Beer & Soccer Series: 23 For South Africa

Special for The Shin Guardian.

FBM: The analysis you've really been craving...

Boy, that guy over at the Free Beer Movement is…blowing UP! Actually, TSG has had a longstanding camaraderie with the guys over at the Free Beer Movement. Along with the American Outlaws, they were one of the first supporter groups to validate TSG as a decent place to discuss pitch escapades and the Red, White, & Blue. If you don’t know about the Free Beer Movement, check it out… it’s a great effort to interest new folks in the global game.

Dan, who hails from Milwaukee, but now lives in Coolville, USA (Austin, TX), has been a frequent contributor to TSG’s comment section and lent a hand in the last in entry in the Beer & Soccer Series: What’s Your Yankee Brew? Check it out.

Dan is back today to match up a few beers with a few of the players that will likely be traveling down to Pinotage country (and a few that won’t) to do battle for the United States. Thanks Dan; 23 beers for South Africa.


With the World Cup only a few months away soccer pundits across America are filling out their 23 tickets to South Africa for the United States Men’s National Team.  We at the Free Beer Movement have never claimed to be good at punditry (we’re usually drinking too much during games to take notes and the such), but despite that fact we’re going to give our picks to make the plane across the pond.

Frankie Hejduk raising the MLS Cup last year...likely full of suds...

A few caveats: We’re assigning each member of the Nats a beer that we think speaks most highly to whom they are as people and as players.  Is it random? You bet, but we’ve got nothing else productive to contribute to the American soccer community than tongue-in-check crap like this.

Additionally, we’ve never claimed to be any good at the “analysis” part of the game.  The players we’ve chosen to make the starting 11 and the final 23 don’t necessarily mean that’s our strongest side for South Africa (Example #1 is Frankie Hejduk… yup… he’s on board… but only because of our continued love affair with the “Great Haired One”) it means it’s either our best guess or because we found the perfect beer to match them with and that makes for better writing.

Lastly, we didn’t write this to get hammered on our squad selection from a “Where’s so-and-so” or “you omitted this guy and that guy”. We wrote it so you could get hammered with our creative beer squad selections.

Now suiting up for the U.S. National Team….

Thanks have choosen wisely...

Goalkeeper – Tim Howard as Portsmouth Brewery “Kate the Great” Imperial Ale

* Kate the Great? We think they meant “Timmy the Great”.

* Despite the Evertonian’s taste for light beers we’re going heavy for the big man between the sticks.

* Generally one of the strongest types of beers and Timmy fits the bill.

* The word “Stout” originally was meant to describe someone who is “proud” or “brave”.

* Howard is a whole-package keeper and great in stressful/emergency situations (i.e. Confed Cup against Spain, 2009) and in an emergency a stout could be your whole meal!

* We’ve read before that Imperial stouts pair well with New York cheesecake and for this New Jersey native that’s close enough!

The Back Four

Vintage Boca Beer...

Left Defense – Carlos Bocanegra as Kronenbourg 1664

* This pale lager pairs well with our pale left back.

* As France’s #1 beer we’re thinking that he makes the list as one of Ligue Un’s best defenders as well.

Centerback – Oguchi Onyewu as Newcastle Brown Ale

* How could we not go with the brew from the same city as the club that gave Gooch his big Euro-league break through? While the stripes of Newcastle FC never quite worked out for him, the Newcastle Brown Ale is a perfect beer fit.

* A smooth beer that’s lightly hopped. Just like Gooch’s defense… smooth and with the 40 ounces of height he’s got there’s no need for anything more than light hops.

* “The taste you’ve come to know and love,” Brewpub guy on Newcastle’s website. We’ve got the same feeling for the big man’s defensive style too. Powerful and unshakable… despite a few blunders he’s USMNT material through and through.

Centerback – Jay DeMerit as Miller High Life

* A Wisconsin boy deserves a beer born and raised in Wisconsin (Milwaukee) as well.

* Certainly has been living in the “high life” as captain of English Championship side Watford after walking on to squad.

* Has solidified himself as the “Champagne of the Central Defense” after solid performances for the Nats (esp. against Spain last summer).


Right Defense – Jonathan Spector as Old Style

* We know that Old Style is another Milwaukee beer, but they’re also the choice of Spector’s hometown Chicago Cubs (boooooo!) so we’ll let it slide.

* Another blue-collar beer for another blue-collar defender, Spector has taken plenty of knocks and keeps on showing up at the USMNT party (just like this beer… where do you get this anymore!?!?).

* Because of his grandparents’ Germany ancestry Spector got on the fast-track to play in England by snagging a German passport.  German roots are strong with Old Style as well as the beer uses the centuries-old double fermentation process of “kraeusening” to brew their beer.

The Midfield

Clint Dempsey, A LoneStar...

Left Mid – Clint Dempsey as Lonestar

* Just like Lonestar, Deuce is a good ol’ Texas boy born and raised in Nacogdoches.

* For the better part of the year has been the “lone star” in Ray Hodgson’s solid Fulham squad.

* Can be really refreshing sometimes or completely not what you were hoping for when you get it.

Center Mid – Michael Bradley as Stone Ruination India Pale Ale

* Baby Bradley’s hard tackling style means “ruination” to opposing midfielders and forwards.

* Sometimes too “hoppy” or rash (Bradley’s Jr. and red cards anyone?).

* Honestly… how did this kid come from daddio? They’re like two totally different people. (Scroll down for our Coach Sweatpants pick)

Center Mid – Maurice Edu as National Bohemian Beer

* The Rangers FC man used to feature for the Maryland Terrapins (located in College Park outside of Baltimore) while “Natty Boh” was THE beer of Baltimore up until the brewery closed in 1978 (kept alive by Miller today).

* Edu’s nickname rhymes with “Mr. Boh” the one-eyed, handlebar-mustachioed spokes-logo of National Bohemian Beer.

* National Bohemian’s style is a pilsner also known as “the world’s first golden beer” and Mo Edu also happens to be Rangers’ first American to win an Old Firm Derby match with his “golden” stoppage time goal. Some great firsts!

Founded 1758: The Old Brewery in Tadcaster where Sam Smith is brewed

Right Mid – Landon Donovan as Samuel Smith Beers

* Completely under-rated in the U.S. (by the majority of beer drinkers or sports fans).

* Hardly flashy. Always solid. (Unless served with pork)

* An English favorite that is better had in England (“We mean it’s good here, but it’s even better over there.”)

* We heard it could be great in South Africa with the proper Cup.


Charlie Davies as Rockbottom Brewery Restaurant and Brewery “Miracle Ale #2”

* We’ve never had this beer before, but there were too many references we could use to pass it up.

* Rock Bottom? That’s where Charlie was back in October 2009 after his horrific car accident. He nearly died and his professional career hung in the balance.

* Miracle #1? Davies survived and rehabbed his injury to being almost ready to set foot on a pitch in about five months. Early predictions had him out for at least a year.

* Miracle #2? Davies is our pick to be in the starting 11 on June 12th against England.

* The Shin Guardian boys love “Charlie in a Bottle” and here you have it.

Jozy's still scarier to central defenders...

Jozy Altidore as Stone Arrogant Bastard American Strong Ale

* We’re not resorting to name-calling here, but Jozy’s got some feistiness and we like it.

* Keeps taking those knocks in the EPL and comes back “strong”.


Bob Bradley as Three Floyds “Pride and Joy” Mild Ale

* Coach Sweatpants is about as “mild” as they come (that was an easy joke).

* Bradley’s “pride and joy” plays right under his nose.

* Unlike his “hoppy” son, Bradley the Elder rarely shows ANY emotion.

* Quality flavor, from an unexpected source, American version of a rare English style.

Coming Soon: the SUBSTITUTES

32 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by todd on 2010/03/23 at 10:03 PM

    gotta say i’m offended you used some non-american beers.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/23 at 10:05 PM


      Stu Holden was born in Scotland and Jermaine Jones was born in Germany…I’d like to have them starting in South Africa…

      Dan will be by tomorrow in the comments as well…


    • There’s no sense in denying that some of our players have “European flavor” so we’ve assigned beers accordingly.


  2. I’m not much of a beer connoisseur (IMO alcohol tastes terrible) but I found this hilarious.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/23 at 10:18 PM

      Evan…you have obviously not sat through a USMNT World Cup qualifying game…kidding…. :>


      • Well first of all I’m 20 so I clearly haven’t ever drank anything before (obviously) and second, I like to actually remember the games I watch. Not to knock on anyone who likes to party during the games. I’d rather watch them seriously and then party later.


    • I got to tell you, getting a tad sauced really makes the Canada/Honduras Gold Cup Quarterfinal a lot more fun before you get into the proper hype zone for the USMNT/Panama match to follow. Nothing like a couple of Labatt’s in the early afternoon to bring out your true love of Paul Stalteri.


  3. I propose we assign Blue Moon to Conor Casey, because that’s about how often he plays well for the USMNT.

    (Plus it’s brewed in Colorado, just like Mr. Clean himself)


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/23 at 10:29 PM

      TSG needs to get the Comment Hall of Fame nominees going…there is, however, a reason we are delaying.


      • Posted by Kevin on 2010/03/24 at 2:00 PM

        Why are you delaying? I remember seeing a nomination article but never a inducted article.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/24 at 2:01 PM

          We are delaying….because we are trying to get Jimmy Conrad to select the nominations to his Wing….damn MLS CBA thing.

          There I let the cat out of the bag…I think though we’ll have to do one update before then.


        • Posted by Kevin on 2010/03/24 at 4:45 PM

          Matt that would be hilarious. Great idea and sorry I got you to say your “surprise” I didn’t really expect an answer


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/24 at 6:38 AM

      That is pure class.


  4. Posted by Kevin U. on 2010/03/23 at 10:55 PM

    Being from Chicago I love the Old Style and it goes good for drowning out the memories of another heart breaking season from my cubbies


  5. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/24 at 6:44 AM

    FBM: this is a brilliant article, I love it!

    As Spector is an East End boy, I would have went with an IPA (as it became popular with the East India Traders back in the day (1700s?)).

    Bradley – has to be a Shandy…


    • I’m guessing you are referring to the Elder Sweats being a Shandy…

      If you’d have asked me 12 months ago I’d have had to disagree with Bob Bradley being a Mild Ale, (though the reasoning is spot on for his current form) I viewed him more along the lines of an O’Douls: it looks like a beer, tastes kind of like a beer, but doesn’t quite do the same job as a beer.


  6. Posted by Tom on 2010/03/24 at 7:21 AM

    High Life is a nice choice for Mr. Demerit and especially considering it has a fine reputation with hipsters and bikers, and with all Jay’s tattoos it seems he’d fit in fine in either company. PBR would have been a fine alternate choice for all the same reasons.

    Thought-provoking post for sure.


  7. Posted by Peter on 2010/03/24 at 7:49 AM

    This is just about the perfect description of Lone Star– “Can be really refreshing sometimes or completely not what you were hoping for when you get it.” — though as recording secretary of the Austin chapter of Clint Dempsey Can Do No Wrong and You Shut Up if You Think He Can, LLC, I’d argue with its association with Deuce.

    Given his look last week against Juve, maybe another Texas beer could work for Dempsey, however … Shiner. (What was with his eye anyway? I never saw anything about it, but it looked like he’d been in a fight.)


  8. I had this written last night on my phone as I was going to bed then lost it, soo…

    As a Texan/USMNT fan/beer appreciator I feel like we need a better choice for Dempsey, Lone Star just isn’t what I think of when it comes to really good Texas beer. A few suggestions:

    Shiner Bock – the unofficial beer of Texas for a player who would undoubtedly be our national team captain were Texas to secede from the Union.

    St. Arnold’s Divine Reserve #8 – because what has Clint been but a divine reserve #8? (Either as a sub v Juventus or moving up to striker in the Confed Cup. Sorry, there’s no Divine Reserve #23 yet.)

    Independence Freestyle Wheat – needs no commentary.


  9. Posted by Robby on 2010/03/24 at 11:25 AM

    I am also from Milwaukee and also now reside in Coolville, USA (Austin, TX). We should probably drink beer and watch soccer one of these days.


    • hit me up with an e-mail I usually watch games at Cuatro’s when I happen to actually leave my couch.


      • Posted by Stiggity on 2010/03/24 at 9:56 PM

        I also reside in the greatest city in the world: Austin, TX (and formerly in Berkeley, matthewinsf). Although I will sadly be moving soon. But let me know when you guys meet up bc 1) I really really enjoy beer and 2) am obsessed with soccer.

        Some other options for Deuce:
        Live Oak: Big Bark (obvious) or Liberation Ale (for when Texas secedes from the US, like cfig suggests)
        Real Ale: Lost Gold IPA (bc Deuce is either Lost or Gold for the USMNT), Pheonix Double ESB (same reasoning), or Fireman’s #4 (just because I love it so much)
        Or whatever is on the Special Hop Tap at Uncle Billys Brew & Cue

        (Sorry I got a little carried away with this one)


      • Posted by Stiggity on 2010/03/24 at 9:58 PM

        Also, check this out if you didn’t know about it already:

        (Not sure if I’m allowed to post links so sorry in advanced if I’m not supposed to)


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/24 at 10:18 PM

          Stiggity — we allow links for that that contribute valuable commentary over time…which I believe you do.


  10. Posted by Gino on 2010/03/24 at 11:43 AM

    The emphasis of your beer selections are obviously weighted heavier than your player choices and that’s fine with me, although I wouldn’t argue much with who you picked anyway. As a nearly native San Diegan, I’m proud to see Stone Brewery feature with not one but TWO places on your roster. FBM obviously have done their research in their quest to identify the tops in hops. Cheers!


    • Hells yeah. Stone Brewery is in my top five favorite breweries in the U.S. Matthew even promised we’d hit up the tour and beer garden when I come and visit TSG HQ.


  11. […] FBM: Back when we named our South Africa Squad in Beers we chose Miller “High Life“ (Milwaukee, WI) for DeMerit and we’re sticking with […]


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