Friday, April 22, 2011

Going Suds Up: The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

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

You know what? It’s Thursday, I’ve got ten days until law school finals start, and I’ve been drinking for the past three hours. I have little desire to explore the wide range of matches going on this weekend, but I can tell you, there’s a multitude. It’s like manna from heaven, or some analogy more befitting to Easter weekend. Anyway, the first game to catch this weekend is a Friday matchup from the English Championship, whereas if you’re looking to avoid the family this weekend, you should sit down in front of ESPN3 on Saturday to watch every match in Serie A.

Leeds United v Reading, 1:45PM CT

The race for admission to the Premier League is heating up – QPR may look as though they’ve sewn up a place for next year, but considering they still might get points deducted, the promotion battle is still up for grabs. Both Leeds and Reading are within the playoff positions, but should Leeds continue to slip – they’ve collected just one point from their last three matches – Nottingham Forest could take their place. Of course, though, the real reason to watch this match is Barry Bannan, who, quite frankly, should be starting every match for Leeds and why on earth did Aston Villa loan him out if he’s never going to play and (SLAP). Ok, thanks, I’m done. Anyway, anyone who’s ever read anything I write knows I love Baz to pieces, and he did help Blackpool to promotion, so there’s no reason to think he can’t do it again at Leeds.

And so, in honor of the wee Scot, on Friday we drink Kilt Lifter, a Scotch Ale by Pike Brewing (Seattle, Washington). Seeing as I drank at Pike nearly every week in my Seattle days, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on their beers, and Kilt Lifter is by far the best of their regular drafts. 6.5% ABV (incidentally, almost as heavy as Bazza himself) and silky sweet, this one has just a bit of smoke to balance out the caramel flavors. If you can’t drink Scotch before 5pm on a Friday, this is a more than suitable alternative.

Serie A Saturday, beginning at 5:30AM CT

Typically Saturday is a light day in Serie A, with the majority of the matches coming on Sunday. But with Italy still being a Catholic nation, no matches are to be played on Easter Sunday, and so there are ten matches to catch this Saturday. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: put away your preconceived notions of Italian football. The stereotypes about defensive, overly cautious matches? You might catch one or two, but it’s nothing as dreadful as watching Manchester City play away from home. Much of Serie A is all about the attack, and you’re much more likely to catch a seven-goal match in Italy than in most other leagues.

So raise a bottle of Birra Moretti La Rossa (Italy) in honor of Serie A Saturday. This double bock clocks in at 7.2% (quite frankly, I thought all Italian beers hovered at around 4%, so this was a pleasant surprise) and is the perfect beer to keep you company through the four rounds of matches. This one taste mostly of caramel and toasted malts, although the aftertaste is just a bit bitter…rather like one feels after watching Lucio deliberately palm the ball and the ref look away, allowing Inter Milan to keep winning.

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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