(Can someone Facebook this sucker….we need more input!)
If you remember, the genesis of our beer series was a little spat my brother and I had in the comments section about who was the expert of what? From those handbags, came the dawn of the great “Beer & Soccer Review” Series on TSG as well as the second installment today.
For those that missed our first installment, it’s going to be tough to beat. Kyle Beckerman’s very-own Pale Ale….we’ll try our best. (By the way, when we gave the beer to Kyle he walked away and said to Geoff Cameron, “Dude! I have my own beer!”)
We’ve composed a panel of experts–minus the TSG crew on hand–to help us select the appropriate brew for the appropriate USMNT event.
Need a bevy recommendation for the next USMNT friendly? Just scroll down here.
Not sure what to stock for the June 12th affair with the Queen? Look no further.
First, our panel of experts:
He’s a man with too many USMNT jerseys. He’s got a blog and a dream…and it has to do with beer. Say hello to Dan from the Free Beer Movement. He’s going to be like the Simon Cowell of this thing; I can feel it. I mean c’mon the guy grew up in Milwaukee and now lives in Texas. Beer, beer, beer!
He owns the only establishment in the greater San Francisco area that carried the English telecast of the States-Honduras qualifier in October….and he’s not even American. Don’t judge him…let him judge something greater than us all. Welcome Steve Pritchard, owner of Danny Coyles in San Francisco’s Lower Haight district.
This next guy makes the USMNT his business….no….really….he does. Justin Brunken, the “Vice President” of the American Outlaws. He’s got to know a thing or two about the Stars and Suds, right?
Next up, a bar owner from Chicago who’s got a passion for the Fire….and tweets like someone’s about to break his laptop. This gentleman was the first man to hitch up that Honduras news feed and his bar was nominated for Best Soccer Bar by US Soccer. A TSG howdy to Phil McFarland of SmallBar.
And playing sweeper, you have the The Shin Guardian crew, Matthew and Mark…..whose knowledge, or precisely lack thereof, is about to get exposed.
A single formula of situation, then recommendation and away he go:
• Drinking Away A Bitter Loss to Mexico
Matthew, TSG: I’ll kick it off……harkening back to the USMNT’s most recent excursion to the Azteca when beer and piss (sometimes indistinguishable in both color and taste…I presume) were unleased on Landon Donovan on a 2nd half corner kick, I basically go with something as opposite to a beer that would be draught in Mexico as possible. So give me a Beamish or Guinness. Give me a Beamish….I don’t like this tradition of losing.
Phil, SmallBar: Absolutely no Mexican beer or tequila gets sold to anyone if we lose to Mexico. We won’t sell it. So that’s out. (We also banned sales on Czech beers for a while during World Cup ’06)
Steve, Coyles: If you can’t beat them… join them… they don’t drink Corona much down there… make the more refined choice and bemoan poor refereeing decision while downing a Negra Modelo.
Dan, FBM: I’d try and have on hand for before, during, and after the most all-American beer that exists. Something incredibly flavorful that just screams “USA!” Frank Zappa once said, “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.” I think that beer might be Rogue’s American Amber Ale. It was the “world champ” at the 2005 World Beer Championships and won the “gold” at the 2006 competition. Now that’s a good AMERICAN beer.
After getting sufficiently drunk off of American exceptionalism I’d take a case of Corona out of the closet and work off the frustration of a Mexico loss by taking it out on their beer.
Picture bottle after bottle smashed in a post-match cleansing process to work off any remaining rage. And, yes dear, I’ll go get the mop and broom now that I’m done with my little tantrum.
Mark, TSG: A bitter loss requires a comfort beer, preferably one with a high alcohol content. So, I’m going to the motherland (Poland) and picking the 9.5% ABV, smooth as honey, Zywiec Porter. Order a large and drink slow as the loss to Mexico takes some time to get over.
Justin, AO: Probably a whiskey-vodka here, because I need to forget fast and hard! I know it’s not beer, but I don’t think beer will get the job done in this case.
• A Visit to USMNT January Camp at Home Depot Center in…uh…January
Steve, Coyles: When there is no real soccer to watch, best to get wasted and tell your friends how much you love them. An IPA perhaps? Big Daddy from SF’s Speakeasy brewery will do the trick.
Justin, AO: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, since I won’t be tailgating (security and rules on tailgating suck there), I can have myself a good bottle of a
California hoppy beer, at the local Off Campus Pub, across the way. Which is where I will be for before the upcoming LA friendly. And I love my IPAs.
Dan, FBM: I haven’t tried them yet, but in light of their call ups to the January camp I’d love to get my hands on the Die Hipster Most Valuable Pale Ale series honoring Kyle Beckerman, Eddie Gaven, and Dax McCarthy. I imagine sitting on the sidelines, listening to Coach Sweatpants bark at the boys, while sipping on a 22 oz of their likenesses would be quite satisfying.
Of course, I can also imagine it being a bit uncouth to be drinking a beer at the HDC training group and quietly being escorted off the premises by security before getting through all three MVP brews.
Mark, TSG: January camp is for the hopeful contributors and for those with something to prove. The beer of choice should steel the nerves and not upset the stomach. It should be bold but not overpowering. For that, I go with an American original, Anchor Steam.
Phil, SmallBar: Something easy drinking and kind of low ABV like a Lagunitas Pils. With none of the real starters there, the level of play is gonne be kind of disappointing and/or boring, there’s no point in getting too big a buzz or drinking anything too crazy.
Matthew, TSG: Well, when TSG went to camp it was a muggy day. Those allowed into practice are sequestered in a small area off to the corner and guarded by the press officer. Conversely, though sunny and hazy, we’re talking about a camp in the middle of January, not August and we’re talking about sun glorious sun, not sleet and snow.
So in a nod to the liberation, a la Shawshank, of wrongly imprisoned citizens, I am going with a celebration ale and my favorite is Fuller’s 1845. It’s about the only time I can sneak an English batch in here for a USMNT beer piece.
• Settling into your standard, garden-variety USMNT friendly
Phil, SmallBar: I go for size of brew when I’m watching a game since it’s usually busy and you’re better off not needing a server too often for a refill. Liter mugs of a lager like Carlsberg of Hofbrau. Awesome. A 16oz can of the official beer of US Soccer, Budweiser will do in a pinch … but only in a big boy can.
Justin, AO: For all US games, it’s Pabst Blue Ribbon. It’s always PBR if I can help it. This is my beer of choice, it always has been. When I walk into a bar, they just hand me one, because they know. I also consider it my lucky beer for US games, and I would surely not want to jinx it. For the occasional morning game, you just add orange juice to your PBR, and there you go, your morning vitamins too. You never want to not drink during a US game.
Matthew, TSG: Again I’m sticking with something lighter. At the beginning of the game, I’m very invested in the data coming across the screen and the entire pitch as oppose to focusing on the run of play (as I tend to do towards the end of the game.)
Questions like, who’s positioned where…is the USMNT coming out attacking? Where are Mikey B and Rico situated…are the first offensive forays long balls over the top or passing in concert up the wing? Are Spector and Gooch communicating? Is one of Dempsey’s (hip, hip, hooray on the news man) socks already by his ankle?
With beers I typically burn out on favorites in a year or less and may gradually come back to them. Well, the Scrimshaw Pilsener-style brew from North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg, NorCal has been my favorite beer for over two years now. It’s solid, does not pop our taste buds like a Belgium. In short, it’s not a distraction from the game and it’s pure quality. A perfect brew, and not only for your run-of-the-mill friendly.
TSG just did a controversial piece on selecting a different nickname for the USMNT, well I might spark controversy again and suggest that Scrimshaw become the official All-American brewski.
Steve, Coyles: Has to be a quintessential yank beer. I don’t care if you have a refined palate, this is definitely a “God Bless America” moment. Gotta go with a Bud!
(Note from Matthew: Hey Steve, you know Bud is now owned by a Belgium company, right?)
Mark, TSG: A USMNT friendly is all about relaxing and watching the boys put on a good show. I like a little flavor and beer that goes well with some snacks. If you don’t follow Dan’s advice for a “friendly” and buy a friend a beer who watches the game with you, I don’t know what to tell you.
Dan, FBM: Given that I’d probably take this game in from the comforts of home it comes down to what we’re feeling that evening. Lately, the FBM has been loving the simple, yet still hoppy Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Its the perfect beer that you can have several of without getting overloaded with hoppiness from a standard Indian Pale Ale. Sometime those IPA (which we love) try to knock you on your ass and you can only do one or two, but Sierra Nevada has a good balance. Plus, it’s not all that expensive which is nice when we need to save money to buy others free beer.
• Pre-game warm-up with the American Outlaws in the parking lot
Justin, AO: (How could we not put him at the top of the pecking order on this question.)
Pabst Blue Ribbon again, that is my day of game beer of choice. Light, Delicious, and totally American. You can’t have any heavy beer on game days, if you want to make it through the game and the night.
Matthew, TSG: Well as an elder statesmen, in my opinion, I need to set an example and not get hammered. The TSG community needs me to review the game and give away the Golden Shinnies. But I also don’t want to don a Coors Light in this group and come across like a liteweight–my writing career might be over.
I’m also no Frankie Hedjuk.
So I’m going with a beer that I can almost sip here, has a strong taste and will not be scoffed at, but also one that is not pretentious…that’s the last way I want to come off. Oh, and it certainly has to be American with this crowd.
So I am going with the following set-up….a Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery in beautiful Bend, Oregon (home of Mt. Bachelor snowboarding and just down the highway from the Timbers new digs) and I’m going with a very colonial American brew, a Yuengling Lager in my back pocket as the back-up or next choice to support not only the new Philly Union squad, but K.M. Morris who writes on the new MLS squad and hails from Syracuse, NY where I went to broadcasting school.
I get both coasts and gifting that Yuengling to someone is a savvy veteran move.
Mark, TSG: Matthew and I are definitely representing the post-30 crowd here as my first thought was:
What beer won’t get me too hammered before the game?
With that in mind, I am going with the old standby, Bud Light. And I’m bringing it in cans.
Steve, Coyles: Briefly take the Star Spangled Banner bandana from over your mouth and drink a Stella Artois it sure as hell gets the euros crazy before a game.
Dan, FBM: While Matthew took the high road and declared his intentions to avoid getting drunk the FBM will play yin to his yang. Last time I was at an AO pre-game tailgate was for the US-Costa Rica qualifier and so I’ll use that as a point of reference.
»Step 1: Arrive…. get wrist band for easy access to food and drink.
»Step 2: Load up on goods from the grill…. one must have a strong base for drinking.
»Step 3: Sample from each of the many kegs provided by match day host. One beer from Guinness, Bell’s Two Hearted, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Leinenkugels, Miller Lite, Bud Light… maybe back for another Bell’s Two Hearted Ale (probably the best beer on the planet).
»Step 4: Hand of Justice…. beer bongs of the crappy stuff
»Step 5: Gin from a bucket
»Step 6: World spinning….. need WATER!
»Step 7: March and sing and cheer like nothing on earth! USA!
• USA vs. England on June 12th
Phil, SmallBar: Strictly domestic brew, I’ll be going to easy drinking, big portions so I don’t have to fight the crowd to get the next round in. If I were a gamblin man, I’d say 16oz cans of Budweiser again. It’s what I was drinking during the last Honduras WC qualifier … we all know how that worked out and I attribute it to me choice in brew.
Steve, Coyles: I’m English, you’re gonna lose this one… Newcastle all round!
Justin, AO: Well, I’m going to be in South Africa for the game, so I’m not sure what South Africa has for beer, I heard Miller, but I’m not a fan, so
what ever is local, I will take. Preferable something in a bottle too, just in case things go down, I have something to protect me.
Dan, FBM: After printing out poster-sized version of the American War of Soccer Independence pictures we made to decorate the wall and putting on my suit made entirely out of red, white, and blue fabric we’d settle in for the match with our favorite soccer buddy (you know him as “Nick” on the TSG boards).
Nick loves John Smith’s brews and Newcastle , but since those are English we’ve dumped all that sh*t in the Boston Harbor before the game. The ultimate slap in the face to the English would be having an American version of their beloved IPAs. Our are hoppier and, in my opinion, much tastier. So we’re drinking Stone Ruination IPA the ultimate hop-bomb. That’ll show those dastardly Brits whose boss.
Matthew: Fullers, St. Peter’s (Damn), Boddington’s go to the floor or out the door.
Newcastle, Dear Steve….”Prepare To Be Relegated!”
The game I believe is an early morning one maybe 10am my time. You know what…I’m not drinking for this one…too nervous…maybe, gulp, a mimosa….calm the nerves, calm the nerves.
C’mon a Mimosa! Pabst Blue Ribbon…in a can.
Mark, TSG: This is when I wish I liked Sam Adams brews so I could evoke some of that revolutionary spirit of our Founding Fathers for this tussle with the crown. Alas, that is not the case. So, I will be toasting the start of World Cup ’10 and the spirit of our hosts with a true wonder-beer, Mac & Jacks African Amber.
• USMNT is locked in a ferocious battle with Germany, Serbia or Ghana in it’s first semifinal game
Dan, FBM: First off…. absolutely no beers from Germany, errrr Serbia (that means no Jelen Pivo by Apatinska Pivara), or double-errr Ghana (that’s right put away the “Star”). We mean business. It’s hard to admit, but if the Nats are in the semis we might be too nervous to drink. Either that or I drink because I’m nervous.
Honestly, there’s nothing more comforting, and at this point we’re going to need a comfort beer, than a micro-brew from our old home of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We’re partial to Lakefront’s Riverwest Stein. Brewed in the neighborhood we lived in, it’s an amber lager that goes down smooth. Perfect for settling the butterflies (ie getting the butterflies drunk) in our belly.
Steve, Coyles: JESUS!!! WILL SOMEONE JUST BRING ME A BEER!!!
Matthew, TSG: Can’t talk right now either. You could probably pour me a pint of gasoline and I’d never pick it up or I’d drink it down and wouldn’t know the difference…..well until that Dumb and Dumber moment a little later….you know what I’m talking about.
Mark, TSG: A big beer, so I don’t have to take my eyes off the tube. In the unlikely event of a goal by the bad guys during stoppage time that could potentially cause me to possibly launch my beer across the room…I’m definitely going with a can…a Foster’s oil can.
Justin, AO: I would love to be able to get the Rogue Dead Guy Ale in South Africa, a German Maibock that is made in American, which is the best German-style beer out there. We can brew beer better than them, and sure enough we can play some soccer better than them. It also just sounds appropriate for revenge, after the 2002 World Cup.
– Celebrating your squad hoisting the World Cup
Matthew, TSG: Okay, in this case I’m making like Frankie Hedjuk, likely standing on the closest auto to me….and you know what…I’m going with a few of those Miller High Life mini-bottles…easiest way to unleash celebration. Good name for the occasion too.
Phil, SmallBar: I can’t even imagine what I would do if actually won a world cup. I do hope it happens in my lifetime and I should probably cellar something exotic and domestic now so that when the time comes I’m ready with something special.
Dan, FBM: This one is going to require some work and probably lots of “shipping and handling,” but we’d celebrate this momentous event by tracking down the top micro-brews from each host city and cheers-ing to each. Hopefully our nationwide network of FBMers could help us find all the best host-city based brews. During our celebration tasting we’d book flights and hotels in all the cities for the ultimate FBM road trip!
Steve, Coyles: I understand Miller High Life is the champagne of beers… as Mick Dundee might say… “you can live on it but it tastes like shit”. Note: If one remembers the night of a world cup win, one was not there.
Justin, AO: I probably won’t be drinking any beer at this point, because I will be pouring it on myself and the poor soul who is next to me. So I will go with Olympia Beer, since it is only water anyways.
Mark, TSG: That beer is getting sprayed all over the place, so whatever beer doesn’t stain the walls? Once things settled down, I’ll settle in with an Oskar Blues Brewery Ten Fidy Imperial Stout. Yeah, Imperial Stout sounds about right. “Imperial” means “regal” or “grand” while, given the US style of play, the defense will have certainly been “Stout.”
And that’s how we do it. Now gear up for your garden-variety friendly this weekend.