Sunday, June 5, 2011

2011 Gold Cup Beer-view: Drink Your Way Through the Field

We hope that you didn't stumble upon this Gold Cup preview piece expecting to unlock the secrets of the squads that face our U.S. National Team or any of the groups participating in the tournament.

We will however be less-unlocking and more "twisting-off" the caps of many a brews from the CONCACAF region both big, small, and REALLY small.

Or pick? Well, duh... AMERICA! FUCK YEAH!

But we're going to make you read about all these other beers before you get down to the U.S.'s "Group C".

Group A

Just marking an "equis" each time we score.
Mexico - Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Dos Equis "Amber" Lager

El Tri seeks its CONCACAF-leading sixth Gold Cup title this summer and while there's loads of optimism for the Mexican National Team (uhh... Javier Hernandez, anyone?) loads of questions remain to whether they can put together a team performance. More recent exhibitions have seen Mexico produce very inconsistent results.

Despite massive support on U.S. soil and a path to the Final set up carefully by the tournament's organizers we're banking that Dos Equis will stand for the goals the USMNT will mark (dos a cero otra vez!) against their southern neighbors leaving Mexican fans "amber" in the face once again.

Mexico's "Most Interesting Man in the World" will fall to America's "Most Interesting Man in the World" and their fans will "stay thirsty" for a victory against the U.S.

Costa Rica - Cerveceria Costa Rica "Imperial" Lager

Woo hoo! Spring Break!
The beer whose logo is festooned on countless numbers of college spring breaker shirts and hats represents Costa Rica. The National Team is at a low point after missing out on the 2010 World Cup in epic fashion; USMNT Jonathan Bornstein's stoppage time goal in D.C. combined with a Honduras victory in qualifying knocked them out.

After making two consecutive World Cups Le Sele is going to need more defense that the nation itself (the only Central American nation without a standing army) if it wants to sniff at regional glory again and regain a spot as CONCACAF power.

Running on empty.
El Salvador - Cerveceria La Constancia S.A. "Regia Extra" Smooth Lager Beer

The search for an El Salvadoran brew was helped by the fact that there's a wonderful little gas station down the street from FBM HQ that has this hanging around in the cooler. When we're in a tough spot for finding a brew for a story a trip to the corner store is just a easier and far more refreshing that the ol' Google box.

Los Cuscatlecos are definitely going to need that little "extra" if their going to move past the group stages of the Gold Cup where the last time they've made a mark was as runners-up in 1981.

Cuba - Bacardi (yes, the rum) Cerveza Hatuey Cuban-Style Ale

This summer the iconic Cuban beer brewed from 1927 until the arrival of Fidel Castro in 1959 returns to market... the South Florida exile market. Here's to placing bets on how many Cuban National Team members "miss" the flight home (last time seven members of the U-23 team stuck around).

Fun fact: Ernest Hemingway mentioned Hatuey in its hey-day in his Nobel Prize-winning "The Old Man and the Sea". Hemingway was a frequent visitor to the brewery (since it was his neighbor) before Castro's regime closed it down and the brewery threw him a party when he was given the award.

Group B

From Danny Beerseed's
personal collection.
Honduras - Cerveceria Hondurena "Salva Vida" Lager

Los Catrachos qualified for their first World Cup in 20 years and despite a poor performance (they were grouped with eventual winners, Spain) seem to be emerging themselves as CONCACAF's third team behind Mexico and the United States.

A strong performance in this edition of the Gold Cup will go along way to solidifying their spot as a regional power. Anything less than a semi-final appearance and Honduras will need a "life saver" for their future growth.

Guatemala - Cerveceria Centro Americana "Gallo" Lager
Dude, don't be such a cock.

If Guatemala can't make a run for a spot in the quarterfinals in this group there definitely more the "hen" then the "rooster" of this region.

And Guatemala... those guys are a bunch of thugs. Go back and watch any USMNT game against them and see how they play. Carlos Ruiz... don't even get me started on that guy.

Honestly... that's all we've got.

Remember me?
Jamaica - Desnoes and Geddes "Red Stripe" Lager

Hooray beer! Hooray losing! The Reggie Boyz, once a more dominant regional power, have fallen on hard times. They haven't been too difficult of a CONCACAF opponent since the "Hooray Beer" Red Stripe guy was involved in pop culture. Surprised they still use that in their marketing... Old habits die hard.

Perhaps they can raise John Candy from the grave to lead a happy-go-lucky group of internationals into the hearts and minds of America? Get me Disney on line one!

Grenada - Carib Brewery "Carib" Premium Lager

If sexiest beer-website won you Gold Cup titles then Grenada might have a fighting chance at this summer's tournament, but since a trim body in a blue and white bikini doesn't feature on the Spice Boys roster we think they'll be back home tasting "Carib" beer sooner rather than later.

Group C

United States - Russian River Brewing Co. "Pliny The Younger" Tripel IPA

After much debate at FBM HQ between myself and the assembled stuff animal "board of directors" we've decided that the USMNT will be represented by this beer at this summer's Gold Cup. "Pliny The Younger" is an Tripel India Pale Ales from the California-based Russian River Brewing Co. Get ready for a lot of symbolism here, folks.

First off, Russian River is located in California, the site of the Gold Cup Final (the Rose Bowl in Pasadena). For many years "Pliny The Elder" (the first incarnation of RR's Imperial IPA) was considered the highest rated and most sought-after of its type in the nation. One could consider "Elder" the Mexico of CONCACAF.

Introduced in 2005, "Younger" has over taken the senior IIPA as the highest rated of its kind on BeerAdvocate. At 11% it is also packed a bigger alcohol wallop that its older brethen (coming in at 8%).

Both "Elder" and "Younger" are incredible beers and a face-off between the two can produce different results depending on the time and place much like when Mexico and the U.S. come down to the wire. But in the end the United States and the "Younger" are better in the long haul and have the brightest of futures.

Game. Over.
Canada - Unibroue "La Fin du Monde" Tripel

When the USMNT meets America Jr. in Detroit we're thinking it's "the end of the world" for them just as our beer selection implies. Just in case Canuckistan tries anything funny in response to the beat down we're going to put on them we've recommended to our contacts in the U.S. government they dust off "War Plan Red".

Canada should just get used to losing. Just like they did with Teal Bunbury.

Panama - Cervecerías Barú-Panama "Panama" Lager

We actually asked some Panamanians we met the other which beer they preferred to drink so we've got this one on good authority. This, of course, is the only courtesy the USMNT will be giving the isthmus nation and they become speed bump number two on our way to the Gold Cup Finals.

Guadeloupe - Carlsburg "Kronenburg 1664" Pale Lager

You'll have to excuse us. It's one thing to try and find obscure beers from tiny CONCACAF nations, but Guadeloupe isn't even a sovereign state. Guadeloupe is an "overseas department" of France which gives us the opportunity to feature something from France.

One can imagine that the USMNT will "own" these tiny Lesser Antilles islands just like France has for decades.

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1 comment:

  1. Love the virtual beer-tasting tour.Looks like lagers and free kicks go hand-in-hand. Coolest 'grab me and chug me if you dare' bottle goes to El Salvador- that might be their only medal this go around. Cheers, Jobst (@TheRealFutboler)


"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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