Friday, November 4, 2011

Going Suds Up: The Best Soccer, The Best Beers

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

Sorry guys, but I refuse to give up my standing whisky at the dive bar date in order to wait until Houston Dynamo – Philadelphia Union and Los Angeles Galaxy – New York Red Bulls are finished and I can give you a decent recommendation for the MLS semi-finals. Besides, I’m still smarting (kinda like Brad Evans and Alvaro Fernandez are) from the disappointment of the Seattle Sounders. Geez, why couldn’t Osvaldo Alonso show up in the first leg against Real Salt Lake? Just thinking back to that match drives me to drink. But I promise, American soccer fans, you’ll get a column from me involving the final.

Moving on. 

This week we’ve got plenty of action before the international break. Unfortunately, a lot of what is televised is boring. Blackburn – Chelsea? Come on now, who wants to watch that? And since I’m still angry about the ridiculously physical play against Seattle, I don’t really want to promote any sort of typically English style of play – so let’s tune out that Bolton – Stoke City match. Instead, I’m climbing back on my high horse and demand that everyone watch Italian calcio this Sunday. But if one person uses the words “boring” or “defensive” to describe the style, I swear I will hunt you down and take away your beer. You have been warned.

AC Milan v Catania (Sunday, November 6 at 8AM CT on Fox Soccer)

Photo Credit: 365Beers
There are two major reasons for watching this match. First, Catania under former Roma coach Vincenzo Montella are performing tremendously well. The Elephants are currently sixth in Serie A, primarily due to Montella’s attacking style. They’ve yet to lose at home, and fight hard to find a draw on the road. But the trip to the San Siro will be their toughest yet, with Milan back on form in the league and doing their best to climb back up to the top.

The other reason to tune in to this match is to see how the rossoneri will function without Antonio Cassano. In case you haven’t heard, the Milan forward came down with a mystery illness after last week’s match, and now has been diagnosed with a heart condition that will require surgery, leaving him out of contention for at least three months, but most likely longer. Although Cassano doesn’t always start, he’s been a force for Milan and Italy thus far this season, and his contributions will almost certainly be missed.

Rogue Ales “HazelNut” Brown Ale (Newport, OR): This one’s for you, Fantantonio. It’s the closest beer I can find to capturing the spirit of Nutella, one of the finest things in life. It has a gorgeous pour, deep red brown with a thick, slowly dissipating head that leaves a faint lacing. This brown has a malty, roasted aroma with, obviously, a hazelnut streak. It tastes like coffee, chocolate, and hazelnut…like drinking that spoonful of Nutella.

Napoli v Juventus (Sunday, November 6 at 12:45PM CT on Fox Soccer)

Ay dios mio. This is a match where yours truly needs a strong, strong beer or possibly twenty. Seeing as half of the Twitter-verse believes I am a Juventina, I follow a lot of Juve supporters – and they’re going to be firey on Sunday. But that’s not the worst of it for this Vesuviana. No, it’s that Napoli are currently underperforming in the league, sitting fifth, while the Old Lady are top of the table and remain undefeated.
And if you still think Italian teams are boring and defensive, watch this match and have a laugh. Both teams are both spastic and entertaining, whether it’s a counter-attack or a hilarious miss. And their defenses…well, just watch and see.

Stone Brewing 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA: Oh sweet 10%+ABV – you will be my saving grace this Sunday. The smell of this one makes it seem like you’re about to drink a porter: chocolate and coffee, a bit of toast. But then you taste it and it’s so much more than that, tasting first like caramel malts, but ending with a bitter grapefruit finish. Probably much in the manner of this match.

 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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"Anyone who tells me soccer is boring, I'm going to punch them in the face."
– Former Dallas Burn (aka FC Dallas) coach Dave Dir

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