Friday, September 9, 2011

Going Suds Up: The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

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

The Serie A season finally kicks off on Friday, and what better way to welcome it than the return of my column? I know y’all missed me during the summer – how on earth did you find new beers to try? Well, I’m back, my lovelies, ready to challenge your both your taste buds and your soccer watching preferences, encouraging you to try some of both from around the globe.

Never fear, though – just because I’m writing about Italian calico this week doesn’t mean I’ll be trying to convince you to sample beer from the boot. Sure, Moratti is perfectly fine when you’re drinking in a piazza on a sweaty summer evening, but it’s not one you’d purposefully pick up in the US. Instead, we’ll have a nod to Italy’s drinking culture with a couple beers aged in wine barrels. And when we’re dealing with beers aged in wine barrels/oak barrels, it’s almost certain they’ll be one of two types: an imperial stout or a lambic/sour ale. So I’ll give you one of each, ‘cause I’m nice like that (well, not give. You’re going to have to go out and buy these yourselves).

AC Milan v Lazio (Friday, 1:45PM CT)

What better way to celebrate Friday than by ducking out of work for a late lunch, drinking some strong beer and watching as Milan attempt to kick off their scudetto defense in style? I recommend trying to find a bar that has Great Divide Brewing Co “Oak Aged Yeti” Imperial Stout (Denver, CO) on tap. Granted, it might be difficult in early fall, but the beer is widely available. It pours black with a thin tan head and some clings. Delicious smell, of chocolate, oak and caramel. The oak aged stout tastes, appropriately, of coffee and chocolate with some bitter peppery hops and an oaky, bourbon finish. The smoothness should meld well with the style of Milan, who retain much of the same title-winning squad as last year, while continuing to strengthen both their defense and midfield. Plus, how can you not want to watch this adorable face?

Serie A Sunday (Begins at 5:30AM CT, ends with 1:45PM match)

Besides Cesena – Napoli, which is the only Saturday game (and I refuse to write about for fear of jinxing it), the rest of the Serie A clubs play their first matches on Sunday. I’m a Serie A diehard and refuse to get up for the first, Juventus – Parma, so I suggest you sleep in as well, and simply look at photos of the club’s new stadium to get your kicks. If you’re picking a match to watch during the 8AM block, I suggest Lecce -Udinese, which probably won’t be what Fox is showing, but will likely be the most entertaining match of the five available. And by all means, grab a bottle of Cantillon Vigneronne (France) to watch Palermo host Inter Milan (particularly if you’re a Palermo fan, although you may need something stronger). This bottle is expensive, but is one of the best lambics that can be found, and works perfectly for a Sunday brunch feast. Made with white grapes soaked in lambic, this one changes as it sits, allowing more flavors to come through, from a beginning overpowering sour to a more mellow sour apple to lemon flavors at the end. Of course, if you don’t like vinegar, don’t go for this, as the aroma is overwhelming, but the taste is worth it.

If you’re looking for a full Serie A preview, I’ve got you covered here. Enjoy your calcio weekends, and whatever beers you choose to accompany the matches!

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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