Friday, August 27, 2010

Going Suds Up: The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

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

I’m a bitter and jaded columnist today, dear readers, so if you’re looking to get a beer matchup for the Aston Villa-Everton game, well, you’ve come to the wrong place. When your MLS team gets trampled over in the CONCACAF Champions League and your EPL team gets their rears handed to them for the second year in a row to get kicked out of Europa before the group stages even begin, well, the heart aches a bit. So no English and no American soccer this week.

Instead (and I hope the column gets posted in time) the game of the week goes to Friday’s UEFA Super Cup matchup (12:30PM CT on FSC) between last year’s Champions League winners, Inter Milan, and last year’s Europa League winners (and my La Liga club), Atlético Madrid. Although Jose Mourinho has departed Inter, leaving Rafa Benitez to take his place, Inter are still the stronger side. The attacking style of Atlético, which is at times undisciplined, is going to run up against the remnants of Mourinho’s defensive club. Plus, well, Atlético fell out of the Champions League and went on to win in Europa, which in itself says quite a bit. And so, a beer for the underdogs:

BridgePort Old Knucklehead: In the beer-snob world, there are some breweries that are considered spectacular, and some that are merely so-so. There are some, like BridgePort, that start off with a great reputation, but then sell themselves off to a big conglomerate and try to pretend that they’re still a small-time operation. But even these fake microbrews can still manage to make a great brew every once in awhile, and Old Knucklehead is surprisingly great. A barley wine that clocks in at 9.1%, it pours a reddish brown with a creamy tan head and plenty of lace. Aromas of fresh hops, grassy, floral. Taste is slightly bitter and rather light for a nine percent, making drinking it a bit dangerous…

Speaking of Italian sides, welcome back Serie A! The first matchup you can catch on US television is Udinese v Genoa, 11am on FSC+. And with Udinese comes…Alexis Sanchez. I, for one, cannot wait to have El Niño Maravilla gracing the pitch, with his quick pace and trickery on the pitch.

And so I give you AleSmith’s Speedway Stout (San Diego, CA): In my rating system, beers can earn up to five points, but the highest I’ve given is a 4.6. Speedway is a 4.6, an absolutely marvelous beer. Pours nearly black with a cappuccino head, smelling of dark chocolate and caramel with slight vanilla notes. Rich and smooth, the taste begins with roasted malt, moves to coffee and ends with a bitter dark chocolate. And with a 12% ABV, Serie A might even be fun.

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.

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