The 2012 European Championship “Beer-view” – Group D
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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.
France – Kronenbourg Brewery “1664”
In the land of wine and head butts this beer is king. Behind “1664”, a pale lager Kronenbourg dominates 40% of the beer market in France, much like France should dominate this group. With England in shambles, Ukraine in only by virtue of co-hosting the tournament, and Sweden providing probably no more than a speed bump the expectations for Frances are high.
Particularly after the shambolic performance during the 2010 World Cup that saw France crash out and burn in controversy. The player fued revolts in South Africa led to a clean house and fresh start for Laurent Blanc who has assembled an impressive squad that could have an outside, dark horse chance of hoisting the trophy this nation won in 2000. Gaël Clichy (Manchester City), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Samir Nasri (Manchester City), and Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich) lead a team long on experience and short on age. A new generation of French dominance could be beginning.
England – Stonehenge “Pigswill”
By Kristen Schlewitz / @7500_Kirsten
How could I resist recommending Stonehenge Pigswill as the beer to correspond to the England national team? Every time a major tournament rolls around, the world — the world meaning England, of course — seems to think that England are the cream of the crop. Apparently the fact that they haven't won, well, anything since 1966 doesn't mean diddly squat. England are still a major footballing power.
The problem with that is that they really are pigswill. Like this beer, they might look nice on first glance. But then the head vanishes and the sweet aroma turns sticky. When Roy Hodgson announced his squad, many supporters were actually excited. There were some different faces in there. The Three Lions might have been moving on from their past, where Fabio Capello left them mired in the mud. But then the clouds came rolling in and the injuries started to pile up. Now we've got to wonder if England will even make it out of Group D, or if they'll be undone by Sweden — or worse, Ukraine. Swill, indeed.
Of course, if you want something decent to drink, grab yourself a Fuller's London Pride. Creamy and caramelly, it's worth drinking. And when you're done, just let the glass fall to the floor. It'll symbolize the broken English players and the shattered dreams of a nation.
Ukraine – Lvivske “1715” Pilsner
This Ukrainian beer trace its roots to a monastic beer of 1715 when Andriy Shevchenko made his professional debut. The Ukrainian captain will lead his national team (FIFA ranked, number 52) who are only here by the grace of being co-hosts of the tournament. The “Yellow and Blues” should expect to be spectators with the rest of their countrymen soon enough.
“1715” is the lower ABV (4%) version of Lvivsk's “Premium” brand (4.7%) so it sounds like Ukraine's Budweiser and Bud Select. Another Euro pilsner served in a green bottle doesn't increase the chances that it is better than either of the Buds (at that's a low bar to miss).
Sweden – Nils Oscar Brewery “God” Lager
Zlatan Ibrahimović is a “god” or at least the AC Milan man thinks himself one. He's got his own iPad app for goodness sakes! Ibra is going to have to play to near-god-like perfect if Sweden is going to escape this group. Some unfortunate results for England and they could be surprise advancers to the quarterfinals.
Nils Oscar Brewery is, like Denmark's Mikkeller, a craft beer producer emerging out of the historical, more drab beers of their country. Since opening in 1996 Nils Oscar has taken home several gold medals from the Stockholm Beer Festival and had positive reviews from beer critics across Europe.
P.S. “God” in Swedish actually translates to “good” in English, but whatever. Zlatan.. he's good, he's god…
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