Friday, 11 July 2014

World Cup - Final Four

The final four countries can be split between two top beer nations and two nations somewhat lower down the scale.  It has been quite a trawl around the internet beer companies to source beer from as many of the nations taking part but thanks to Beer Hawk, Beers of Europe and Beer Merchants I managed to come up with an interesting selection for most countries.  I'm not quite sure why some of these beers ever get imported however but there must be a market for them.  On the other hand I have been pleasantly surprised by quite a few of these beers too.  If you want to read my previous posts you can catch up here.  

Quarter Finals           

The best of this little lot came from Holland as with the tournament as a whole.  The Germans have been consistent throughout and the French surprised me with some interesting and tasty beers too.  As an exercise in learning more about world beers it has certainly proved successful and there are plenty of beers I will go back to.  

Sunday July 13th Germany v Argentina

I was wanting a beer nation to win the World Cup so I was giving full support to Germany with a couple of beers - one for each half.  Sadly I ran out during extra-time but Germany managed to eventually get the winning goal with minutes remaining.  I began with this black beer from Koestritzer (4.6% ABV) and an excellent beer it is.  The brewery is located in the state of Thuringia in central Germany and is part of the Bitburger empire.  This beer is made with pale malt, Munich malt and roasted malt.  It is very nearly black and looks and tastes like a mild.  The roasted malt flavours are to the fore and there are some nice gentle spicy notes in there too from the Huller and Hallertau hops.  The finish is very smooth with a creamy feel to it and this is my favourite German beer of the tournament so far.  I loved it.       

For the second half I chose a classic wheat beer (5.4% ABV) from the Weihenstephan brewery based in Munich.  The 'Holy Stephen' brewery is reputedly the oldest brewery in the world dating back to 1040.  The brewhouse is now modern of course and this beer is made from a blend of barley and wheat malts and is lightly hopped with the traditional Hallertau variety.  The aroma is yeasty with hints of banana and nutmeg.  The appearance is golden and cloudy.  This is everything I expect from a wheat beer.  The flavour is very slightly sour, floral and aromatic with a fruity and spicy finish.  It is not my favourite beer style but when it is done well it is a refreshing change and I enjoyed it this evening as much as I enjoyed the winning goal.  A fitting finale to what has been an excellent tournament.                

Match score 1-0 (after extra time).  Beer scores 8/10 and 7/10.

Saturday July 12th Holland v Brazil

The third place playoff match must be the most meaningless game in football but I was happy to give this Belgian / Dutch beer a go.  This beer from brewster Hildegard van Ostaden is brewed at the La Trappe brewery in the Netherlands rather than the Urthel brewery in the Belgian town of Ruiselede.  Hop-It is a 9.5% ABV beer which mixes the traditional Belgian style ale with the American tradition of heavy hopping.  Light golden in colour it has a strong boozy aroma.  It has plenty of flavour from the hops with hints of pineapple, rich fruits, sherbet, spice and caramel.  Despite the strength it was oh so easy to drink and the refreshing dry cittrussy aftertaste was a delight.    

Match score 3-0.  Beer score 9/10.    

Wednesday July 9th - Argentina v Netherlands 

Sadly one of the worst nations for beer in this tournament has made it through to the final at the expense of one of the best.  For this match I chose my second Dutch beer of the tournament from the Koningshoeven brewery, the first trappist brewery from outside the Belgian borders.  In the group stage I chose their Tripel and this time I went for the Quadrupel that comes in at a headbanging strength of 10.0% ABV.  This beer is even better than the lower strength Tripel which was a mere 8.0% ABV.  This attractive amber coloured beer certainly has a boozy aroma.  The initial taste was fruity with a bit of a sharp spicy edge with notes of pineapple and sherbet mixed with lots of hints of various rich fleshy fruits.  Toffee notes are in there too and as a whole it is totally splendid.

Match score 0-0 (Argentina win 4-2 on penalties).  Beer score 9/10.     

Tuesday July 8th - Brazil v Germany

Thanks to the Hatters Inn, my local Wetherspoons pub, I was able to try this for my Brazilian beer for this match.  Sadly, this came after the day of the event so the Brazilian team must have thought they had to go into this match with a Brahma and were totally and utterly hammered.  Samuel Cavalcanti from the Bodebrown Brewery (based in Curitiba, Brazil) visited the coastal Suffolk town of Southwold to come up with this Pale Ale at the Adnams Brewery.     

Now as you can see below there is nothing much that is pale about this beer.  In fact it is a nice rich chestnut colour but it certainly smells hoppy.  This 5.0% ABV beer does have quite a traditional Adnams malty biscuity base to it and it does take a while for the tropical fruit flavours from the hops to shine through before everything gives way to a gentle bitter finish.  Overall it is a very nice smooth pint of beer that will give the Germans something to think about.     

I chose this Kellerbier (5.0% ABV) from the Kulmbacher brewery to represent Germany in this game.  Kellerbiers (cellar beers) are typically unfiltered lagers that are well hopped.  This is my first of this style so I have nothing to compare it too however.  I do love this kind of bottle and after pouring it had a nice frothy head.  The  beer itself had little aroma, a bit yeasty and slightly fruity but that was about it.  Pale brown in colour it had low carbonation and a bit of a short aftertaste.  Everything was understated but in a good way here.  Slightly cloudy to make it look inviting, slightly sweet with hints of caramel and orange.  Slightly spicy to give it a bit of a zing on the palate.  As with all my beers I do not cool them so this is served warmer than it is recommended but killing flavour is not what I like doing.  I found this beer beautifully refreshing without the need for cooling it.  This beer match was very close but I think the Germans just about edged it although they both scored the same.  Seven seems to be the recurring theme with this incredible match.    

Match score 1-7 (SEVEN !!).  Beer scores 7/10 and 7/10.                 

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