food & drink

The best beers to go with the 2014 World Cup

It’s World Cup time and football only means one thing – the beers are flowing! But what are the best tipples for this summer’s biggest tournament?

It’s World Cup time and football only means one thing – the beers are flowing! But what are the best tipples for this summer’s biggest tournament? Read on to find out what you should be drinking.

The Dark Horses with a dark drink

Let’s start with the obscure. If you plan on watching Belgium (this year’s dark horses) then there’s only one drink that stands out. It’s called Kwak. Coming in at 8.4 per cent ABV it’s not an especially light drink, but it does come in a cool glass.

I can’t say there’s any extravagant reason as to why Kwak is my first choice, but the Belgian beer manufacturer says that their unique yard-like glass and stand were designed in 19th Century, so that’s pretty cool. They also say that the unique glass shape was designed so it could “be hung on a coach.” Again, cool, huh? However, it is worth noting that the glasses aren’t cheap, and it’s not unheard of to be asked to leave your ID as a deposit in order to stop them being nicked.

Another special shout-out for Belgium choice has to go to Timmermans for offering the strangely refreshing yet initially confusing Strawberry beer. It’s tasty, but a pink drink might not look the most manly during the World Cup.

It’s becoming more popular to avoid the EU

We’ve all grown up with “export” beers being slammed down our throats and these days we’re going even more international. Any 1990’s football fan will feel as though Carlsberg has become synonymous with British football, whilst also being splashed across the shirts of Liverpool.

But, we’re becoming increasingly more out of tune with European beers, and instead we’re seeing a rise in the amount of Eastern beers we’re drinking. Drinks like Cobra, Tiger, and Tsingtao are being sold in pubs everywhere – even though their homelands didn’t make the World Cup.

This year’s AFC representative in the World Cup of beers has to go to Fosters. Only joking. It’s Asahi, the Japanese beer on draft is becoming ever more popular over here. Not only has it started working its way into our pubs and clubs, but seems to be standing proud in our supermarkets alongside other big names.

The beer of the favourites

This year, Brazil and Spain are hotly tipped to win the World Cup, and they don’t come off too badly in the drinks competition either. Spain is a toss up between San Miguel and Estrella (providing you’re not a San Miguel purist who believes it’s from the Phillipines) whilst Brazil’s most globally recognizable beer will be Brahma.

I think Estrella would get my personal Spanish nod. I’m not too sure why, but it seems as though it’s been around more when I’ve been in Spanish areas, and comes across as more quintessentially Spanish, as it originates in Barcelona. Their advert is also crazily catchy – “you kissed me goodbye at the airport” – it’s been in my head for weeks.

Brahma is best known as the beer choice of those who frequent Nandos alongside Portuguese offering Sagres. No doubt their beer will go further than their football team.

There’s plenty of options at home

So, after all that, you’re stood in a pub, about to walk up to the bar, and you seem to instantly pick the same drink you’ve been ordering since you turned 18. It’s an easy pattern to slip into, and I frequently find myself doing the same thing. But the next time England play, take a look at what you’ve got on offer.

A fan of the microbrewery, my hometown Crewe, plays home to Off Beat Brewery, who open monthly to give the locals a taste of what’s to come, harking back to drinking fashions gone by. These are the local tastes we should learn to appreciate, especially when we’re surrounded by so much competition.

So next time you’re in your local taking a look at what’s behind the bar, stray from your comfort zone and try something new.

What do you think? What is your favourite? Have your say in the comments section below.