How can we make the United States fall in love with soccer? Buy your friends a beer and watch as a lifelong love affair with the beautiful game begins. Learn more.

Going Suds Up - The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

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

It’s #RivalryWeek! Are you excited yet? Have you started hash-tagging every tweet?  Are you adding –Scum to the first syllable of your team’s rival city? And if you’re a Columbus supporter, do you just feel left out of this week’s action, or are you busy trying to figure out ways to mock San Jose?

Hey "Port-Scum" fans! While you're here in Seattle may I recommend some of our delicious local brews? I'll buy you one after the match!

Actually, the side that has it worst this week is the Vancouver Whitecaps. They’re already often left out of the Cascadia Cup rivalry, with Portland and Seattle much more interested in one another than the ‘Caps. Then they try to join in on Canada rivalries, and Montreal and Toronto just look down their noses. Take a rest, Vancouver – you’ve earned it.

I’ve spent the week thinking about rival beers and all I can think about is the big players: Budweiser vs Coors vs Miller. Heineken vs Stella Artois. Sapporo vs Asahi. And then I realized: it’s because craft beers don’t like to wage war on one another. Even here in Portland, which has more microbrews than I could visit in a year, the brewers tend to build one another up rather than insult and dismiss the competition. Every brewery is concerned about making the best beer possible rather than worrying about what the brewer down the block is adding to his hops and malts.

I could go off on some deep tangent about how MLS is still a young league and this means the sides should promote and encourage one another rather than engaging in petty rivalries. But don’t worry – that’s not my plan. I like #RivalryWeek. One of the best parts of sports is being able to get fired up about the opposition – letting all reason and sense take a backseat, and coming up with some great one-liners (by the way, that reference about the –Scum? Not a good one-liner. Get better, soccer fans). Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating going out and taking a swing at a visitor wearing the opposing team’s colors. But having some good trash talk at the ready is essential to fandom.

Unfortunately, that sort of rivalry doesn’t transfer very well to choosing a beer. We need cities like Austin and San Diego to get clubs if we really want to launch a collaboration rivalry week between beer and MLS. So instead, leave the rivalry in the stadium and try to embrace the concept I talked about above: that there’s not really a competition in craft brewing, but instead a place for anyone that wants to join in. Some breweries focus on West-Coast IPAs. Some try to bring a Germanic flavor to the States. Others want to make the best Belgian Ale in their neighborhood. And we all get to benefit.

This weekend try and embrace your rival's beers because as much as you're going to hate their colors there's no good reason to deny their delicious brews. So are you a Fire supporter headed to Kansas City? Stop by Boulevard Brewing before you cross over from Missouri, and give one of their wheats a try. A Revs fan heading to Philadelphia? Turns out that’s one of the best beer cities in the US. Victory Brewing’s less than 30 miles from PPL Park. You’ve also got Philadelphia Brewing, currently offering a beer called “Fleur de Lehigh”, which includes ginger, lemon grass, and rhubarb. Please, go try this for me.

And, of course, how can we leave #RivarlyWeek without touching on Portland visiting Seattle? One of the most hotly contested rivalries in MLS also features two cities filled with fantastic beer. As a Sounders fan living in Portland, I know that of which I speak. Timbers supporters, avoid Pyramid and make your way to Elysian (if they’ll let you in!) There’s a branch right across from CenturyLink Field, and they offer some of the best beers in town. If there’s anything available featuring chili and chocolate, get your hands on that. If not, Avatar Jasmine, which is always on tap, is one of the best IPAs I’ve ever tasted.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a Sounders sticker to scrape off my car, before anyone decides it’s funny to cover it with a Timbers one (again).

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, am a bit obsessed with my "33 Beers" notebooks, and love my Untappd app. 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 cofounder of SB Nation's Aston Villa site, 7500 to Holte, as well as the editor of SB Nation Italy. Want more? Follow me on Twitter!

Tags: Beer, Going Suds Up, Major League Soccer

Check out all the great FBM gear in our "Swag Store".

blog comments powered by Disqus