Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Going Suds Up: The Best Beers, The Best CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Soccer

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

(A note on Kirsten’s thought process: “Beer. Champions League. Beer and Champions League. Beer for Champions. Wheaties Beer?” And then the lovely Commie, who you’ve seen around these parts, suggested wheat beers. Genius!)

First things first: the only way this week’s slate of Champions League games can even come close to approaching last week’s is if Ronaldo fails to score while Lyon beat Real Madrid, Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba get into a fist fight after Freckles finally scores for Chelsea, the Inter Milan bus gets over turned by fans chanting “Rafa! Rafa!” while driving away after a loss to Bayern Munich, and everyone forgets about that other match that was played.

In other words, don’t expect too much out of these ties. That’s where the beer comes in - a distraction in case these matches are so boring that you want to poke your eye out with a sharp implement (remember Inter v Bayern last year? Snooze fest). Now I’m making the assumption that for most people reading this column your Champions League watching comes sometime in the middle of your day or, at least, not past the socially acceptable hour of 5 o’clock. Personally I’m all about kicking it with the booze at 7am, but if you’re headed back to work after a long lunch I can’t recommend anything too strong.

Instead, cozy up with these beers, which will give you a bit of a buzz, but not so much that you’ll need to set up a meeting with HR. And because it’s quite likely that you’re drinking these in a bar I’ve deviated from my usual obscure beer recommendations to give you two likely to be on tap.


Chelsea travel to Copenhagen and Lyon host Real Madrid. You know what’s really close to both Denmark and France? Belgium. While I often can’t stand a German Hefeweizen, I love a good witbier. Witbiers are Belgian wheat beers (duh) but instead of tasting like banana and bubble gum, they’re spiced with coriander and citrus peel. Much, much better. And likely available to you! Hoegaarden Brewery's "Hoegaarden" Belgian White (Belgium) is often seen on tap, particularly at any place hoping to give off a European vibe - and what’s more European than white beer and Jose Mourinho?

Hoegaarden is an excellent example of the witbier style, with a spicy, citrus aroma and tastes of orange and coriander. Sweet-and-sour, so you can choose depending on your feelings toward Fernando Torres.


Most beers in Munich are actually Helles or Dunkles (think of the beers that come out styling themselves as “Oktoberfest”) but since we’ve actually got a German side playing on Wednesday, I’ll go ahead and give you a German Hefe. Well, a German-style Hefe, anyway. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. "Kellerweis" Hefeweizen (Chico, CA) is one of the best American takes on the German style. It both smells and tastes of cloves and bananas, but nothing so overpowering as to be off-putting. This one has a very creamy palate and it’s only 5%.

Although, to be perfectly honest, if Bayern start losing to Inter Milan I might be grabbing something with a higher ABV. That’s a title that I hope is passed on.

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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"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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