The FIFA Soccer World Cup is almost upon us, and its famous bracket could act as inspiration for a beer tournament of your own making. How fun would it be to pit the best beers of each nation against each other to pick a winner?
Here’s why that might be a bit of a problem. Outside of the world’s craft brewing strongholds, you’ll be lucky to find a beer from each country, and when you do it’s likely to be the nation’s leading brand, which would be the equivalent of flooding your field with Labatt Blue and Coors Light. In fact, Group G is the only one that could lay a claim to containing two great beer nations, with England and Belgium meeting on June 28th.
Another problem lies in the sheer quantity of drinks that would need to be consumed. With 64 matches played, there’s no way you could do a head to head for each game without doing yourself some damage.
Fortunately, if you want to join in the fun, there’s a better way to build your World Cup beer bracket.
1) Pick the best beer you can find to represent a nation. In some cases, you will not have to stray beyond their borders to have a choice of great options – for example, the last World Cup was won by Germany, and a top quality fresh German hefeweizen could be a serious contender.
2) Accept that a country does not always produce great beer, or if it does, it may not find its way to your fridge. Likely Group A also-rans Saudi Arabia fall into this category. Make your peace with this and sub in a brew of your own choice, with bonus points for a lame tie to that nation. For example, the Saudis could be represented by an export stout because they’re famous for a black liquid which is also exported.
3) Take your time with the round robin format. You’ll have 32 beers to drink in 2 weeks. It’s a lot, but you simply need to order them from best to worst within their group. It’s probably ideal to tackle each group over a couple days, so your memory and taste buds stay fresh.
4) Once the round of 16 starts, there are two games a day, which means 4 beers a day. At this point you may want to enlist the help of a friend. Prep yourself for some strange match ups, because you are probably going to get wildly different styles facing off, but that’s no different to the game on the field. This is also where your bracket will diverge from the teams on the field – you’re winning IPA from Group
5) The time difference between here and Russia means a host of breakfast starts, which is why it’s unlikely your own bracket will happen in real time with the games, but by the final you’ve earned it. What better way to wrap up your bracket (and the world cup) by drinking your final two beers while watching the big game.
The World Cup begins on June 14th and runs until July 15th. Find the official bracket here.