Thursday, 21 June 2012

#45: Euro 2012 - Beer Quarter Finals

Ok then, with the actual Quarter Finals starting tonight I thought I'd better get my act together and announce the second group of beers in the last eight of my own tournament. I do have a confession to make though - I've let Italy down by failing to hunt down any of their craft beers. I was convinced that I wouldn't be able to find such in my area, but The Beer Nut pointed out to me that I should be able to get some Brewfist beers at least, which would surely represent the Italians better than Peroni... As such, I'm going to have to go with Spain instead, to be represented by Estrella Daura, simply for being a light and refreshing drinkable lager that is Coeliac friendly. As someone with Crohn's disease, I appreciate beers like this cropping up on the shelves, whether or not I need the option at this point in time. However, it seems unfair to me that Spain (or Italy) should suffer a poor beer representation and as such, I will allow for a 'substitution' if I get the chance to try a better beer before the competition ends. Otherwise, I promise I'll prepare better for the World Cup in 2014! On with the qualifications then...

In Group A, Poland escape the drop with Zywiec. It's a fairly standard Euro Pilsener-style lager that is cheap as chips and goes down well with strong curries or anything chilli. Fair enough, it may not be an obvious Best In Show, but when Greece and Russia are the two to beat, it was easy for me to make the call.

In Group B, Mikkeller's Texas Ranger chilli stout was a very interesting proposition - Beer Geek Breakfast was also a contender - but like football, my own Euro 2012 isn't always fair, and I've opted to send in La Trappe Tripel for almost purely sentimental reasons. I picked up a bottle of this in a supermarket in Amsterdam, and for someone whose love of beer extended to the various bottled macro lagers we have clogging up Irish shelfspace, you can understand that my tastebuds went into orgasmic shutdown under the caress of my first Trappist Tripel. I soon got the Dubbel on tap, and I was sold to real beer. Good job, Netherlands.

In Group C, it's as I've said - Spain with Estrella Daura. During my first flare-up, I was struggling to find the cause of the terrible stomach pains and was advised to opt for Coeliac friendly food where available. Result.

Lastly, in Group D, with England already through on London Pride, it's got to be France with 3 Monts. This was my first Biere de Garde and I really have to scope out some more of this stuff. It's very, well, farmy, with grainy malty tastes that actually put me in mind of a good lager, as opposed to the Belgian-style Pale I was expecting. Surprisingly (and dangerously) for an 8.5% beer, it drinks extremely well, with only a light dry heat at the end warning you of your imminent intoxication. Very refreshing, good warm weather beer, yet still fulfilling and nourishing. Great stuff.

So there we have it. 
The eight Quarter Finalists are as follows;
Budějovický Budvar - Czech Republic
Paulaner Hefe-weizen - Germany
Beoir Chorca Dhuibhne Carraig Dubh - Rep. of Ireland
Fuller's London Pride - England
Zywiec - Poland
La Trappe Tripel - Netherlands
Estrella Daura - Spain
3 Monts - France

Unlike the real Euro 2012, the Semi Final draw will be done completely randomly from an actual hat, to liven things up a bit.

In the meantime there are some interesting prospects in the cupboard, with Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel awaiting appraisal, Piraat awaiting reappraisal, and Paulaner just might finally be written about properly on this blog. 

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