The title of this article should really read, ‘How to trick your largely female family into watching football’. It’s all in the phrasing you see – suggest watching a UEFA Champions League match between the giants of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, and you’ll get this reaction. But after failing to get them involved in previous Beer to Beer reviews, we had a new plan: we would prepare a feast for the girlfriends and family, selling the evening as a cultural experience where they’d get chorizo and bratwurst, manchego and sauerkraut. Food. Lots of nice food, basically.
There was no need to emphasise the 90 minutes or so of football that was also related to the evening. And lo and behold (perhaps just intrigued at the thought of Jed Woodcock and myself cooking), there was a full girlfriend and family turnout for the evening. All we needed to do was steer things from the kitchen to the front room and we were good to go…
Now, Spain does many a thing to perfection, but they always faced an uphill battle with a German team when it came to beer. They had some benefits however: one offering, the Mahou Clasica, came in a litre sized bottle – helping us get through a fairly slow first half due to its sheer volume. Both teams seemed fairly nervous after the 2-1 first leg win for Real Madrid, and it showed on the pitch. No such nerves for our first Munich beverage: Augustiner Lagerbier Hell knocking its Madrid counterpart out of the competition with ease.The second half saw miraculous things happen both on and off the pitch. Sergio Ramos scored one of the most bizarre own goals I have ever seen, giving Bayern Munich a way back into the game. But even more remarkably, by the 80-minute mark the entire family had assembled in the front room, contentedly watching the football.We had done it, through full stomachs we had finally managed it. The game finished 2-1, meaning extra-time. Only then did they realise the con: and the best part was, there were still an unpredicted 30 minutes of more football to deal with.
It’s fair to say Real Madrid were getting the rub of the green in the match, with offside decisions missed and a dubious red card given to Bayern Munich’s influential midfielder, Arturo Vidal. There was no such luck for Madrid’s alcohol-infused counterpart – the pleasant-but-mild San Miguel comfortably losing out to the far more flavoursome Augustiner Edelstoff. An impressive hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo would all but seal the match for Real Madrid, just 3 of an astounding 50 shots on goal in this game.
Despite all this entertainment, the family in our front room were growing restless, booing in tandem with the disgruntled Munich fans who also felt like their evening had taken a turn for the worse. In the final minutes of the game, with Real Madrid adding another goal for good measure, Jed and I ventured into our last beer combo: a standard Mahou, and the Augustiner Maximator. The name ‘Maximator’ alone sounds intimidating, but this dopplebock beer saw off the late challenger to complete a clean sweep for the Munich-based Augustiner brewery. Bayern Munich may out of the Champions League, but their beer will be forever in our hearts. Ultimately the Spanish brews tasted bland when put next to the flavours of the German efforts, and three votes each from Jed and I sealed a comprehensive victory.
Real Madrid 0-6 Bayern Munich
Real Madrid 4-2 Bayern Munich (6-3 aggregate)
Thank you very much again to Beers of Europe for helping us stock up for this one!