Monday 14 June 2010

Guest Blog: World Cup Beer Sweepstake: Portugal

Here’s the first guest blog from the World Cup Beer Sweepstake and it comes from one of my best mates, Lee (@Lee_B on twitter). Almost everything he says isn’t repeatable when other people are around so thankfully he’s managed to tone it down, apart from the single mention of ginger pubes.

When Mr Dredge pulled my name out of the bowl and partnered it with Portugal, I had mixed feelings. Sure, Portugal had an okay chance of winning, and the beer wouldn’t be too hard to get hold of, but as far as I knew there wasn’t anything exciting about Portugal. If Spain is the cool guy you invite to the party, then Portugal is his ugly younger brother, sitting with the cheese board on his lap watching other people mack on chicks. 

Combine this with the fact that my knowledge of football teams stopped somewhere around the Liverpool ‘97 squad (come on McManaman!) and it becomes clear that maybe I wasn’t the best guy to be given this country.

Still, I had signed up for the Beer Sweepstake and now I had to make the best of what I was given. A part of me also hoped that in searching out the beer I would discover more about Portugal, and maybe even fall in love with the place. So the search began…

..and then it stopped pretty soon after. It turns out that the most popular beer in Portugal is Super Bock, and that the Oddbins situated 30 metres from my door stocked a ton of the stuff. This wasn’t going to be a particularly epic beer quest after all. 

After purchasing two bottles (and a cheeseburger from the McDonalds next door) I headed home to see if I could get more excited about the beer than I did about the country.

Pouring the beer into a glass I was struck by just how light it looked. I’ve had my fair share of pale ales but this looked more like water that had been sieved through some ginger pubes. But we don’t drink beer with eyes do we? What matters is the taste so as I wrapped my moustachioed lips around the fizzing yellow concoction I hoped for the best.

Super Bock is an extremely hard beer to review. It’s one of those beers I can imagine people fall in love with when they are holidaying on the beach, but when revisited in the cold damp English weather they can’t really remember what was so great about it. It’s not that is bad, on the contrary it is a perfectly adequate lager (and a lager is certainly what it is) but that’s all it is. It’s like someone read what lager was, and made some in the most mechanical way possible. There is no love, no passion, no life to it. I almost feel like I would prefer to hate it, because then it would have at least garnered some kind of reaction,  but this is just another one of those tasteless beverages that football fans will be drinking in pubs all over the country.

So sadly Super Bock failed to endear me to the Portuguese way of life. If at the start of this article I seemed to be ignorant of any cultural impact Portugal has made then I’m afraid that remains unchanged after this mini beer adventure.

Still, I hope they win though - I could do with a year’s supply of beer. As long as there is no Super Bock mixed in there.

The image is from here.


  1. Just recently returned from Portugal, wasn't very keen on Super Bock either. Much preferred Sagres. There's a Super Bock Stout available a lot as well.

  2. I'll second the Sagres comment having also just returned from Portugal. The Sagres stout was very impressive - almost chocolatey.

    Worth hunting down.

  3. Can't believe you didn't go with the Stout - amateur!

  4. I deliberated the stout, but the regular Super Bock is THE most popular beer in Portugal, so i thought that the one i should review is the one that most people from the country drink. Same reason I didn't go for the Sagres as well (although having tried it i agree it is a much stronger beer!)

  5. Stronger? As a contender maybe, but not alcoholic strength.

    Unusual use of "stronger."

  6. You're exactly right. I fell in love with Super Bock when in Portugal and again in Spain. Since picking it up here in Oddbins...not great. Will still defend it to the death though because of the times I associate it with rather than quality!

  7. Tandleman, I was talking on choice of beer, not strength.