Friday, September 16, 2011

Going Suds Up: The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

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

So fans of soccer in America, do you know what Fox Soccer would like to show you on Saturday? Blackburn – Arsenal is the early match, followed by Aston Villa – Newcastle. I’m a Villa fan, and I’m still not pleased by this offering. I bet even Arsenal fans aren’t happy to see their team on cable, because who on earth wants to wake up to watch Blackburn? That’s going to take a lot of alcohol, of the type this beer column doesn’t touch upon. So let’s move on from the English Premier League. And not to Serie A either, at least not for Saturday, because Fox Soccer Plus would have you believe you should be watching Cagliari – Novara.

No, let’s go to Germany! They have good beer, plus it’s Oktoberfest time. Or almost, anyway. Close enough.

Germany is one of the few leagues in which, you might be surprised to know, I don’t have a club. It’s just too much fun to watch Bundesliga – I can’t play favorites with them. But if we’re celebrating Oktoberfest, there’s just one team we can pick: Bayern Munich. Which means we’ll have to wait until Sunday, when their match against Schalke 04 is on GolTV, at 10:30 CT. But it will be worth it, I promise. I hope, anyway. Bayern just won their first Champions League tie 2-0 against Villareal. After four matches, they’ve got a perfect record, and although tied with Werder Bremen at the top of the table, have a nine point advantage on goal difference, having conceded just one goal this season. And no, this Napoli fan is not pleased to share a Champions League group of death with Bayern.

Now, for Oktoberfest, I’m not going to give you just one beer. Oktoberfest is more about the style of beers, which, of course, originate in Munich. You can get “Oktoberfest” beers from nearly every brewery these days, but for it to be a true festival beer, it must have been brewed within the city limits of München. That means no New Glarus, no Boulevard, no Sam Adams. That even means no Ayinger Oktoberfest, no matter how tasty it might be. Your Oktoberfest beer must be from Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Lowenbrau, Paulaner, or Spaten. You’re not likely to find the first two breweries, and the second two don’t distribute their Oktoberfest beer widely. Spaten is well known, but more for Optimator, which is strong, sweet, and similar to an Oktoberfest beer, but is technically a doppelbock.

You’re going to want a Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Märzen, which, oddly enough, is actually brewed by Paulaner, for reasons I refuse to research right now. Like doppelbocks, Oktoberfests/ Märzens (they’re the same thing) are sweet and dark, the style Munich is renowned for. They’ve got a bit more bite than the sweeter doppelbock, and are typically slightly less alcoholic – this one is 5.8% ABV. It’s got a lovely caramel, spicy taste that is balanced by just enough of a bitter hop finish to make it interesting.


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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