By Dan Wiersema / Founder, Free Beer Movement
One of the pleasures of international soccer and, subsequently beer writing, is that you get to explore the brews of your opponent in preparation for the Shakespearean prose you'll have to scribe later. In the case of this last week's United States men's national team friendlies coach Jurgen Klinsmann couldn't picked better opposition. On the soccer side of things, for American fans, last Wednesday's match was a doozy and today's match against Germany might be equally so, but on the beer fan side we're talking about two of Europe's boozy best.
Soccer equals doozy. Sad face.
Beer is equals boozy. Happy face.
Today's match is the perfect example of where we're at as both a soccer nation and a brewing nation. This USMNT squad is led by a German coach with deep American roots and features a number of German-Americans ("Germericans" as Shawn Francis of "The Offside Rules" puts it) as the Nats struggle to find their identity as soccer team in the shadow of a world footballing power from the European continent. These Germans have left greener pastures to forge a new international career playing (or coaching) for the United States. The verdict is still out, but the future looks bright.
Whereas, in the brewing world, American craft brewers are more than holding their own in the face of hundreds of years of German brewing pedigree. In fact U.S. breweries are now successfully invading Germany and giving the land of the pilsner, bock, and Oktoberfest a run for their money as Germans and other Europeans demand to be liberated by hoppier and more innovative beers or just be challenged on their own turf as American craft brewers take on traditional German styles (Don't get me wrong Germany still does "traditional" the best).
Invasion. Liberation. Tell me if you've heard this one before?
But you all didn't come here for a history lesson (or did you?.... I do teach for a living). You came here for a beer lesson.
You can have both, though. This match is the Centennial match celebrating 100 years of the United States Soccer Federation. A time to celebrate how far we've come as a soccer nation and look forward to what we still have to (and will) accomplish as a soccer nation. A nod to old traditions while establishing new ones.
Here are a few of our favorite American beers with their own nods to German tradition:
- Victory Brewing Company "Prima Pils" Pilsner (Dowington, Pennsylvania)
- Firestone Walker Brewing Company "Pivo" Pilsner (Paso Robles, California)
- Hops and Grain Craft Brewery "Alteration" German-Style Alt (Austin, Texas)
- DC Brau/ Ska Brewing Company "Taster's Choice" Coffee Doppelbock (Washington, D.C.)
- Rogue Ales "Dead Guy Ale" Maibock (Newport, Oregon)
- Lakefront Brewing Company "Riverwest Stein" Amber Lager/Oktoberfest (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
What are you all drinking with your USMNT soccer today?
Unless you're a hipster, you want to see soccer grow in America and what better way than the Free Beer Movement. Check it out and practice it.