth that it almost feels impossible that it comes in at a powerful 12 percent ABV. There are some so-called “pastry stouts” that can come out a little too sweet for my liking, and while this one definitely is on the sweeter side, it’s definitely not overpowering. 

In addition, there are a lot of breweries that fail to deliver the velvety mouthfeel I enjoy of higher-ABV stouts. That’s certainly not the case with Voyager’s Getaway. Not only is the taste sublime, but the drinking experience is excellent as well. Served at cellar temperature in a stout glass, this one is just a pleasure to sip on and enjoy with a good book or a roaring fire. 

Cannot recommend highly enough. I found it at my local Woodman’s. Not sure what their distribution range is like, but if you find it at your local liquor store, make it a point to grab it.

I’m thankful for Davante Adams

Davante Adams is one special player.

Can you remember a more ho-hum 7-catch, 100+ yard, 1-TD performance in NFL history? The guy just makes it look so easy and routine now that you almost take his greatness for granted.

Adams has been the league’s best receiver this season, full stop. He leads the league in catches, yards and touchdowns per game, and despite missing two and a half games is still right near the top of the leaderboards in volume stats as well. For yards per game it’s not even close--he’s averaging 105.9, and the next closest is DeAndre Hopkins from Arizona at 91.2

Adams has long been the league’s finest route runner, but he’s become a more well-rounded player than ever before, and the connection he’s developed with Rodgers has become otherworldly. I would say it even rivals or exceeds the connection Rodgers had with Jordy Nelson for so many years.

We’re not too far off from talking a contract extension for Adams (probably during the 2021 season), and he’s going to have absolutely earned it.

He hasn’t been getting the hype needed for it, but Adams should be firmly in the discussion for Offensive Player of the Year at the end of the season, in addition to securing first-team All Pro honors. 

Around the NFC North

Once again it’s time for us to take a look around the NFC North.

The CHICAGO BEARS had a much-needed bye week after dropping four consecutive games and allowing Kirk Cousins to pick up his first ever Monday Night Football victory. Their prize is a trip to Green Bay on primetime where they get to play a motivated Packers team and a sizzling Aaron Rodgers. The Bears of the Matt Nagy era have been absolutely awful in front of national audiences, and their quarterback situation remains in flux as the extent of Nick Foles’s injury is still up in the air. Not that it matters--no matter who’s under center, this offense is garbage and the defense, while great, won’t be able to win too many games for them with the kind of handicap the offense provides.

The DETROIT LIONS serve us up their yearly Thanksgiving “treat” today, an annual tradition something akin to an overcooked turkey or lukewarm mashed potatoes. A week after getting blanked by a subpar Panthers team in an embarrassing performance, the team gets to take on the Houston Texans, who are coming off a victory over the New England Patriots and have a quarterback playing as well as anyone in football, despite the rest of the team’s deficiencies. This Lions team has the look of one ready to keel over and get rid of coach Matt Patricia already, so don’t expect this one to be close.

The MINNESOTA VIKINGS had a lot of hype coming into Week 11 as a team making a “turnaround.” In fact, a Fox NFL Sunday pregame segment devoted about 7 minutes to hyping up this team that had had a 1-5 start. The Vikings then promptly went out and lost at home to the horrendous Dallas Cowboys, who have half their team on injured reserve. The Vikings have a last chance in their “turnaround” bid when they play host to the Panthers this weekend--a loss would surely put them too far out of reach in the wild card race with just five games left to play. It’s do or die time for this perpetually overhyped team of professional underachievers.

I’m thankful for a Thanksgiving of any sort

Thanksgiving will look very different for the Backes family this year. It was initially going to be just my family of five plus my two parents, who help us out with childcare. But a potential COVID exposure has shrunk the celebration down to only my household. We’re still making a turkey and stuffing and all the good stuff, but it’ll be very different than the large celebrations we usually take part in.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to be excited about! With it being a low-key celebration, we’ll be setting up our Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving for the first time ever, with the sounds of NFL football in the background and a fire crackling in the fireplace. My oldest son is now old enough to at least have a small role in helping get the tree set up and to have an understanding of what the holiday is, so I’m excited for him to experience it for the first time with this perspective. 

At some point in the day, we’ll have a Zoom session with the rest of my family. 

It’ll be weird not to split a couple imperial stouts with my dad, or to watch the games with my brother, or to avoid potential political discussions with my father in law, but I’m thankful for a healthy family, a stable household and the ability to have any kind of celebration at all.

I’m thankful for this bomb NFL Films VHS I found on Amazon

When I was a kid, I watched the NFL Films review of the Packers’ 1996 season on VHS so many times that I wore out the tape.

For years I’ve been searching for a replacement that wasn’t used, and finally found someone selling an unopened copy on Amazon. 

Feast your eyes on this bad boy.

Now that I have it in my possession, my next step is to find someone who still has a VCR I can borrow so I can hook it up to my computer and digitize this thing so I never lose access to it again. If nothing else, I’ll head over to my nearest Goodwill and buy one for like three bucks. 

I feel like I probably still have this whole thing memorized, so I’m looking forward to getting to see it again for the first time in many years.

Week 12 quick forecast

All week I’ve just had this lingering feeling that the Packers are going to absolutely beat the stuffing out of the Bears.

I don’t have a whole lot of football-related reasons for this. In fact, I think the logical choice is that the Packers grind out a tough win against a team with a really strong defense, the difference being that the Bears are incapable of playing offense.

But something about the energy we saw out of this team in Indianapolis combined with the way people like Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers talked about the game in its aftermath just makes me think that they’re going to be up and ready to play on primetime Sunday. 

So I’m willing to admit that there’s a bit of homerism going on here, and that I’m not being nearly as logical as I tend to be with my picks, but something tells me Rodgers has a classic in him this Sunday evening, and that the Packers thoroughly undress the Bears on national television.

Hopefully my sixth sense here proves to be accurate.

Packers 42, Bears 17

 

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (34)

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

November 26, 2020 at 06:54 am

Thank you Tim, for your amazing perspective at 32 young years of age. Thank you for being wise enough not to put your parents and extended family at risk. Thank you for your always entertaining and thoughtful article.

Happy Thanksgiving to all Packers fans.

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PeteK's picture

November 26, 2020 at 09:55 am

As he confidently gallops into to a glorious rising sun.

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

November 27, 2020 at 02:59 am

Mordecai: "I never did know your name"

The Stranger: "Yes, you do"

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cow7's picture

November 26, 2020 at 06:54 am

It's a nice little team.
Being a fan of a team that beats inferior opponents but loses to real ones can be fun, I guess.
Not a contender, though.
Be thankful for what we got, I suppose.

Once the career of one of the greatest QBs of all time ends with just 1 SB appearance, the last thing I'm going to be feeling is "thankful".

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PhantomII's picture

November 26, 2020 at 12:27 pm

cow7, You sound like eor.

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fastmoving's picture

November 26, 2020 at 01:28 pm

for me he is more a Rudi G. guy..........if you can call that a guy...of course

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

November 27, 2020 at 03:04 am

I really enjoyed that hair dye seeping down Giuliani's face, a la Gary Oldham's character in the Fifth Element.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 27, 2020 at 07:14 pm

MOOOOO!!!!

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Dragon5's picture

November 26, 2020 at 08:06 am

Tim, after this latest Untitled Art / stout mention, I'm beginning to think we are twins separated at birth...keep those high ABV stout suggestions coming

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Hematite's picture

November 26, 2020 at 08:07 am

Happy Thanksgiving to all Packers fans from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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stockholder's picture

November 26, 2020 at 08:19 am

Rodgers is George Blanda. He's got a lot of years left if he wishes. LeFluers face. Looks like he just heard a lot of Trash. James Jones dropped passes and had a few fumbles. It's the learning curve. Bud light still works for me. $$. Adams - We should all be thankful he blew us off thinking otherwise. #4 still has his pager. Week 12 Forecast, Works for me.

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Guam's picture

November 26, 2020 at 08:29 am

I'm thankful the Packers didn't give up on MVS. Despite the untimely fumble last week (his first), MVS is starting to emerge as the WR we hoped he could be. I hope the fumble doesn't crack his confidence and he continues to develop.

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13TimeChamps's picture

November 26, 2020 at 09:04 am

I hope your right, but it's hard to get totally on board. He is currently next to last in the league in catch % and tied for the league lead in drops....and this is his 3rd year. But he seems to have Rodger's and MLF's trust, so we'll see. At least he seems to be doing a lot of the little things that the casual fan doesn't notice.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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PeteK's picture

November 26, 2020 at 09:52 am

and he is always a big play threat.

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13TimeChamps's picture

November 26, 2020 at 10:04 am

Yes, he definitely is that.

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NickPerry's picture

November 26, 2020 at 11:37 am

I am too Guam though I must admit he's had me at my wits end more than once...Even THIS season. BUT when you think of the scouting report on MVS, it was pretty much on the money...Raw, fast, great straight line speed, NEEDS TIME.

This is year 3 and IMO it's starting to pay off. Now that doesn't mean I wouldn't want the Packers to draft a WR sometime in the first 3 rounds of the 2021 draft (probably the 3rd) but I still believe he's going to continue to grow. He fumbled the ball, it happens. I think his confidence is going to be just fine.

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fastmoving's picture

November 26, 2020 at 01:35 pm

MVS did already a lot this year. way more than most thought he could. But he was always better, all his 3 years here, than he got credit for. High ceiling and was open a lot, but AR igored or just missed him a lot as well.
He will get better and can help a lot in the future......

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 27, 2020 at 01:20 pm

I'll take Tee Higgins and watch a guy perform year One.

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ABZdroik's picture

November 26, 2020 at 08:43 am

A very nice Thanksgiving article. Love your beer reviews. Only wish I was in Wisconsin to get them.

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Lphill's picture

November 26, 2020 at 08:48 am

Happy Thanksgiving to all , even Mike Pettine!

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PeteK's picture

November 26, 2020 at 09:57 am

Don't forget Mennenga. LOL

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NickPerry's picture

November 26, 2020 at 09:26 am

What an awesome post by Tim Backes. Thank you for this Tim, it was awesome. I also want to wish all my fellow CHTV / Packers fans a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

OMG Tim...I remember that VHS tape! I had one myself. I actually think I wore it out watching it so many times after 30 years of suffering. I hope you find a VCR and it doesn't EAT the tape!

I always get a kick out of the "Wisconsin Beer of the Week". I've been sober many, many years now so when I quit drinking they didn't have all this stuff. 20 some years ago I would have never in a 100 years thought they would EVER make a beer out of marshmallow, cocoa, vanilla and coconut flavors. Not to mention with a 12% ABV. I guess I'll just stick with a Hot Coco and throw some marshmallows, Vanilla, and maybe coconut in there.

Week 12...I'm actually looking for an Aaron Jones resurgence. Jones has been pretty quite the past weeks, even before his injury. I love Davante and would really like to see Lazard get involved again, but something tells me this is a Aaron Jones week.

Like Tim I'm finally mellowing a bit when the Packers lose but just a bit. Yes this Pandemic has put a lot of things into perspective, but I'll still go APE SHIT CRAZY every time I see the Packers CB's lined up 8 yards deep on 3rd and 3. That is something I will NEVER be mellow about.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Please have a safe a wonderful Holiday!

EDIT...And Mike Pettine...PLEASE play MORE Billy Winn. He NEEDS to be on the field.

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PeteK's picture

November 26, 2020 at 10:01 am

Great respect for your determination!

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NickPerry's picture

November 26, 2020 at 11:39 am

Thank you Pete, I appreciate your kind words. It's been a wonderful journey!

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HighPlainsDrifter's picture

November 27, 2020 at 03:09 am

Congratulations on your sobriety Nick! It's been since April, 2005, for me. One day at a time adds up.

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NickPerry's picture

November 27, 2020 at 04:02 am

Congrats yourself HPD, that's amazing!

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Fabio's picture

November 26, 2020 at 10:01 am

I love the Packers community. I think it's the thing that differentiates us from all the other teams.
I wish you a happy Thanksgiving. I would love to be with you others drinking beer and cheering on Green Bay. Greetings from Italy

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NickPerry's picture

November 26, 2020 at 11:44 am

Greetings Fabio, I think it's awesome we have fans from around the world and Happy Thanksgiving!

Question...How and where do you watch a Packers game and what time is it there when the Packers have a home game that starts at Noon in Green Bay?

I'd imagine you'd have to watch it on NFL Game Pass, but please let me know if you can.

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Fabio's picture

November 26, 2020 at 02:22 pm

Hi Nick
Generally here in Italy we are about 6 hours late with the time zone and sometimes the games start here at 2 am !!! Normally I watch the game with a friend of mine on SKY or DAZN platforms that show matches for Italy. When I can't wait for a day and review it on Youtube. A big hello and good thanks I know that in America it is very important as a holiday. Go Pack Go

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NickPerry's picture

November 27, 2020 at 04:04 am

Hi Fabio,
Thank you for taking the time to respond. HOPEFULLY the Packers can make it to another SB real soon and ALL of Italy can watch LIVE!

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PeteK's picture

November 26, 2020 at 10:13 am

A very large thank you for your inspiring words and weekly articles. In a year of maddening politics and sickness , I am confident that the vast majority of people in this nation will rise up once again and do what we do best ,work together. Now on to some Bear hunting!

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anni_sharma's picture

November 26, 2020 at 10:26 am

Thank you for sharing, check us out

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badaxed's picture

November 26, 2020 at 09:57 pm

I am thankful we do not have Mike McCarthy as head coach even if,"he is a very successful coach," (his words,).
Apperently we now know who's coat tails he was riding.
Is it too early for Christmas wishes; Fire Pettine!

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mnbadger's picture

November 28, 2020 at 10:20 pm

Great article again Tim. Perspective, beer and Packers coverage in one package. And packer fans, please don't beat MVS up for the fumble. that play shouldn't be thrown to a long strider like him. He needs open space to cash his checks, not congestion. I won't forecast the score this week. my gut says bears 18 to 17. My heart says Pack 38 to 6. I'm hoping for a clean game turnover wise and no injuries. GPG

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