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Going Suds Up – The Best Beers, The Best Soccer

By Kirsten Schlewitz / Senior West Coast Beer and Soccer Correspondent

The Champiooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooons! That’s right, this Saturday brings the final of the Champions League, with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund meeting at Wembley to decide who lifts the trophy. But considering you’ve landed on a soccer site, you almost certainly knew that already.

In fact, you most likely already know all you need to know about the Champions League final. In case you don’t, here’s a quick summary: Dortmund are the mighty underdogs. They’ve been called “hipster” so many times that they’ve gone mainstream, with hipsters now seeking  to replace them with another side boasting amazing support and brightly colored kits. Bayern, meanwhile, ran away with the Bundesliga. They took 91 points from a possible 102, losing just once (!) to Bayer Leverkusen back in October. Bayern scored 98 goals in the league while allowing just 18 past. This is, to put it mildly, an incredible side.

But, again, you know this. You come to Free Beer Movement for something even more important than soccer knowledge: to learn exactly which beers to drink while watching the game. So let’s delay no further.

Bayern fans

One of Bayern’s primary sponsors is Paulaner, one of the six breweries that supplies beer for Oktoberfest. Now, clearly it is not the time of year during which one can usually find Oktoberfest beers, but if you’re trying to raise a glass to FCB, you need to at least make an effort. The Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier is available in bottles and cans, so you might be able to find some at your local German bar. If not, go ahead and look for the Paulaner Original Münchner Hell, a classic Munich beer. This lager is a bit lighter than the Oktoberfest (4.9% ABV as opposed to 6% ABV), but you might want a session beer for this match, particularly if you’re getting to the bar early to grab a seat.

This Paulaner is technically classified as a “Munich Helles Lager,” which is simply a sub-category of a pale lager. These beers are similar to a traditional Czech Pils, with spicy hops, although they have a bit more malts than a pilsner. The Paulaner stays true to the style, with more biscuit and vanilla than hops in the aroma, with the same coming out in the taste. It’s got a subtle, dry hop finish and is perfect as a session beer.

BVB fans

Dortmund, as far as I can tell, does not have a beer manufacturer as one of their sponsors (but one of their first kit sponsors was a cigarette manufacturer, so if that’s your thing…). Like BVB, their homeland, North-Rhine-Westphalia, comes in second to Bavaria when it comes to contributions to Germany’s beer production and styles. But also like BVB, that doesn’t mean there’s not hope of finding something fantastic, of unearthing a diamond overshadowed by its shinier Southern counterparts.

Of course, one of the most common styles of the region is a Kölsch‎, most popular further south, in Cologne. Dortmund actually has its own beer style, known as “Dortmunder”, but it’s almost impossible to find in the U.S.  It is, however, fairly similar to a Pils. Veltins, which makes a great pilsner, also comes from the area, but we can’t have you drinking the beer that sponsors Schalke’s stadium, now, can we?

With that in mind, let’s hoist an Altbier in honor of BVB. Sure, the stuff is primarily brewed in Düsseldorf, but we don’t want yet another Pils – we must stand out from the Bayern fans. Altbiers are more or less the equivalent of an English Ale and the best do a great job of balancing sweet malts with spicy hops. It’s not very common to find a German altbier on tap, unless you’re in a German-style pub, but you’re in luck: Widmer, Victory and Two Brothers all produce decent versions of the style. But if you can manage to find Uerige Doppel Sticke, grab it – it’s possibly more like a barley wine, with lots of caramel malts, but it’s a great brew and weighs in at 8.5% ABV.


How can you be neutral during one of the biggest matches of the soccer season? Bite the bullet and choose a side. If need be, try both the recommended beers and then make your decision. But if anyone asks why you support one of the sides, be sure to say you’ve been a fan since you were wrapped in [B____]’s kit after the doctor pulled you from your mother’s womb.

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, Champion League, Going Suds Up

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