Guinness brings soccer to the U.S. in style, breaking records along the way

When the folks at Guinness invited us to join them in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the weekend to drink some beer and watch Manchester United and Real Madrid battle it out at The Big House, we couldn’t decline. After all, how often do you get the opportunity to see two of the biggest soccer clubs in the world compete live, let alone on U.S. soil? For most people, it’s a once in a lifetime experience, and with United absent from this year’s UEFA Champions League, the chances that fans will ever see Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo share the stage again seems pretty unlikely.

So as the resident soccer fan on staff, I flew out to Detroit on Friday to meet up with fellow bloggers from sites like Made Man, Bleacher Report, Inside Hook and World Soccer Talk. After quickly checking into my room at the MGM Grand Hotel, I joined the rest of the group as we boarded a van headed for the home of the Michigan Wolverines to watch Manchester United and Real Madrid’s open training sessions. Both teams appeared to be relaxed but focused on the night leading up to the big game, engaging in the usual fitness drills and rounds of keep-away, while a few of the players even tried their hand at some football of the American variety by tossing the pigskin around with University of Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner.

Of course, it was all just a tease for the real festivities on Saturday, which began with miles of traffic on I-94 as tens of thousands of soccer fans flooded the college town of Ann Arbor for the big game. Thanks to some creative detouring by our driver, we arrived in plenty of time to enjoy a cold pint at the Guinness beer garden, who, as the main sponsors of the International Champions Cup, were allowed to serve alcohol inside the usually “dry” stadium, a rarity for the university and college sports in general.

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Summertime beers from Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams Rebel IPA

There’s something about a cold beer on a nice summer day. it’s one of the simple pleasures in life, and with summer in full swing hopefully you’ve had plenty of opportunities to enjoy a cold one. There’s plenty of summer left as well, so you have more time to enjoy those cookouts and other outdoor events.

We’ve been sampling a number of beers from Samuel Adams, including the Samuel Adams Summer Ale and the IPAs like the Rebel IPA pictured above. Samuel Adams has tons of beers to choose from including quite a few IPAs. I’m still partial to the Boston Lager, as they’re flagship beer is pretty flawless. As a seasonal the Summer Ale isn’t bad but it’s not my first choice, while the IPAs are excellent. The Rebel IPA features citrus and grapefruit highlights which makes it perfect as a summer beer.

Try them out and see which one you like best.


Are Heineken commercials real?

Here’s a pretty hilarious take from Heineken about the authenticity of their commercials.


Enjoy Your Holiday Spirits


Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates this holiday, and Happy Holidays to everyone else. Regardless of your traditions, hopefully it involves getting together with friends, family and loved ones.

Naturally, that often involves great food and plenty of drinks. I was just out and about and lots of people were stocking up on booze and beer for their holiday parties. We’ve had a number of features recently and in past years with suggestions on cocktails, beer and wine. Bob Westal gives us weekly ideas with his Drink of the Week series helping us with both traditional and new cocktail recipes. His recent article covered several Christmas cocktails that you might consider for tonight and tomorrow.

Several years ago Mike Barkacs offered up his top 5 holiday beers which should give you some ideas on how to stock your refrigerator, and naturally you can check out all of our beer reviews.

Then check out our wine reviews as well for ideas on what to serve with your holiday meal.

Finally, check out our Booze Gift Guide for last-minute ideas on bottles you can bring to a party or add to your own stock for this week and next.

Please be safe and enjoy the holidays!


2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Booze

Walk into any liquor store and you’ll see hundreds of options. You can zero in on someone’s favorite drink when picking a gift, or you can get creative and choose something they wouldn’t buy for themselves. Also, remember that you don’t want to come to a party empty-handed, so get in the habit of at least bringing a bottle.

And for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Craft Beer Club

If you have a beer lover on your list, you can give him or her the gift that keeps on giving. The Craft Beer Club discovers exceptional craft brews from around the country and delivers them each month direct to you or your gift recipient. Every selection is produced by small-production, independent brewers who use only traditional brewing ingredients and time-honored brewing methods. In addition to traditional bottled beers, they also embrace the hundreds of small craft brewers around the country that offer their hand-crafted beers in cans. It’s a great way to enjoy craft beers and it’s ideal for the holiday season.

Laphroaig 10 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

If dad, your buddy, your tomboyish gal pal or anyone else on your holiday list loves a very good bottle of Scotch, then consider this rather dandy, unusually enjoyable single malt. Outstanding on the rocks, with a splash of water or soda, or neat for you purists, the Laphroaig 10 Year Old is also more mixable than you might assume; on the other hand, it’s good enough that many will consider even the finest cocktail made with it a crime against nature. The website tells us that it’s got traces of salt and seaweed along with the usual peat and smoke flavors, but we don’t completely agree. It’s definitely got smoke – indeed, you might get hungry for barbecue after you take a good whiff and, yeah, that’s some salt in there, but that’s not all. Every good Scotch has its share of several indescribable tastes and smells of nature. We haven’t been to Scotland, but we wouldn’t be one bit surprised to find ourselves tasting the essence of this concoction in the clear cool air of the highlands. Cheaper than super-duper premium single malts but nearly double what you’ll likely pay for Chivas Regal, this is an outstanding gift for a true blue Scotch enthusiast.

Brugal 1888 Dominican Rum

If you’re in search of a bottle for the man or woman who’s drunk everything, Brugal 1888 is something genuinely new under the sun and it’s completely remarkable. An aged Dominican rum that thinks it’s a premium Scotch or Bourbon, it has the tantalizing, woody and astringent flavor you might get in very a high-end single malt, plus a hint of something that somehow reminds us of our dad’s old fake-leather chair. (That’s a good thing, believe it or not.) At the exact same time, it has a boldly sugary undertone that goes well beyond what you’re likely to find in the sweetest bourbon. We tasted more than a hint of maple syrup or maybe turbinado. Regardless, it’s delicious and probably not like anything you’ve had before. You can drink this on the rocks, with a bit of water, or neat. You can also put on your mixologist hat and go to town as this is a flexible beverage that won’t be out of place in an Old Fashioned, especially if you use real maple syrup in place of the usual sugar or simple syrup. High priced for rum but worth every gosh darn penny, this is one boozy gift that won’t be forgotten.

Cabo Diablo

This is the best new spirit we’ve tried in a long time. Cabo Wabo is known now just as much for its excellent tequilas as it is for its founder Sammy Hagar, and this new Cabo Diablo should attract many more fans. Cabo Diablo features a delicious coffee flavor and tastes amazing when you drink it straight. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and it’s not think and syrupy like some liqueurs. So it’s a fantastic sipping drink that men and women should both enjoy. But better yet, it’s a tequila, so it’s also a great way to get a party going, as tequila makes everyone a little nuts at times. It is made with 100% blue agave Cabo Wabo Silver tequila, then kicks in notes of fresh roasted coffee, vanilla and chocolate for a striking combination. It’s excellent served chilled or on the rocks. With the holidays around the corner, this makes for a great gift for men and women, and it’s a great bottle to bring to a gathering to get the party started!

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