Friday, November 11, 2011

Going Suds Up: The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

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

Whooohoo, we’ve reached the international break. Aren’t we all excited? I know I am. And yes, I know this is a blog primarily devoted to American soccer, but let’s face it, the USA are playing friendlies on Friday and Tuesday, and there’s likely to be many more stories around here devoted to the games against France and Slovenia.

I’d like to talk about the games that matter - and players have left their clubs for reasonable reasons. There are Euro 2012 playoff matches (France qualified, Slovenia failed, hence the friendlies), as well as CONMEBOL 2014 World Cup qualifying. Therefore, it’s my job to give you a couple matches to watch while you’re waiting for the USA to play, and the beer to drink with them.

Friday, November 11

Uruguay vs. Chile - 4:00pm CT on your computer (boooooooooo)

Raise your hand if you’ve heard about all the drama surrounding la roja. No? Well, let’s cover that quickly. Five players (Arturo Vidal, Jean Beausejour, Jorge Valdivia, Gonazlo Jara and Carlos Carmona) returned late to Chile’s training base, breaking curfew after supposedly being at a baptism. Coach Claudio Borghi, intent on instilling discipline, suspended the players, and has now said they will not play again for the national team. That leaves Chile without two significant starters - Vidal and Valdivia (Jara is out with a knee injury) - in a significant match against the reigning South American champions. This…is not going to go well. Did I mention Alexis Sanchez is hurt once again?

Nectar Ales "Red Nectar" (Paso Robles, CA): clearly we need a pretty red beer to hold up for the poor Chile national team, and this one pours a red honey color. The smell is appropriate to a beer called nectar, with plenty of roses, as well as toasted malts.  The taste is much like the smell, with mostly citrus and floral hops, finished with just a bit of sweetness. Plus, for some reason I feel little Alexi resembles the hummingbird on this bottle, and his spirit needs to be present for this match.

Tuesday, November 15
Croatia vs. Turkey - 1:05pm CT  (also on your computer)

After USA - Slovenia on Thursday, why not continue your long lunch (and drinking session) by watching Croatia host Turkey in Euro 2012 qualification? This promises to be a pretty fantastic match. Turkey finished runners-up to my personal favorites to take the crown, Germany. Croatia had a bit of a meltdown, losing to Greece and missing out on the top spot in Group F. But Ryan Rosenblatt assures me that Luka Modric will save the Vatreni, which is actually a pretty awesome sounding nickname. Plus, the absence of Real Madrid’s Nuri Sahin means the midfield will essentially be controlled by little Luka (although some credit should be given to stand-in Belozoglu Emre of Fenerbahce). So a small beer for the little Croatian - not a real small beer, as I find no point in those, but a nice session that’ll keep you going for another two hours.

Pike Brewing "Kilt Lifter" Scotch Ale: In honor of an action I’m sure RyRy would take for precious little Luka, I bring you this lovely red pour, with plenty of head…it smells absolutely delicious, like pure butterscotch, which I can totally imagine Modric smelling like. That and freshly mown grass and, ok, moving on. This one also tastes of caramelly goodness, with a hint of spicy chili at the finish. No, I’m not going there in relation to Mr. Modric. Sorry.

 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 onRatebeer. 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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