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The Best of Both Worlds Archives

The Best of Both Worlds - 2014 FBM Beer-view: Real Salt Lake

With Major League Soccer and the rest of American soccer kicking off in just over a week we've curated an impressive list of players, personalities, broadcasters, front office folk, and fans to have them tell us (and you) about their upcoming 2014 season.

And, of course, pair their hopes and dreams for this season with a tasty local brew.

That's not just a preview... it's a "beer-view".

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By Brian Dunseth / The Original Winger

Team: Real Salt Lake

Coach: Jeff Cassar

Is he the right man for the job?

Obviously there are some big shoes to fill in Salt Lake City after the departure of Jason Kreis, but one thing that people forget is the fact that Cassar was Kreis’ first hire when he first took over at RSL.  Cassar knows the players, the system and the philosophy within the club, so concern about the players taking to him right away shouldn’t be an issue.  The biggest issue facing Cassar is managing the group over the course of a season as the head man in charge, the line-up choices and in-game substitutions / tactical adjustments.

Player(s) to watch?

The Usual Suspects – Beckerman, Rimando, Saborio, Morales and Gil

Photo Credit: Utah Beer

Predictions for 2014?

Fighting for the top spot in the Western Conference against Portland & LA

Local Beer Pairing: 

Thinking my personal #DrinkWithDunny beer ‘Snap Down Header’ by Wasatch Beers x Squatters (coming soon) is the logical choice!!! Perfect for tail gaiting as well as in game drinking while interacting with me on Twitter during broadcasts.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

The Best of Both Worlds - 2014 Beer-view: Sporting KC

With Major League Soccer and the rest of American soccer kicking off in just over a week we've curated an impressive list of players, personalities, broadcasters, front office folk, and fans to have them tell us (and you) about their upcoming 2014 season.

And, of course, pair their hopes and dreams for this season with a tasty local brew.

That's not just a preview... it's a "beer-view".

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By: Scott Hollister

Team: Sporting Kansas City

Coach: Peter Vermes

Is he the right man for the job?

Oh, absolutely. An MLS Cup title last season, plus Eastern Conference and U.S. Open Cup crowns the year before that proves as much. With apologies to guys like Bruce Arena and Dominic Kinnear, who won’t be seeing unemployment lines anytime soon, Vermes may have more job security than any other manager in the league heading into the 2014 season.

Player(s) to watch?

Goalkeepers Eric Kronberg and Andy Gruenebaum will be the most closely watched players as Sporting KC defends its MLS Cup title as the team looks to fill the shoes of now-retired team captain Jimmy Nielsen (who is managing Oklahoma City Energy FC, Sporting KC’s USL Pro affiliate). Kronberg has been a loyal soldier since being drafted by Kansas City in 2006 and appears to have the upper hand in the race for the starting job, but Gruenebaum, a Kansas City native who the team acquired from Columbus Crew in the off-season, will also get his shot. There should be plenty of playing time for both considering Sporting’s duties in both the CONCACAF Champions League and the U.S. Open Cup, in addition to MLS play.

Whoever is in goal will have the luxury of playing behind the league’s stingiest defense. The re-signing of right back Chance Myers in late January means that entire back line — left back Seth Sinovic and center backs Matt Besler and Aurellen Collin — returns to anchor Sporting’s defense in 2014.

Despite last season’s successes, Sporting KC struggled to develop a consistent scoring threat up top. Will designated player Claudio Bieler fulfill the promise he showed early last season in 2014? How about Dom Dwyer? Will wing players like C.J. Sapong and Soony Saad become consistent threats? With a busy schedule ahead of them all of them are likely to get plenty of chances to impress.

Photo Credit: By The Pint

Predictions for 2014?

You can’t be the champ unless you beat the champ, so until further notice, Sporting KC is your preseason MLS Cup favorite. It won’t be easy — the East figures to be rugged again with improved sides in New York, Chicago, Houston, New England and obviously Toronto, and the West should be loaded with LA, Portland, Seattle and Real Salt Lake — but Sporting returns almost the exact same side that won last year’s title. With another year of experience under their belts it’s their championship to lose.

Local Beer Pairing:

Kansas City is lucky to have Boulevard Brewing Co. in its own backyard. One of the most prolific and creative craft brewers in the country, Boulevard and Sporting KC have followed similar paths to success. You can’t go wrong with any of their offerings, but the most appropriate pairing with the local 11 has to be Boulevard’s Long Strange Tripel, a hearty and potent (9.2% ABV) Belgian tripel that is a part of their Smokestack Series of special brews. Considering the team’s own long, strange trek from league afterthought playing in a minor-league baseball stadium to model franchise playing in the finest soccer-specific stadium in the country and collecting trophies for fun (get it? You know, LONG STRANGE TRIPEL and long, strange … oh, never mind), the fit between beer and team couldn’t be more perfect. #GoSporting

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

2014 FBM Super “Draft”

Hello and welcome to the 2014 Free Beer Movement Super “Draft” in sunny (it’s always sunny here, right?) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I'm Mr. Boh, your host for this great event.

Today we present the nation’s best young talent alongside beers from their college towns (or as close as possible). Meticulous research went along with each pairing. Some are spot on combining a beer style, its flavors, or ingridients with the qualities of each player drafted by their Major League Soccer side. Others are a bit of a stretch, but we hope that you'll follow our logic.

Most importantly we want to leave you with a deeper knowledge of these new kids entering our American league AND perhaps learn about a few new breweries/ beers to check out

This is the third annual FBM Super “Draft” and we’re pleased to have you along.

1. Philadelphia Union – GK: Andre Blake (Connecticut)

Paired with New England Brewing Company’s “Ghandi-Bot” Double India Pale Ale (New Haven, CT)

The Zac MacMath-era came to a close in Philly when the Union traded up for Blake and took the first goalkeeper ever as the first pick of the first round. First.

Scouts rated this Jamaica-native and UConn graduate as a strong leader and called him “a great shot-stopper, bouncy”. Sounds like the same strong and hoppy qualities that make NEBC’s Double IPA one of the jewels of the East Coast take on a West Coast IPA. “Ghandi-Bot” is no Heady Topper or Hill Farmstead from neighboring Vermont just like Blake is no Donovan Ricketts (2013’s Major League Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year) yet either.

But if you can get your hands on it (unlike MacMath’s gloves last year… we kid… kinda) you won’t be disappointed.

2. D.C. United – Defender: Steve Birnbaum (California)

Paired with 21st Amendment Brewery’s "Sneak Attack" Saison (San Francisco, CA)

Birnbaum is hailed as "close to a complete player as you can get in a Draft" and "the most polished, MLS-ready player available for selection". High praise for the MAC Herman Trophy semi-finalist and NSCAA First Team All-American. D.C. United can use all the help it can get at the back since they gave up an Eastern Conference-worst 59 goals in 2013 (second only to ChivasUSA's 67 in MLS).

While Birnbaum's defensive credentials are unquestioned his 10 goals in 19 matches make him an threat on both sides of the ball. He's even been compared to the U.S national team's Geoff Cameron who is sneakily producing one of the best seasons for any American abroad with Stoke City.

"Sneak Attack" indeed.

3. Vancouver Whitecaps – Defender: Christian Dean (California)

Paired with Anchor Brewing Company's "Anchor Steam" California Common (San Francisco, CA)

Cal had a blockbuster 2013 Super "Draft" sending three players to MLS sides in the first round including Dean as the second in the top five. MLS clubs are definitely looking to shore up their last line of defensive with four of the five first picks of the draft as goalkeepers or defenders.

Dean isn't as highly touted as Brinbaum but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a lot to offer. While 21st Amendment gets heaps of praise Anchor quietly chugs along as one of the original craft breweries in the United States. There's little flashy about Dean or "Anchor Steam" but that doesn't mean their not both well-built and ready for the big leagues. Working alongside veteran Jay DeMerit will be a boon to young Dean's growth just like dozens of other craft brewers have learned from the survival and success of Anchor.

4. New England Revolution – Midfielder/Forward: Steve Neumann (Georgetown)

Paired with 3 Stars Brewing Company’s "The Movement" Pale Ale (Washington, D.C.)

Did you really think we were going to let a beer pass by called "the Movement" and not feature it here on FBM? Perhaps the thought never crossed your mind and we're just having this conversation with ourselves?

That seems the most likely.

We didn't just choose this pale ale brewed with Centennial and Cascade hops to scratch our own backs. Coaches at the MLS Combine said, "he's so smooth and efficient with his movement". 

So that totally justifies our choice. There!

5. Impact Montreal – Defender: Eric Miller (Creighton)

Paired with Lucky Bucket Brewing Company's "Heartland" Wheat Ale (La Vista, NE)

Apparently the American Outlaws and forgotten nuclear missle silos aren't the only good thing to have come out of Nebraska. Come to think of it there's lots of nice things about Nebraska.... we're sure....

Lucky Bucket is one of those other good things we eventually got around to thinking about when we put our good-things-about-Nebraska-thinking-hats on.

Miller is a "a really fit player; he can run forever" and "versatile". Good qualities in a player and a beer. LB's wheat beer, like a lot of solid wheat ales are sessionable (you can drink them forever) and great on a hot summer day, but also nice when the weather is crisp out ("versatile").

6. FC Dallas – Forward: Tesho Akindele (Colorado School of Mines)

Paired with Coors Brewing Company’s “Blue Moon” Belgian White Ale (Golden, CO)

FC Dallas talked Monday about how excited they were to try and get their hands on Akindele that they traded up to get him in the draft. 

CSM shares Golden, Colorado with the largest single brewery facility in the world, Coors home to "Blue Moon".

Coaches and scouts have some reservations about Akindele's workrate, but 22 goals last season and 76 in his career for the Division II Orediggers should say enough about that.

Blue Moon isn't without its critics as well. Say what you will about the merits of Blue Moon (and its "crafty" nature) it's a solid Belgian White that is a trade up for anyone starting a journey from macro-lagers toward full-bodied, full-flavored beers of the craft world. It's often called a good "gateway beer". FC Dallas is hoping that Tesho is a gateway to the playoffs they missed out on last season.

One player. One beer. Two with a whole lot to prove.

7. Vancouver Whitecaps – Midfielder: Andrew Lewis (Jamaica)

Paired with Red Stripe

It pains us to have to resort to stereotypes. We LOVE puns and stereotypes are just hurtful, but…. we’ve got no choice.

Lewis featured for both the U-17 and U-20 Jamaica national teams. He was called up to the full side in 2012 and is considered on of the Reggae Boyz most promising young players. 

Hooray Lewis!

8. Seattle Sounders – Defender: Damion Lowe (Hartford)

Paired with City Steam Brewing Company’s Black Silk Stout (Hartford, CT)

Lowe is the third of three Jamaicans taken in the first round of the Super "Draft". Last year Damion lead Hartford to a 0.84 Goals Against Average (the best in the school's history) and featured in a Reading United side (United Soccer League's Professional Development League) to a division-leading allowed just 12 goals in 14 matches.

Pretty stout if you ask us.

9. San Jose Earthquakes – Midfielder: JJ Koval (Stanford)

Paired with Palo Alto Brewing Company’s “Hoppy Ending” Pale Ale (Palo Alto, CA)

The California native hasn't had to go for from home to college ball to the pros and why should he have to for a beer either? 

Palo Alto's pale ale is traditional West Coast-style so Koval will feel right at home.

Koval's professional soccer journey certainly has a "hoppy ending".

10. Toronto FC – Defender: Nick Hagglund (Xavier)

Paired with Fifty West Brewing Company "Our Mom's Advice" Belgian Tripel (Cincinnati, OH)

We're you just as surprised as us that Toronto made a pick on "draft" day? We pretty much assumed their were just going to trot out Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley and call it a day. 

They still have money left? Sheesh.

Hagglund is described as a "monster" to deal with. Sounds terrifying, but one coach said, "the most important thing for Hagglund to do is maybe develop an ego, which he's somehow managed to avoid despite his athletic gifts. "He needs to realize he belongs in MLS," one coach says. "I don't think he realizes how good he is."

Our Mom's Advice (never one to sugar coat anything)? Grow some balls... quick.

11. New England Revolution – Forward: Patrick Mullins (Maryland)

Paired with Stillwater Artisanal Ales "Stateside" Saison (Baltimore, MD)

Mullins led the Terrapins to the NCAA College Cup championship final wih 19 goals and eight assists in the regular season, followed by five goals and two assists in the postseason … lead his team in goals, assists, points, shots and shots on goal, and finished his career in College Park with 47 goals and 25 assists over four years. In 2012 he was the MAC Herman Trophy winner for the nation's best male college player.

Stillwater was named Maryland's best craft brewery by Thrillist so it makes sense that they're paired with the state's best soccer player as well. With the departure of Juan Agudelo to Utrecht in the Netherlands the Revs are going to need a striker ready to make an immediate impact on the field. 

Agudelo couldn't wait to bail on New England and MLS, but Mullins is ready to make his impact stateside where Agudelo wasn't willing to.

12. Colorado Rapids – Midfielder: Marlon Hairston (Louisville)

Paired with Against the Grain's "Citra Ass Down" India Pale Ale (Louisville, KY)

You've probably caught on by now that we've been cribbing quite liberally from MLSSoccer.com's coverage of their SuperDraft. Why not? They were there and we weren't.

One of the coaches at the combine said, "With his (Hairston's) skill on the ball, he can create a yard of space for himself to shoot or pass the ball, but can also glide by defenders."

For no reason other than its cool-ass name we went with AtG's "Citra Ass Down". We've heard great things about the L-ville brewery, but have yet to check it out ourselves yet. RateBeer seems to like it just fine giving it a 94.

We'd like to think that when Marlon reads this column.. because OF COURSE HE DOES... he'll "glide" past one of those defenders and exclaim "Citra Ass Down!".

It'd be a pretty cool story.

13. Chicago Fire – Defender: Marco Franco (UC Irvine)

Paired with The Bruery’s "Mischief" Belgian-Style Golden Strong Ale (Placentia, CA)

"Has no major weakness. Good and solid in all areas."

The Bruery in the OC has been cranking out amazing Belgian-inspired beers since 2008. How good?

We're really not sure if the above sentence is describing Franco or The Bruery. 

That a compliment to both as Franco is poised to make a big splash in MLS and if you haven't tried anything from The Bruery; get your hands on some right away.

14. Columbus Crew – Defender: Ben Sweat (South Florida)

Paired with Cigar City Brewing’s “Guava Grove” Farmhouse Ale (Tampa, FL)

You don’t know how bad we wanted Ben to come from the University of Kansas (or at least that the Crew got this pick position for Sporting KC) so we could choose Tallgrass Brewing Company’s “Buffalo Sweat” Stout, but alas…. We’re stuck with Florida and it’s a relative craft beer desert.

Luckily Sweat played for South Florida in Tampa, which happens to be the home of Cigar City Brewing, one of Florida’s, and craft beer’s, brightest stars. No Bull.

New Crew coach Gregg Berhalter described Sweat as a "quality guy for years to come" and the same could be said for Cigar City and their future on the craft beer scene.

15. Philadelphia Union – Midfielder: Pedro Ribeiro (Coastal Carolina)

Paired with Westbrook Brewing Company’s "Mexican Cake" Imperial Stout (Mount Pleasant, SC)

Just a hour and a half’s drive down coastal South Carolina from Conway is the Palmetto State’s finest craft brewery.

Brazil (Ribeiro's home country) > Mexico (cake) < MURICA. 'Nuff said. It's just a damn good beer.

16. Houston Dynamo – Defender: A.J. Cochran (Wisconsin)

Paired with New Glarus Brewing Company’s “Spotted Cow” Naturally Cloudy Farmhouse Ale (New Glarus, WI)

Yes! Wisconsin! For three years we’ve waited for a draft pick out FBM’s home state of Wisco and today’s the day. While we now settled in the Lone Star State we’re always drooling over the amazing craft beers that the Dairy State and the surrounding Midwest crank out.

A.J.’s signing with the Houston Dynamo is pretty symbolic of the WI to TX connection we’ve got here at FBM HQ in Austin.

If you’re a Wisconsin native then our pick for Mr. Cochran won’t come as a surprise.

17. Portland Timbers – Forward: Schillo Tshuma (Maryland)

Paired with Franklin's Brewery (Hyattsville, MD)

We admit it. We went straight to Baltimore instead of hanging around in College Park to look for breweries. It was easiest. But we're back!

And we're at a restaurant, brewery, AND general store. We bet you could even lasso your horse to the front of the place if you like.

The Timbers hope that Tshuma is multi-faceted as his college town brewery is.

18. Real Salt Lake – Defender: Ryan Neil (California)

Paired with 21st Amendment Brewery’s “Bitter American” Session Pale Ale (San Francisco, CA)

When you’re the third defensive back to be drafted in the first round from the same school you’ve got to be doing something right. The same could be said of our third pairing with 21st Amendment.

Certainly there’s going to be some razing between Cal’s three defenders, but hopefully Neil isn’t too bitter about going later in the draft that second and third picks Birnbaum and Dean.

19. Colorado Rapids – Defender: Grant Van De Casteele (Norte Dame)

Paired with Brasseire Rochefort (Rochefort, Belgium)

We’re cheating a little bit here, but South Bend’s only craft brewery Four Horsemen (named in honor of the famed backfield from Notre Dame’s 1924 football team) closed in early 2013 so we’re going to go big or go home.

Located inside of Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy is Rochefort Brewery, one of nine (now ten) Trappist breweries in the world, makers of Rochefort 6, 8, and 10.

Van De Casteele probably won't become as world-class as Rochefort, but it's the end of the article and who really cares?

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Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, satire, The Best of Both Worlds

A Brew for You… And You…. And You (USMNT vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Gold Cup champeeeeeee-ooooooonnnnsssss!

OK. I got that out of the way. Since then end of the Gold Cup  (which we one and Mexico didn't, by-the-way) there hasn't been a United States match to write about and gloat in.

Photo Credit: CraftBeerSocial.com
Photo Credit: FatCatKC.blogspot.com

What's done is done and now we, as U.S. fans, turn our eyes back toward World Cup Qualifying; with just this mid-August international friendly standing in the way. Thankfully it's not some mindless cash-grab game against Mexico (see you soon!) and a real European test after snacking on all those poor CONCACAF nations over the last month.

But seriously… didn't it feel good to go out and stop around a bit? When the last time we're seen the USMNT just go out and smash some opponents? Like 8-0 against Barbados in 2008?

Bosnia, though. Well. Bosnia AND Herzegovina actually. See they had to double up for the match because the Nats are on such a roll. They'll be good. FIFA (not that you can believe anything from them) say they're ranked 13th in the world so this is a real test. We're 19th and ahead of Mexico which is kind of like beating your little brother in a race for a spot in line for a roller coaster ride then realizing you're still behind all the older kids.

Lots of new faces in the U.S. camp: Icelandic Kevin Bacon Aron Jonhannnnnnsssssoon (pitman Jesse Bignami better count those letters carefully), John Anthony Brooks, Bobby Wood, Cody Cropper, and Tim Ream. Some will see time. Some we thought were dead. Most are just in for a good look in camp.

All will face the "Dragons" (Zmajevi) of Bosnia and Herzgovina. And we've got a pair of taking-down-the-dragon-knight-in-shining-armor beer recommendations, both variations on the stout style, for you this USMNT game day.

First, Middle Ages Brewing Company of Syracuse, New York and their "Dragon Slayer" Russian Imperial Stout. Described by the brewery as "strong, chocolatety and aggressively hopped with finest English hops." Yum.

Next up is New Holland Brewing Company of Holland, Michigan and their "Dragon's Milk" Bourbon Barrel Stout. Described as a "stout with roasty malt character intermingled with deep vanilla tones, all dancing in an oak bath." Taking the work of the "Slayer" and adding a bunch more boozy flavor to it.

Today's effort is going to take just that. A good performance and then kicking it up a notch. Eleven in-a-row, looking at twelve before resuming our quest for qualifying for Brazil. A win is another feather in coach Jurgen Klinsmann's cap. A loss one more lesson learned in Europe. A draw… sure why not?

The real test comes when we travel to Costa Rica and host Mexico in September. Everything else is just prep work.

Hopefully you're taking a "bisnass lunch to watch this one. What are you drinking today?

Tags: Beer, The Best of Both Worlds, USMNT

The Best of Both Worlds - Meeting Nick Rimando and Rimando’s Wit

So far the "FBM World Tour" has taken us on stops to Denver, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Portland, and back to Salt Lake City. Beyond the great games (all USMNT wins!) we've also experienced the unique and delicious beer cultures of each of these cities.

A few months back we reported on the making of a tribute beer for U.S. national team and Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando by a local brewery, Unsacred Brewing. We reached out to them and spoke with one of their co-owners, David Cole, about the collaboation between their brewery and Rimando, a noted craft beer enthusiast. 

When we first passed through SLC we weren't able to get our hands on the brew, but a second take in the city by the salt lake would do the trick. First off, we'd like to thank Real Salt Lake's Vice President of Broadcasting & Communications Trey Fitz-Gerald. It was going to relatively easy to snag a bottle in a store or grab some on tap at Rio Tinto Stadium, but Trey not only saved us a bottle in his office he arranged a brief meet-and-greet with Rimando. We waited patiently for Nick to do post-game interviews after leading the Nats to a 4-1 win over Cuba in their Gold Cup match.

Rimando chatted with us for a bit. We got to explain the Free Beer Movement idea and he talked about his love of craft beer (he's fond of Epic Brewing Company here in SLC) and graciously autographed our bottle. We were able to "scarf" him as well. There are, obviously, several team and supporter-specific beers, but Rimando has the honor of being the first, and still only, player with his own commercial beer... something we told him he should brag to his teammates about more.

Thanks against to Trey at RSL and, of course, Nick for taking the time for FBM. A real cool moment in our organization's history.

 

Tags: Beer, FBM In Action, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds, USMNT

The Best of Both Worlds - The Story Behind West End Brewing Co.‘s “Soccer Club”

Editor's Note: When soccer and beer collide... that's the best of both worlds. This space reserved for any intersection of the suds and the sport whether business, beer and soccer events, or random humor.

The power of the Internet unleashed!

Just as people like to "Google" their names so does the Free Beer Movement. Every-once-in-a-while we trade the real bar for the search bar and see what's going on with FBM or "beer and soccer" on the web. A few days ago we went down the rabbit hole and discovered an old beer called "Soccer Club" on a website that allows you to purchase breweriana, or beer collectibles.

We shot (or purchased) first and decided to ask questions later.

"Soccer Club" was a pilsner brewed by West End Brewing Company from Utica, New York during the late 1970s. West End was founded in 1888. Legend has it that Utica Club was the first beer legally sold in the United States after the 21st Amendment was ratified in December 1933 (Source).

Today it is the third-oldest family-owned brewery in the United States behind Yuengling and August Schell Brewing Cos. The name "West End" may not ring a bell, but perhaps Matt Brewing Co. (the name is changed to in the 1980s) to reflect the breweries founder) does or their most popular "craft beer" line, Saranac. It is a well-know contract brewer as well producing Pete's Brewing Co., Brooklyn Brewery, and a line of Kirkland beers (for sale in Costco). It was the eight largest craft brewery by volume in the United States in 2012.

Despite the numerous cat videos and memes floating around the Internet these days information about this soccer-specific beer is scarce.

As far as we can tell "Soccer Club" was released in the 1970s before West End changed to Matt Brewing. Mostly likely it is just a re-packed version of it's popular "Utica Club" pilsner lager. We're going out on a limb here (but a sturdy one we think), but perhaps it was released to coincide with the popularity of the downstate New York Cosmos and their star-studded line up that included Brazilian Pelé, Italian Giorgio Chinaglia and the West German Franz Beckenbauer.

West End wasn't one to pass up on a gimmicky tie-in beer. In 1977 they were one of four contract brewers for "Billy Beer", the short-lived brew by then-President Jimmy Carter's brother, Billy Carter.

While soccer and beer was thought to be a relatively new phenomena (at least when it comes to brewery partnerships) the evidence now proves otherwise. West End's "Soccer Club" was the fore bearer for today's "Green and Gold", "No Equal", "The Tradition" and many more soccer-specific beers.

The only question is when some brewery is going to make that Free Beer Movement brew we've been begging for!

Tags: Beer, The Best of Both Worlds

A Brew For You… And You… And You…. (USMNT vs. Honduras)

The American Outlaws' call of #WeWant9 is looking more and more likely as the United States national team faces a depleted Honduran side at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Securing three points from this revenge match will pretty much book the Nats to Brazil as the rest of the "Hex" qualifying group slips into disarray.

Honduras is not the same side that the U.S. went up early on and then fell to the heat of San Pedro Sula. Through injury, suspension, and out-right abandonment of the team Los Catrachos may be without the services of six of their starters.

What are we recommending for this match? We stepped away from our local recommendation last time to play a little "six degrees of beer" game, but we're back to honor SLC's contribution to the craft beer world.

Before you making any snarky remarks about Utah and their beer.... check yourself. While the labyrinth of laws would make David Bowie's head spin getting a good brew in the "U" isn't impossible... it just means you just have to work a little bit harder for it.

Meet Epic Brewing Co. First off, this is Real Salt Lake and U.S. goalkeeper Nick Rimando's favorite brewery. And you trust him, right? Epic Brewing makes some of the state's finest craft beers (Unita Brewing Co. should also be on your "to-drink" list) and their "Elevation" series is impressive.

And why not? This USMNT on the last stop on their "elevation" part of the tour (Denver, Seattle, SLC) and what makes this series so interesting is that "tweeks" that the brewers work in every time they brew a new batch of one of the styles (which includes an IPA, stout, golden, and a pale ale) from this series.

Photo Credit: "Pops On Hops"

"Tweeks" is the name of the game for coach Jurgen Klinsmann who's constant meddling of the USMNT lineup has re-vitalized some careers (DMB) and re-invented others (Evans, Cameron, etc) and put the team on course for qualification.

Of all the "elevation" series to choose from we're picking the "825 State" Stout which Epic describes the range of it "from dry to sweet, creamy or bitter". The "flavors Epic explores within this stout are roast chocolate, toffee, mocha, coffee, burnt marshmallow and roasted nuts or combinations there-of."

If that's not a tinker's beer for JK we don't what is. And just like this stout (and here's to hoping for another "stout" defense") the tinkering has finally paid off.

What you drinking for tonight's match?

Tags: A Brew For You, American Outlaws, Beer, The Best of Both Worlds, USMNT

A Brew for You…. And You…. And You… (USMNT vs. Panama)

Seattle. Washington. United States.

The Nats are back home and in one of America's biggest soccer cities. Panama... we hope you're ready for this. With three, dramatic points in the bag from their Jamaican vacation the USMNT will have to avoid overconfidence against this weakened opponent (FC Dallas man Blas Perez is out with gastroenteritis) and playing in front of, arguably, one of the largest pro-U.S. crowds they've ever had.

A win tonight makes the tougher, revenge match against Honduras in Sandy, Utah look less daunting. Bottom line: do work, get a result.

For today's game day beer recommendation we're going to play a little six degrees of separation. Although this one doesn't involve bacon; Kevin or Rogue's Voodoo Maple.

Long time readers of this piece (wait... what? I've only been doing for about six months) knows that FBM is a big history nerd so let's dive in. In the early 1900s the United States and President Theodore Roosevelt "assisted" in the Panamanian Revolution that would see the isthmus win their independence from Colombia in 1903. Lo and behold, the next year the U.S. was given the rights to build a canal through Panama, and it was completed in 1914. The United States would control the canal until 1999. Teddy also was found of the suds, once, allegedly, bringing 500 gallons of beer on an African expedition in 1909.

Theodore Roosevelt was cousins with another U.S. president, Franklin D. Roosevelt the 32nd to hold the office. FDR, during the Great Depression and World War Two was found of giving "Fireside Chats" to reassure a nation nervous with economic troubles and the global conflict. "Fireside Chat" is the name of an awesome "winter warmer" by 21st Amendment. 21st Amendment is an awesome San Francisco brewery and some other similarly named patriotic brews.

Today, enjoy 21st Amendment's "Hell or High Watermelon" wheat beer. Their webpage introduces the beer as such: "Like Lady Liberty, we stand for independence and perseverance. In the pursuit of innovative beer, there is no obstacle too great."

Sounds a lot like our USMNT. Let's do this boys... for Lady Liberty.

What are you drinking tonight?

Tags: A Brew For You, Beer, The Best of Both Worlds, USMNT

A Beer for You… And You… And You… (USMNT vs. Jamaica)

Tonight is the night.

That sounds like some gondola singer's line in Venice, but it's appropriate for what's on the line for the United States men's national team in Kingston, Jamaica.

For Jamaica it's win or their World Cup qualifying odyssey is in "beyond serious" trouble. For the Nats the need to play for the "W" while keeping a close eye on not blowing the draw. Dropping points at "The Office" like during the last round is not an option. It's no nail in the qualifying coffin, but it a blow to the momentum-generating win against Germany last Sunday and what we need to get in gear for home matches against Panama and Honduras in the next two weeks.

Without wasting your time let's get right to today's beer of the match.

Meet Sierra Nevada "Torpedo" Extra India Pale Ale. The Chico, California brewery is one of the "greats" and "originals". Their pioneering work on the hoppy side of beers has made their brand a staple even at bars that are allergic to craft beer.  If you can't get "Torpedo" fill up your pint with the less, hoppy, flagship "Pale Ale". Draft, bottles, or even in a can Sierra Nevada's got you covered.

We chose "Torpedo" because we're hoping that tonight's match is the one that sinks Jamaica's World Cup hopes. The worse off the Reggae Boyz sit in the table the more distance we can put between us and them and securing our own qualification to Brazil.

Who's the lead Torpedo in the USMNT arsenal? It's none other than captain, my captain Clint Dempsey. He'd got the biggest balls of them all and he's putting them out there to secure passage to Brazil. Jozy is in tube two getting ready to follow up his banner performance against Germany.

Bottom line? Jamaica's got a mountain to climb in this match (the Sierra Nevada mountains?) and a loss for them means they're basically done-zo.

The U.S. needs to come out torpedoes a-blazin' and get the job done in Kingston. Their backline, set-piece defending, and attack need that "extra" something tonight or otherwise USMNT fans will be looking "pale".

What are you drinking for tonight's U.S. game?

Tags: A Brew For You, Beer, The Best of Both Worlds, USMNT

A Brew For You… And You…. And You…. (US vs. Germany)

One of the pleasures of international soccer and, subsequently beer writing, is that you get to explore the brews of your opponent in preparation for the Shakespearean prose you’ll have to scribe later. In the case of this last week’s United States men’s national team friendlies coach Jurgen Klinsmann couldn’t picked better opposition. On the soccer side of things, for American fans, last Wednesday’s match was a doozy and today’s match against Germany might be equally so, but on the beer fan side we’re talking about two of Europe’s boozy best.

Get it?

Soccer equals doozy. Sad face.

Beer is equals boozy. Happy face.

Today’s match is the perfect example of where we’re at as both a soccer nation and a brewing nation. This USMNT squad is led by a German coach with deep American roots and features a number of German-Americans (“Germericans” as Shawn Francis of “The Offside Rules” puts it) as the Nats struggle to find their identity as soccer team in the shadow of a world footballing power from the European continent. These Germans have left greener pastures to forge a new international career playing (or coaching) for the United States. The verdict is still out, but the future looks bright.

Whereas, in the brewing world, American craft brewers are more than holding their own in the face of hundreds of years of German brewing pedigree. In fact U.S. breweries are now successfully invading Germany and giving the land of the pilsner, bock, and Oktoberfest a run for their money as Germans and other Europeans demand to be liberated by hoppier and more innovative beers or just be challenged on their own turf as American craft brewers take on traditional German styles (Don’t get me wrong Germany still does “traditional” the best).

Invasion. Liberation. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before?

But you all didn’t come here for a history lesson (or did you?…. I do teach for a living). You came here for a beer lesson.

You can have both, though. This match is the Centennial match celebrating 100 years of the United States Soccer Federation.  A time to celebrate how far we’ve come as a soccer nation and look forward to what we still have to (and will) accomplish as a soccer nation. A nod to old traditions while establishing new ones.

Here we go again. USA vs. Germany

Here are a few of our favorite American beers with their own nods to German tradition:

- Victory Brewing Company “Prima Pils” Pilsner (Dowington, Pennsylvania)

- Firestone Walker Brewing Company “Pivo” Pilsner (Paso Robles, California)

- Hops and Grain Craft Brewery “Alteration” German-Style Alt (Austin, Texas)

- DC Brau/ Ska Brewing Company “Taster’s Choice” Coffee Doppelbock (Washington, D.C.)

- Rogue Ales “Dead Guy Ale” Maibock (Newport, Oregon)

- Lakefront Brewing Company “Riverwest Stein” Amber Lager/Oktoberfest (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

What are you all drinking with your USMNT soccer today?

Tags: A Brew For You, Beer, The Best of Both Worlds, USMNT

The Best of Both Worlds - DC Brau to Brew D.C. United Beer, Fans Get to Choose Name

D.C. United, in collaboration with DC Brau Brewing Company announced that DC Brau will brew a limited edition D.C. United specific beer. While the beer is currently without a name, D.C. United fans have the opportunity to name the new brew. Fans can submit their suggestions at "Brand the Brew" on the United website.

The special DC Brau craft beer, a golden ale, is crafted specifically for D.C. United and its fans to enjoy. One thousand gallons of the beer will be produced and will be made available exclusively at participating D.C. United official bar partners and at the DC Brau Brewing Company.

“My motivation for making this particular beer with D.C. United came from a willingness to make an ale that all soccer fans can enjoy,” said DC Brau President and Head Brewer Jeff Hancock. “United fans drink all kinds of different beer, and with this particular ale I wanted it to reach a broad spectrum of palettes from those who drink everything from light lagers to hoppy pale ales. There's a little something for everybody in this Golden Ale!”

The D.C. United “Brand the Brew” contest launched yesterday, and will run until May 29. The final list of fan suggestions will be given to a panel of D.C. United players to choose the winning name to appear on beer. The winner will receive a field-side D.C. United gameday experience for two and bragging rights for naming the new D.C. United and DC Brau beer. The brew is planned to become available for order on June 11.

“The unifying factor between D.C. United and DC Brau is the same element that connects both of us to our fans,” said DC Brau CEO Brandon Skall. “Pride: Pride in what we produce, pride in our city and pride in ourselves!”

“Anyone who walks through the Lot 8 tailgate will undoubtedly see DC Brau’s distinctive silver cans and Capitol Dome logo in the hands of our most ardent fans,” said D.C. United Marketing Manager Andrew Minucci. “The quality of their product is what our fans demand and we are excited to quench their thirst by combining the beer they crave with the team they love.”

Beer Specs

Classification: Ale

Approx. ABV: 4.5-5.0%

IBU’s: 15

Hops: U.S. Fuggle, U.S. Cascade

Malts: Pale, CaraPils

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

Through The Drinking Glass - Widmer Brother’s Brewing Co.‘s Timber’s Army “Green and Gold” Kolsch

We don't get to do this often enough, but when a soccer-specific beer lands at FBM HQ we can't help but bust out the ol' camera and snap a few pictures. A brewery that's interested in supporting local soccer deserves a photo essay to honor their commitment to the American game.

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company took the winner of the Timbers Army Home Brew Competition "Full 90" category and turned their brewery on to produce Abram Goldman-Armstrong's "Green and Gold" kolsch.

A few weeks ago we spoke with Abe as a a part of our "Six Pack Interview Series" and now we're featuring our very own snap shots of the brew that Widmer graciously sent us.

Every MLS team and/or supporters group needs their own beer.

Cheers!

* All photography featured on this page was taken by the Free Beer Movement and is property of the Free Beer Movement.

Tags: Beer, Soccer Marketing 101, Supporters Groups, The Best of Both Worlds, Through The Drinking Glass

A Brew For You… And You…. And You…. (USMNT vs. Mexico)

The United States men's national team walks into Estadio Azteca tonight with a huge momentum boost from Friday's "snow-pocalypse" match against Costa Rica.

You were probably looking for a beer to drink during with the last game and we failed you because we were too busy tailgating in Denver to order our team of monkeys to bang one out on the ol' typewriter. You can have this one though... it's still cold.

When one thinks of Mexico and beer they're stuck with very few choices that don't conjure up images of college spring break "Save Water, Drink Beer" Coronas on the beach and the inevitable hangover that accompanies indulging in such things. A beer like that is certainly to be avoided not only because it's terrible (unless buried in a michelada) and, well, it's Mexican and this is exactly the wrong time to be supporting Mexico.

So why not try and beat the Mexicans at their own game? Tonight when you're tuning into another late Michael Orzco Fiscal winner you should be holding onto Ska Brewing Company's "Mexican Logger" lager. It's craft in a can and it kicks Corona, Dos XX, Pacifico, or other light lager right in the can.

Photo Credit: Brewed For Thought

Additionally it's from Durango, Colorado. Colorado. USMNT fans have some happy memories of that place if my short-term memory serves me right. Granted it's a six hour jaunt to Denver and the site of Friday's whitewash of the Ticos, but they're all buried in the same snow up there so it should be just as inspiring.

A bit of saaz hops to top it all off and a Mexican caricature that looks more like the Landon Donovan lottery commercial "Mexican" that any El Tri fan I've ever met and there's your Ska "Mexican Logger" and our brew recommendation for this crucial Hex match.

And something, something about chopping down Mexico.

Tags: A Brew For You, Beer, FBM In Action, The Best of Both Worlds, USMNT

All the 2013 MLS Beer-views in One Place

 

Eastern Conference

Chicago Fire and ____________ (coming soon)

Columbus Crew and Barley's Ale House (by Frankie Hejduk)

D.C. United and Three Stars Brewing Co. (by Justin Coughlan)

Houston Dynamo and Saint Arnold Brewing Co. (by Andy Schueneman)

New England Revolution and Cambridge Brewing Co. (by Andy Przystanski)

New York Red Bulls and Heartland Brewing Co. (by Mark Fishkin)

Montreal Impact and Brassire Dieu du Ciel (by Ludovick Martin)

Philadelphia Union and Victory Brewing Co. (by Richard McGovern)

Sporting KC and Boulevard Brewing Co. (by Chris Donahoo)

Toronto FC and ___________ (coming soon)

 

Western Conference

Chivas USA and Aztec Brewing Co. (by Jerry Jimenez)

Colorado Rapids and Left Hand Brewing Co. (by Kirsten Schlewitz)

FC Dallas and Rahr and Sons Brewing Co. (by Brian Wachholz)

Los Angeles Galaxy and Angel City Brewing Co. (by Ryan Rosenblatt)

Portland Timbers and Amnesia Brewing Co. (by Michael Orr)

Real Salt Lake and Epic Brewing Co. (by Kirsten Schlewitz)

San Jose Earthquakes and Russian River Brewing Co. (by Robert Jonas)

Seattle Sounders and Two Beers Brewing Co. (by Kirsten Schlewitz)

Vancouver Whitecaps and Granville Island Brewing Co. (by Kirsten Schlewitz)

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

2013 MLS Beer-view: Sporting KC

By Chris Donahoo / KC Caudron and American Outlaws: Kansas City

There is no doubt that SKC has hefty expectations in 2013 after coming off another fantastic year in 2012.

Last season included winning the East for the second straight year, but most notably the 2012 Open Cup, at home, in front of a sellout crowd. In what will be remembered as one of the best moments in Kansas City sports, SKC took the liberty of de-throning Seattle controversially via penalties, but destiny was with the home team on that starry October night. #PaintTheWall.

Kansas City lost two big-time players in Kei Kamara and Roger Espinoza to the English Premier League, but the addition of Claudio Bieler & Benny Feilhaber will be a welcome sight for the KC faithful. Bieler has two goals in two games to start the season.

Beer Selection: Boulevard Brewing Co. "Chocolate" Ale (Kansas City, MO)

If we had to compare SKC to one local beer, it would undoubtably be the Boulevard Chocolate Ale. The highly anticipated release of the Chocolate Ale could very well be symbolic of SKC's season as well. Very high expectations, little return on your investment. Boulevard had a large recall of the Chocolate Ale last year and offered a full refund for anyone who discovered "flavors and aromas not intended by our brewers, attributes not detected prior to the January release of the beer." This hasn't dimmed Boulevard's reputation or Chocolate Ale enthuisasts who continue to support their hometown brewery and their unique one-off beer.

Same could be said for SKC, who have looked very questionable out of the gate in its' two first games. We associate losing to Toronto FC with violently vomitting bad beer. This team/beer could be classified as hit and miss.. You never know what you're going to get. Only time will tell.

One thing is for sure, the KC Cauldron and local brew-lovers will be behind their city (and their brewery) until the end of time.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

2013 MLS Beer-view: Portland Timbers

By Michael Orr / Host, "Soccer Made in Portland"

New coach, new players, new outlook: Everything is new this year in Portland after the Timbers hired Caleb Porter to replace John Spencer. Significant roster turnover has brought familiar faces from around MLS as well as two older gentlemen from Europe’s top divisions to implement Porter’s pressing, possession style.

While the additions of Ryan Johnson, Will Johnson and Michael Harrington are expected to help carry the Timbers from two poor seasons to a playoff contender, new Designated Player Diego Valeri is the key. The Argentine playmaker is the hub around which Porter’s gambit will hinge. The responsibility of orchestrating the attack falls on Valeri, which serves a dual role of defining that role for the first time in Portland, while freeing Darlington Nagbe to meander through opposing defenses from the left side.

As Porter’s style requires up field pressing, the defense behind is often left exposed. This will be the Timbers’ greatest weakness in 2013, despite the additions of Harrington, Mikael Silvestre and Ryan Miller. The defense is improved from last year, but the set up puts more of the onus on the backline to perform at a high level. Only if Porter can use his diamond 4-4-2 with either Ben Zemanski or the injured Jack Jewsbury will Portland have adequate cover in front of the center backs. The Timbers might outscore more opponents than not, but it seems unlikely that clean sheets will be a regular occurrence.

All of that said, the paradigm has been redefined under Porter. Expect entertaining soccer, high scoring games and a wholly new attitude from players and fans.

Beer Selection: Amnesia "Copacetic" IPA (Portland, OR)

This small, North Portland microbrewery rarely sells pints off site and never bottles. The Copacetic IPA is an admittedly light and fruity IPA, especially by northwest standards. The hoppy finish is bitter but refreshing, especially when enjoyed in the sun on the brewery’s porch. Perhaps most importantly for Timbers fans though, the beer’s name presents two ideals: Amnesia regarding the past two seasons with expectations of a Copacetic 2013.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

2013 MLS Beer-view: Real Salt Lake

By Kirsten Schlewitz / Staff Writer, SB Nation

Beer Selection: Epic Brewing Elevated Series "825 State" Stout (Salt Lake City, UT)

Real Salt Lake may have needed 70 minutes to break through San Jose’s defenses, but Álvaro Saborío then scored twice inside 15 minutes to give Salt Lake the win over San Jose. RSL added to their strikeforce in the offseason with the return of Robbie Findley and the arrival of Joao Plata, the latter who turned provider for Saborío’s first goal about five minutes after he stepped on the pitch. Perhaps that’s a sign of great things to come for Salt Lake, who are looking to improve on last season’s minor setbacks and come roaring back reclaim their spot towards the top of MLS.

And so what better brewery for RSL than Epic? Perhaps Salt Lake City’s best-known brewery, at least for those of us who live outside the city limits. Interestingly enough, it’s often easier to find Epic’s limited-release beers than it is their classics. They’ve got a unique take on beer production: rather than create several different beers in one style, labeling and promoting them individually, the brewery produces an “Elevated Series”, with different hops, malts, and other grains added to the beer style.

The 825 State Stout Series is perhaps the most distinctive, particularly because Epic does not add flavorings to the stouts in this series. Whatever you get – chocolate or espresso, marshmallow or nut – is a flavor based solely on the malts involved.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

2013 MLS Beer-view: Vancouver Whitecaps

By Kirsten Schlewitz / Staff Writer, SB Nation

Beer Selection: Granville Island Brewing "Kitsilano Maple" Cream Ale

The Whitecaps started their season off with a win in a hotly contested Canadian rivalry – ok, I’m lying, I was paid to insert the word “rivalry” into that sentence. But a win’s a win, and Gershon Koffie started the season off on the right foot for the ‘Caps. Newcomer Daigo Kobayashi also made an impression with his first assist for his new side, and the midfielder will likely be a welcome creative addition to the team. Vancouver have also secured the services of Premier League veteran Nigel Reo-Coker, who this Aston Villa fan has long thought would make a solid addition to any MLS team. This could very well be a side that secures more wins than losses.

I couldn’t resist nominating Granville Island’s Kitsilano Maple Cream for this season’s Whitecaps. What, after all, is more Canadian than maple? This beer would only be better if it had a large red leaf on the label. This ale is pretty much what you’d expect: toasted caramel with a hint of maple that manages to not overpower the beer. It’s got a nice and creamy mouthfeel and is easy-drinking, although it might not be one you keep going back to. Yep, it’s pretty much perfect for Vancouver.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

2013 MLS Beer-view: Seattle Sounders

By Kirsten Schlewitz / Staff Writer, SB Nation

Beer Selection: Two Beers Brewing Company "Heart of Darkness" Cascadian Dark Ale (Seattle, WA)

Seattle are about to venture down a treacherous, dark path: they must venture into this season without the aid of Fredy Montero, who has been with the Sounders since their MLS debut. Their first foray into this unknown world ended in frustration, with Eddie Johnson unable to finish and the Impact determined to hang for a 1-0 victory.

Seattle have created a decent midfield for 2013, but many are asking if that’s enough for a side used to playoffs and Open Cup finals. There’s no real replacement for Montero, and the defense will certainly miss Jeff Parke’s solidity. But with the majority of the media content to focus on Seattle’s supporters rather than its play, it’s possible the changes to the team may not even be noticed.

But even if Seattle fans might have less to cheer about this season, at least they can console themselves with some pretty great beers (although they’re going to have to cross the borders to find Pliny the Elder – Russian River is now refusing to distribute in Washington state).

One of the better offerings is Two Beers, whose cans and bottles are now making their way across state lines. Heart of Darkness CDA is the perfect beer for this Sounders season: with its malty, chocolate taste, you’re not really getting what you expected, although the finish leaves a nice hint of citrus hops that might keep you coming back for more.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

2013 MLS Beer-view: Colorado Rapids

By Kirsten Schlewitz / Staff Writer, SB Nation

Beer Selection: Left Hand Brewing Company "400 Pound Monkey" English-Style IPA (Longmont, CO)

Last summer, eleven new breweries opened in Colorado – if it’s not in the top three of your beer-cations, it most certainly should be. But if you’re not drinking inside the state, it’s rather difficult to get beers from the up-and-comers. So grab 400 Pound Monkey, a perennial offering from Left Hand, who celebrate their 20th Anniversary this year. This is a beer for those who are tired of the West Coast having control over the entire country. English-style IPAs say no to over-hopped, over-citrus, over-long bitter lingers. This beer focuses more on balance, using biscuity malts to counteract the herbal hops.

Just like the Colorado brewing scene, the Rapids have brought in new blood – and their focus this season is much younger, with the majority of the team clocking in around the 24 year mark. Oscar Pareja’s built a team that’s set to attack and, supporters hope, get themselves back into the playoffs. Alas, that attack meant little in the match against Dallas, when back-up ‘keeper Steward Ceus gifted a goal to Jackson in the 11th minute. The Rapids players looked gassed, out of ideas, by the end of the match.

Only time will tell if it was nerves or if Pareja’s expecting too much.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

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