Friday, March 25, 2011

Going Suds Up: The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

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

If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance that the highlight of your sporting weekend will be the match between the USA and Argentina, which kicks off at 7PM New Jersey time. Now, if you’re actually lucky enough to be in Jersey for the game, there’s likely little I can do to help you. It’s all stadium beers and whatever comes out of the cooler in the trunk. However, if you manage to kidnap Ezequiel Lavezzi and bring him to me, I promise you free beer advice for life. Thanks in advance.

However, if you’re like me and didn’t realize the match coincided with spring break, and thought it would be rather ridiculous to fly across the country only to wind up in court clutching a temporary restraining order, you’re likely looking for some decent beer to drink while watching select international representatives run around working up a thirst. I’ll be kicking it at Uber Tavern in Seattle, if they let us turn on the match, so I thought I’d select a couple choice beers from their current tap list.

Firestone Walker "Double Jack" India Pale Ale (Paso Robles, CA) : What else to drink when watching the USMNT take on Argentina but this all-American hop bomb? Aggressive, assertive, just the way that the US will have to be when taking on a not-always-watertight Argentina defense (yes, that may be a bit of an understatement). There are thousands of individuals out there writing on tactics, formations, history, proper hairstyles, whatever you might want to know about the USMNT, so I’m not even going to pretend to have as much of a clue about the squad. Instead, I’m going to give you what you came here for: a beer review. Double Jack is one of the best double IPAs in existence, but if you don’t like an overabundance of hops, particularly citrus hops, you might want to bypass this tasty treat. The initial taste is fairly mild, with citrus hops balanced by sweet caramel malts. But like most IIPAs, it’s the ending that’s gonna get you. Grapefruit, pine, and spicy hops all linger long after the sweetness has disappeared. The hops mask a high alcohol content, so take care you’re not lured into drinking too many of these, at 9.5%.

Black Raven "Second Sight" Strong Scotch Ale (Redmoond, WA) : I’ll be sipping this one in advance of Scotland’s friendly against Brazil. The more I watch Brazilians play, the more I realize that the majority of them are a bunch of elbow-slinging, hand-using, two-footed tackling thugs. The Scots, meanwhile, are mostly a bunch of tiny people with cute accents (by which I mean Barry Bannan). This beer is a tribute to Bazza and the article headline the BBC chose to write: “Bannan eager to tackle Brazilians.” In case you haven’t watched much of Bannan, he’s not the world’s best tackler, although I’m not sure anyone is at 5’6”. The image of the diminutive midfielder taking on the likes of Lucio, Maicon, Thiago Silva…well, I need a strong beer just thinking about it. So I’ll raise a glass of this claret-colored brew to Mr. Bannan and the rest of Scotland. It’s a 7.2% ABV, so it should help take the edge off any match in which you might be worried about career-ending injuries. The aroma is faint, mostly of brown sugar. The taste is rather typical of a Scotch Ale, heavy on the malts, with a slight bitterness just barely cutting through the caramel at the end.

About Kirsten

I may be a law student at Lewis and Clark, but soccer is my true love, with beer coming in a distant second. That's not to say I don't love beer--I've tasted over a thousand different brews, and listed many of them on Ratebeer. Living in Portland, Oregon, I attend quite a few festivals and tastings, and am able to argue passionately about the merits of Cascade hops vs. Chinook.

As for the soccer, I'm the Managing Editor of SB Nation's Aston Villa site, 7500 to Holte, the Italy Editor for SB Nation Soccer, and cover the Seattle Sounders on SBN Seattle (don't judge--I'm from Seattle!) Finally, I write for Two Footed Tackle when I find words worthy enough for the site. Want more? Follow me on Twitter!

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1 comment:

  1. I'll try to find these, but in their possible absence I'll be tipping back a couple of Surly Abrasive Ales. Great stuff if you can find it outside of Minnesota.


"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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