Pair This Beer With 2017 MLS Cup PlayoffsNov 02, 2017 Comments (0)
As all three Cascadia teams fight in the Major League Soccer Cup playoffs, I am reminded how great the Northwest is with skilled, entertaining soccer teams and great local breweries. Together, a game of soccer and some fresh beer can make for a wonderful afternoon. Helles Belles is a Munich Helles Lager that is the perfect match to watch a match and here’s why:
Reason #1: Created from necessity.
The style of Munich Helles Lager started in the late 19th century in Southern Germany, using only the resources available in the area. Pale malts were a fairly recent invention at the time, coming from the controlled kilning gained during the industrial revolution. Czech brewers were the first to gain popularity using these light colored and lightly flavored malts, crafting the Pilsner. Germany had the technology and wanted a piece of the pie so brewers started to imitate the Pilsner in their own way. Northern German brewers were in luck, their Pilsner recipes worked out wonderfully. Southern German brewers in Bavaria, and Munich specifically, had to deal with more hardness in their water giving their Pilsners harsh bitterness. They backed off the hops and increased the maltiness to make the best beer for the region, and the Helles was born.
The history of soccer goes back way before Helles, at least 2000 years to China, and has been played the world over ever since. Without resources for pads, sticks, or other sporting goods, even peasants could get together to have a friendly competition with whatever they could make a ball out of. From a leather ball full of feathers and hair, to an inflated animal bladder, to the material science breakthroughs of modern soccer balls, there is only one necessary piece of equipment for people to be able to get together and play a game.
Reason #2: Simplicity and subtlety.
The Beautiful Game is simple and elegant, fluid yet dynamic, where subtle moves and understated plays lead to victory. Some of the best matches I’ve watched have been ties at the end. No big score, just a solid performance the whole game. Like a good game, there’s no big rush of excitement at the beginning of a pint of Helles just to get bored or burnt out on it. It’s a solid experience from the first sip to the last, from the first pint to the last.
Reason #3: Great for warm weather.
Outdoor sports are much more fun played in nice weather, where fans can go and enjoy a live show of talent without suffering through wind and rain. Summer play means warm weather, and nothing goes better with warm weather and sports than a light beer. Helles is low in hops, crisp and refreshing, and the lower alcohol content means it can be drank for the duration of a game, and even later during celebrations.
Reason #4: Popularity.
The popularity of soccer may not be apparent to most Americans, but it is the most played and most watched sport worldwide. International soccer’s governing body, FIFA, estimates that every year there are 240 million people in 200 different countries across the globe playing soccer, millions of people attending live matches and billions watching them on television. All those people playing and watching are going to get thirsty, and Helles is a great light choice that even “non-beer drinkers” can enjoy. The style has been popular since its introduction, and recently has seen an increase in popularity in the craft beer sector as a style that is approachable for American Pale Lager drinkers without copying that style.
Whether you’re at a stadium watching a local team’s match or you’re awake at 4 o’clock in the morning to catch your favorite English Premiere League team face off against their rival, there is nothing that goes better with soccer than a Helles Belles.
That’s my officially unofficial stance. What’s yours?
About the Author
When you need to know the nitty-gritty nerdy side of beer, Joe has your back. As Ninkasi's Analytical Quality Specialist, Joe makes sure our beers are just as our customers expect each and every time. On Fridays, you'll find him around the brewery sporting the latest trends in Hawaiian shirts. Any day of the week (especially during MLS season), you'll find him watching a game with a Helles Belles in-hand.