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We’re now on to the second Semi-Final, Netherlands v Argentina. You can see our first beer predictions followed the match pretty well, with a massive 7-1 win to Germany, knocking the hosts out!
Netherlands – The runners-up from time are back fighting for their first win. What beers do you think of when you think of Holland? Grolsh and Heineken. Grolsh being the leading import lager in Britain, and Heineken being the third biggest brewer of beer in the world. So a good start for them with two strong players already, however they export more beer than any other country, by size, so a lot of the talent it seems ends up elsewhere! As stated when we discussed The Netherlands in the group stage, along with these strong favourites are a number of new rising Micro-breweries, producing something different from the usual lager. Jon talked about these rising Micro’s in the group blog here, so I wont mention them too much, but they are the rising stars at the moment. What I would like to briefly discuss, is what I think would be their two star players, which are of course the two Trappist breweries which are the only two of the Ten Trappist Breweries. Six in Belgium, and one in Austria and the US. The first is the Koningshoeven Brewery founded in 1884, and its monks produce the fantastic La Trappe beer, which we all tasted and loved as you can see here. The second is the De Kievit brewery, started in 2013 who produces the beer Zundert, one I am hoping to try soon.
Argentina – The strongest player here has to be Quilmes, which is the beer equivalent to Lionel Messi. You will recognise the light pale beer we get over here, but may not know they produce a complete range of beers, a number of pilsners, lagers, and even a stout and bock. The brewery, founded in 1888 is now a huge brewery supplying beer and soft drinks to a number of countries, but has been taken over by Ambev which has been mentioned, a huge brewing company which owns almost all breweries in South America. This however means a lot of new talent are forced out. Ambev does not like competition, and in Argentina craft breweries struggle to get beers on the scene, as Ambev like to go with its own brands it owns, which are strong players such as Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois, international brands Beck’s, Hoegaarden and Leffe and local champions such as Bud Light, Skol, Brahma, Antarctica, Quilmes, Victoria, Modelo Especial, Michelob Ultra, Harbin, Sedrin, Klinskoye, Sibirskaya Korona, Chernigivske and Jupiler, which is a fair few!
In the beer world, I would have to go with Netherlands for the win. The emerging new beers coupled with some fantastic classics, and then the strong traditional lagers make it a very strong team. Argentina on the other hand, does have a number of great beers, but they all lead back to one company who has complete monetary control over almost everything, and as good as their beers may be, it is suffocating and forcing out newer breweries and beers, so I can’t see them progressing.