Euro 16 is just around the corner and you’ve got four blokes preparing to record a (sort of) football related podcast, so what do their thoughts turn to? That’s right, beer, specifically European beer. And where better to find it than Wigan’s very own bottle shop The Northern Beer Temple. After a few polite enquiries, the chaps from the Pie At Night convinced proprietor John to let them pay a visit, taste some beers and run a loosely European Championship based competition to decide the best one, all in the name of infotainment (whatever that is).
The format was simple, we joined things in the quarter finals, with the draw seeded to keep the home countries away from their fancy European neighbours. This is a move that we should point out does not advocate any position in relation to the upcoming referendum, but whilst I mention it, if you lot do anything to make European beer more expensive then there will be mither.
But before the serious stuff, we all sat down for a chat with a beer of our chosing…
The Warm-up games
“Pick what you want lads, let me know what you want off the shelf and I’ll get you a cold one from the cellar…” Well we didn’t need asking twice and after a bit of humming and ahhing, the boys came up with the following choices.
Jimmy: Jupiler (abv 5.2%). Brewed by Anheuser–Busch but I’d probably get shot for calling it the Belgian Budweiser (but it is), Jupiler is a pale golden lager which is the biggest selling beer in Belgium.
Alan: Tiny Rebel – Hadouken (7.4%). An American style double IPA that is dangerously strong in alcohol and flavor. Sweet malt flavours are balanced off by piney hops and citrus notes. Not the most sold beer in Wales, but declared as one of his all-time favourites by Alan.
Chris: Magic Rock – Rapture (4.6%). A full bodied, hoppy red ale. 5 types of malt and 6 types of hops, give tropical critus aromas mixed with a dry and crisp finish that almost redeems it being from Huddersfield.
Ian: Magic Rock – Cannonball IPA (7.4%) More citrus, more pine, more fruit and another modern, strong pale ale. Thankfully, it’s in stock at the Northern Beer Temple, so you don’t have to drive to Yorkshire to pick one up.
After that, it was on to the serious stuff, with the continental side of the draw…
The foreign legions
Italy: Menabrea (4.8%). Another Lager, definitely bigger on the malt than it is on anything else. If you like a peroni then you could well love this one, very drinkable.
Belgium – Kasteel Rouge (8%). Kasteel Rouge mixes Kasteel Donker (also tasted on the night) with a sweet cherry liqueur. The fruit rounds the malty dark beer off nicely to give the impression that you’re drinking a very grown up milk shake rather than an 8% beer.
Denmark – To Ol Gose (3.8%). Probably spelt wrongly, this German inspired sour beer’s salt water origins cut through the Kasteel’s fruity overtones nicely cleansing the pallet for what was to come. However this was the beer that gave rise to the title of this episode.
Germany – Edelweiss Dunkel Weissbier (5.5%). A dark wheat beer, this won’t be to everyone’s tastes but featured highly in the reckoning of at least one reviewer and (as far as we know) this was the first time that another had drank wheat beer without vomiting afterwards.
Before we returned for some home comforts…
Wales: Tiny Rebel – Cwtch (4.6%). Just in-case you’ve missed it until now Cwtch is a welsh word meaning cuddle. Champion beer of Britain in 2015, this is an American Hopped red ale that doesn’t play cock or no cock but does leave you immensely satisfied at the end of the glass.
Northern Ireland: Weird Beard – Suspect Device (8.3%). A collaboration between London’s Weird Beard brewery and Northern Ireland’s Farmageddon Brewing Co Op, Suspect Device’s mixed origins make the perfect link to the football team it’s representing in this competition. The third double IPA of our list packs a real punch, weighing in at 8.3%. More fruity and less resinous than the other offerings, this brew is in danger of being the Will Grigg of the tPAN beer tasting Euros.
Scottish – Fyne – Fynebank (4.6%). Fynebank is “a peat smoked golden ale that has been brewed in collaboration with Springbank Distillery” It’s supposed to have warm, spiced orange undertones as well as toffee notes, but it is “a peat smoked golden ale that has been brewed in collaboration with Springbank Distillery.” And a timely reminder that Scotland didn’t qualify for the euros.
England – Emelisse & Marble Beers – Earl Grey IPA (6.8%) Perhaps the only “strong” beer on the list that tasted it’s weight, the interest here comes from earl grey tea being added at specific times in the brewing process that adds a, erm, tea like finish to proceedings, or if you prefer, a light tannic finish complimented by bergamot.
Who won through? Well you’ll just have to get onto the podcast (below) and find out. It might be worth nipping to the Northern Beer Temple to pick up a couple of contenders before you settle in listen.