EuroBeery 2012: Semi Final 2, Germany v England

Semi Final 2: Germany v England

Back in 2008 I spent a day on the Great Central Railway. As part of a D-Day re-enactment event, some stations were under the command of the Germans, other by the Allies. The German stations offered ice cold bottles of lager. One of the Allied stations had a beer tent. I spent more time in the beer tent, mainly because I had an uneasy feeling about drinking with men who liked to relax at the weekends by dressing in knee-high leather boots and Nazi regalia.

Is there a fair comparison to be made between German and English beer? When the Germans get it right, they excel: think kölsch, doppelbock, kellerbier. It almost doesn't matter who's you choose; control and dedication and Schweinsteiger levels of devotion see Germany take some styles to a sublime level of efficiency. No-one in the world can get close to the likes of Ayinger Celebrator or Spezial Ungespundet.

Then again, the English don't need to. They can take a fermentation method and storage/dispense type - top, cask - and use it as a palette limited only by the brewers' imaginations. The broad brush of bitter. The shading and shadow of porter. The accent and highlight of IPA. The occasional flashes of brilliant colour in styles that vie to defy definition - white stout, red pales. No-one in the world can get close to the likes of cask Adnams bitter or bottled Imperial Brown Stout by The Kernel.

So are we left with the unstoppable force of English innovation and tradition meeting the immovable object of German efficiency and Reinheitsgebot? Not quite.

I can't think of a single instance of an English style brewed by the Germans that is world class. But a German style brewed by the English... yes. Thornbridge Tzara. Fermented like an ale, matured like a lager, kölsch-ish with a definite English accent. As delicate and assertive as a Danny Welbeck backheel.

Some drinkers are on the pitch. They think it's all over.

They have another pint of Tzara.

It is now.

Result: England 4 Germany 2