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Hello and welcome to your 7th helping of World Cup blogs, where we identify the strength of the countries by their standard of beer. By now we’ve identified some serious contenders from the first six groups, but what does group G have to offer.
Germany – An absolute powerhouse when it comes to football and beer. This is a team to be feared just because of their sheer choice of options, they have an array of talent to choose from and it should stand them in good stead for this World Cup. When I think of German beer I think of three things, powerful, crisp and delicious. Having visited Cologne, Dortmund, Berlin and Munich a couple of years ago you can see why their beer is so good. It is because they are obsessed with it, the amount of breweries and bars is astonishing and their passion stands out with the precision and quality of their beers. One of my favourite German breweries may be unknown to some but it’s actually the oldest brewery in Germany. Weihenstephaner is said to have been established in the year 1040, that’s 974 years in production! What a beer they still offer, its flavour is like nothing else and just so rich and delicious, especially their Dunkles Starkbier. But maybe this shouldn’t be a surprise as it’s in the beer holy land of Bavaria. Some of the beers that Germany export into Britain are ones like Becks, Erdinger, Franziskaner, Bitburger and Lowenbrau, but one we don’t get in huge amounts is a really peculiar beer called Berliner Weisse. This beer is so different; it is in fact a sour beer mixed with flavourings and syrups, such as raspberry, or woodruff which is a flowering plant. I indeed tried the raspberry flavoured one and it was strange to say the least, almost reminding me of a cider because of the sweetness. Beers of this nature used to be hugely popular in Germany in the 19th century with 700 breweries producing it, but now only 2 breweries in Germany make it, with Pils being the most popular style of beer in Germany. They have a superb chance of winning this world cup because they have quality in abundance.
Portugal – Much like the football team it seems this country’s only hope in the World Cup is pinned on one beer, I don’t think I need to tell you who the footballer is. The beer though is Super Bock, its most exported beer is its original lager beer at 5%, this being a crisp and refreshing beer for a hot day. As with most lagers though the temperature plays a huge part in its taste as its truly only accpectable if its ice-cold. They do also make a range of beers which we don’t really get over here such as a stout and a dark wheat beer called Abadia which I would love to try at 6.4%. Beer in Portugal is huge at the moment and they are actually among the top 11 largest beer producers in Europe. Another lesser known Portuguese beer is Sagres although hugely popular in Portugal. Like Super Bock they are known for their lager at 5%, but they also have a range of other beers such as a Sagres Preta, which is a dark Munich style beer. They also strongly believe in bringing out special beers a couple of times of year, one that caught the eye is a Sagres Preta Chocolate, a chocolate-flavoured dark ale beer, now that sounds delicious. What’s for sure is that beer is huge in Portugal and with the wonderful heat and beautiful surroundings is it really a surprise. I think Portugal have a decent chance of going through.
Ghana – the Ghanaians blew us all away when they competed in the last World Cup, their passionate and colourful fans setting the tone for an already colourful World Cup. They were unlucky not to become the first African team to reach a semi final, mainly thanks to a cheating Luis Suarez. What do they have to offer on the beer front, well really only two beers stand out, Star beer and Club beer. Both of which are lagers mainly due to the fierce heat in Western Africa. It would seem to be the most refreshing option and is the preferred choice of alcohol. According to another blog about Ghanaian life, it is said that when ordering beer the standard bottle size is 660ml, unlike in England, if you wanted a beer more like the size were used to you would have to ask for a ‘mini’ size, something I found amusing. As with the majority of Africa this country also produces Guinness and which is popular with the locals. I’m looking forward to watching the carnival atmosphere that Ghana will bring to the world cup but with Germany, Portugal and USA in their group I think they’ll struggle to get out.
USA – This country is gathering pace, they are getting more and more players to cross the channel to play but this could be affecting the growth of their home-grown players. Their beer is also gathering pace, the popularity of microbreweries and craft beers is growing and were starting to get more and more beer exported to England and sold in our supermarkets. A few names are Brooklyn, Goose Island, and Samuel Adams, these just a few they have to offer. Like England the USA like to give their beers interesting and funny names, one that stands out is Clown Shoes. They have a big range of these beers and they all tend to be pretty strong which is against the norm in American beers. They offer a Tramp Stamp IPA, Brown Angel, Lubrication Black IPA, Hoppy Feet IPA, and a Vampire Slayer to name just a few. What’s also interesting about this brewery is that it is relatively young and it used to be called Ipswich Brewing Company, not named after my home town but an Ipswich in America and they only started make the Clown Shoes range in 2009. I’d love to try one and on our next visit to beers of Europe I think I will. To be perfectly honest when I have tried American beers in the past I haven’t been impressed, their lagers are much like everything else but their craft ale beers are just plain weird to me and they are definitely an acquired taste. This definitely in the case of Blue Moon which to me is bizarre and just plain horrible. So I’m yet to be won over by their ability to create great tasting ales, I would however love to take a trip to America and see what the culture of ale drinking is like in areas of America. I don’t like their chances up against Germany and Portugal so I think they will be out of the World Cup after three games.
Thanks for reading