When I started this blog, I asked for suggestions of topics. Clearly my love of rugby and love of beer led Steve F (@UpperTierSteve) to suggest I do a post combining both. So here goes. Bye liver.
I’ll start with one pool at a time. I’ve no idea where I’m going to find Tongan beer in London, and I might have to dip into prior experiences for some others, too! I hope not too often, though – it’s no fun if the tasting memory isn’t fresh!
Now don’t be worried if you think they’ll be bias in the results. There’s no place for bias in alcoholic beverages. And besides: my favourite beer is (probably) American, my favourite cider is Kiwi and my dog is named after a Hawaiian brewery! There’s no place for home advantage here!
The rules (this is SERIOUS stuff!):
- Where available, a beer or cider must be from a brewery I’ve never tried before;
- Repeats only allowed if no other beer available;
- If none available, then you’re out (sorry to Fiji, Uruguay, Samoa, Tonga and Georgia!)
- Top two teams in each pool qualifies for the quarter-finals, where new beers will be sourced!
Who says drinking isn’t fun?
So, first up is the host nation, England, and of course I had a wide variety of choices here. To make my life easier, I went for the first brewery on the list of the website I used!
The beer is Sail Away by the 8 Sail Brewery. This brewery from the heart of Lincolnshire has produced a nice Kölsch style beer, a solid 5%er. Nice golden colour, good on the nose and… Who am I kidding? Let’s get it drunk. The serious bit is well and truly over!
Very nice malty flavour, not too heavy and pretty refreshing. With a drop off in the competition in Pool A with two absentees, this is a solid start for Team England.
Read more about 8 Sail Brewery HERE and follow here @8SailBrewery
Next up, Australia and something Aussies might find surprising – we don’t really like Fosters.
The Brits may find this surprising – the Aussies don’t really like it either.
So who the hell keeps buying it?
I’ve gone for a 4.7% pale ale called Fat Yak by the Matilda (we all *know* Matilda!) Bay Brewery, based in Melbourne.
It’s another golden blah, blah, blah…
Malty, citrusy and very hoppy taste, holds the flavour well. Nudges in front of the English effort. An early contender, I reckon, and a typical early English collapse! England already looking at an early exit! It’s like the Ashes never happened…
Read more about Matilda Bay HERE and follow here @matildabaybeer
The final proper tasting, Wales, and from the Valleys, we have the Cwrw Madog by the Purple Moose Brewery. Cwrw might sound like I’ve just been sick in my mouth, but from the bottle I’m guessing it means “ale”! It’s a 3.7% effort from Porthmadog and is made with water from the Snowdonia hills. Ahhh!
FUN FACT: Porthmadog derives its name from William Madocks, who built the buildings in the Barbour around which the town grew. See, the fun is back.
As for the beer, it tastes a bit sour, has a funny aftertaste and isn’t well liked in the Redman household. So, much like the Welsh themselves… JOKE…! An unsatisfactory performance from the Leek-Lovers from over the Severn and a third place finish which hopefully mirrors October’s reality!
Read more about Purple Moose HERE and follow here @PurpleMooseBrew
Finally, we have Fiji and Uruguay.
The South Americans were a write-off completely with no Uruguayan beer to be found in the UK (unless anyone can point me otherwise!). A solid 5th place for them.
I may have treated Fiji a little unfairly. I did find Fijian beer HERE (sidenote – PLEASE click this link, the website is brilliant and the music will cheer you up!) but it was a pack of 24 beers for £48.
Want a story? Of course you don’t but that’s kinda tough…
During the 2011 World Cup my wife and I took a side trip to the beautiful island of Fiji to do some diving with sharks. We arrived at the airport late, our taxi met us and told us our resort was 3 hours away. We asked if we could stop somewhere to grab a drink and snacks for the ride. At a little roadside stall he helped us out, picking up some crisps, water and more beer than we really needed for 3 hours. It seems there wasn’t just 2 of us drinking, though, as he cracked one open for himself. Now I needed the beer to forget the bumpy roads and the alcohol-fueled driver!
Sorry, back to it.
The Fijian beer wasn’t that great and I certainly wasn’t going to shell out more money than required to re-try it. They get a solid 4th place here, and that’s what it would’ve been anyway!
Congratulations to Australia and England on their progress! See you soon for Pool B!
And finally, please drink responsibly, and know that I didn’t try all these at 8am this morning!