The 2012 European Championship “Beer-view” – Group C
Planting the Seed of Soccer Across America: Danny Beerseed
The every-four-year extravaganza known as the European Championship (or “Euros” for short) is about to roll. The 2012 edition is co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine and features the top 16 teams (in four groups) from the continent in fierce competition for the Cup that Spain currently holds. You can read all about the squads on any number of websites and magazines, but where else can you get a team-by-team “beer-view of the “Euros”?
The answer…. only on the Free Beer Movement.
We'll preview the continental competition in four parts, one for each group. The beer we chose might be the most popular in that country, have the coolest name, or have the most interesting back-story. It may or may not be the best tasting, though, so be warned beer-snobs. Either way it some how represents that country for your drinking enjoyment.
The tournament kicks off on Friday, June 8th and continues through July 1st. All of the games will be televised by ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3.com so check your local listings.
Spain – Estrella Damm
We've talked about Estrella before and given Barcelona's immense influence on the Spanish national team it's not unexpected that the “Beer of Barca” becomes that of “La Furia Roja” as well. The verdicts on “Damm”, an adjunct lager, are not great so we highly recommend going for the upgraded witbier version of Estrella, “Inedit”.
All eyes will be on Spain as the defending European champions (and, of course, world champions) set their sights on back-to-back titles. With seven of the 23 players on the roster hailing from Barcelona (and five from La Liga rivals Real Madrid) their 2012 campaign will rest heavily on the Barcelona contributions. Barca players like Xavi, Iniesta, Pique, Fabregas and Madrid stalwarts Iker Casillas, Alvaro Arbeloa, and Sergio Ramos formed the core of the previous title winning sides and will be looked to carry that burden again. The loss of leading scorer David Villa (51 goals since his 2005 debut and add in the unpredictable Fernando Torres (Chelsea) and Spain could crash out before defending their title. The Germans, and the rest of the Cup contenders, hope so.
Italy – Moretti
By Kristen Schlewitz / @7500_Kirsten
One of the most popular beers in Italy has been scooped up by Heineken International. There's probably some sort of metaphor in this for the Italian side at Euro 2012. Hang on, it's coming to me…something about the Azzurri changing its style? Moving away from traditional Italian catenaccio and toward a more attacking method of play?
Hard as it is to believe, that's what the Italians are doing. But worry not — every announcer will still drone on and on about the defensive habits of the Italians, even as Spain, Croatia, and even Ireland freely frolic behind their back line. Cesare Prandelli is doing his best to plug the holes at the back, but you're not going to see the same old flawless azzurri. Instead, Italy have a masterful midfield, orchestrated by the magnificent Andrea Pirlo. There will be the antics of Mario Balotelli to look forward to, and when he inevitably gets suspended, the fun of Sebastian Giovinco. And if things get boring, you can play “Where's Waldo?” with Riccardo Montolivo, who regularly disappears during a match.
As for the beer, well, drinking Moretti will likely remind you why most visitors to Italy spend their money on wine. It's a typical pale ale, light and frothy. Nothing offensive, but it's better than either Peroni or Nastro Azzurro, which I'm convinced is hop and malt free. And if you take a drink every time the commentators mention defense, you'll have a buzz going in no time.
Ireland – Guinness “Half and Half”
We got stuck between going all in for Ireland's (and the world's) most popular stout and something a little more obscure. Guinness is the easy and straight-forward choice so we decided to add a twist. The “Half and Half” is a fellow Irish beer, Harp Irish Lager, topped off with a Guinness. Both are brewed by the Guinness Brewery and the combination makes it the most Irish drink this side of whiskey.
Whatever you do, do not call it a “Black and Tan” in Ireland.
The variation of the “Half and Half” would be a “Pint Special”, “Blacksmith”, or a “Light and Bitter”, where Smithwick's is poured over a Guinness.
Oh, you want to talk about the team now? OK… well after their crushing playoff elimination from 2010 World Cup qualifying. Another playoff win, this time against Estonia, saw the “Boys in Green” qualify for their first major tournament since 2002.
Led by defender Richard Dunne, goal keeper Shay Given, and forward Robbie Keane (MLS represent!), Ireland has their work cut out for them to advance out of the Euro group stages for the first time.
Croatia – Ožujsko Pivo
If we told you that Croatia was ranked higher than fellow Euro sides Italy, Portugal, and France (not to mention Denmark, Russia, and Greece) would you believe us? If you Googled the FIFA World Rankings then probably. Indeed Croatia, sits at the number eight position in the roundly criticized global chart. Their June 14th match with Italy will certainly show if those rankings have any bit of truth to them. The “Fighting Picnic Table Cloths” as they are affectionately known as (Note: Probably not true) backed their way into the Euros needing a playoff win away in Turkey. The walked away, 3-0 winners, and entered in the tournament that the national federation had hopes to host with Hungary (but obviously Poland/Ukraine's bid won out).
The national team is sponsored by Ožujsko and given we're a little light on our knowledge of Croat beers we'll settle on this one. Although they lose major point due to the fact they make a lemon version of the beer as seen in this soccer/beer commercial. Their “Pivo”, a Pale Lager sans the fruit weighs in a 5% ABV and that reviews call “not that gross” and “wasn't undrinkable”. If those aren't ringing endorsements then we don't what is!
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