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The 2012 European Championship “Beer-view” – Group B

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.

Cheers!

The Groups

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Group B

Netherlands – Oranjeboom

It'd be easy to just pick Heineken, Amstel or even Grolsch, but the FBM isn't about the easy way out. For the Dutch we've chosen to pick a domestically popular, but obscure beer: Oranjeboom. Brewed since 1671 Oranjeboom translates to “Orange Tree” and symbolizes the Dutch Royal Family. At 5% ABV it's a pretty standard pilsner, but the cool thing is that it also appears as an “Extra Strong” and a “Super Strong” that bang in at 8.5% and 12.5% ABV, respectively. So that's fun. (Not fun? They also make a N/A version… boo!)

And so Oranjeboom is the beer of choice for the…err… team wearing orange this summer. The Dutch are the perennial under-achievers of the soccer world coming oh-so-close on way too many occasions, most recently the 2010 World Cup Final against Spain. They were also the bridesmaid twice in 1974 and 1978, but do have one Euro title (1988) to hang their wooden shoes on.

This tournament is Holland's to lose as they enter it, with Spain and Germany, as the favorites as well.

Germany – Tannenzäpfle

By Jobst Elster / The Real Footballer

Euro 2012 is upon us. The German football powerbrokers have made their 23-man squad selection, the youngest and arguably most talented group of the 16 European countries competing for the title of UEFA Euro 2012 Champion come July 1st. Expectations are high, sky high in fact since the last silverware earned by the men’s national team was Euro 1996 and loses to Spain in the Euro 2008 Final and 2010 World Cup semifinal have not sat well with the German faithful. 

Which brings us to the option of drowning your sorrows, with good German beer, beer worthy of the title of ‘offizielles Bier der Deutschen Nationalmannschaft’ (official beer of the German NT) for Euro 2012. For me, as a true ‘Germarican—an exiled German paying too much for German brews in the states –  the beer that most embodies the modern Germany and is enjoyed by the working man as much as the corporate tycoon, much like the love for NT football, is Rothaus Tannenzäpfle, a Pilsner-style beer brewed in Germany’s Black Forest. The beer’s literal translation ‘little pine cone’ and  rustic label all point back to its forestry roots.

The beer much like the German team has made a remarkable comeback within the last 6+ years, morphing from ‘another state owned brewery beer’ to THE cult beverage of Germans of all ages. Tannenzäpfle is the best example of a Southern German Pilsner, and with its ‘bitter meets fruity’ flavor is the ideal brewskie to enjoy during Germany’s run for Euro glory in Poland and Ukraine. While my Euro beer choice may be  controversial perhaps due to the fact that 7 of Germany’s probable starters are Bayern players (think Hefeweizen and Starkbier) or because the likelihood of you finding this beer in the states is nearly nil, I’ll stick by guns and put my Euros on the Tannenzäpfle- German NT combo all day long.

Denmark – Mikkeller

Danish brewing history, you say? Pssshyah! Danish industrialist J. C. Jacobsen revolutionized the world of brewing when his brewery, Carlsberg, bred a pure strain of lager yeast. This enabled the breweries to achieve a large and consistent output, and lager has been the most popular style of beer in Denmark since Carlsberg started selling it in 1847.

Danish soccer history, you say? Pssshyah, again! Denmark owned the 1900s and 1910s in soccer and won the 1992 European Championship, making them Greece before Greece knew it could be Greece. Under coach Morten Olsen his “Olsen Army” has returned to its glory days of the 1980s and early 1990s when the “Danish Dynamite” made their mark on European soccer and Denmark could be a surprise if this “group of death” becomes a war of attrition. More likely, though, they'll be the groups whipping boy. Unfortunate, too, because a weaker group might see them through to the quarter-finals.

Is Danish beer making the same comeback? Sure Carlsburg (uh, those green bottles again…) dominates not only Denmark's beer scene and a large part of the export market as well (including a shockingly high number of exports to beer-mecca Germany), but smaller craft breweries in the country and making them look crazy-old-fashioned.

Meet Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, a former math and physics teacher turned brewer. His Mikkeller craft beers are taking the world by storm and now available in over 40 counties. Their “Beer Geek Breakfast” (a coffee and oatmeal stout) launched them to international fame and is one of the highest rated imperial stouts out there. The perfect beer for those morning Euro games.

Since then Mikkeller has brewed loads of amazing and risky craft beers, including several collaboration beer with state-side breweries.

Will Olsen have the same impact on the 2012 Euros as Mikkeller has on the European (and American) craft beer scene?

Portugal – (Insert Cristiano Ronaldo Beer That Doesn't Exist, Here)

There's no way that there's a beer-equivalent of Cristiano Ronaldo so there's no sense in bothering to try. He seems more of a Red Bull and vodka sort of guy…

Apparently there actually is beer in Portugal and it's been brewed there since Roman times. Even back then the Portuguese national team was over-rated and under-performed on the world stage.

So let's just talk about Ronaldo. With no Leo Messi counter-weight (despite what ESPN's Mike and Mike might have you believe) this could be his tournament to shine. That is, of course, if “The Navigators” (yes, that is apparently one of their nicknames) can survive the group and advance. They've got Manchester United's Nani, Chelsea's Raul Meireles, and Real Madrid's Pepe as a strong supporting cast.

Honestly, just have another Mikkeller for Portugal.

Tags: Beer, The Best of Both Worlds

The Suds and Soccer Show – An Introduction to Craft Beer Styles for Soccer Fans (Episode 1)

 

Uh, oh…. someone put us in front of a camera (we're more of a “face-for-radio” movement).

Free Beer Movement and Scot Metzger of Freetail Brewing Co. (San Antonio, Texas) break down some of the more popular beer styles in the craft brewing world… with a soccer twist.

Shot at North By Northwest Brewery and Restaurant in Austin, Texas.

Produced by Dead Bolt Productions (San Antonio, Texas).

Tags: Beer, Suds and Soccer Show, The Best of Both Worlds

The European Championship 2012 Beer-View: Group A

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.

Cheers!

The Groups

Group A (today)

Group B (Thursday)

Group C (Friday)

Group D (Saturday)

 

Group A

Poland – Tyskie

When you think of European beers your mind probably wanders to Great Britain and certainly Germany, but Poland? Probably not. The same question asked of European football might produce a similar response, but in both beer and football Poland is no slouch.

Tyskie is Poland's most popular beer, filling up 18% of the Polish's glasses, but interestingly enough, it is the most served and bought beer in all of Europe. Quantity doesn't always equal quality, though. Despite a storied history (brewing in the town of Tychy goes back 400 years) the Pale Lager gets mixed reviews; the best of Poland's beer, but compared to other Euro beers it's a far cry.

Poland's national team will find a similar reception at the European Championships. They first qualified for the Euros in 2008 and had disastrous (and failed) run to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. The 1970s and 80s were the high-point of Polish football, finishing third in both the 1974 and 1982 Cups and taking gold in the 1972 Munich Olympics and silver in the follow Games in Montreal.

Poland makes this year's tournament as one of the co-hosts (along with Ukraine) of the Euros.

Will Poland advance out of its group? Probably not, but they'll certainly make life difficult for those who will.

Greece – Mythos

After stunning Europe (and the rest of the world following along) in the 2004 European Championships, Greece has returned to earth. They still sit inside FIFA's top 30, but hardly look like Euro-beaters this year.

For Greece we've gone with the country's second largest brewery, Mythos, because the name fits well with the near-mythological status that Greek football occupied following their 2004 rise. It was a time for team football that frustrated (and sometimes lulled to sleep) opponents. Spain's 2008 Euro (and 2010 World Cup) dominance made the case that a team-oriented game could also be attractive.

Mythos the beer is a favorite of vacationers in Greece (if there are any left there after the economic downturn and austerity-fueled riots), but like any lager that comes in a green bottle you're not going to be too pleased with it.

In a few more years Greece's Euro title will seem less like a myth and more like a dream or arbitration in the global game. They've got a decent chance of getting out of their group, but hoisting the Cup again seems very unlikely.

Russia – Толстяк

If we want to play with stereotypes Russians only drink vodka and there's snow on the ground 365 days a year. Truth-be-told the reality isn't that far off. There are breweries in Russia, but they seem to have everything backwards. Production is down (while global numbers are up) and they categorize their beers by color instead of style.

Our beer of choice out of Russian is Толстяк, roughly meaning “Fat Man”, shockingly served in a plastic bottle like it was a “Code Red” Mountain Dew. Is it good? Probably not, but it might be on the right day. At 6.1% ABV it sports the slogan ” in the company of friends, in a good mood guaranteed”. Sounds like a FBM-type of beer.

Russia's upside-down beer world is surprisingly because one would think that distilling vodka wouldn't be too far a bridge to cross to brewing quality beer. The same goes for Russian's European Championship team. With dominant domestic sides like CSKA Moscow, FC Zenit Saint Petersburg, and Spartak Moscow regularly making (and competing well) in the Champions League and UEFA (now Europa) Cup and players like Andrei Arshavin they really should be putting up more of a fight. With veteran Dutch coach Dick Advocaat at the helm anything is possible.

Czech Republic – Pilsner Urquell

The Czechs have put in over 800 years of brewing so you know that the history is behind the beer.. The soccer, however, has missed the mark. In 2006 World Cup they impressed early by dismantling the U.S. in their first game, but lost Jan Koller and lost steam. The 2008 qualifying campaign saw the Czech Republic easily qualify then flame out of the tournament and they missed out on the 2010 World Cup. The Czech's run to the 2012 Euros took a detour through the playoffs, but they managed to get in. Having Chelsea's Champions League winning keeper Peter Cech between the posts and fellow London-er in Arsenal's Thomas Rodsicky on the pitch substantially make things easier. Even Milan Baros (Euro 2004's leading scorer, remember him?) is still around.

Pilsner Urquell is our beer of choice for the Czechs. It was the first “pilsner” style beer in the world, first brewed in 1842. The world's first light-colored beer became so popular through the Austrian Empire that a special train traveled each day from the Czech city of Plzen to Vienna.

Since 2000, Pilsner Urquell (now owned by SAB MillerCoors) is the largest exporter of beer from the Czech Republic.

Tags: Beer, The Best of Both Worlds

Local Beer, Local Soccer – “Beer in the Land of the Bear: Beer and Soccer Culture in Alabama.”

Good People Brewing Co. showing their soccer love.

By David VanLandingham

Historic Legion Field is best known for its college football history. This stadium in Birmingham, Alabama used to be home to the Iron Bowl, an annual clash between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tigers of Auburn University. This field saw Joe Namath run through the mud and Bo Jackson go over the top. Few know that the stadium attendance record was set for a futbol match and not a football game.

During the first round of the 1996 Summer Olympics soccer tournament, 83,810 fans entered Legion Field to see a group of scrappy yanks take on mighty Argentina. Fans were shocked to see Claudio Reyna give the Americans a lead in the first minute. The United States put up a valiant effort for ninety minutes. Unfortunately, the Argentines proved to be too strong and took the match by a final score of 3-1.

While Alabama might still love football over futbol, a legacy has been established in this state and the state of soccer is strong in Alabama. Birmingham continued to host both the US Men and Women’s national teams until 2003, when the city replaced Legion Field’s natural grass with artificial turf. Legion Field was effectively dropped as a potential venue for future games. While this didn’t help the sport, it definitely did not kill soccer in the state.

Alabama is the birthplace of both Cat Reddick, former national player for the US Women’s team, and Philadelphia Union forward Chandler Hoffman. Hoffman is the first Alabama native taken in the MLS Superdraft. He played college soccer at UCLA where he had an opportunity to come back to Alabama and play one game when Hoover, AL hosted the 2011 Men’s College Cup.

Reddick and Hoffman grew up in a state with an international population thanks to automobile manufacturing, a port city, and a renowned medical school. These factors, among others, have made it a common occurrence to see pick up games where balls are at a person’s foot as opposed to tossed through the air. These pick up soccer games are almost always attended by footballers of multiple nationalities. In fact, it is a fairly rare occurrence to see a game attended by players from only one country.

Combine an international population with the growing popularity of youth soccer and it is apparent why the American Outlaws have begun to take hold of Alabama. Two chapters are currently forming in Birmingham and Mobile. As they garner members, the lone active in the state has welcomed members across the state with open arms. Huntsville is the only current chapter in Alabama and it has been holding strong since June of 2011.

Everyone knows proper American Outlaw chapters cannot exist without good beer. Alabama has that covered. With seven breweries in Alabama, the availability of a good craft brew is not hard to find.

Alabama is known for it’s backward beer laws. Until 2009, beer could not have more than a 6% alcohol volume and it was not until May 16, 2012 that beer could be purchased in containers bigger than 16 ounces. Home brewing is still technically illegal in the state and there are various restrictions on limiting the availability of Brew Pubs.

These laws have not stopped the concerned beer drinkers of Alabama from taking action. Free the Hops, a non-profit advocacy organization started in 20–, has the lead the charge of better beer coming to Alabamians. Their constant phone calls and non-stop advocacy have changed the beer scene in Alabama dramatically over the past few years. Through their tireless efforts, beer drinkers have a much better selection today than they did four years ago and Alabama now has gourmet beer festivals for brewers from all over the world to show off their beverages. As Jason Malone, co-owner and Brewer of Good People Brewing Company puts it, “Case studies should be written on the successful advocacy of Free the Hops.”

While Alabama might not be the bastion for soccer or beer, many of its citizens are looking to change that. Free the Hops and the local breweries are tirelessly fighting to get better beer in this state. The American Outlaws are spreading the “Unite and Strengthen” message every time someone, somewhere steps onto a pitch. There might be a long way to go before everyone enjoys futbol instead of football, but ya’ll are always welcome to come and visit. Until that day, this writer has a date with some Good People.

About David

David VanLandingham is based out of Birmingham, AL and works down the street from one of the Alabama breweries, the Avondale Brewing Company. He played soccer for years until he determined he was a better supporter than a midfielder. He can still be found in the occasional pick up game or adult league. For more information on Alabama breweries, Free the Hops, or the American Outlaws in Alabama please contact him at [email protected]. He is currently helping to form the Birmingham American Outlaws chapter, but he happily will get you in touch with Mobile or Huntsville.

Tags: Beer, Local Soccer Local Beer

The Open Bar – Breweries of the United States Poster from Pop Chart Lab

UPDATE: We've sent an email to the creators of the poster to alert them to the numerous errors we and members of “Beerit” have spotted on the poster. They've suspended production of the print until they've re-done the whole thing. Thanks to everyone here and on Reddit for the help in making this one of the most comprehensive craft brewery posters in the United States.

If you're not already clicking through to buy this we'll just assume it's because you're stunned at its beauty and need a second.

“Pop Chart Lab”, the makers of other awesome beer art like “The Many Varieties of Beer” (t-shirt or print) or the sold out “Breweries of Colonial America” has just released “Breweries of the United States, a massive seven square foot masterpiece of craft beer (and macros) in America.

Last week we learned that craft breweries in the U.S. broke 2,000 and so a few here and there might be missing, but such a project is always going to have a few hiccups and be dated.

Head over to “Pop Chart Lab's” site and you can zoom on the map and see all the little dots and breweries in detail.

Check out all the great FBM gear in our “Swag Store”.

Tags: Beer, The Open Bar

The Open Bar – American Craft Beer Week (May 14-20)

For those long-time readers and followers of the Free Beer Movement you've probably figured out that we're pretty big advocates of not only American soccer, but American craft beer. It's not that we don't partake in the consumption of the Millers, Budweisers, and the Coors of the world.. it's just that as we want more from our sporting experience we also want more from our imbibing experiencing.

The Brewers Association feels the same way and that's why in 2006 they created “American Craft Beer Week” to promote and celebrate the beauty that are craft beers, the breweries that make them, and the establishments that serve them. Cities across the nation host “beer weeks” to highlight craft beer and local bars and this is supposed to be “the mother of all beer weeks”. According to BA over 1,500 official events in 50 states were held in 2011.

For 2012 “American Craft Beer Week” is going to be even bigger. On the BA website you can search for events near you and also by specific brewery. Even if there are only a few events (or none at all) listed in your city definitely hit up the web to search for unlisted or unoffical events. Or contact your local brewery or craft beer bar to check.

Lastly, do yourself a favor and download a copy of the “Declaration of Beer Independence”

The Declaration of Beer Independence has been an integral part of American Craft Beer Week (ACBW) since 2009. It has been signed and shared by tens of thousands of passionate and thirsty beer lovers, hung on the walls of brewery tap rooms across the country, and even carried through the halls of Congress. It also can be seen on display in forward thinking retail establishments, further confirming the importance of diversity in the beer marketplace.

At the very least grab yourself a few six packs and celebrate with some craft beers this week. When you're watching soccer this weekend treat those newbies to the same in your home, at a bar, or your next tailgate.

Cheers!

Check out all the great FBM gear in our “Swag Store“.

Tags: Beer, The Open Bar

The Open Bar – Build Your Own Keezer (aka Chest Freezer Kegerator)

Now this is a must-make for any craft beer enthuiast. Whether it's your own homebrew or you're picking up a couple of kegs to keep at home. Just imagine this baby working at full-tilt when you invite your friends, family, and/or co-workers for a little Free Beer Movement action in front of some soccer?

Northern Brewer, one of the nation's largest homebrewing supply retailers put together this little how-to video so you can build a kegerator from a chest freezer. Why a chest freezer, you ask?

Why not have more than one beer? A chest freezer will afford you the space you need for several brews on tap.

Check out all the great FBM gear in our “Swag Store”.

Tags: Beer, The Open Bar

The Open Bar – Now You Can Plan Your Ultimate Brewery Roadtrip

Last week the Brewers Association released their list of “Top 50 Craft Breweries in America of 2011” (based on sales volume) to much fanfare. Your top five remaines unchanged from last year including: Boston Beer Co (Samuel Adams), Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, The Gambrinus Company (Bridgeport, Shiner, Pete's Wicked), and Deschutes.

Of the top 50, thirty six are small, independent craft brewing. Another fun fact? In the last fifteen years, craft beer has increases its market share from one percent to over six percent. 

Facts and figures are all fun and games, but really you're wondering… “How the heck can I get to all of these mini-beer heavens?

Wonder no more.

An enterprising beer writer (with a bit too much time on her hands) put each of the top 50 into Google Maps so you can see the spread of these breweries nations-wide. More importantly though….

Photo Credit: Heather Vandenengel for Dig Boston

Road trip!

Heading over to the Google Map you can click on any of the 50 breweries and get directions from where you are to where you need to be, like yesterday.

Stop wasting time. Quit your job and get on the road.

Check out all the great FBM gear in our “Swag Store”.

Tags: Beer, The Open Bar

National Free Beer Movement Weekend 2012

Soccer newbies demand you buy them a beer
 
 

This Saturday is “National Beer Day,” the unofficial holiday in which Americans celebrate the return of delicious beer and spirits to the nation's bars and stores with the end of Prohibition in 1933.

Millions of Americans lined up at their local bars, pubs, and taverns (“New Beer's Eve”) awaiting this moment when at twelve midnight they could drink again without fear of their suds confiscated or their speak-easys shut down. Happy days were here again. (In fact, 4,207 liquor licenses were issued in Milwaukee alone on April 7th!)

To celebrate the resurrection of beer drinking in the United States we are encouraging each American soccer fan to exercise that Constitutional right to drink beer and do it this weekend at a soccer game with a soccer newbie.

Celebrate “National Beer Day” by making this weekend “National Free Beer Movement Weekend”.

Without the repeal of the 18th Amendment we wouldn't have delicious, delicious beer. And without said beer we wouldn't have the greatest motivator in the world to build American soccer.

This weekend when you're attending a Major League Soccer game… bring a friend. When you're watching English Premier League match Saturday and Sunday mornings…. bring a co-worker. When you're pulling up a seat to any soccer game that's live on on TV anywhere in this great nation or from anywhere in the world…. save a seat for a family member.

All of these people, in all of these situations, are potential soccer fans and they just need the proper setting, the proper education, and the proper brew, all provided by you, for them to be exposed to the wonderful world of soccer.

This is the perfect weekend to participate. All across Europe there are matches that will make-or-break title contenders and games that will decide the survival of other clubs. And, of course, in our domestic league, the love of our life, the MLS season (and the NASL is kicking off) is in full swing. First Kick has come and gone, but the newness of the season is still alive. Every team is still alive and optimism still reigns supreme.

There are tailgates galore to grab a brew, bars abound ready to fill your pint, and fridges fully stocked to host a gang so why not bring a few new fresh faces along and expose them to the beautiful game?

We want your to share your beers and buds with us. Share the beers you're drinking across the country and the friends that you're introducing soccer to with us. 
 
Tweet or Facebook us with your photos of FBM in action this weekend, National Free Beer Movement Weekend 2012.
 
Cheers!

Historical Note: For many beer nerds, December 5th is the ultimate Prohibition-ending holiday called “Repeal Day” in honor of the final necessary 2/3rds of states (Utah, of all places) ratifying the 21st Amendment. For the Free Beer Movement we're going with this day to honor when President Franklin D. Rooesvelt signed Cullin-Harrison Act became law, official ending the failed Prohibition experiment and allowing beer and other alcohol to flow freely again. Also, since this date falls during the MLS season it makes even more sense.

Get the NEW Free Beer Movement “Pint Glass” shirt! Only from Objectivo.com

Tags: Beer, FBM In Action, Public Service Announcement

The Open Bar – Washington Post’s Beer Bracket

Photo Credit: Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST 

 

The Washington Post held a beer-tasting competition in conjunction with March Madness called “Beer Madness” that features 32 beers from 32 breweries across the United States in four categories: “crisp”, “fruit and spice”, “hop”, and “roast”.

Click here to see all the beers (featured above) and below to see the Post's interview with the host about how the competition works.

 


Side Note: Back in 2007 the FBM held a 64 beer bracket challenge for a bachelor party. The final four? New Glarus (WI) “Naked”, Lakefront (WI) “Riverwest Stein” Amber Lager, Lagunitas (CA) IPA, and Acme (CA) Pale Ale. Held in Milwaukee, WI, it was definitely biased towards homestate brews and our tastes have evolved even further. But we basically wanted to mention that we purchase and drank from 64 six-packs in one night. Phew….

Get the NEW Free Beer Movement “Pint Glass” shirt! Only from Objectivo.com

 

Tags: Beer, The Open Bar

PHOTOS – Redhook Brewing Company’s “No Equal” Amber Lager

Tags: Beer, photography, Through The Drinking Glass

The Best of Both Worlds: NASL Champion Minnesota Stars FC Get Their Own Beer



When the Minnesota Stars won the 2011 North American Soccer League championship cup last fall we're sure they weren't thinking they'd be able to drink a beer made especially for them when their title defense kicked off the following spring.

The Twin Cities-based Northern Brewer, a home brewing store with over 17 years experience and the web's number one retailer of home brewing supplies, just announced a partnership with the club that will put a Stars-specific beer in the hands of their supporters.

Meet “Shining Star” Pale Ale.

In the words of Northern Brewer:
Bright and intrepid, great hops on a grassy backdrop, and superb interplay between all the elements. Wait, are we talking about the beer or the Stars Soccer team? The two converge in this tribute beer to The Minnesota Stars FC, the 2011 North American Soccer League Champions.
To support their worthy efforts we've developed a hop-forward pale ale of the American school. Palisade hops lend a smooth bitterness while Centennial and Columbus provide brisk citrus, pine, and grassy flavors. A measured contribution of crystal sweetness from Bairds Light Carastan rounds out the flavor and makes for a
A sessionable ale, perfect for watching the latest match or unwinding after a game.
Northern Brewer is donating 10% of profits from this kit to the Sanneh Foundation, a charity that focuses on soccer as a way to make a difference in the lives of inner city kids.
Stars FC now join an elite group of teams and/or supporters that have beers made in their honor, but the first home brew that fans can make themselves.

Sporting KC has their “Drop Kick” Amber Ale from Weston Brewing, while supporters of Seattle Sounders have two beers to their name (“Brougham Bitter” from Big Al and soon “No Equal” Amber from Redhook), and Columbus Crew have a pair of local beers renamed for their team.

The beer is now available from Northern Brewers online shop. Even if you're not a Stars FC, but you are a home brewing soccer fan, why not try and brew up this batch?

Get the NEW Free Beer Movement “Pint Glass” shirt! Only from Objectivo.com

Tags: Beer, North American Soccer League, The Best of Both Worlds

In Barcelona, the Soccer Sells the Beer

By Eric Beard / Señor Spanish Correspondent / Editor, A Football Report (@AFootballReport)

Americans love a good beer, and a free beer more so. Catalans, amongst tapas, sangria, fine wine, Gaudi, and Shakira, love their local beer, Estrella Damm. They're also buying it for a new reason this Spring, as it helps them see little Lionel and the rest of FC Barcelona. Not that the average guy or girl in Barcelona doesn't already follow the Blaugrana, but by buying five Euro worth of Estrella, or about 15 beers, you earn a code to get 15 Euro off of a ticket to the Camp Nou.

(Notice the highest rank comment on the Youtube video explaining the promotion. Translated: Drink beer to help Barça!)

So it's unofficially official, the Free Beer Movement has been embraced in one of the last places on earth where it actually needs to be spread. With the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Barça fans in the region of Catalunya, the club has created a fairly intrinsic partnership with its official beer sponsor. The average culé drinks beer at a bar or whenever they have friends over for Friday night copeo, but they also try to go and see Barça at least a few times a season.

The main difference between this partnership and one between, say, Sam Adams and the New England Revolution, is that clearly the PR boosts Estrella more than it does for FCB. In short, it's a variation of the FBM that the FBM could only dream of. Instead of buying a beer to convince your friend to go watch MLS with you, this is, at least to a degree, buying beer to help fulfill your desire to take in the beautiful game.

Following the Free Beer Movement grow and become relatively mainstream amongst the MLS and U.S. Soccer community has been refreshing and unbelievably enticing. Whether it was earning the support of Alexi Lalas or the American Outlaws or Kyle Sheldon (D.C. United's Marketing Director, who's hosting a Free Beer Movement event in May), the mission to “build American soccer one beer at a time” is undoubtedly a noble one. But how exactly can we gauge when the FBM becomes a success and American soccer to here to stay?

Well, that debate is for another time and another place. However, when Sam Adams goes out of its way to create a promotion with the Revs or any other brewery knocking down MLS's door to get in on the action that's when we'll know the FBM has struck a chord. Maybe the FBM ends when MLS and U.S. Soccer fans are able to enjoy a beer with the beautiful game with all their friends for non-ulterior motives, just like the Barcelona beer and footy-lovers who are hitting two birds with one stone.

But as for now, I'm going rogue and using this little Estrella Damm opportunity to convert fellow Americans studying abroad into fans of the game. Converting Spaniards into MLS fans, well that's a job for someone far more ambitious than myself.

About Eric

Eric Beard is the editor of the highly-praised, “A Football Report”. He is a philosophy major and soccer player at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, but is currently studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain.

You can follow “A Football Report” on Twitter here or Eric's personal account.

Tags: Beer, Soccer Marketing 101, The Best of Both Worlds

“Pelada” and Beer: Inseparable


(Editor's Note: You didn't think that we could go one article without mentioning beer, did you? We decided to split our interview into two parts and so here's the article from our conversions about what the “Pelada” filmmakers learned about soccer and beer… something we're very interested in. Read our synopsis of “Pelada” and the regular part of our interview with the filmmakers here.)

There's a scene in the stunning soccer movie “Pelada” where a group of seriously past-their-prime Brazilian men are resting after a brutally poor match they've just played in. The whole game the old men scream and yell at each other about poor touches and scuffed shots oblivious to the fact that they were probably making the exact same mistakes moments earlier.

But it's after the game and that no longer matters. The first and second halves are in the past and they're onto what is referred to as “the third half”. Surround by dozens of empty, half-empty, and soon-to-be empty beers they revel in stories of their past greatness and of the beauty of soccer in general. This is the sport stripped to its core; what's left is the game's fans and, not surprisingly, beer.

For long-time fans, and probably new fans to soccer, it's hardly a shock as to how ingrained beer is in the sport's culture. It's one of the reasons for the foundation and growth of the Free Beer Movement. Soccer and beer; the two are inseparable.

“There are things that you can count on. We were always sharing beers after a game,” says Gwendolyn Oxenham, one of the “Pelada” filmmakers.

The stars of “Pelada” readily acknowledged the fact that they easily could have made a whole movie about the tie-in between beer and soccer.

“Every game that's what you do at the end is that people just start drinking and eating a lot,” Oxenham continues.

Whether post-match in Brazil or pubs in England or in the streets of Austria during Euro 2008 or the living room of Luke Boughen's old soccer teammate from Germany, beer creeps into “Pelada” almost as much as the game itself.

Ryan White, another member of the “Pelada” crew laments the fact that they missed out on many opportunities to further investigate the connections between beer and soccer.

“I think if we'd hadn't been making a movie we would've been drunker a lot more,” he says. “We probably didn't drink as much as we should have.”

The sense of community that both soccer and drinking create that makes them so intertwined argues Rebekah Fergusson, the fourth member of “Pelada”.

“It's those communal activities where you end up, like that one field in Brazil, in a zillion chairs around these teeny-tiny tables with beers being poured. It's just pouring.”

Then it's not surprising that when you combine the world's oldest drink and the world's most popular sport you create at an atmosphere that almost no one can refuse to pass up. Certainly the filmmakers, despite their work responsibilities, found plenty of time to devote to drink.

And in a movie that examines the global appeal of not just soccer, but soccer in its most pure , simple, and prettiest form as pick-up, it's reassuring to know that beer has its rightful place alongside.

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Tags: Beer, Six-Pack Interview Series, Twelve-Pack Interview Series

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