Laurel and Hardy, Bonnie and Clyde…beer and football; the two are made for each other. At the time of writing this I am in Hamburg, Germany, downing a Krombacher Pils, having attended a heated Bundesliga match between ‘Nordderby’ rivals Hamburger SV and Werder Bremen and reflecting on how beer is served there, while cementing my view that Brighton & Hove Albion does beer best. Read on to find out why.
Beer and football in England and Germany
The drinking culture is very similar in Germany to the English experience: Go to a pub/keller with your friends first to tank up, start chanting abuse at the opposition (sorry, ‘light-hearted banter’) and – if you’re on the kilometre-long walk from the station to the Imtech Arena, Hamburg, take a piss in the bushes in full view of the passing public. Charming.
Once you’re inside stadiums in Germany, the experience is very different. In England’s upper tiers alcohol is banned from the stands, limited to the communal areas (not the case with rugby or cricket, by the way), whereas in the Bundesliga, expect to have your view obscured on a regular basis as the beer carriers haul ass up and down the stairs pouring Holsten and the like to punters for €4-plus a shout. Just hope they’re not in the way when someone scores…
The same old, same old…
Unfortunately, wherever you go in the football world they seem to serve the generic big brand lagerboy rubbish, assumingly that the average football fan was born without taste buds. But, thankfully, Brighton & Hove Albion of England’s second tier is different.
Brighton is my second team so I am a bit biased, having stood for £5 at the old Goldstone Ground and even having gone to Wembley to support the team in a promotion play-off final against Notts County in 1991. The Seagulls and I go way back…but I digress. When the club moved to its wonderful new base at Falmer, it demonstrated local community spirit by stocking Harveys Sussex Best Bitter, from nearby Lewes.
I, for one, would like to see more of this sort of tie-in. Does your local club support local breweries? I have a feeling Exeter City does. Please let me know in the comments section.