Note from TSG: Late last week, Mark and I got into a little tiff on beers…and thus our Beer & Soccer Review Series was born.
TSG is kicking off the series with a kick*ss piece from Die Hipster Brewing Co.
Die Hipster is a San Francisco miniature-brew founded by my Black Sox soccer teammate Chris Hanson and Scott Riley. I’ve had their beer and all I can say is, “Tasty!” and “Arrange transportation beforehand.”
So without further adu, Die Hipster Brewing and their take on MLS MVP.
In deference to the upcoming MLS Cup, Die Hipster Brewing is proud to introduce and announce the results of the 1st Annual MLS MVP (Most Valuable Pale). We at Die Hipster have been brewing for years and have attempted many styles – from the dull catenaccio of a partial mash ale to the Totaalvoetbal of an imperial bourbon porter. In the process, we’ve all but completely overlooked pale ales, much like most of the globe has overlooked MLS. To remedy this, we spent the summer producing three MLS-themed pale ales in the lead-up to an eventual group judging event to determine an MVP.
Our candidates were chosen based on their sheer “MLSness” (not to mention their paleness).
These three beers are named for three of the hardest working MLS semi-stars whose play has earned them a few appearances for the USMNT but scant European interest and only, it seems, from the Scandinavian part of the continent, which will work doubly in their favor when the Minnesota Thunder finally get their MLS franchise. In the meantime, their current MLS squads are happy to have them.
In creating recipes, we kept within pale ale style guidelines, but went for three different grain mixtures. We used the same yeast (similar to Sierra Nevada’s) for all three. The goal was nothing too crazy or involved, just serviceable pale ales that will do the job without wanting to make real money (read: euros) or get identified on the streets of America.
The first selection, we went with Eddie Gaven. To get ourselves in Eddie’s mindset, we channeled our inner Eddie Gaven and in a specific nod to Gaven’s highly respected and publicized devote and pious nature, we asked ourselves not “WWJD?”, but, with the holidays approaching, “What Would Jesus….Brew?!”
As a result, Gaven’s beer was a fairly basic but a little heavier on the hop schedule – Gaven’s game, after all, is nothing if not bitter – along with some dry-hopping to finish it off. The result was a pretty robust pale that could be mistaken for an IPA in some circles. Not bad for the player who was the youngest to score for the, uh, MetroStars and sports that stubbly beard. Is that perma-stubble-plus?
The second selection went to Kyle Beckerman. Beckerman’s beer had a healthy dose of malt, owning the appropriate moniker ‘Special B’.
Unfortunately, an eighth-inch log of his hair proved difficult to procure in Sandy, UT. This one was also dry-hopped and the ‘Special B’ livened up the overall flavor profile – almost like marking said shorter dude who hasn’t washed his hair in 15 years.
The last selection was Mr. Dax McCarty. In our best deadpan, Dax’s beer had to stand out from the pack. To accomplish this, we replaced specialty grains with malted grains and flaked wheat. The result was a much lighter and drinkable pale that we hope will make an appearance in the 72nd minute in a Friendly possibly against Slovakia. And….wait, yes that just happened. Pretty sure Slovakia’s Martin Skrtel is the only Slovakian player who has ever faced a red head on the field (Scholes) before Dax danced his way on. Sadly the Dax pale was neither made with nor tasted like Ginger.
So who won? The same player that could also be the MLS Cup MVP: Kyle Beckerman by the length of one of his dreads (read: in a malodorous landslide). There were only a small percentage of votes cast for Eddie and Dax. While we also voted for Beckerman, Dax has grown on us quite a bit and is a session pale we were really looking for.
Since our brewery is not a democracy, next summer, Dax will be made again. Perhaps just in time for his cameo in South Africa?
We’ll need nominations for two new challengers to get called up to participate in the 2nd annual MLS Most Valuable Pale. Please nominate below in the poll or the comments.
For more information on Die Hipster Brewing and the MLS Most Valuable Pale recipes.
From TSG: A sincere thanks to Chris and Scott for the good read. If anyone has any questions, about such things as oh “beer” and/or “procurement,” please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll bundle up the emails, float the pigeon and get you a response.