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This is the second in a series of blog posts about teams in the World Cup. However instead of judging teams on their footballing ability we are rating them on the quality of their beer.
Spain – Reigning Euro and World Cup holders, Spain are the heavyweights of European football. With an abundance of talent within the squad it’s hard to see a weak link, but can the same be said about their beer? The oldest brewery is S.A Damm, situated in Barcelona and established in 1876. The flagship beer from this brewery is a light pilsener called Estrella Damm, what’s more Estrella in Spanish means “star”, something the country hope joins their current one star atop their badge come the 13th of July. This is a popular beer in most of Europe which is also often drunk in Taiwan. This beer should not however be confused with Estrella Galicia, a pale lager that is created in A Coruna by Hijos de Rivera Brewery who boast an annual production is approximately 100 million litres. Diego Costa has stolen the show in terms of the Spanish team’s build up to the World Cup, the beer that has stolen the show in Spain in modern times is Mahou-San Miguel, the leading brand in the Spanish beer market. This light, crisp lager is stupidly popular, and I would have to say the best of a bad bunch from the lager imports in Britain. If form and quality is anything to go by Spain should cruise through this group.
Netherlands – Runners up at the last World Cup, this team have quality and an emergence of young talent. The same could be said about their beer as microbreweries are starting to show us what they’ve got to offer, making the more established breweries take watch. The Netherlands exports the largest proportion of beer of any country in the world. Approximately 50% of production, beers like Heineken and Grolsch are hugely popular in Britain, in fact Grolsch is the leading import lager in Britain. But as stated microbreweries are popular, because they offer something different. Brouwerij De Prael, established in 2002, is a brewery based in Amsterdam and is famous for its beers that are named after singers from the Netherlands, such as Willy, Mary, and Johnny. Another brewery is De Molen, this intriguing brewery has a superb range of beers from pale ales to amber and dark stouts, even a lethal Imperial stout at 11%. The beautiful beer garden culture in the Netherlands make this a great place to explore beer as Jon and I found out when we visited Utrecht a couple of years ago. It just shows their wealth of different innovative beers as I haven’t even mentioned the De Koningshoeven Brewery, famous for their La Trappe beers. These trappist beers are absolutely wonderful and stand as some of my favourites, if you want to find out more about them read this post we did a while back. So their chances are strong in this tournament, they are powerful, skillful and passionate and should make it through this group.
Chile – The Chilean national side are an outside bet amongst the South American teams in this competition, with the onus on the host nation and the other powerhouses to succeed. They have youth and a couple of players that can cause problems to teams, such as Sanchez of Barcelona. When it comes to their beer, they are less known. This could be mainly due to their big production of other countries beers within the country. Their beer also has a few similarities to German beer. This could be due to a huge number of German immigrants during the 18th and 19th century. A positive for this country is that beer is still the most consumed alcoholic beverage and takes 60% of the total market share for alcoholic drinks. The most popular Chilean beer is Escudo from the brewery Cervecera CCU Chile Ltda. As with most Chilean beers this is a pale lager which appeals to the majority of beer drinkers. There is a good amount of microbreweries within Chile, between 70 and 90 in fact, and one that took my eye was the Kuntsmann Brewery. This brewery does a range of beers including bocks and lagers. What’s significant about this brewery is they have an annual beer festival, which is seen as one of the best cultural festivals in Chile. Mahina Brewery is another that is interesting, established in 2011 it was the first brewery on Easter Island, which offers a stout and pale ale. They’ll have to be on top form to escape this group but they might just surprise a few people.
Australia – These lot aren’t being seen as contenders for this group, but they do have a couple of stellar players amongst the squad with Cahill and Jedinak having just had great seasons for their clubs. When it comes to beer there is only one Australian beer that instantly pops into my head, the gruesome Fosters – possibly one of the worst imported lagers to be inflicted to these shores. Moving swiftly on, Australia does have a bit to offer on the beer front. Coopers especially are a well-known brand and has beers that range from 2.9% – 7.5% from very light to very dark. It is also the largest Australian owned brewery due to Fosters being owned by SABMiller who have their headquarters based in London. There are a good number of microbreweries in Australia and one that is interesting is Nail Brewing. This brewery interestingly boasts the most expensive beer in the world, the Antarctic Nail Ale at 4.6% it is a limited-edition ale, made with water melted from a block of Antarctic ice. Now that’s pretty cool, although the first bottle made auctioned for 800 Australian dollars, too rich for my blood. As far as getting out of this group, I don’t think they will but they sure do have some interesting beers.
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