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Going Suds Up - The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

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

Look. I tried to think of something great to have you guys watching this weekend. Something exciting, something different, something to make you look oh-so-hip in front of your soccer friends. You know, those dudes and dudettes that are always throwing out strange names of garbled consonants, while you nod and try to move the conversation toward the battle between the Manchesters? Alas, my friends, it is not to be – I scoured the “big” European Leagues looking for a decent derby, or even a meeting of top teams, and it just isn’t happening. On a side note, I really have to start diving deep into other leagues.

So this week, what you’re stuck with is FA Cup action. And, lucky for you, that’s what’s going to be widely available in the U.S., at least on Fox Soccer. The League Cup will showcase League 2 side Bradford City against still-new-in-the-Premier-League side Swansea, so now the question is, will we be so lucky with England’s bigger domestic cup? Probably not, as most clubs tend to field stronger sides in this tournament.

Still, there’s potential for a few upsets this weekend. We can take it as a given that Championship side Millwall will beat Aston Villa. But what Oldham Athletic, from League One, hosting Liverpool on Sunday? There’s no guarantee that Wigan’s visit to Macclesfield Town, a Conference side, will result in a win. And considering the result in Norwich City’s last Premier League match, it’s quite possible that non-League Luton Town could prevail.

On to the most important question: what to drink when you’re cheering on the underdog? If you’ve got an alliance to a Premier League side and you want, say, Chelsea to beat League One Brentford, then go ahead and drink that Budweiser. But for those of us backing a classic Cup-set, we need to get back to the roots of soccer. We need to feel the dirt on our bare feet and put in a crunching challenge on a hapless forward. It’s time to listen to the terraces – full of standing, crushed together, sweaty bodies – join together and sing our name. We need to drink…Budvar.

Budvar, or to call it by its proper name, Budweiser Budvar (Czechvar), is the ideal Pilsner. The essence of Pilsner. If Plato wrote about beer, American Budweiser would be his shadow on the cave wall, and Budvar would be what the prisoners drink when set free. Of course, the best way for you to drink this brew is to hop a flight to the Czech Republic and spend a delightful week moving from bar to bar, but as far as I can tell, Budvar is available, in bottles at least, in the United States.

Still, there’s only so much raving that can be done about a standard Pilsner. It’s what a Pils should be: crisp, a bit yeasty, and with a hoppy finish. Those used to drinking the States’ version of Budweiser will be surprised at just how much taste can be found in the original. The smell is a bit malty, but the taste is rather spicy, even a bit grassy. The bitter finish doesn’t overwhelm like some IPAs, but definitely reminds you that there are hops contained in that bottle.

Get back to your roots this week. Find ties with a lower league side (make them up if you must) and then cheer them on while sipping Budvar. You’ll no longer need to be embarrassed in front of your hipster friends.

(Editor's Note: Ironically, the American Bud is the official beer of the FA Cup and even attempted a marketing stunt where former professionals joined a lower-league team, Wembley FC, but were promptly dumped out of the the tournament in a preliminary qualifying game)

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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