Sunday, 4 July 2010

Cup of Good Hop Final - which is the world's finest beer?

This is the final Cup of Good Hop - at least as far as WC2010 is concerned. We'd like to thank everyone who has made the competition possible, all those who have promoted it and made COGH the wild success it has been. It's been a hell of a lot of fun, and chances are we will reprise the format during the season, and undoubtedly we'll do something around the theme of the 2012 Euro qualifiers.

So, enjoy the last two matches, Stuart's final examination of European beer and other fripperies and catch you soon. There is of course, the whole COGH experience here - more than 50 posts from tracking down our first beer, through all 64 match reports to the grand final right here.

All the best and enjoy,

Peter and James...

Northumberland Police's new crack negotiator yesterday


Match 63:
France 1
Cointreau 46
Nigeria 3
Amataxi 6, 48, Yobbo 23, Ohdear 71

Guinness Foreign Extra rides roughshod over La Choulette, though both sides can be far happier with their COGH performances compared to the complete rubbish they served up in South Africa over the last month. The French brew was ultimately a little too sweet, and tasted a little too much like Special Brew for it to win the bronze medal. The Guinness - dark, brooding and tasting a little of liquorice (but not too much to offend) had ample class to cruise through the penultimate encounter - a fitting build-up to the final itself, which promises to be a classic.

here's Stuart Fuller's final preview of the 2012 Euros...

Group G
England – Fullers Honey Dew Ale
Switzerland - Samichlaus
Bulgaria- Zagorka
Wales- Brains
Montenegro- Niksicko

A strange suggestion for the English entry but sharing my surname, and having a distinct honey taste, Honey Dew Ale is absolutely perfect, served ice cold on a summer’s day. It has to be a good beer to get anywhere near our World Cup winner, the 14% Samichlaus brew which is only brewed once a year on the 6th December in celebration of Santa Claus. It is a ploy by the Swiss that if you drink this you have no knowledge of whether Santa actually makes it down the chimney or not. Wales may be a dark horse here as well. Brains is no weak link here. The tipple of choice of toddlers in the valleys, and drunk in huge quantities by Gavin Hensen after mistaking it for Ronsil i.e “Does what it says on the tin”. Bulgaria have only recently got into beer after blocking out the memory of some awful fashion statements with Raki for so many years and so Zagorka may not fair too well although I doubt it will stop Redknapp making a ludicrous bid for him. Montenegro’s offering could well be the title from a Tarrantino film and the gore that could result may just be a bridge too far for us.

Group H
Portugal – Super Bock
Denmark – Jacobsen Brown
Norway - Ringnes
Cyprus – KEO
Iceland – Viking Sterkur

This is the group that could spring a surprise. It is also the group of pleasure if we were ever thinking of holding the Euro Championship of women. Denmark is my second home and for that reason I am calling the shots on this one. Carlsberg produce a dozen or so brands in Denmark and the Jacobsen brown is a lovely chocolately brew found in a few bars and off licenses around the city. Ringnes may be the most popular beer in Norway but it is another “same old” from the Carlsberg brewery and the similarities with plain old Carlsberg international brew is all too clear to see. Super Bock is another holiday favourite and is commonality may be its undoing here. Cyprus’s KEO is in the same camp – almost unheard off outside the tourist resorts but you cannot escape it when you are there in the sunburn burger bars. Iceland is a strange place – not just for its economic and volcanic situation. Beer was actually banned until 1989 and every day on the 1 March the country stops for Beer Day to celebrate its repeal, enjoying a few Viking Sterkurs along the way. Out of sheer admiration for such abstinence they may get one of the two top spots here.

Group I
Spain - Moritz
Czech Republic - Budvar
Scotland- Deuchars
Lithuania- Svyturys
Liechtenstein - Brauhaus

Without a brewery of its own for over 90 years, Liechtenstein’s offering is certainly worth the wait and could well spring a surprise in this group. Lithuania is one of those countries that need an identity and its beer seems to blend in with the offerings of Poland and Latvia and that may be an issue here. Scotland – well what can we say? Tenants Extra would be harsh on a country better known for its Whisky. But we have plumped for a Deuchars which is becoming one of the best exports from north of the border since Kelly Dalglish. We could have gone with a typical San Miguel from Spain or for their offering from the COGH but we have gone with a Catalan Moritz which hopefully is more palatable than a walk down the Las Ramblas at night. Finally, the Czech’s. They love a good Pilsner but we don’t think you can get a better lager in the world than Budvar and this must be favourites from a weak group.

In an ideal world we would love to see some of the underdogs qualify but we know that come Cup of Good Hop time in June 2012 we will be faced with the likes of England, Italy, France, Germany et al. And that will surely mean no place on the European stage for the classics of Hooligan or Layla Dirty Blonde. Shame real shame.

The sole reason Dutch football is riding high

Cup of Good Hop Final

Match 64:
Spain 1
Amarillo 54
Switzerland 3
Federal 20, Toblerone 51, Franc 76

Samichlaus was heralded as the world's finest beer with a majestic display - not only for its sublime taste, but also the mythic 14% effect on the brain. It's hard to describe the feeling but its mighty, mighty fine. The whole of Spain can be proud of the performances of Alhambra Mezquita throughout COGH - arguably of better quality than the national team in S. Africa, but ultimately it wasn't quite enough. Samichlaus was the first beer we sourced way back in mid-May, and little did we know that we needn't have searched any further to find the best... over and out - well done Switzerland, you brewing maestros...

The Winner: Glorious

The presentation of the trophy... emotional scenes

Semi-Finals - which are the two mightiest beers?

Cristiano Ronaldo - a cry baby who is incapable of doing anything other than rolling around on the floor... or is that his son?

Twitter Titter #6

davidschneider Congratulations to Cristiano Ronaldo on the birth of his son, John Terry Jr

Cup of Good Hop
Semi-Final 1
Match 61:
France 1
Ribaldry 35
Spain 1
Amarillo 4
(Spain won on penalties)

An almighty battle and no mistake - was almost impossible to select a winner - but ultimately Alhambra Mezquita winkled its way into the final by a whisker. France's La Choulette was 'just a tad too sweet' and 'tasted more boozy' than its smooth Spanish adversary. However, to come this close to the final means the French can hold their beery heads up high - well, far higher than their footballers can. And with Spain's WC2010 progress and Rafa Nadal, what a summer it has been for the Spanish - no need for an inquisition right now...

COGH unveil new taster for next World Cup

Euro 2012 Preview - part two

Stuart Fuller takes us through down some of the stranger cul-de-sacs of european booze who'll be fighting it out in COGH 2012...

Group D
France – Kronenbourg
Romania – Ursus
Bosnia –Herzegovina – Nektar
Belarus – Brovar (Carlsberg)
Albania – Birra Malto
Luxembourg - Mousel

France has more to offer than just Kronenbourg and this variety will be needed to get out of a group of ordinary beers on the face of it. Bosnia’s Nektar may be fit for the gods in Sarajevo but will it cut the mustard when up against a big Brovar from White Russia. Carlsberg again providing the ammunition in a world in which they dominate.

And what about Albania? Birra Malto sounds a bit agricultural to me, as it is been fermented with various unexplained root vegetables. Luxembourg is just dull, and despite its borders with great beer nations France, Belgium and Germany I am not holding out much hope. I have a feeling this will be the group of death in terms of disappointing offerings but I may be wrong....

Group E
Netherlands – Amstel
Sweden – God Lager
Finland – Sahti
Hungary – Arany Arzok
Moldova – Bere Chisinau
San Marino – Amacord

Finland’s Sahti, which apparently has a strong taste of bananas kicks off the group and sets a fruity tone for events to come we imagine. The Swedes love a beer, but their government frowns upon such excesses and waters down their brew, so much so that many hop on a boat every Saturday in Helsingborgs and head to Denmark to import their special brew.

God Lager - from the Nils Oscar brewery - is Sweden's biggest export but will it have the strength to knock out the likes of Hungary’s Arany Arzok’s who Arsene Wenger tried to sign for Arsenal a few seasons ago. Top marks to San Marino for actually bothering to have a brewery despite its size and no marks for Amstel, because, well it’s just Amstel which tasks as if it has been produced in a brewery that is simply called Beer.

Group F

Croatia – Zlatni Medved
Greece - Mykos
Israel – Layla Dirty Blonde Beer
Latvia - Kimmel
Georgia – Argo Dark
Malta – Cisk XS

Croatia may have top billing as seeds in this group but will it come out on top in a group of unknowns. Zlatni Medved or Golden Bear is one of the best reasons to go to Zagreb, along with the stunning women and the football violence – perhaps the three are interlinked in some way? Greece – Euro2004 winners but since then they have bored us rigid on the world football stage and with an offering like Mykos they will need to do so much more to finish above bottom spot.

Now Israel...We could have gone with the Maccabee brand but when you see a beer named after one of the songs and singers of all time you just have to track that down. Eric Clapton and Madonna would be proud of this export beer. Kimmel is the best known brand in Latvia and has been the tipple of choice for all discerning stags for the past few years.

Many a monumental night has been accompanied by strippers and Kimmel and we think the Latvians may be onto a winner here. I typed in Georgia Beers into Google and blow me down it told me that she was a world renowned author of Lesbian fiction. Do we need to look elsewhere for a winner in this group? We do? Bother – ok well let’s try an Argo Dark then.

Finally, Malta, home of one of the most historical pubs in the world – aptly called “The Pub”. It was here that Ollie Read finally fell off his bar stool whilst drinking a Cisk XS 9% pale lager...probably.

Semi-Final 2
Match 62:
Nigeria 2
Oddbinnsa 1, Youngboy-Byrne (O.G) 42
Switzerland 3
Pepperami (pen) 7, Schwigger 50, Yacking 77

The Swiss going storming on, picking off some of the genuine heavyweights of the tournament as they progress. The intoxifying effects of Samichlaus - 'Santa Claus' in German - is by this point quite profound. 'It really has a different affect on the old noggin than anything else,' says Dan. And more to the point, its an effect we all love. Guinness Foreign Extra has had a hugely positive reaction over the course of this tournament, and could well have got through to the final had it faced any of the other semi-finalists... hard lines.

Next time... tune in on Sunday for the Cup of Good Hop Final and 3rd / 4th playoff match and much, much more... cheers, Peter and James

Two beers - 26% - well hello... + 2012 Euros preview

World Cup trophy replica made entirely of
cocaine - not to be sniffed at

Match 59:
Nigeria 4
Amataxi 2, Yobbo 34, Ohdear 61, Shittu 66

Australia 2
Chippyfeel 37, Galesalesovic (pen) 90

A tasty match here but yet again Guinness Foreign Extra piles on the goals and powers into the semis. 'I don't know how many of these you could drink in an hour, but I wouldn't mind finding out,' says Deaks, loving the sole African contender left in the competition. Coopers Sparkling Ale put in a very respectable account of itself, only to be felled by one of the giants of world beer. 'This would win the Oceanic COGH Cup by a country mile,' says James, supping down the final drops.

It's a genuine shame that Paraguay got knocked out last night...

COGH 2012 Euro Previews (part one)

Cup of Good Hop taster Stuart Fuller looks forward to what the future of fusing beer and football might hold...

With the ticker tape still floating down on Soccer City in Jo’burg, our thoughts in Europe turn to Poland and Ukraine in 2012 for what promises to be a very strong tournament judging by the European fairing in South Africa. And after the success of the inaugural Cup of Good Hop it would be rude for us not to start looking forward and trying to predict what the final sixteen beers could look like. We already know that hosts Poland and Ukraine will be well represented.

Who has not tried the delights of Polish Zyweic or even a cheeky Bosman – beer that has helped Poland become the 10th biggest beer drinkers in the World. Ukraine on the other hand is more defined. Like its women – blonde, striking in outside appearance, but essentially just after your money. Obolon and Lvivski are major brands, whilst Arsenal has its own brand too – made by Carlsberg which at least makes it more interesting than the real Arsenal.

So what can we look forward to in qualifying? Will the Swiss carry on their COGH form into the Euros? And what of the emerging nations? Well, one thing is for sure – the COGH team will be sampling them all over the course of the next two years. We’ve just to find them first. Hooligan anyone?

Group A
Germany – Weissbier
Turkey – Efes
Austria – Steigl
Belgium – Hoegaarden
Kazakhstan – Derbes (owned by Carlsberg)
Azerbaijan – Xirdalan (Castel brewery)

Group A looks like it will go with on-field form with the Germans favourite simply down to the number of excellent beers they could offer. Our tip would be the refreshing Kolsch beer from Cologne or the very dark, almost black offering from the Neckar, Schwarzbier. Austria will also fancy their chances with Salzburg’s Steigl tasting so good it makes nanny’s go all loopy and start signing Do-Reh-Me. Is there a country in the world with as many different beers as Belgium? Probably not and for that reason they will struggle. Who can really take them seriously with their chocolate or cherry offerings, or when they put a wedge of lemon in the Hoegaarden? Efes off some might say, but this is the staple drink in Bodrum and enjoyed by many before they got dysentery (personal experience talking here) and spend the rest of their holidays talking on the phone to God.
And what about the outsiders? The ex-Russian states of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have western influences all over them. The biggest breweries are owned by foreign giants such as Kazakhstan’s Derbes brew which is owned by Carlsberg and Xirdalan in Azerbaijan owned by Castel. Have they got a chance? Not really.

Group B
Russia – Baltika
Slovakia – Saris
Republic of Ireland – Guinness
Macedonia – Skopsko
Armenia – Hooligan (beer and vodka)
Andorra – San Miguel?

You may think that this group is a foregone conclusion with Guinness and Baltika all but confirming qualification early doors. There is no denying the quality of Ireland’s finest, nor the variations (Guinness Cold, Mild, Export to name a few) but they are all a bit samey. Russia’s Baltika is crisp, refreshing but still has that Cold War edge. But then along came the Armenian offering – Hooligan. What brilliant mind came up with the idea of mixing Vodka and Beer together, and then calling it Hooligan? Sheer genius and we make this favourite for the group. Andorra deserves nil points for not bothering to produce a beer of its own.

Group C

Italy – Peroni
Serbia – Lav Pivo (owned by Carlsberg)
Northern Ireland – Clotworthy Dobbin
Slovenia – Union
Estonia – Le Coq
Faroe Islands – Green Islands Stout

Surely a group for the underdogs? Whilst Italy would expect to win with its Peroni, the comedy names keep on coming in this group. Northern Ireland’s Whitewater brewery produces some excellent beers but the contender here could be Clotworthy Dobbin. Estonia’s Le Coq has nothing to do with the sportswear brand, but is the signature brew of the biggest brewery of the same name. Surprisingly the Faroes’ could fairo quito wello in this group and if we can lay our hands on the Green Islands Stout then it may be a match for the 2nd favourite Lav from Serbia.

Match 60:
Paraguay 1

Alcatraz 20
Switzerland 2

Tell 41, Federal 85

This was an immense encounter - the two strongest beers in the contest going head-to-head, and with a combined ABV of 26% there was going to be fireworks along the way. However, whilst Swiss giant Samichlaus had universally high ratings, Palo Santo Marron was a love-it-or-hate-it kind of feel to it. 'It is the Marmite of beers,' says Dan, 'and I bloody love it.' Is definitely one for those who like esoteric flavours, but in this match of the big, dark flavours that have put the frighteners into all their opponents thus far, there were infinitely more holes in Swiss cheese than the Samichlaus defence.

Next time:- the semi finals - France v Spain & Nigeria v Switzerland plus more 2010 previews...

Friday, 2 July 2010

COGH Quarter Finals - The Big Beasts start to clash...

Cup of Good Hop - The Final Countdown
There are only eight matches left in COGH - eight countries left - eight beers that have admirably displayed their attributes, their strength and all the ingredients that make them among the best brews on the planet. To reach this stage, every single one of them are winners, but ultimately seven of them will lose. Here's how the quarter-finalists line up:-
France (La Choulette) versus

Germany (Erdinger)

Japan (Sapporo) v

Spain (Alhambra Mezquitza)

Nigeria (Guinness Foreign Extra) v

Australia (Coopers Sparkling Ale)

Paraguay (Palo Santo Marron) v

Switzerland (Samichlaus)

Match 57:
France 2
Aznavour 34, Mitterand 69
Germany 1
Hasselhoff 67
A mammoth pan-European encounter produced drama a-plenty, with the French Blonde Bombshell winning our over the Weissbeer. 'This is like Special Brew for Kings,' said Peter of the Gallic £3-a-bottle concoction. Erdinger won lots of plaudits but just fell short in a titantic, tight battle. 'Ooh la-la,' was all Dan had to say, and let his tastebuds do the judging as La Choulette took a well deserved berth in the semis.
Match 58:
Japan 0

Spain 2
Chavvy 23, Burrito 80
To be fair, Sapporo had enjoyed a relatively easy passage into the last eight - winning the frankly awful Group E. Consequently when it was time to face some proper beer in top-flight competition it was found wanting. 'Essentially it doesn't taste of anything much,' says Stu. Conversely Mezquita was pulling up taste-trees, a strong yet finely balanced beer that can hold its own with the best - is among the bookies favourites for the COGH trophy.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Why the England Team resembles Indian food + Rest of Round of 16

Currying favour? Why the England team resembles Indian food

Unappetising - England's performance

It was the same old story – gathering with a sense of realistic anticipation to watch England play Germany yesterday. Beery laughter, combined with a genuine belief that Gerrard et al had a decent chance of defeating the old foe. After all, were they not worth twice as much on paper than the Germans in terms of market value? Did the majority of them have vast experience in the Champions League? Tick tick.

Yet within an hour the bar in Brighton was thinning out and the laughter had been replaced with angry recrimination. What went wrong? The players obviously wanted to win, but were completely outclassed. Reports that they were bored at their training camp suggest that most of them have mindsets similar to spoilt, surly ten-year olds. The manager wanted to win – not least to justify his £6million a year salary – but proved to be intransigent and tactically inept from start to finish.

To quote BBC commentator Alan Green – it’s been a mess, but what kind of mess is it and how can we rectify it? In an attempt to get our heads round the myriad problems that have beset the England team over the last month we have chosen the extended metaphor of Indian food to investigate why England failed to deliver tasty product. This was inspired by a post-pub take out from one of Brighton's finest.

David James – day-old Pilau rice

Traditional staple but essentially past his best.

Glen Johnson – puri flatbread

Generally uninspiring - failed to rise to the challenge.

Matthew Upson – pilchard curry

Looked tasty to begin with but eventually got distinct feeling there was something fishy going on.

John Terry – Rogan Josh

Exposed to intense heat before the tournament then went off the boil. Odd moments to savour.

Ashley Cole – stuffed paratha

Oily and not to everyone’s taste - rich and somewhat flaky.

Stephen Gerrard – six pints of lager

Marvellous when placed in the appropriate part of the evening. Otherwise troublesome and can throw the whole meal wildly out of kilter. Apparently popular with sixteen year-olds.

Frank Lampard – mutton dhansak

Generally tasty and well balanced but meat getting a little tough.

Gareth Barry – tarka dall

Lumpen and quite unappetizing – not the centerpiece of a meal, can be satisfying on occasion.

James Milner – mushroom biryiani

All things to all people but can be bland if unaccompanied.

Wayne Rooney – vegetarian ceylon

Thought to be hot by many, but disappointingly mild in reality. No meat, no impact.

Jermaine Defoe – popadoms

Lightweight and relies on early service – intrinsically uninteresting.

Defoe - unlikely to withstand much pressure

Joe Cole – mango lassi

Tasty and often well worth ordering but often forget to do so.

Emile Heskey – ghee butter

Fat scraped off the bottom of the barrel. Best if stored for extended periods.

Peter Crouch – onion bhaji

Well regarded side dish but often overlooked.

Fabio Capello – the chutney tray

Gives impression of being strong and shiny but ultimately leaves you in a pickle.

Capello - no variation under the lid

Sepp Blatter – dirty kitchen

Standards have been allowed to lapse, stove is outdated and work surface is filthy. Suffers from insufficient inspection – should be closed down.

So what to do about this? We need better service and hot, exciting new dishes made from more wholesome ingredients. Most of the existing stock needs to be thrown away and the restaurant needs a complete rebranding and a new, simpler business plan. So when your appetite for international football next kicks in, don't settle for anything less.

Cup of Good Hop Match 55:

Paraguay 2

Dirty-Sanchez 34, Santa-Claus 51

Holland 0

The distinctive nature of Palo Santo steamrollered Oranjeboom without breaking sweat, let alone wind. 'Are you still here,' says Deaks - referring to the Dutch entry, and there were no cries of dissent to counter this, no fingers in the dyke of defeat. Game over.

Match 56:

Switzerland 4

Hurlimann 2, Von Trapp (pen) 13, Toblerone 61, Boy-Dun-Gud (O.G 88)

North Korea 0

A thorough leathering - and that was us by this stage. Samichlaus's label has written upon it 'The World's Most Extraordinary Beverage' - which is some claim but not without some justification. 'It tastes like all your favourite Christmases,' says James, and we nod in unison like Churchill the unfunny insurance dog. 'The gothic typeface suggests something dark and mysterious,' says Peter, 'this beer can lead me through any number of strange adventures and I wouldn't care.' Probably enough to put curls on Harry Potter's head.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Nigeria & Australia breeze into last eight + England WC autopsy

What the Uruguayan linesman actually saw...

England's performance - what the lads thought
Following England's shapeless, listless WC2010 performance against the Germans, the COGH team decided to do a bit of unofficial market research - and asked those we had been watching the match with to write down their thoughts. For the record, our straw poll included members of the national press and other articulate souls, though we had consumed rather a lot of Hurlimann and Asahi to help drown our sorrows. 'F*ck the millionaires' and 'they're all a bunch of c*nts' were two of the early heartfelt sentiments, though the first actual suggestion was 'try a team consisting of Championship players - at least they might have some heart.'

One sage commented: 'There's ineptitude and inspiration - and there's a gulf between the two we cannot seem to cross.' Comments began to descend toward the less profound at this point - 'c*nt rags' and 'bag of shite'. Passing judgment on England's wide play, one pundit said he 'could have shat a better cross', and *** (comment about Stephen Gerrard removed for legal reasons).

If our impromptu research is anything to go by, the average England fan is seething... And it would seem it is the way the game is run and financed in this country that is at the heart of the problem. With any luck Capello will resign- but let's not hope he is the scapegoat in this deeply flawed situation. What's to be done? A maximum wage? An NFL-style draft? A limit on foreign imports? Remove agents' power and influence? Your thoughts would be welcome, and we'd suggest sending them to the FA and Premier League too...

Peter samples the Uruguayan entry... again

Match 53:
Nigeria 3
Monty-Video (O.G) 32, Ohdear 45+1, Oddbinnsa 60
Uruguay 0

Another storming victory for Nigerian Guinness and a final exit for Harvey's Blue Label, the beer chosen as a tribute to Brighton boss Gus Poyet. Like the Crossbow Cannibal the latter could put up no feasible defence against the African onslaught. Not a whooping on the scale of the group matches but more comprehensive nonetheless more comprehensive than Grange Hill. By this point Dan and Deaks are sporting rather natty sunglasses and their notes have disappeared to nowt, and Stu is growing increasingly fixated on the caps.

Cap of Good Hop

The New York Post takes a mature approach to USA exit

Bird's eye view of the COGH tasting table

Match 54:
Australia 2
Floater 12, 50
Measley 74

Coopers Sparkling Ale retains its popularity while Sierra Nevada Glissade finally runs out of fans. 'The Aussies certainly know how to make great beer - when you can tear them away from the barbie and bush fires,' says Peter. Coopers is smooth and gives us no problem, whereas the States are bundled out, like in WC2010, after providing much entertainment but could not live with the Group D Winners.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Iberian Derby plus Japan take on the Italians

Firstly, sympathies go out to our American readers after their elimination from WC2010 yesterday. I was drinking a couple of bottles of La Choulette, the French entry to COGH during the game. I hope this didn't in any influence the course of the game... It was going to be Guinness Foreign Export.

'I never touched him ref, honest'

Match 51:

Japan 1
Miyagi 61
Italy 0
The Forza Azzurri bandwagon grinds to a halt, but we've had better taste-offs to be honest. 'There's no way the Italian beer deserves to go any further - it isn't much cop,' says James. 'Agreed,' says Dan, 'and Sapporo would walk any World's Driest Beer competition - if anyone could be bothered to hold one.' Now there's a thought... not really - but nonetheless Japan go marching on to the last eight.

Fabio Capello posting his team sheets earlier today -
apparently John Terry is 8/1 to be first England player to cry if they lose

Dave Henson
One of the cultural highlights of the World Cup for me has been the songs of Dave Henson - he of Vuvuzela Song fame. Have a listen to I'll Be Watching You and At Least We're Better Than France - both made me laugh quite a lot.

England 2006 - 2007 in two words

Match 52:
Portugal 1
Castrol 58
Spain 3
Torrid 35, 40, Biscuits 70 (pen)

A whole different encounter. By this time we're all thoroughly relaxed, but still have sufficient faculty to enjoy the sophisticated flavours in Alhambra Mezquita in all it's 7.2% glory. Slightly sweet and deeper than resentment about Gibraltar. In comparison Sagres is 'respectable holiday beer' and 'alright once in a while but nothing special'. No contest.

The Knock-Out Phase - No Second Chances

What next for Cup of Good Hop?
As the World Cup rolls towards the beginning of its end, our thoughts here at COGH turn to what should become of the site. We've had suggestions that we should run a Champions League version next season, and we are currently sizing this up. We could also run occasional Premier / Football League Beer face-offs. What do you think? Write and tell us what we should do, even if its to take a long run off a short pier.

Oh dear... well, we'll see tomorrow won't we?

Match 49:

France 4
Marceau 13, 57 Merci-Beaucoup 70, Cissy (pen) 85
Argentina 1
Galtieri 49
Sweet, hoppy with a touch of spice. We're not talking about a Skippy the Bush Kangeroo porn flick - this is La Choulette, and its thorough beating of Quilmes. 'This is going to be one tough mother to beat,' says Deaks approvingly. The Argentines may be having a stunning WC2010, but their beer oddessy came to an end, as one of the last 'Bog-Standard Lagerland' entrants bites the dust. Peter's parting shot was that Quilmes tastes like 'something your dad would drink in the 70s with a bit of lime cordial in it.' Ouch.

Barbie drink's from Cindy's furry Cup of Good Hop -
Obviously too much Jelen Pivo

Match 50:
Slovenia 2

Rektal 36, 48
Germany 2
Mullered 12, Geradehaus 50
(Germany won on penalties)

Weissbeer (Erdinger) vs quality ale (the Slovenian hops of Broadside) - not exactly comparing like with like but we had to go there, and there was barely the thickness of a beermat to separate them at the finish. 'They're so different,' says James, 'one's a summer beer and the other is one for around Christmas.' Stu comes up with a suggestion - 'well as its summer then we should give it to the Germans, and thus one of the toughest decisions yet in COGH is reluctantly made.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Rounding up the Group Stage - Shocks Galore...

Hope these Italian fans kept hold of this coffin - only have to change one colour and wording and its perfect

Match 45:
Portugal 2
Contralto 30, Mandi 72

Brazil 1
Kooka 45+1

An encounter that will fail to live in the memory save for the fact it puts out the Boys from Brazil. 'Sagres is better than average Eurolager,' says James, 'but not much more.' Brahma elicits little praise from our panel - 'there's no Samba party going on with this - pretty dire,' says Stu. At least the Brazilians trouble the scorers at last - but all massively in vain. This will make embarrassing reading for such a great World Cup nation.

A Japanese fan outside the Danish Embassy in Toyko last night

Many interesting insights on the modern game can be found at COGH Executive Beer Taster Stuart Fuller's theballisround blog. Click on the link to find Stu's reminiscences of WC2006.

Match 46:
North Korea 1
Sum-Yung-Boy 25

Ivory Coast 0

The North Koreans chalk up their second victory in poor group. 'Mann's Brown Ale is a bit of a crime against beers,' says Peter - 'that doesn't say much for Tusker does it?' replies Deaks. 'The last of the group games means we can say goodbye to a lot of shit beers,' says Stu, and four tipsy heads nod in agreement. Apart from Nigeria, this completes a sorry showing for African beers overall.

Final Group G Table

2North Korea
4Ivory Coast
COGH Analysis: In a group with no much to recommend it at all, Portugal sweep maximum points as if by default. The North Koreans - with the weakest beer in the competition - can count themselves incredibly lucky to make the next stage. And as for Brazil and the Kenyan / Ivory Coast entries - don't call us...

Free kicks: Had you forgotten how good they are?

Match 47:
Chile 0

Spain 3

Meddle (O.G) 36, Biscuits 51, Torrid 80

Another case of a superior team taking on absolute gack. The lads are still no fans of Chili Beer 'Poo - it stinks,' says Deaks - 'it's probably a ring stinger as well,' adds Peter. Alhambra Mezquita is strong, smooth and lovely, and brushes the South Americans aside as if lazily swatting a fly during a siesta. A taxi is hired for the Chileans without a goal troubling any of their opponents.

Thought for the day
Yesterday here at COGH we hoped there wouldn't be any red cards in today's matches - and Blimey O' Reilly - there weren't any. The performances of Howard Webb and linesman Darren Cann were the best by any Englishmen in WC2010 thus far...

Darren Cann - National Hero

Match 48:
Switzerland 5

Toblerone 1, 4, 70, Tell 40, Youngboy-Byrne 29

Honduras 3
Ponce 16, 55

Every match the Swiss have been involved in has been touched with class - and this was no exception. 'This gives you the most amazing euphoric feeling - it's not like drinking normal beer,' says Peter of the 14% barnstormer that has taken the competition by storm. The Hondurans are certainly no mugs and to get three goals against the mighty Swiss is a performance to be applauded. 'Banana Bread Beer can count themselves very unlucky to be going out at this stage. Would probably win best third place,' says James with an air of regret at seeing them go.

Final Group H Table

COGH Analysis: The Swiss go through as top scorers in the competition, as the Spanish claim a well-deserved second spot, and set up an all-Iberian encounter in the Round of 16. The Swiss should have no trouble against the North Koreans. As for Chile, the least said the better, and the Hondurans can go home very proud of the displays they have put together and the friends they've made.

Round of 16 Matches:
A1 France v Argentina B2
B1 Nigeria v Uruguay A2
C1 Slovenia v Germany D2
D1 Australia v USA C2
E1 Japan v Italy F2
F1 Paraguay v Holland E2
G1 Portugal v Spain H2
H1 Switzerland v North Korea G2
(Ties to be played same times as WC2010 equivalents)

E+F: The ins and outs of the final group matches...

Glen Johnson trying to avoid being hit square in the Jubulanis yesterday

Group E
Match 41:

Denmark 0

Japan 2
Snackazawa 43, Mizuno 48

A double whammy does for the Danes as their disappointing COGH campaign comes to an end. The lads don't hold back in what they feel about Carlsberg. 'Bath water. Not fit to grace this fine competition,' says Dan, whilst James thinks it 'smells of feet.' Peter follows up with a cutting 'It's awful, I'm getting more off these figs I'm eating.' Sapporo by contrast as dry, clean and hundred times more drinkable.

Tim Stewart's World Cup Diary
We'd heartily recommend Tim Stewart's on-the-spot reporting from England v Slovenia on our siblog European Football Weekends.

Match 42:

Cameroon 0

Holland 2
Bruin 32, Agagoo 75 (O.G)

Two very similar games to round off the groups, except the French / Cameroonian entrant Tradition is way out of Carlsberg's league, but not in a good way. 'Worst beer we've tried, and that's saying something,' says Deaks, eager to wash his mouth out with something more pleasant. The Dutch grab their first and only goals of the tournament but strangely they are enough to give them a decent shout of the second round.

Final Group E Table:

COGH Analysis: In an amazing last gasp bid Holland have overtaken the Danes on goal difference, but will face the formidable Paraguayans in the next round. Japan were not troubled in the group, and will fancy themselves against Italy. The Danes can consider themselves unlucky, especially as their first choice beer was smashed in an unfortunate accident. As for the French / Cameroonian entry, they are no loss to the contest.

Vladimir Mijaljevic commentating for Serbia's biggest TV station RTS said of the German goalkeeping situation: “Neuer is in goal, because Enke cannot play. He is injured.” Obviously no-one told Mijaljevic that Robert Enke tragically committed suicide last year.

Group F
Match 43:

Slovakia 0

Italy 1
Columbo 39

Two evenly matched sides going head-to-head in a battle for that vital runners-up spot in the group. The Italians edge out the Slovaks by being 'a little tastier' but overall an uninspiring encounter. 'You'd not refuse a few of these, but I've had better up Ben Nevis,' says Peter. Stu is equally non-plussed. 'I don't think either of these will be going very much further in the competition to be honest.' No-one disagrees.

Thought for the Day
A player has been sent off on each of the last eight day's play - a new World Cup record. It seems that there are so many fiddly things that 'deserve' a yellow card these days, wrecking many perfectly good matches. Here's to no red cards today... what would be the odds of that? 50/1?

Impenetrable: England's route to the WC2010 final

Match 44:
Paraguay 3

New Zealand 0

'This beer would put you in Accident and Emergency if you're not careful,' says Dan. Not everyone is a fan of Palo Santo, but all have to admire how they've managed to fit 12% ABV of beer into something that doesn't taste like surgical spirit. Mac's Gold, on the other hand, is pallid, plain and out of COGH without a point or even so much as a goal.

The NZ team in celebratory mood... Obviously with beer from other countries

Final Group F Table

4New Zealand

COGH Analysis: Paraguay coast over the finishing line as group winners and will not fear the Dutch. The Italians were arguably fielding an understrength entry and so did well under the circumstances. As for the Slovaks and the Kiwis, both were fancied before the start of the tournament and have largely disappointed, but stood little chance against a most distinctive South American entry.

Tomorrow: Will Brazil qualify? Are Switzerland COGH's new dark horses

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Dramatic Finale to Groups C + D - What's the Story Golden Glory?

Group C
Match 37:
Slovenia 2
Bojangles 70, Pistilic 81

England 1
Runny 9

England make a bright start - Peter: 'Its lovely. So long as you like peaches. Lends itself to duck pate or cheesecake.' James responds with 'that sounds like a recipe for gout,' and similar feeling amongst the lads means the writing is on the wall for the Three Lions. The Slovenian Hops in Adnams' Broadside are a more conventional hit 'would warm you cockles any old day,' (Dan) and patriotism is put aside in favour of scientific enquiry. It is found to be eminently drinkable - with a punch without the pungency. This could well have disastrous consequences for England's chances.

Other news
So, its do-or-die day for England in WC2010. Great story here from The Daily Mash about John Terry's frame of mind before the big game. Other news:- Apparently an Algerian witch doctor sent the pigeon behind the goal to cast a spell on England last Friday. Elsewhere Raymond Domenech is to write a book entitled How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Possible explanation found for poor Croatian show in qualifiers

Match 38:
Measley30 (pen), Hold'em 40, Bubble 57

Algeria 0

The States' entry - Sierra Nevada Glissade - racks up an easy victory against the Algerians who leave COGH without so much as a goal, let alone a goal to their name. 'Fruity, lingers like a good'un,' says Dan about the US of A. Skol, the biggest, if shortest name in lager in parts of North Africa, has a torrid time. 'Light and refreshing my arse,' says Dan, whilst Stu describes it as 'flavoured water. In fact, I don't think they've bothered to flavour it.' The Executive Beer Tasters were going to ring the Skol Consumer Helpline on the side of the can, but ultimately we couldn't be bothered.

Final Group C Table


COGH Analysis:
England go home due to scoring one fewer goal than the USA - the cruellest form of elimination known to man. The Slovenians triumphed after a couple of narrow wins over their main rivals and annihilation of the Algerians, who never really stood a chance in the company of three strong opponents. England can take a lot away from this experience, but must be bitterly disappointed to be going home at this early stage.

Group D
Match 39:

Ghana 0

Germany 2

Bierhoff Jr 39, Geradehaus 90+2

Yet again there's a shutout for Star - and Erdinger does more than enough to ensure safe progress. 'It's a lovely contrast to have a bit of white beer,' says Peter, who by now has drunk enough generic piss to last a lifetime. 'Nice lid. has five stars on it, shame you can't say that about the beer,' says Stu about the African also-ran. It's plain to see by this point that beers such as Star are going to get little sympathy as we've sampled most of the big guns three times.

Match 40:
Australia 4
Chippyfeel 9, Kewl 41, Floater 49, Molehill 80

Serbia 2
Yearic 29, Alcoholic 64

Coopers Sparkling Ale very well received all round. James sums it up 'Interesting and tasty. Smallest bottle in the group but packs a big punch.' Jelen Pivo also has its fans, with Dan noting it was 'very nice, which was pleasing as it came in a bottle the size of a battleship.' However, the antipodean class shone through, and it was arguable there was possibly just too much Serbian Beer knocking around to be impressed by it. At the end of the day, Coopers is a speciality world-renowned ale as opposing to above-average mass market lager. No contest really.

Final Group D Table

COGH Analysis: Australia top the table on sheer fire power ahead of a German side who'd have won most COGH groups hands down. Serbia's Jelen Pivo can also count themselves unlucky due to the company they've kept, as they have found the net nearly as many times as those who have qualified. Ghana were outclassed on a regular basis, looking the epitome of average throughout.