Rookies Sports Lodge has snagged one of Lagunitas Brewing Co.’s rare firkins. Now the inevitable question: What’s a firkin?

In this case, it’s a type of keg made of wood or steel, but the key is how to tap it. The keg must be laid on its side, horizontally pierced with a breathing tube then banged through with a mallet to get the beer out. It’s a decidedly messy affair.

“It’s a big mallet and they go boom, boom! Then they pour it straight into the glass,” says Rookies owner Mike Hobson (pictured).

A relative newcomer to the downtown San Jose bar scene, Rookies will release the firkin—which will be filled with Lagunitas’ 12th of Never ale—at 5pm Thursday, just an hour before the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers tip off in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

The name of the beer within the firkin comes with its own story. Lagunitas Brewmonster—you read that title right—Jeremy Marshall reportedly said he would brew the company’s first beer in a can on the 12th of never, hence the name. It features a blend of old-school and new-school hops, and it can be found on tap in bars throughout California. But the firkin itself is a rare sighting.

“They only make two kegs that they release in California,” Hobson says. “It’s literally one of those beers that everyone loves. It’s a crowd-pleaser.”

Lagunitas first released 12th of Never in cans last summer. An American Pale Ale, the beer checks in at 5.5 percent alcohol by volume. Described as tropical and hoppy, yet full-bodied, according to the Beer Advocate, the brew blends coconut and papaya flavors, creating a refreshing citrus taste.

“Probably the best beer we could possibly decide to put into a can,” Marshall says in one of his #mouthfeels YouTube videos.

The event lands on the same evening the Warriors and Cavaliers face off in the finals for the third straight year, with both teams intent on winning the rubber match. Tipoff is set for 6pm, and guests should plan to arrive early or make a reservation via OpenTable.

Rookies Sports Lodge   99 S. First St, San Jose. 408.292.4300