Sunday, 30 May 2010

World Cup names to watch this summer...

In the last COGH I promised you tastefully shot photos of the beers in all their glory - and I tell you they are on the way (they are on James' camera) - but in the meantime I've had a trawl through the World Cup squads to find those names that will make us giggle into our beer throughout the summer.

In the past there have been some classics. Who could forget Angola's Titi Buengo and Paraguay veteran Chiqui Arce from 2006? Or Stefan Kuntz from a decade before?

So the question is: Though Portugal's goalie Quim may have hung up his gloves - will there be surnames to make commentators corpse?

Well, a quick look through the squads reveals that its not going to be a classic year, but there are some sources of amusement.

One of those in contention to be between the German sticks is Hans Joerg Butt, and Waldo Ponce is raring to go for Chile. I suppose we have our fair share of Johnsons and Bent of course, and Cameroon's Gaetan Bong raises a smile, but otherwise we'll have to satisfy ourselves with New Zealand's Shane Smeltz and North Korea's Kim Kum Il.





Anyway, that's quite enough of that. James is off in Spain tracking down more beer, I'll keep my eyes open and our hunt for those five rare ones continues, as well as getting the five we can get with our eyes shut.

Enjoy, over and out, Peter.

The search widens...

Cup of Good Hop
World Cup beer blog
32 Nations – 32 Beers - Two blokes

Press release 30/5/10. For Immediate release.

World Cup beer bloggers: ‘Help us find last five rare brews’

Two Sussex beer bloggers are in a race against time to find five brews from five World Cup countries in order to complete their collection, making it possible for them to host a Beer World Cup this summer.

The Cup of Good Hop - – will pit the best beers from countries such as Brazil, Nigeria and Japan in a match-by-match basis in order to find the greatest combiner of hops, yeast, water and alcohol on the planet. The blog has achieved more than 1,000 hits since its inception a little over two weeks ago.

Brighton-based beer hunters Peter Styles and James Byford have so far sourced 27 of the 32 national tipples, but are stumped as to where to find brews from the following countries:-

North Korea

Peter says of the challenge: ‘It’s been great fun collecting the beers so far but these last five have left us stumped. None of these countries export their beer to the UK and it would be a great shame if our challenge was to fail as a result. If anyone has a beer from any of these countries going spare, we’d be so grateful.’

Anyone who can help Peter and James with their noble quest should contact them on 07946 825926 or email Alternatively, they can just enjoy the blog and the World Cup as it unfolds from June 11th.


Cup of Good Hop, Peter Styles,
mobile: 07946 825926

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Beers 17-22 - here we go, here we go, here we go...

Fully recovered from my brush with the law, I decided to stay closer to home in order to embark on the second half of COGH. A return visit to Trafalgar Wines, Brighton elicited the following purchases:- (n.b. James has bought Netherlands and re-purchased Mexico (Beers 16 & 17), and a post detailing this will doubtless appear in the fullness of time, and the next post will be more arthouse, with pictures of the beers in their natural habitat and exclusive footage where we get up close and personal with the contestants.)

BEER#17 Spain - £2.00

Alhambra Mezquita has an ABV of 7.2% - stacking up yet another COGH beer that is to be treated with maximum respect. Should be a strong contender in the group games.

BEER#18 - Chile - £1.80

The Chileans don't export their beer, and steps will / may be taken to get hold of these rare countries, but in the meantime a little punnery got us as far as Chilli Beer. Ahem... Apologies to purists here - and I doubt it will be the only one during the course of this post.

BEER#19 - USA - £1.99

Apologies to purists for this. Despite appeals to go for a US microbrewery, we've plumbed for Budweiser. Is this an anti-American bias creeping in? Na... it's because this 'can' of Bud has got a picture of the World Cup on it. Sucker.

BEER#20 Slovenia - £2.00

Again, Slovenian beers are like hen's teeth over here, and I've been in enough Eastern European shops lately to be a chicken dentist. Fortunately many UK beers are made with Slovenian hops and Adnams is one such brewer. Broadside is a lovely example of the breed, so I decided to bring it into our kennel of beer. I think that's enough metaphors for now. Could well do better than the actual Slovenian team considering the weak competition in Group C - and no we haven't fixed it. This is scientific don't you know.

Ooh - look at the reflection on that bottle...

BEER#21 - Honduras - £2.40

According to the experts, Honduran beer isn't going on. The man in Trafalgar Wines sadly shook his head and said there hasn't been a World Cup like it - maybe there's a PhD in looking at the best World Cup for COGHing. Maybe not - they'd never get that through the budget cuts. Still, that said, bananas are the top export of Honduras, and I really like Banana Bread Beer. That completes Group G, the second quartet we no longer have to worry about.

BEER#22 - Ivory Coast (again) - £1.79

Bought another bottle of Tusker after Saturday's debacle to represent the highly fancied Ivorians. Yes, my ipod is still dead, and yes - am still fuming about the conduct of the Metropolitan Police on Saturday. Nuff said before I go off on a diatribe...

On a brighter note, we have a new recruit for the latter and most important stages of COGH - the tasting. In a deal reported to be worth approximately ten beers we have enticed top international blogger Danny Last of European Football Weekends. For the uninitiated here he is in multilingual mode:-

Danny will help us record the momentous events and be our illustrious guest taster when the action kicks off in the next couple of weeks. Welcome aboard mate.

Before that happens, we have ten more beers to acquire. Five of these are easy... France, England, Germany, Italy and Denmark (again).

And five fiendish ones... Ghana, Serbia, Cameroon, Slovakia and the dreaded North Korea. Any help / suggestions in rounding up these would be fantastic... In the meantime signing off for now - more than 600 views so far and counting. Thanks for your interest in our noble yet slightly silly quest...


Friday, 21 May 2010

Have I Got Booze for You...

7.15am, just about to set off for a WHOLE DAY beer hunting in London. Watch this space for a full report later...

Right... what a day. EVERY detail of what I have to report is true. This is just as much a political report as a beer blog today, but will try to keep it short and to the point and not a rant...

Got early lift with mate Jason as far as Greenwich, and looked at my dog-eared list of beer specialists, with only the south and west of the capital left to be combed. Got tube to London Bridge and went to Otobeer in Borough Market (v highly recommend). What a find. Lovely guys, couldn't be more help - and there I found:-

1) BEER#11 Greece - Mythos - £2.00
They may be having problems at the moment but it didn't take Archimedes to get a new angle on searching down this lager.

2) BEER#12 - Denmark - Mikkelle Stateside IPA £2.00

More about this one later, when our tale washes over you like the North Sea over the Little Mermaid - or something like that.

3) BEER#13 - Paraguay - £6.00 (yes, six of your English pounds!)

This is American, but stored in Paraguayan wood, which is enough of a link in this magical pystery tour...

4) BEER #14 - South Africa - £2.00

Durban Pale Ale - this is one of those ones that needs to be decanted from the bottle as its got yeast and bits of kids at the bottom of the bottle - intriguing.

5) I also found lovely chaps and a great chat about our quest, with the basic message being that COGH was impossible and that we needed to make some compromises in order to get 32 representatives together. This confirmed our need to find logical, or not so logical replacements for the following because they don't export their beers to the UK:- N Korea, Chile, Ivory Coast, Slovenia, Uruguay and Honduras.

On I went to Elephant and Castle to a South American shop - not a beer in sight. Undettered I went to Brick Lane to check out its exotic wares. Surely this melting pot would hold many glories? Well, it held two.

BEER #15 - Ivory Coast £1.79

Tusker is from Kenya - ok, that's cheating a bit but I've never had it and we've got to have some ringers.

BEER #16 - Algeria - 79p

The biggest selling beer in Algeria is Skol. Yes, that's right. Yuk. Still, bought a can of it so that North Africa can have representation, an inauspicious way to reach the COGH halfway mark.

I then went to Ealing to have a few beers with a mate. With it being such a lovely day the park was the option of choice and Leffe Blonde was the preferred tipple. Oh Belgium, why did you not qualify?

Arguably the best beer in the world, but not in COGH

To cut a long story short, Andy and I were a few bottles down each, causing no bother whatsoever when two Community Support Officers came to harass us. Quite why they picked on us when lots of people were drinking in the park is quite beyond me. To cut a longer story even shorter, despite attempts to just leave the park they pursued us and called for back-up. Jesus Christ - what kind of country is this!

After arguing the toss with all five - five! ****ing police (well, three real ones and two wannabes) I was given an £80 on-the-spot fine - which I have less than no intention of paying.

All this commotion made me late for my lift back to Brighton from Greenwich, and in my haste to get there I stumbled on an escalator and two of the beers (Tusker and Mikkel) smashed in my bag, all over my iPod, which at the time of writing no longer works. What fascist bastards - they've caused COGH to only have 14 rather than 16 beers so far. Nuff said... onwards and upwards next week...


Very interesting new research...

Friday - am listening to the wonderful Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo film reviews on Radio 5 after playing cricket this morning. Nothing to do with beer hunting I hear you cry - oh contraire mon frere...

Have been doing a little bit of desktop research for COGH and stumbled across this page:-

It's only a list of beers for every country playing in the World Cup! Stone the lummy crows! I feel this is a significant contribution to human endeavour, and I have to say caught my attention for some time. Key quote: "Apart from North Korea, Honduras and Cameroon, there are very few participating teams whose beers aren’t imported into the UK."

Of the 'difficult' countries we still have to find, the bible of beer says thus:-

Group A

South Africa (ok, SA isn't difficult but this sounds nice).

Castle Milk Stout 6%

Blacker than a coalminer’s pocket with a delicious, creamy mouthfeel, this full-bodied stout from the Johannesburg region is one of the most popular beers in South Africa.


Stinger, 4%

Stinger’s from Dorset not Montevideo but we chose it because Uruguay won the inaugural World Cup in 1930. As everybody knows, this was the same year Maude Grieve of the horticultural society came up with the recipe for her Nettle Beer. This tingle-tastic organic ale is brewed with nettles from the garden of celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Hugh is renowned for his love of meat and so, as it happens, are the Uruguayans.

Group B


Mythos, 5%

A clean, simple thirst-quenching pilsner-style lager that falls down easier than an unstable economy.

33cl £1.29.

Group C

England (saw this is a London pub the other day - sounds delicious)

Thornbridge Jaipur IPA, 5.9%

A quintessentially English beer style revived by one of the most progressive and adventurous micros in the UK. A fruity, honey-tinged and delightfully hoppy India Pale Ale that can go toe-to-toe with strong, spicy food.

12x33cl £24.


Skol, 4%

The biggest beer in Algeria is Skol. The one synonymous with the chanting Viking adverts of the 80s.

4 x 33cl cans. £2.85.


Adnams Innovation, 6.7%,

No Slovenian beers are readily available in the UK, but Slovenian hops are used widely in British brewing. This American-style IPA brewed beside the seaside in Suffolk is a marvellous mouthful.

12 x 50cl £21.50

Group D


Jelen Pivo, 5%

A basic bottom-fermented brew is one of the best from the Balkans.

50cl £1.59.


Star, 5%

When it gets hot in Ghana, which it does quite a lot, this crisp and slightly sweet pale lager hits the spot.

Group E


Pelforth Brune, 6.5%

A liquid legacy of French rule, this deep russet-coloured ale is full of figs, prunes and warming alcohol with a Port-like finish.

33cl £2.41.

This is going to be one tough mother to get hold of...

Group F


Palo Santo Marron, 12%

OK, so this beer isn’t from Paraguay, it’s from America. Yet Dogfish Head, one of the most impressive and adventurous craft ale creators in the States, ages this awesome after-dinner brown ale in 10,000 gallon brewing vessels made of Paraguayan Palo Santo wood.

35.5cl £


Zlaty Bazant, 5%

Meaning Golden Pheasant, the biggest beer in Slovakia is a pale European lager brewed in a Czech style.

£1.99. 50cl

Group G

North Korea

Mann’s Brown Ale, 2.8%

In 2000, North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il announced he wanted a brewery. At the same time, the Ushers Brewery in Trowbridge, Dorset, was put up for sale. A deal was done and within 18 months, the North Korean government had dismantled the brewery, shipped it home to Pyongyang, put it back together again and begun brewing “Taedong River Beer”. As you can’t get Taedong River Beer in the UK, we’ve opted for Mann’s Brown ale, the terrific traditional beer that was once brewed on the same brewing kit. A slightly sweet, malt driven creamy ale with a nutty finish.

50cl £2.77.

Are you North Korea in disguise? (repeat)

Ivory Coast

Tusker Lager, 4.2%

Ivorian ales are a bit thin on the ground in the UK. But, as the Ivory Coast football team are nicknamed the elephants, we’ve gone for Tusker from Kenya. It’s got an elephant on the label and, er, tusks are made from ivory and the brewery’s founder was killed by a rogue elephant. Surely that’s enough isn’t it? Eh? Oh.

Group H


Banana Bread Beer, 5.2%

If you want a Honduran beer, you’ll have to go to Honduras. Given that it’s quite far away and very dangerous, it’s better to make do with this British ale brewed with bananas, Honduras’ main export.

12x50cl £25.49.


Fallen Angel’s Fire in the Hole Chilli Beer, 4%

As Chileans export their wine but not their beer, why not give Sussex’s Fallen Angel Brewery a call. It’s not from Chile but it’s brewed using chillis. Do you see what we’ve done there? Clever eh?

What they eat pastel de choclo (meat stew topped with corn)

And another thing.... Chile is only one of two countries in South America that does not border Brazil.


Now, some of these seem like a cop-out, but if that's what the industry experts are suggesting, who are we to argue? Going to London tomorrow to try and outdo these suggestions, but otherwise we could have found some reasonable fall-back positions so we are ready to stage COGH when the WC2010 begins...

So, it's time to enjoy the rest of the film reviews, pull the top off a can of Red Stripe and enjoy the sunshine. ;)


Thursday, 20 May 2010

Brahma-rama - three more down... or was it two?

The full extent of our quest... sobering isn't it?

Wednesday - job interview in London. Suited and booted - check. Laptop and PR strategy presentation - check. List of speciality beer shops across the capital - goes without saying.
Interview finishes around 3.30pm and consult mini A-Z for nearest source of sauce at the most northerly reaches of the Piccadilly Line.

A foray into the mean streets of Holloway Road carrying an impossibly heavy bag took me to Kris Wines, which stocks 350 global beers but only one that matched COGH requirements - Max Gold (New Zealand)... the eighth find marking one quarter of the task done. Woo hoo!

Next stop was Drinker's Paradise in Camden - where Brazil (Brahma) and Mexico (Pacifico) were obtained. When questioning the shopkeep I discover they used to stock Slovenian, Slovakian and other rare breeds, but I suppose out of World Cup time there's not much call (or I dare say during the build-up to World Cup - excepting two guys with a particular mission).

A bottle of Pacifico on holiday

Drinkers Paradise - to die for...
but could do with more v rare beers

By this stage time was against me, but pressed onto East London to try Bottles on Commercial Road. As it was the first name on my list I had high hopes, and waddled sweatily through Whitechapel cursing laptop, portfolio et al. Imagine my abject disappointment on arrival at no. 349 to discover it was now a run-of-the-mill convenience store, with the current incumbent completely oblivious to his shop's presumably illustrious past. That said, if Bottles had been that great it would have still been there...

After dinner with girlfriend in Islington (and a well deserved bottle of Sam Adams, (USA)) I met James at Victoria Station for the journey back to Brighton. Have Grolsch for the train, but we run dry around Haywards Heath. James asks to crack open one of our stash - and I offer the Pacifico as the least rare of today's haul. The one that got away... down our necks...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

3 continents in one trip

Wandered down to Lewes Road in Brighton on friday and amongst the significant choice of Polish beers (memories of Boniek and co flooding back..) discovered three on Questionable/Difficult list:


Always been a Guiness fan so am looking forward to this Foreign Extra coming in at 7.5%,

Portugal I've always thought to possess flair, style but often lacking a little bit of weight up front.

Sagres is not is best looking label it has to be said. Having never been to Portugal this does look like a campsite staple so with holding judgement..

The highlight of the trip was finding this rather simple and fetching blue and white striped bottle of Quilmes from Argentina:

If only the Poles were in we could have a dozen for them alone..


Thursday, 13 May 2010


DAY 1 - May 13th

Beer #1 - Switzerland (Day 1 - May 13th) Price: £3.49 (rrp £3.99 but got 50p off as it was on window display)

Even though it was on our tough / impossible list (probably because we didn't think the country was flat enough to grow the necessary crops!) However, a trip to Trafalgar Wines, Brighton produced our first find - and what a find it was. Weighing in at a mighty 14% (yes, one-four per freeking cent) and allegedly 'The Strongest Lager Beer in the World', Samichlaus will be a force to be reckoned with and is the first beverage to qualify for Cup of Good Hop.

DAY 2 - May 14th

Reports into COGH Towers from James of successful sourcing of Portugal, Argentina and Nigeria. Reports #2, 3 and 4 to follow...

DAY 3 - May 15th

As I was walking to the tube this morning every exotic beer shop seemed to be calling out to me, as if they housed the Holy Grail. Will be hunting down beers this afternoon... Hoping for some notable scalps. Watch this space...

Beer #5 - Australia (Price £1.79)

A friend of mine is most insistent - and if you don't believe me read the comments section on the welcome page of this blog - that we don't buy just any old rubbish to represent Australia in COGH. And so, entering Oddbins on Wardour Street, the only contribution they could make to our haul was a bottle of Coopers Sparkling Ale - oooh, and slavering at the thought of it. It will stand far more chance of qualification to the latter stages than Lucas Neill, Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer and the other geriatrics that play for the Socceroos these days.

Beer #6 - S. Korea (Price £1.55)

Whilst cycling along Charing Cross Road I happened to remember that there was a Korean shop nearby, and a short, partially understood exchange later I was in the possession of a bottle of OB - a brew of which I know less than nothing. Like the Korean team itself, a dark horse that could prove to be a match for the titans of the beer world.

OB - drink it and shut up...

Beer #7 - Japan (Price £1.55)

Whilst in the same shop me old eyeballs fell upon bottles of Sapporo - and my thoughts immediately turned to birds, stones and killing. Must have drunk it in the past, but if I did that night has faded from memory like every other James Blunt song apart from that incredibly annoying one. Got a mountain to climb, like Mount Fuji or something badass like that.

n.b. successes now moved to day-by-day updates. Will keep this page live for old times' sake ;)


As you have seen so far, these 32 beers aren't going to find themselves. It's going to take a fair bit of research, shoe leather and expense to realise our dream.

A little googling and an alert out to my friends on Facebook produced the following on these countries, starting with the most daunting:-
North Korea (People's Republic) - main 'brand' is called Tadonggang

Algeria - the Islamic government seem to have shut down many of the breweries, but apparently Castel Algerie is the leading producer.

Paraguay - apparently Pilsen by Quinsa is the most downed beverage in downtown Asuncion

Ivory Coast - there is supposed to be a brand called 'Mamba' but only sparse references to it can be found... this could be our toughest challenge of all!!!

Been sent a link about Ghana Beer that is sold in a restaurant in Streatham - but am going to London today anyhoo so will be trawling the supermarkets and speciality shops over the weekend. Best leave some space in my rucksack...

Am trying to do some serious boning up on the more esoteric beers we need.

Slovenia: Apparently Lasko is the top brew, and Slovakia isn't particularly renowned for its beer culture, despite its proximity to the lovely Czech Republic. Oh why, why did they not qualify for WC 2010? And the Belgians for that matter? Disappointing.

Uruguay: Patricia - according to reviews its one of the finest beers in the world. Funnily enough Patricia Beer was also the name of a C20th English New Romantic poet...

Serbia: Apparently Jelen is the label to look for. Here it is:-

What a beauty. Obscure South American beers may well be sourced from La Bodeguita in the market at Elephant and Castle. It remains to be seen. Right, that's enough desktop, let's go beer hunting...

From beer to eternity - the start of our quest...

Firstly, we divided up the competing nations into three categories, based on how difficult we thought it would be to get hold of beer from that country:-

1) Easy

Australia, Brazil, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, United States (12 of 32 = 38%)

2) Questionable / difficult

Argentina, Chile, Greece, Honduras, Korea Republic, New Zealand, Nigeria, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia (11 of 32 = 34%)

3) Umm... gonna be tough / pretty impossible

Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Korea DPR, Switzerland, Paraguay, Uruguay (9 of 32 = 28%)

Cup Of Good Hop - Welcome

What is Cup of Good Hop?
It's a quest to source a beer for each nation competing in the World Cup, and pit them against each other to see which is the greatest combiner of hops, yeast, water and alcohol on the planet.

Cup of Good Hop is here to chart this process and hopefully give you some tips on how you can host your own Beer World Cup this summer.

What stage of development are you at?
The idea is very new (in fact we had it this afternoon - Thurs 13th May 2010), and have one month to get hold of 32 beers, both familiar and wildly obscure. Then we have a further month to bring you our considered opinion of them.

Is there anything I can do to help?
Certainly. If anyone happens to have a bottle hard-to-get beer and have one to spare, drop us a line. For instance, we've yet to work out if North Korea has any breweries, or what the favourite tipple is in the Ivory Coast.

Other tricky ones - advice welcome... Algeria, Cameroon, Paraguay, Serbia, Slovenia and Slovakia.

In the meantime, enjoy the blog.


Peter & James...