Friday, January 14, 2011

"Going Suds Up" - The Best Soccer, The Best Beers

By Kirsten Schlewitz / Senior West Coast Beer and Aston Villa Correspondent

The Major League Soccer SuperDraft—was it good for you? Did your team fulfill your hopes and dreams, or were you left stuttering and confused? If you’re a Galaxy fan, you might as well drink through until the start of the season. And possibly keep going.

Unfortunately for fans of MLS, there’s still over two months to go before the boys take to the field again. Fear not, though, for there’s plenty of soccer on the telly this weekend, and you’re going to have to take sides.

While sometimes it’s fun to be a neutral (for instance, last week’s AC Milan clash with Udinese, which was a thriller) in a derby, there’s always a clear choice between good and evil, and you better choose heaven or hell before you jump in. Assuming you don’t consider West Ham v Arsenal (Sat, 11:30am CT, FSC) a true derby (Do people get fired up about this London clash? Not to the extent that it’s got a name, ergo, no derby) the clashes are all on Sunday. Birmingham City hosts Aston Villa, Everton walks across the park to Liverpool (Sun, 8am CT, FSC) , and Sunderland hosts Newcastle (Sun, 6am CT, FSC+). And, yes, if you’re a west coast fan of the Second City Derby or the Tyne-Wear, you’re waking up at 4am. Have fun drinking!

And for these derbies, which just as likely to be discussed for their handbags as for the goals scored, what better beer than Wychwood Brewery Company's "Dirty Tackle" (Witney, England)? Granted, you’ll likely not find it over here, but if you’re out and about in England, give it a try. It’s a typical bitter, smelling of toasted malt and brown sugar. Has a bit of bitter citrus and some nutty malts in the taste.

Of course, bitters in all their varieties are clearly the beer to have on hand while watching fan bases collide. Since you probably can’t grab a cask of the Dirty Tackle, try to pick up a bottle of Rogue Ales "Younger's Special Bitter" (Newport, Oregon). It’s the best widely available bitter I’ve found (the best is Elysian Barca Bitter, which can’t be argued) and comes in both tiny—Rogue actually calls them XS bottles—and large. Pick up both and choose, depending on if your team is on the receiving or giving end of the brutality. Youngers Special Bitter pours orange-amber, with a thin beige head and some lace. Interestingly enough, it smells peachy, which is unusually for a bitter. The taste starts off crisp, includes both floral hops and toasted malts, and then finishes bitter. Which is likely how you will finish Sunday as well. Or maybe I’m just projecting the emotions of an Aston Villa fan.

About Kirsten:

Ever since Brazil caught my eye during the 1994 World Cup I’ve considered myself a soccer fan, but it wasn’t until the summer 2008 that I decided to find a club. I focused on the Premier League and eventually chose Aston Villa. Initially drawn in by the pretty clarets and blues, I found I liked their organization, their owner and their manager. I fell hard and now it’s too late—I can’t give them up. As for MLS, that was easy, as I live in Seattle. I also support Exeter FC, SSC Napoli, FC Koln, Estudiantes Tecos and Tooting & Mitcham FC, all for a variety of reasons including cider, tattoos, scarves, owls, and a soccer player texting while on the pitch. I’m the Managing Editor of SB Nation’s Aston Villa site, 7500 to Holte. I also contribute to Two Footed Tackle.

Images From: Wychwood Brewery and The

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  1. Kirsten, you don't mention anything about beer or even use the word "beer" in your "About Kirsten:" section. Why should we take beer advice from you and what experience do you have (genuine, non-sarcastic, question)?

  2. I guess I'd say it's because I'm a soccer writer that I don't mention beer in my profile. Not really sure what sort of "experience" you're looking for, as I certainly don't have a degree in it! I've tasted over 1000 beers, read books about the subject, and regularly attend festivals and tastings--including those that teach about how to taste beer.

    Other than that, I just really, really love beer. And am fortunate enough to live in Portland, where there are plenty of people to discuss it with.

    I hope that answered your question!


"Anyone who tells me soccer is boring, I'm going to punch them in the face."
- Former Dallas Burn (aka FC Dallas) coach Dave Dir

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