All but one of the countries represented in the 2014 Fifa World Cup brew beer and many are available in supermarkets and from online retailers. So why not not venture from your usual tipple and try some of the beers from the countries involved as you watch the football? The selection here ranges from the normal to the ridiculously strong.
What beers to drink while watching the 2014 Fifa World Cup
The World Cup provides a good excuse to try beers from different countries while watching the football. Steve Rogerson provides some suggestions.
Around the world, millions of people will be glued to their television sets watching the action unfold in the 2014 Fifa World Cup. And while the nuts and crisps and other snacks will be welcome, what is really needed is alcohol or, more specifically, beer. But rather than just grabbing a block of cans from the supermarket, why not use the occasion as an excuse to experiment with different beers. Here are some suggestions.
Group A: Brazil, Cameroon, Croatia and Mexico
A fairly easy beer to find outside Brazil is Palma Louca, a 4.5% blonde beer, but the country now has a few microbreweries, which are worth looking out for if you are actually going to the World Cup. In Cameroon, Les Brasseries du Cameroun makes the 6.9% Beaufort, a strong pale lager. Drinking beer is a national pastime in Croatia, and most are lagers with the strongest being the 7.5% Gricka Vjestica and the 7.3% Tomislav. If desperate for something from Mexico, Corona and Sol are widely available but the country does have some microbreweries and some do export, but mostly to the USA.
Group B: Australia, Chile, Netherlands and Spain
Avoid the weak tasting Fosters but look out instead for Australia’s Coopers Brewery, which has a range of nice bottled beers. For something more specialised, the Mountain Goat Brewery does export. Hard to find outside the country, but there are craft brewers in Chile, such as Desértica Cerveza Artesanal and Szot. The Dutch Trappist brewery La Trappe produces among others the 10% Quadrupel, 7% Dubbel and 8% Tripel. And from Spain, my favourite brewery is Birrat with its Moska range – the 4.4% Rossa and Negra and the 5% Poma and Torrada bottled conditioned ales.
Group C: Columbia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan
This group is a tough one on the beer front. Ivory Coast’s Solibra brewery produces the 5.2% Flag Spéciale and 4.6% Bock. Japan has seen a growth in craft beers and the bottled Owa is sometimes available. The Greek Mythos beer is a 5.0% blonde beer. But Columbia… good luck in finding anything from there.
Group D: Costa Rica, England, Italy and Uruguay
England is awash with great bottled ales and many will be doing specials for the World Cup. Leicester brewery Everards, for example, is selling minikegs of Xingu Gold, a 4.0% golden beer it has made especially for the occasion. Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Company has some notable beers, such as the 5% Segua Red Ale. Don’t write Italy off as just a wine country. While the Nastro Azzurro is easy to find, look out for the Peroni Gran Riserva, and if you can find anything from the Del Borgo brewery you are laughing. Uruguay is a bit tricky, but there is the Davok Shannon Dunkel, a 6% dark wheat beer from Cervecería Del Sur.
Group E: Ecuador, France, Honduras and Switzerland
The Doggerlander microbrewery in Ecuador has a good range of beers, some of which are very strong, such as the 30% (yes, 30%) Belgian Shot, but they also have some in the more normal range. France’s Castelain brewery produces the very nice Ch’Ti range, including the 6.4% Ch’Ti Blonde, which won the gold medal at the World Selection of Beers in 2003 in Brussels. Honduras has a range of basic beers from the Cerveza Brewery. BFM produces some Belgian Abbey style beers in Switzerland including the 11% Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru and the 7.5% La Dragonne spiced beer.
Group F: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria
You may have to resort to whatever you can for this group as there is nothing easy to find from any of the countries. Argentina fans can try to seek out a bottle of Araucana Rojiza Fuerte, a 9.2% doppelbock style amber beer. Bosnia-Herzegovina brews mostly lager beers and they are not rare outside of the country, but one of the main brands is Preminger. Nigerian Breweries is the country’s largest brewer, and Star Lager is its most popular beer. The only beer brewed in Iran is non-alcoholic.
Group G: Germany, Ghana, Portugal and USA
Germany is massive for beer but its restrictive purity laws mean many taste the same, but they are nice nonetheless and most supermarkets have some German beers available. For something different, there is the Schlenkerla smoked beer from Bamberg. Not much from Ghana, but the 5% Star Lager is exported. From Portugal is the range from Sagres the lager of which weighs in at 5.0% and the Bohemia at 6.2%. The USA has had a craft beer revolution so there is no excuse for buying the country’s bland lagers such as Budweiser. The easiest to find outside of North America is the range from Sierra Nevada Brewery but more are coming available all the time.
Group H: Algeria, Belgium, Russia and South Korea
Not much to write home about from Algeria, but the 4.5% Schems Bavaroise is well regarded. The opposite is true for Belgium with an unbelievable range and variety of excellent beer (of which Stella Artois is probably the worst, so avoid). Best to go for some of the Abbey and Trappist beers that can be found in many supermarkets and online. If you can get them, give the beers from Keyte a try. Oddly, beer has only been classed as an alcoholic drink in the vodka-loving Russia since 2012 but there are quite a few available outside the country, notably the range from Baltika. South Korean beer is difficult to find, but the main two breweries are Oriental Brewery and Hite-Jinro.
Other World Cup beers
This is just a small selection and there are lots more from the various countries involved. Check out the supermarkets, specialist shops and online retailers for other ideas, and please use the comments box below to tell everyone what you have found.