Friday, July 30, 2010

Going Suds Up: The Best Soccer, The Best Beers

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

This weekend is a rarity in Major League Soccer: all sixteen teams will play on Saturday and Sunday, with seven matches to choose from on Saturday alone. Of course, most of these matches will be available only on Direct Kick or MLS MatchDay, unless you live in the area, but on Sunday you’re in luck: Fox Soccer Channel will be showing Los Angeles Galaxy versus Chicago Fire at 6:30pm CT. In other words, you have no excuse to not watch MLS.

In honor of being spoiled for choices, this week I present you with beers arranged by time zone—pick your India Pale Ale based on either your own zone or the zone of the club you’re watching. Or even choose a team to watch based on the beer you’d like to try! (apologies to Alaska and Hawaii, but you don’t have MLS teams, either):

Eastern Time

Philadelphia v New England, 2:30PM CT

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA: If you’re drinking this, make absolutely certain you’re staying in one place for the evening, even if you’re just having one bottle. Dogfish 120 packs as dirty of a punch as the Union players, and if you have two you might end up sitting out the next match. At 18%ABV, this is the type of beer you’re drinking for novelty rather than subtly. It has a thick, syrupy palate, but isn’t too bitter. If you’re looking for more balance, move down a step and try the 90 Minute, which has more dark fruits in the taste.

Central Time

Houston v New York, 7:30PM CT And/Or Kansas City v Toronto 7:30PM CT

NOLA Hopitoulas: Alright, this one may be more about nostalgia for New Orleans than anything else, but it’s a more than decent brew. Lots of piney hops in the nose and plenty of bitter in the taste—but this beer still manages to balance, bringing in caramely sweetness to balance all the bitterness of the grapefruit hop.

Rocky Mountain Time

Colorado v Dallas, 3PM CT And/Or Real Salt Lake v DC United, 8PM CT

Avery The Maharaja: Part of Avery’s “Dictator” series, this one is perfect for the royalty that is Salt Lake. It kicks in at 10.5% ABV, but the alcohol is completely hidden. The aromas are subtle, mostly toasted malt with a bit of citrus peeking through. Perfectly bitter, with nutty caramel cutting the citrus and pine hops.

Pacific Time

San Jose v Seattle, 9PM CT And/Or Chivas v Columbus, 9:30PM CT

Bear Republic Racer 5: The west coast is the home of the hop, sending out IPAs stuffed with layer upon layer of grapefruity bitterness. Racer 5, however, manages to spice it up a bit, with earthy, peppery hops in the taste. It still ends with a bitter grapefruit finish, but its smell of floral and grassy hops shows that this one is trying to be more than just a typical hop bomb.

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 will be contributing to Two Footed Tackle after the World Cup.

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"Anyone who tells me soccer is boring, I'm going to punch them in the face."
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