Friday, February 4, 2011

Going Suds Up: The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

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

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m still hungover from transfer day madness. Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll are all still making my head hurt desperately. But really, there’s no better cure for the hangover blues than a little hair of the dog, so let’s jump right in.

This upcoming week was supposed to feature the U.S. Men’s National Team against Egypt, but that’s obviously been canceled, for reasons that not even I can bring myself to joke about. In fact, let’s all take a moment to raise whatever we’re drinking in honor of those who lost their lives in the violence in Cairo.

There’s really no better week to focus on friendship and love than this one. Even as the world looks grim, even as two American football teams prepare to fight it out in an ice-covered Dallas, soccer is turning to their lovey-dovey friendlies. And what better way to celebrate those friendlies than by taste-testing beer that will be perfect for your Valentine’s Day celebrations? Fire up for your choice of five different international friendlies (don’t bother with trying to find the Argentina match, however—ESPN and I are going to have to have a little chat about my need to watch Ezequiel Lavezzi) and give these beers a go.

Now, the absolute perfect Valentine’s beer is one that you won’t be able to find, as it was a limited edition last year, but this is the standard to hold all lovey beers to: Elysian Brewing Co. "XOXO" Chocolate Chili Stout (Seattle, WA). It smells like a typical stout, quite chocolatey. The taste is chocolate at first and then gives way to orange and cinnamon. The finish has a spicy kick to it, with both adobo and chipotle peppers.

One of the best ways to surprise your sweetheart—or to drink away your Valentine’s heartache—is to buy a bottle of Southern Tier Brewing Co. "Mokah" Blended Stout (Lakewood, NY), if you’re lucky enough to live in a region in which they distribute. Mokah pours nearly black, with a thick cappuccino head that leaves plenty of lacing. The aroma is essentially that of coffee mixed with fudge and is damn near intoxicating. The palate is creamy and the taste is more of that mocha-ness (hey, it’s in the name), with the coffee flavor lingering on and on. It’s one of the best beers on the market.

If you don’t live in a region lucky enough to receive Southern Tier, try a Kiuchi Brewery "Hitachino Nest Espresso" Imperial Stout (Japan). Like Mokah, it pours near-black with a thick tan head. The aroma is of coffee, chocolate, and red fruits, such as plums and raisins. This one tastes of dark chocolate, vanilla, cherries, and, you guessed it, espresso. With actual coffee beans added to the boil, Hitachino Nest has the added benefit that, if you’re a bit sleepy or the match you’ve chosen is a bit dull, this beer will wake you right up.

Many apologies if you’re not a fan of the taste of coffee. You can always pick up a Southern Tier Brewing Co. "Choklat" Imperial Stout, which is pretty much Mokah without the coffee taste, although its depth of flavor is not quite as intense. There’s also Rogue Ales "Chocolate" Stout (Newport, OR) , which is clearly chocolate, but has a hint of spice at the end, and is usually cheaper than any Southern Tier bottle.

Happy friendly week! Let the love flow…or at least the beer.

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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Kratik said...

Beer and football go hand in hand.
Well, this is an article written by me, please have a read
It is a must read for all Liverpool and Chelsea fans

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