Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the Beer World Cup, I just had other more pressing matters to attend to – like getting drunk in pubs before matches!
In case YOU have forgotten, here is what happened in the Pool stages and the draw for the QFs!
First up, Australia v USA
From Australia, Little Creatures Pale Ale. Little Creatures are a brewery based in Western Australia, in the town of Fremantle, close to Perth. I didn’t know that but now having researched, I realise I’ve actually been to the brewery bar! Whoops! You can find Little Creatures on Twitter @LtCreatures
It’s not too strong at 5.2% but has a lovely hoppy flavour, although this doesn’t linger long. It’s a decent brew though and you could certainly get through a fair few of these, given the chance! A solid marker put down by the Aussies…
The entry from the USA is Hermitage Brewing Company’s Hoptopia IPA. This is a brewery from California, an area where I’ve found many good beers and an increasing number, too. I haven’t been here though! Follow Hermitage on Twitter @hermitagebrews
This beer is a much more weighty 8%, and packs a big hoppy punch in the face. Like many American IPAs the malty flavour comes through strongly and there is a bit of sweetness with the caramel, too. The link above says this is “easy drinking”. At 8%, you won’t be “easy drinking” too many, but it really went down well.
If this was a real match, it’d be too close to call and I’d go to extra-time and have another one of each to really pick out the best. But it’s not, so ‘ll go with my initial instinct and declare USA the winner. The Little Creatures beer just didn’t hold the flavour long enough. Tough call.
Next, England v Scotland!
England leads the way here with the London Fields Brewery’s Love Not War Red Ale. London Fields are from Hackney, in East London and are part of a rapidly growing craft beer scene in London. Just when you think the market is saturated, another brewery pops up, but this is a good one! You can follow them @LdnFldsBrewery
The beer is a sessionable 4.2% and has a lovely malty flavour. It goes down very easily and the hoppiness builds as you drink. A solid entry.
Following that, Scotland came in blazing with the Isle of Skye Brewing Co’s Ardmore Beast. This brewery are located in, well I never, the Isle of Skye off Scotland’s north-west coast and the brewery had been around since 1995. You can find them on Twitter @IsleofSkyeBrew.
Now, the Ardmore Beast is a limited edition, so good luck finding it! It’s a 7% amber ale which has been left to mature in casks from the Ardmore Distillery, giving the beer a bit of a smoky, peaty flavour and the lingering taste of a lovely whisky, too. On first taste, this was a wonderful beer, but the more I drank, the more the smokiness became less palatable. Of course, it’s all individual taste, but a half of this would’ve done me.
Had I had just a half of Ardmore Beast, this beer might’ve won the day. Alas, I didn’t and it was beaten by a solid England entry.
The third QF was New Zealand v France
First this time from New Zealand was the Tuatara Brewery’s Aotearoa Pale Ale (APA). The brewery is about an hour or so from Wellington, in a town called Paraparaumu. Try saying that after a few beers. They’re also on Twitter @TuataraBrew
The APA is nice. It’s quite citrusy and plenty of hops. It’s a decent 5.8% and not too bitter. It’s not an amazing beer, but it’s very drinkable and a solid entry.
Up against that is the entry from France, Castelain Brewery’s Ch’ti Ambree. The brewery is in Benifontaine in northern France, sandwiched in between Lens and Lille. On Twitter, they’re @Biere_CHTI
This is an amber beer (which you’d know already if you’d translated the French name!) and is 5.9%. It’s a lovely, rich beer with a bit of bitterness and a bit of maltiness.
Before this competition started, I’d never have picked France to progress far, but I’ve clearly chosen my beers wisely. Undoubtedly the better beer here, France make le semi-final.
Last but not least, Japan v Ireland
Japan go first with the Kyodo Shoji Koedo Brewery’s Coedo Shikkoko. I’m not even going to attempt to find that online to link to it and I’m not even going to attempt to tell you how to pronounce it. I will tell you, though, that I think the brewery is a short distance from Tokyo (about 50km) and they might be owned by the Kyodohoji Corporation. Remember that, it might come in handy in a pub quiz.
To go with the varying styles so far, this beer was a schwarzbier and was a pretty good one, too. It’s 5%, so perfect for a session, and has a strong aroma of coffee. It’s not very hoppy but has a decent flavour. Nothing spectacular.
The final quarter-finalist is Ireland and the Franciscan Well Brewery’s Rebel Red. This brewery is from Cork, on Ireland’s southern coast and is actually on the site of an old Franciscan monastery which dates back to 1219. You’re going to nail the pub quiz now, aren’t you? They’re on Twitter @FranciscanWell
This beer is a decent 4.3% but has a very good hoppiness and is a nice, rich, malty red ale. It uses hops from Kent so it’s understandable why this is so good with the English influence!
Another good Japanese entry but Ireland snaffles the last SF place!
And there we have it! Unlike the real thing, it’s clear the beer world revolves around the Northern Hemisphere!
The semi-final draw is as follows:
England v France
USA v Ireland
Semi-finals will follow this week, hopefully, with the final straight after! *hic*
Drink responsibly, etc…