Sunday, February 11, 2007

Golf and Good Beer...

Ok, it is that time of the year. I just picked up a six pack of Sam Adams Double Bock--arguably their best beer--and that means spring is on the way. I know, I know, winter in New England extends well into April, but hope springs eternal this year. I can't help but think about sipping a nice cold one after a round of golf.

Golf and good beer, these are two things that you would expect to be synonymous. Golf was invented in Scotland and any single malt scotch drinker will tell you that the Scots know good malt. Scottish brews are generally not mass marketed in the United States, but there are some outstanding Scottish beers. Orkney Skullsplitter, Belhaven Scottish Ale, Caledonian 80, Blackfriar, and McEwans all come to mind.

Of course the beer I equate most with golf is Belhaven St. Andrew's Ale, a great beer and one of the most revered golf courses in the world. Obviously this is not always the case. Budweiser was the official sponsor of the Ryder Cup at The K Club in Ireland. Now how sad is that. It really is a disgrace, but it just goes to show you how powerful Budweiser is as a brand. Come on, Smithwick's, Guinness, Murphy's...anything but Budweiser in Ireland would have been fine.

The official beer sponsor of the PGA is Amstel Light (and Buckler non-alcoholic beer). This is a step up from Budweiser, but certainly not the best available and not an obvious pairing with golf. Although I guess it does make sense for an outdoor sport that is generally played in the heat to team with a lighter, easily drinkable beer.

I prefer something more substantial, a beer with a little more soul. I find that pale ale's (both American and British) like Sierra Nevada, Smuttynose Shoals, Ipswich, Samuel Smith's, and Fullers London Pride all offer a certain rawness, character, and thirst quenching refreshment that perfectly suits the 19th hole. Other styles such as hefe-weizens, witbiers, kolschs, and traditional lagers all offer great refreshment and drinkability.

When you play a round of golf, you don't just go out hacking away and chasing a little white ball around...well, hopefully you don't. Golf is a sport that brings people together. It is a chance to escape the doldrums of everyday life, to spend 5 uninterrupted hours with your friends, surrounded by beautiful landscapes and in most cases nice weather. So when you finish your round and head to the clubhouse or local pub, don't end the day settling for a sub-par, run of the mill beer. As you kick back to reminisce about that one incredible ball you hit out of the rough on the par 4 11th hole, drink a beer worthy of that shot and a great day out on the links.

Image: Adare Manor Golf Club, Adare, County Limerick, Ireland - est. 1900.

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