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New and exciting posts from the best half decent blog around

Ardwen Blonde

Ardwen Blonde

Ardwen Blonde

http://www.ardwen.fr/en/

Brewed by Brasserie Ardwen
Style: Blonde Ale
Launois-sur-Vence, France

Ardwen BlondeThe Ardennes in northeastern France, close to the Belgian and Luxembourg border, is a sparsely populated region mostly covered with dense forest, small mountains and not much else. 

But mad as it is, this area at the beginning of the 20th Century, was France’s leading region for brewing beers with no fewer than 230 breweries, mostly small enterprises. It might be due to the lovely fresh waters and rivers emanating down from the hills and valleys in the area. 

But the two World War’s put a sharp stop to a lot of this and brewing was beginning to look a thing of the past here. That was until, in 2003 some locals came together to start up some brewing in the area after all those barren years. That brewery was called Ardwen, using the local knowledge of the past in their pursuit of rekindling the traditions of yesteryear. Production followed shortly after, and with it some immediate success winning prestigious beer awards in France (Golden medalist at 2007 Concours Général Agricole)

Review: 33cl bottle of Ardwen Blonde: ABV: 5.6%

Ardwen BlondeHigh fermentation and also re-fermented in the bottle, using local spring waters this beer won a gold medal at the Concours Général Agricole de Paris in 2007, just so you know, ok. 

On pour looks fine, has a nice frothy white head, colour is of a deep cloudy golden beer

Head maintains well.

Some small carbonation going on. 

Ardwen BlondeA good bit of lacing present.

Lovely beer smell, can get the typical blonde smell of the malts, the fruits, and the hops, and caramel, over all a nice start.

Taste, not bad, a beer to saviour, a nice feel to it.
Typical blonde taste, but not too strong, or overbearing. Very easy to drink.
Nice beer overall, smooth, goes down well, got the malts, some fruits and the caramel 
A light beer and refreshing enough to drink, Not bad.

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Tell Lager

Tell Lager

Tell Lager 

https://www.coopathome.ch/en/Tell/Tell-Lager-Beer-6x50cl/p/3383551

Brewed by Heineken Switzerland
Style: Pale Lager
Chur, Switzerland

Tell Lager Tell is cheap supermarket fare from Coop, the large retail chain that one can see all over Switzerland. Sometimes when you live in a country where prices can be high when shopping it can be vital to get your hands on shit cheap beer, that’s important! 

I guess it is called after that great Swiss folk hero William Tell, you know, the guy who shot the apple off his son’s head. Either way it is produced by Heineken Switzerland, make of that what you want!

Review: 50cl Can of Tell Lager: ABV: 4.8%

Think it came in at about 50 to 60 cents a can, as far as I can remember,  but way cheaper than more established brands. 

On pour I got a golden colour with a large frothy head appearing,

Tell Lager Looks like there is a bit of sediment hanging around resulting in a darkish, not clear,golden colour. (perhaps I got a bad batch?)

There is a good bit of carbonation going on,  the beer has a decent sized head that surprisingly stuck around and has some decent lacing. 

Had a nice lagery smell and was grainy, which was faint but ok. 

Onto the taste, it was light enough but did manage to get some nice big mouthfuls
Tastes ok, smooth and easy enough to quench, albeit had a slight sour bitter note to it. 

Has the expected lagery taste, with light pale malts and grains, slightly metallic.

Overall not too bad, considering the price of it. For a cheap beer it can do the business, just about I might add!

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FC Basel, Swiss football away days

FC Basel, Swiss football away days

Basel: Some history and culture, a bit of football and a good amount of beer!

FC Basel, Swiss football away days Basel is a Swiss German speaking city in the northwest of Switzerland on the river Rhine. Basel has been a commercial hub and important cultural center since the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment, and it has emerged over time as an important centre for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries of the world with major companies such as Roche, Novartis, Bayer, Ciba Specialty Chemicals, Abbot etc all situated in the city. 

There are settlement traces on the Rhine from the early La Tène period (5th century BC), but it wasn’t until the Romans established a centre here and built a castle that the city began to develop. The name of Basel is itself derived from the Roman word Basilius, meaning emperor. Basel was incorporated into Germania Superior in AD 83, and over time became a centre for trade, study and printing. 

Basel is Switzerland’s third-most-populous city (after Zürich and Geneva) with about 175,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet

FC Basel, Swiss football away days Basel has a population of about 175,000, where about 35.5% of the population are resident foreign nationals, a lot who work in the many chemical and pharmaceutical industries dotted around the city. Also factor in that due to the close borders with both France and Germany, you can add another 120,000 commuters moving into the city for their daily work. All in all it is a busy city, but it has to be said most travel in this city and extended region is done via the excellent tram, train and bus network that is also well connected to France and Germany. Basel is also a very bicycle friendly city with many bike lanes and places to park a bike. You really dont notice much cars or trucks when walking around the city, which really is a great feeling.

Of course not far from the city centre (about 35 minutes by bus) is the EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg. the interesting thing about this airport is that there are two borders….one for France (where the airport actually lies on) and the other for Switzerland. In the old days before Schengen there was an immigration check point in the middle of the airport where one could border hop officially with stamps, etc if needed. But be careful, the border police can still do customs checks on its various borders,  just in case you are trying to enter Switzerland with a van load of dodgy TV’s or mutton or whatever. 

FC Basel, Swiss football away days Basel calls itself the Cultural Capital of Switzerland which is a bold claim it has to be said. The reason for this claim is many fold. One reason is the massive amount of galleries and museums all over the city, well over 50 or more, the highest concentration in the country.  You have the internationally renowned museums such as Basel Art Museum, the Beyeler Foundation, Natural History Museum of Basel and the Museum of Cultures Basel, Caricature & Cartoon Museum Basel, Jewish Museum of Switzerland, Sports Museum of Switzerland, Museum of Contemporary Art, Kunstmuseum Basel (Art Museum Basel), amongst many more, too many to mention in fact, and a shit load of other museums dedicated to more contemporary “modern” art, as if you didn’t get enough, or otherwise known as horse shite to the man in the street! 

FC Basel, Swiss football away days The best thing about Basel for me is the sight of the river, the Rhine. The river cuts through the the city and its great on a hot summers day to hang out with a few friends having some cans of beers by the banks of the great river. Refreshing. 

FC Basel, Swiss football away days I also strongly recommend coming to the city for its annual carnival of the city (Basler Fasnacht), the biggest carnival in Switzerland and large crowds attend every year, but be aware its a four day event with the first day starting at 4 in the morning! It is on the Monday after Ash Wednesday and brings the city to a standstill celebrating on the streets of Basel in a big street parade that goes on forever, with music and costume and good fun

Fun facts about Basel: 

In 1938 Albert Hofmann, working for the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, was the first to first synthesize the psychedelic drug LSD.

The Roche Tower, designed by Herzog & de Meuron is 41 floors and 178 metres (584 ft) high, opened in 2015 it has become the tallest building in Switzerland

FC Basel, Swiss football away days Basel has Switzerland’s oldest university, the University of Basel, dating from 1460.  Well known alumni and staff include  Jacob Burckhardt, Friedrich Nietzsch, Erasmus,and Carl Gustav Jung.

Established in 1874, Zoo Basel, affectionaly called “Zolli” by the locals, is the oldest zoo in Switzerland, and with over 1.7 million visitors per year, it is the second most visited tourist attraction in Switzerland, and well worth a visit. 

While FC Basel is well known to football fans across Europe, it is Roger Federer, a Basel native, who is the sporting darling of the city. 

 

Pub watch

Paddy Reilly’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

Address: Steinentorstrasse 45, Basel 4051

http://www.paddys.ch/

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FC Basel, Swiss football away days Got off the tram near the centre of town and the best place really to start a beer crawl is in Paddy Reilly’s Irish pub. 

This place does be heaving during Friday and Saturday nights, and can be more like a night club than a bar with a very young crowd, i.e a lot younger then me the old fella! But when its not packed to the rafters on a weekend night, it does normally have a very relaxed setting, always a good place to come in and have a good pint and chat with friends. 

Typical decor you would expect from an Irish bar, a bit of traditional mixed in with the modern, all nice and respectable. A good long bar with plenty of space to sit at. 

Friendly staff, chatty and efficient, and it seems all the staff are Irish as they do cater for a lot of British and Irish clientele. 

Typical in an Irish bar, not a minute in the place and I’m already chatting to people, two strangers, but you know it really is true when they say that there are no strangers in an Irish pub, just friends you haven’t met yet, or something like that!

FC Basel, Swiss football away days Good atmosphere in the place, a lot of sport on the various TV’s dotted around the pub, all relaxed and chilled…….just the way I like it

Apparently they do good food here, but feck that……..its the beer I am here for. Have the usual fare to drink, but some highlights on offer as well…..A Grimbergen was a surprise to see……but decided to go for a pint of Bodingtons as I had never tried it before.  Pint was good, liked it and it went down well, if a little pricey, but heh this is Switzerland so….

So overall Paddy Reilly’s did the job and is recommended if you come to Basel. 

 

Mr. Pickwick Pub

Address: Steinenvorstadt 13, Basel 4051

www.pickwick.ch

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Mr Pickwick is your quintessential British pub, with plenty of beer available on tap, wooden decor with carpet, football (or at times Cricket) on the box and a smattering of ex pats all around. Located in the Steinenvorstadt, a pedestrian street where you will find a lot of snazzy bars and restaurants in the centre of Basel, albeit the more upmarket ones, that is the more expensive ones! 

Mr Pickwick is a fine pub though, and it has a pretty decent selection of British and Irish beer both on tap and in bottle. 

In summer one can sit outside and do some people watching. also they open the large front doors which is great for letting in some cool Rhine air throughout the bar

The pub grub here is meant to be good (their nachos, and fish n chips are popular dishes) certainly what came out of the kitchen while I was there looked good, but as this is Switzerland I prefer to keep my money for a more refined liquid lunch.  I went for Fullers Jack Frost, an English bitter that was fine. Staff were efficient, albeit a bit cold, but heh this is an English pub right! Anyway I do like Pickwicks, its a decent place and its always easy to find a seat and have a nice pint while planning what you will get up to in the night, a good starting point……even if its best not to look too closely at your bill, ouch! (Yes, I know, its Switzerland!) 

  

Didi Offensive 

Address: Erasmusplatz. 12, 4057

http://didioffensiv.ch/de/

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Didi Offensive is a football culture bar in Kleinbasel (little Basel) a little bit from the city centre. It is a great place to watch live football, as there are TV’s, big and small all over the place, twelve in fact. But its not only live football, the bar regularly organize events on football culture, have table quizzes, host photography exhibitions, and the decor itself is like a museum dedicated to all things got to do with the beautiful game. 

The name, “Didi offensive”, is a nickname that refers to the defensive-oriented football that former FC Basel coach Claude “Didi” Andrey used, and where the FCB fans began to mockingly sing  “Didi offensively, Shalalalala”

Anyway nice little bar, friendly bar man, loads of football on the tv, nearly overloaded with football didn’t know what game to watch……mostly German and Spanish league football for the time I was there.  Had a local Ueli beer,a wheat beer which perfectly poured but just not my cup of tea actually. In fact they didn’t really have a good variety of beers on offer, just the two pumps if I remember correctly, but I do see they organise regular craft beer nights which is interesting. 

Toilets were a double treat, do the business but also to marvel at all the cool old Pannini stickers stuck up around the gents, and to pee into a goals which gives a cheer when you finish, now that is cool. I also noticed John Aldridge staring at me when I was peeing!

I like this bar, had a good vibe and is definitely a great meeting place for football fans to hang out and watch the big game…………..cool bar. 

 

The Fish Inn 

Address: Clarastrasse 56, 4058 

http://www.thefishinn.ch/

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The Fish Inn is a traditional British style pub on Clarastrasse, a little bit out but really not that far from the city centre via the tram. It has the typical British style decor you’d expect and had a nice cozy atmosphere when I was there. A few people, but not to many were present, and the bar lady was friendly. The bar has a real homely atmosphere that I like,  a good place to have a quiet pint and a good chat with a friend. Feels like a traditional “local” pub. I imagine in the winter this is a the perfect place to come to get out of the wind and the rain and have a hot whiskey and pint to warm the soul.  

They do food, which is typical British food, and also offer takeaways, which is kind of cool, albeit looking at their menu it does all look a bit too pricey for me!

The owners have their dogs wandering around and there is a relaxed setting in the pub. 

I was happy to see that they had Fullers London Pride, an English bitter that I really like. Less happy to report that the pint wasn’t great, a bad pint, which was a pity. Perhaps that was the luck of the draw, but anyhow I will check this place out again as its a good to get a pub where one can relax away from the hustle and bustle downtown. 

 

Bar Rouge 

Address: Messeplatz. 10, 4058 

https://www.barrouge.ch/en/

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Went to this place if only because apparently its the highest bar in the whole of Switzerland, that’s what they advertise themselves, which is a load of bollix as I had a beer near the top of the Jungfrau inside its mountain station but there you go. 

Entrance via lift to the top of the high rise building, to the 31st floor, Bar Rouge is a cocktail and lounge bar, with a very modern and snazzy decor, looks good inside, very stylish, and can get a great panoramic view of the city, which looked pretty cool as day was turning to night. The bar itself looks fantastic, lots of activity going on from the bar staff making all varieties of cocktails, great chilled out ambiance inside everyone seems to be in good spirits. Except the bar manager who was having a bit of a row with one of his bar staff, a little bit unsavory to see, and he looked like a bit of a prick to be honest, all Gordon Ramsey. Looked like there was a mistake with a cocktail order, with the barman having to redo it again and also pay for the extra cost out of his own pocket, or at least that’s what it looked like. I didn’t see the big deal, sure its not like people really know what the fuck they are drinking in a cocktail anyway, and I know if he talked to me like that I’d tell him to do one.  Anyway wasn’t nice to see…..

As for me, I played it safe and went for a regular local beer. The cocktails were a bit pricey for my small wallet. I was served quickly and efficiently and with a friendly smile by Shangi (I looked it up via their website!), who I have to say was very good. Always nice to get good service. 

Pint was fine, and I was nice and comfy sitting at the bar admiring the views both outside and at the excellent selection of drinks behind the bar

Even in the toilets you can get a view of Basel where they have a glassed window overlooking the city landscape, but you need not worry as no one is likely to see you do your business that high up off the ground! 

I did like it here, very relaxing, nice tempo to the place, music not too loud but in the background so it can be appreciated, and the bar was well lit. I bet they studied how to get the right moods via the perfect lightning, music tempo, etc……..it seems to work anyway. If it wasn’t for the price I’d like to return, alas maybe if i get a big win on the gee gees! Next time I will try a cocktail!

 

L’Unique

Address: Gerbergässlein 20, 4051 

http://www.lunique.ch/

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L’Unique is one of the more hip bars in the town. Cool because its decor is completely made up of rock music memorabilia all around the bar.  This American style bar has quite an extensive collection on display, from signed platinum albums, guitars, rock suits, and rock art, a veritable feast for anyone interested in rock music.  

The bar is located right down an alley way not far off the city centre, and can be difficult to find. If so, all you need to do is ask for the directions to the graffiti with all the rock stars, as right across from the bar is a brilliant street painting of various rock legends, it is a Basel highlight to take a photo of it as it really is that good!

Sat at the bar, ordered a regular beer (a Feldschlösschen lager) which was fine and nice. Half the time you are just staring at all the stuff on the walls……I noted a signed Kiss drum set on the ceiling, some Nirvana albums beside me and also a cool looking gorilla with a guitar!

Had a very good chat with the bar lady, Eleni, who was super cool and friendly to boot, who agreed with me that the Nirvana stuff was probably the best thing in the rock collection. 

Bar has great service, and always has a good friendly atmosphere in the place. Even though it can be busy it is always easy to find a seat and a place to relax. Good vibes always, and as I am a metal head so yes this is one of my favourite bars in the city. Recommended! 

 

Rio Bar 

Address: Barfüsserplatz 12, 4051 Basel

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Rio Bar, is a nice little bar in the city centre, great for meeting people before heading onto somewhere else where all sorts from the young and the old, the well to do and the not so mix and chat on small tables, or at the small bar. The bar is run by a stern looking Swiss lady, but once you get to know her, she is good fun and has a good sense of humour.  

Has a good selection of spirits and aperitif’s on show, and not such a great selection of beer, really just the local stuff.  I ordered a large glass of Ziegel Hof,  a beer from Liestal just up the road from Basel. Was fine, in fact I had about three of them. Not strong and went down well.  One of my favourite bars in the city, small and comfy and really a great place to wind down and relax after a tough day. 

Baragraph

Address: Kohlenberg 10, Basel 4051

http://www.baragraph.ch/

Baragraph is a small bar on a side street off the main square of Barfüsserplatz.  Cosy bar with not a whole lot going on, but its good for a quick pint in quiet surroundings, more a chill out bar to relax and reflect. Has an interesting decor going on, all 70’s style or at least that’s what it looks to me on the untrained eye, all bright colours and lots of light, and the service is always friendly and chatty.  I like this place, had a KonigPilsner, was fine in a bar that one can definitely while away a few hours. Also must add the beer is not as pricey here than in other establishments in the city.

Excalibar 

Address: Kohlenberg 7, 4051 

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Topped the night off with a late pint in Excalibar, a late, very late, night bar that seems at least to me to have no closing time! Small bar, that can get crowded at times, but it really is the place to be to get that late night drink. Does have a juke box that bangs out the tunes, and the darts (the plastic version, not the real dart board) do keep punters amused over the hours. Had a quick pint, a Calanda lager, was fine.

Is an ok bar, with staff that could be friendlier, and not a great place to actually meet people as everyone tends to be pretty sloshed by the time they get here, but it does the business when one needs that late night drink and for that we should be thankful. 

 

FC Basel

 

Arena/Stadium: St. Jakob-Park

Location: St. Jakobs-Strasse 395, 4052 Basel

Capacity: 38,512

Manager: Urs Fischer

Founded: 1893

Leagues: Swiss Super League

Club home page 

info@fcb.ch

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Nicknames: FCB, Bebbi, RotBlau

FC Basel 1893 (Fussball Club Basel 1893), are a Swiss football club based in Basel. They are one of the most successful clubs in Swiss football, having won the Swiss Super League 19 times, and well on their their way to winning their 20th, the second most for any Swiss club. (still a long way to go to catch the Grasshoppers with 27 titles!). Basel have also won the Swiss Cup 11 times.

On the 12th of November 1893 an advertisement appeared in the Basler newspaper requesting that anyone who wished to join a football team should meet up on the Wednesday at 8:15 in the Schuhmachern-Zunft restaurant. Roland Geldner placed the advert, later elected as the clubs first president. Eleven men attended the meeting and thus, Fussball Club Basel was founded on 15 November 1893. The club colours were decided from the first day on, red and blue, the RotBlau”taken from the local rowing club that a few of the early members were also involved with.  Incidentally Hans Gamper an early club captain went on to found FC Barcelona in Spain, while he was visiting his uncle in the Catalan city, and is the reason why both clubs share the same colours.  

It took a while for the club to get going as they got their first trophy 40 years after their inauguration,winning the Swiss Cup in 1933 beating Grasshoppers 4-3, and in 1953 they finally won their first league title in 1953, beating Young Boys of Bern who came second. 

It was really in the late 1960’s that FC Basel started to come into real prominence. Under the tutelage of Helmut Benthaus, winning the club’s first double in the 1966–67 season. From 1968 to 1970 they won the title two seasons in a row. At the early 70’s Basel again won two in a row back to back titles, 1971–72 and 1972 -73. Former player and Manager Helmut Benthaus stayed on with Basel as a boss for 17 years which is pretty amazing when you take into account modern day football and how sack happy chairman can be. In those years as manager he brought the title to Basel seven times and won two cups as well.  Not bad from the German, who also won the Bundesliga in his home country with VfB Stuttgart in 1982.

In 1988 the unthinkable happened and Basel were relegated into the Nationalliga B, the second league. It took them a few years and several managers to get back to the top in 1994 under Claude Andrey (see “Didi Offensive” above!)

Christian Gross, yes THAT Christian Gross, ex Spurs manager and London Underground aficionado, became coach of Basel in July 1999 after a horrid time in London with Tottenham. Gross’ appointment happened at the same time as Basel started to get some serious financial backing. It was not long until Basel returned to the top. (At the moment, Pharma giant Novartis give the club roughly US$2.2 million a year to sponsor their shirt). Also a brand new spanking stadium, St. Jakob-Park, was built and finished in time for the 2001 season.

All these positive steps resulted in four Swiss championships, four Swiss Cups, and some very good runs in Europe under Gross. The championship win in 2001-2002 was their first for 22 years, also securing the cup, making it a nice double for the season. The good days were back!

One player that stood out at this time was Scott Chipperfield, the Aussie box to box player and all round terrier on the pitch. He is Basel’s all-time record holder of titles with the club, with seven Swiss Championships and six Swiss Cup honours. A player that probably could have had a stint with an English team but was loyal to Basel, and in my opinion a very much underrated player. 

Basel have competed in European competition every season since 1999–2000, and had a bit of a voodoo over British teams, beating the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool, Celtic, Middlesbrough, Spurs and, em Glentoran, over the years, until this season where they got their arses spanked by Arsenal home and away in the CL.

They have been in the Champions League more times than any other Swiss club and are the only Swiss club to have ever qualified directly for the Champions League group stages. They also got to the last 16 in the CL three times, and got to a Europa League semi-finals in the 2012–13 season losing out 5-2 on aggregate to eventual winners Chelsea.  

With all this European exposure it means that Basel is not only gaining invaluable experience but also doing nicely in revenue. Revenue that can improve the team and what we see is that Basel are clearly head and shoulders above every other team in Switzerland. This is borne out by the fact that FC Basel are currently looking to win their 8 league title in a row this season 2016-2017, flying ahead of the rest of the teams once again. 

FC Basel play their home games at the 38,500 capacity St. Jakob-Park, the largest stadium in Switzerland and nicknamed “Joggeli” by the fans.The stadium has a restaurant and a sports bar, as well as a shopping centre and some apartments and office. It definitely doesnt look like a stadium when passing by, it is a bit drab to be honest. It is easy to get on match day via tram (Line 14) or bus (36, 37) from the city centre, or by train as the stadium also has its own stop. In 2016, the UEFA Europa League final was played at St. Jakob-Park between Liverpool and Seville, with many in the English press complaining of how small the attendance was for such a high profile game. 

What you will see in St. Jakob-Park is plenty of loyal and passionate local fans who have made  a name for themselves not just in Switzerland but abroad as well for their great banner displays and pyro parties from the stands. And if you are lucky you might just also see tennis star, and Basel native, Roger Federer, officially FC Basel’s most famous fan!

As for rivals, I would say it has to be the two Zurich clubs, Grasshopper Club Zürich and FC Zürich, with FC Zürich the number one foe, mainly down to an incident in the last day of the 2005–06 season when FC Basel only needed a draw to clinch the title at home against FC Zürich, who had the cheek to spoil the party and score in the last minute to take the title. After the final whistle, players and fans from both teams started fighting on the pitch and in the stands. Since that day fans from FC Zürich and FC Basel pretty much detest each other with a passion.

To the game

FC BASEL 4 – 0 FC LUGANO

04.02.2017 ST. JAKOB-PARK
2 ‘MOHAMED ELYOUNOUSSI
23’ MOHAMED ELYOUNOUSSI
36 ‘MOHAMED ELYOUNOUSSI
85’ MARC JANKO

Attendance: 23,439

Was pish easy for Basel.

Well taken hat trick from Mohamed Elyounoussi, the Norwegian (obviously!), who had scored all his three goals within 34 minutes! In fact I had just about taken my seat when he had scored the first goal in the second minute with a simple touch into an empty net.  His second was a bit nicer on the eye, beating the defender and scoring from just inside the box.  The third was a nice cross into the box, well met and headed past the goalkeeper. 

It was always going to be an uphill struggle when Lugano got a man red carded, unfairly in my opinion, for a stray elbow that the Basel fairy made a meal off, but they are the breaks.

The veteran Marc Janko came on in the 78th minute and it wasn’t long before he scored, in the 85th minute, to make it 4-0 to Basel and wrap another dead easy win for the team. 

Lugano had a few chances but the Basel goalkeeper, the Czech Vaclik,  was alert to their rare forays. Truth be told they were muck and its easy to see why they are second from bottom of the league. 

I was impressed by Steffen on the wing, always lively, and of course the hat-trick hero who took all his goals very well.  Overall the game was boring as it really was so one-sided, even from the get go, and I hate looking at games that are a non contest. But Basel can only do whats put infront of them, so fair enough for them. 

Have a look at the match highlights for yourself

 

Interview

Short chat with Dr. Daniele Ganser, a prominent Swiss historian, Journalist, energy and peace researcher and head of the Swiss Institute for Peace and Energy Research (SIPER), based in Basel. He teaches at the University of St. Gallen on the history and future of energy systems and at the University of Basel in the postgraduate study on conflict analysis on the global struggle for oil. His area of expertise is in the areas of global security, secret warfare, conflict analysis, peak oil and resource wars, economics and human rights and peace research. He has written many books covering his special topics, has appeared regularly on Russia Today and on Swiss TV, has given a TEDx lecture on “War and peace in the 21st century – the stories in our minds” in Budapest in 2016, and worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Switzerland. 

Ganser certainly has some interesting points to make on 9/11 (the real reason for the war is the control of energy resources and has questions on that the third tower, WTC 7,  that collapsed that day, and has some doubts that a plane had actually crashed into the Pentagon), on the need for oil (that the 2003 Iraq war a “classic resource war”) and false flag operations (Various activities of Operation Gladio)

Whatever you think of Ganser, just dont called him a conspiracy theorist. He doesn’t particularly like that! He had a fierce clash with Wikipedia over this issue when they more or less called him a conspiracy theorist while Ganser sees the word as a catch all term for the weird and the mad. This resulted in a mini edit war with supporters of Gnaser dueling with the Wikipedia mafia on who decides whats what on Gansers page. 

Instead, Ganser calls himself a peace researcher and historian who investigates covert warfare using scientific methods and basic historical questioning techniques. 

 

Important Works

Illegal wars: How the NATO countries sabotage the UN. A chronicle from Cuba to Syria. Orell Füssli, Zurich 2016, ISBN 978-3-280-05631-8.

 

The book recalls that the United Nations Charter forbids Wars, and shows current examples of how this ban is disregarded by the NATO countries.

NATO Geheimarmenn in Europa.  Orell Füssli, Zurich, 2008 ISBN 978-3-280-06106-0 .

“NATO Intelligence in Europe” in English. Ganser shows how manipulated terror and covert warfare were used in the cold war to discredit political opponents and create a climate of fear.

NATO’s secret armies. Operation Gladio and terrorism in Western Europe. Routledge, 2005 ISBN 0-7146-5607-0 

FC Basel, Swiss football away days

 

The book addresses secret armies run by NATO and the CIA across mainland Europe, especially concentrating on Operation Gladio in Italy. 

Website: www.Danieleganser.ch
Twitter @DanieleGanser                                                                                                                             Facebook

 

So overall, Basel isn’t a bad city for a short visit, can get expensive but even with that you can always grab a few cans and sit by the Rhine in the evening to chill out. Seeing FC Basel play is good fun, in a decent stadium, where the fans do create a good atmosphere at times. Basel well worth a groundhop and beer crawl, just save for it beforehand!FC Basel, Swiss football away days

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Valentins Hefeweissbier

Valentins Hefeweissbier

Valentins Hefeweissbier

http://valentins-weissbier.de/

Brewed by Park & Bellheimer AG Brewery 
Style: German Hefeweizen
Pirmasens, Germany

Valentins HefeweissbierBrewed by Park & Bellheimer AG Brewery  from the small city of Pirmasens (pop:40,125) in the Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, near the border with France, and named in honour of St Valentine (The guy in the bottle!), patron saint of lovers everywhere, but I have no idea if he was big into his beers.

Review: 0.5l bottle of Valentins Hefeweissbier Premium: ABV: 5.3%

Valentins HefeweissbierShould be served in a Weizen glass, that is if you have one. I dont! 

Brewed in the great traditions of monastic brewing and of course the Bavarian purity law of 1516.

Frothy on pour which settles very well. Hazy golden-amber colour

Decent sized white head and maintains throughout. Not a bad looking beer.

Nice balanced and pleasant smell of your typical weisbier of yeast, wheat, clove, and banana as well, albeit all smells were a little faint.

On taste has all the typical Hefeweizen tastes but on a very low level. Light yeasts, malts, the cloves, the wheat, and banana flavours.

Valentins HefeweissbierNice creamy mouthfuls. Creamy. Not much standout taste though, very subtle flavours. Not really bitter or strong aftertaste.

Very nice, inoffensive and well rounded, and very smooth, VERY SMOOTH. I’d imagine it would be a nice beer to pair with some good food on a nice hot day.

Nice on the tongue and finishes light and smooth,  very drinkable for me at least who isn’t the biggest fan of weisbier’s! An OK beer. 

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Stortebeker Schwarz bier

Stortebeker Schwarz bier

Stortebeker Schwarz bier 

https://www.stoertebeker.com/

Brewed by Störtebeker Braumanufaktur
Style: Schwarzbier/Black beer
Stralsund, Germany

Störtebeker Braumanufaktur is a German Brewery, founded in 1827, situated in the small city of Stralsund, near the Baltic coast. 

Originally called Stralsunder, they changed their name in 2011 to Störtebeker Braumanufaktur in homage to the German pirate Klaus Störtebeker, whose name apparently means “empty the mug with one gulp” in Low Saxon, easy known Klaus’ favourite hobby then!

Review: 0.5l Bottle of Stortebeker Schwarz bier: ABV : 5% 

Stortebeker Schwarz bierA “Schwarzbier” or Black beer uses lager yeasts to ferment (as opposed to ale for a porter) and traditionally starts with an initial hint of roastedness, is light tasting, and has a clean finish, while a porter or stout for example is thicker and a lot more bitter in the taste. All this is important to know before trying these kind of beers least you be disappointed! 

Lovely looking bottle, logo of a ship, really well done and stands out. 

As expected got a striking black colour on pour, but also interestingly some shades of dark red. Got a porter style tan head, which was large and very creamy. Head maintains well. Some nice lacing. Not a bad looking beer.

Lovely initial smell, was really pleasant, of roasted malts, some fruits and sweet coffee. Also got some dark chocolate on the nose. A nice balance of rustic smells. Good start.

Stortebeker Schwarz bierOn taste is very similar to porter, and very, very smooth. No real feel of the alcohol, at least initially. Nearly too smooth for my liking as I do like to feel some alcohol now and again, especially in a slow burner like this. No bitterness.
Safe, nothing extraordinary
Black chocolate found. Tastes light. Nice though all the same. Caramel taste apparent as well.
Nice large mouthfuls.
It is a nice beer to drink and I did enjoy drinking it.

Strong in the end, after the two bottles. Good and can do the business, but not going to set the world alight in terms of strong tastes as it is a little thin, but if it just added a bit more it could be a stand out beer as it does lack a little depth or flavour, a pity

I see they won the best black beer in Europe, a “European Beer Star” in 2010 and 2011. Frankly, that is taking the piss, lol!

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Football shirts n beer sponsorship

Football shirts n beer sponsorship

We have talked previously about the strong link between drinking beer and football (see Football and Beer, the Perfect Mix) , and how the two pursuits go hand in hand. Well lets have a look at shirt sponsorship with beer brands, from the iconic to the absurd…..

Football, of all the sports, is clearly the best sport for a brewery to get involved in. From drinking beers on the way to or back from a game, to buying a few cans to sit and watch the big match on the tele, or hanging out at the bar at your local clubhouse, yes football is where you tend to find the beer drinkers.  You could argue that (binge) drinking, and not football, is in fact the national pastime (for Ireland and the UK at least!)

Beer gives the buzz, and the game seals the deal. Win, lose or draw, back to the pub for the pints to regurgitate the game, and dish the centre forward for missing what your granny could score or some shite like that. Having a beer really is a central part of the match day experience.

Anyway this football and beer malarkey is a dream for beer companies in the advertisement wars. Heineken sponsor the Champions League, Carlsberg the last Euros, while Budweiser sponsored the last World Cup. In The UK, Carling was a sponsor of the English Premier, we have the Budweiser FA Cup, and a huge number of teams are sponsored by beer companies. The relationship between major beer brands and football is now firmly established.

Get your brand associated with a high performing team or linked to a World Cup and the whole planet will notice, that kind of exposure is priceless in the marketing world. During a big football game expect a huge hike in the amount of beer sold. Budweiser reported that in the last World Cup year its sales increased by over 35%, no doubt in part to the football.  But all beer companies see a significant spike in sales during a major international football tournament, whether they are a main sponsor or not. Imagine how many beers will be drowned next year for the World Cup in Russia, which is kind of funny as Russia currently has bans on alcohol sales in and around their football stadiums. Never mind how Budweiser are going to deal with that well known beer friendly nation Qatar in 2022!

So lets have a look at shirt sponsorship then. All teams have them these days, but it was back in 1973 where it all began (in Europe at least). Günter Mast, the nephew of Jagermeister creator Curt Mast, came up with the novel idea of putting the German liqueur’s signature stag and cross logo on to German Bundesliga team Eintracht Braunschweig’s shirt. Although not officially sanctioned at the start the Bundesliga eventually saw sense and let the team have their sponsor, no doubt seeing the benefits that extra revenue could bring to the game.

Nowadays shirt sponsorship is big business. In 2014 Manchester United signed a seven-year $559 million contract with Chevrolet, Bayern Munich gets $111 million per year from its jersey and stadium sponsorship deals with long standing partner Adidas, while Emirates Airline’s three major teams on its books- Real Madrid, Arsenal and PSG – are worth a combined $105 million annually. Yes shirt sponsorship is big business. 

So lets have a look at some iconic football shirts that had beer sponsors……..

Budweiser

Falkirk and River Plate

Budweiser, the King of Beers, is the long-standing Official Beer of the FIFA World Cup

Budweiser have also sponsored The FA Cup since 2011

Chang

It is hard to believe but at the moment Everton are the only Premier League side that still sports a beer brand on their chest, sponsored by the Thai brewery since 2004

Carling

Celtic and Rangers, so they covered both sides of the divide in that city!

Carling was the first sponsor of the Premiership, from 1993-2001

Carling were also synonymous with the Carling Cup, sponsoring the league cup from 2003 to 2012

Carlsberg

Wimbledon, Liverpool, and Hibernian.

Liverpool are very strongly related with the Danish brewery, who have sponsored the team for eighteen long years from 1992 to 2010, ending 18 years of close cooperation. 

Carlsberg are also a long-term sponsor of the UEFA European Championship, from Euro ’88 to right up to the last Euros 2016 in France. 

They are also the “official beer of the England Football Team”, which explains  a lot when you think of some of the more recent England performances. 

Carlsberg also have sponsored the Chinese Super League, eager to cash in on a league that seems to be growing in both popularity and notoriety. 

McEwan’s Lager

Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle, funnily enough both teams had the same sponsors during the early 1990’s.  Lucky for the Scottish brewery, Rovers won the league in 1995.

They also sponsored Rangers North of the Border

Coors

Before Chelsea had so many fans,  Coors from the US sponsored the west London club 

Newcastle Brown Ale

Newcastle United were sponsored by their hometown brew between 1995 and 2000.

Holsten

The Spurs were sponsored by German beer company Holsten on two separate occasions. First, between 1983 and 1995, and then again between 1999 to 2002.

Guinness 

Cork City and the classic Guinness QPR shirt

Labatt’s

This Canadian brewing company had its logo on Nottingham Forest’s shirts from 1994 to 1997.

Lowenbrau

1860 Munich and the well known German brew Lowenbrau

Smithwicks

Derry City and Glentoran, (Northern) Irish clubs, Irish beer

Harp Lager

Notts County 1994-1996 with what looks like a farmers shirt!

Quilmes

Boca Juniors and Quilmes

Bass Pale Ale

Derby centenary shirt ’84, and Bass

Birra Peroni

Napoli and Peroni

 

Strongbow Cider

Hearts and Leeds United

Foster’s Lager

Norwich, shit team, shit beer

Tyskie

Wisla Krakow and Polish favourite Tyskie

Estrella Galicia

Deportivo Lugo, who play in the Spanish Second Division and Estrella Galicia

Black Death Vodka

Scarborough Athletic. Sadly this shirt was banned by those joyless bastards in the English FA, in 1990. But not to worry as the club did manage to sell a load of them on retro football shirt sites, so it wasn’t all bad for the club. 

Heineken 

Correct me if I am wrong but I dont think Heineken sponsor any actual team shirt, but they do sponsor a shit load of sporting events, from Rugby to Tennis, 

In Football they are the top sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, having sponsored the top club competition in the world since 2005,  

They also sponsor the Major League Soccer, hoping to capitalise on the ever growing popularity of “sacca” in the USA, in a 5 year deal worth $50 million.

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FC Aarau, Swiss football away days 2.

Aarau is a small town of about 20,000 people, and is the capital of the northern Swiss canton of Aargau. The town is also the capital of the district of Aarau. It is German-speaking, or Schweizer Deutsch as I should really say, and predominantly Protestant. Aarau is situated on the River Aare (where it got its name!) and at the southern foot of the Jura mountains and to the west of Zürich.

Life here goes way back, to prehistory in fact, as the ruins of a settlement from the Bronze Age (about 1000 BC) were found in the town. The Romans also passed through, but the first mention of the town was in 1248 as “Arowe” in the Middle Ages. The town developed over time and on the 2nd of March 1798 the town was actually declared the capital of the Helvetic Republic, a precursor to a unified Switzerland, and home to Switzerland’s first Houses of Parliament. But it didn’t last too long as a few months later the capital was moved to Lucerne.

We move onto Napoleon who in 1803, ordered that the cantons of Aargau, Baden and Fricktal amalgamate, with Aarau as the new capital of the enlarged canton of Aargau, and this is pretty much what we have today.

Aarau is mostly well known for is its painted gables and beautiful eaves, a special feature of the old town of Aarau, from which the town is often regarded as the “town of beautiful Gables”, as good as you can find anywhere else in Switzerland. The old town, Laurenzenvorstadt, government building, cantonal library, state archive and art museum are all listed as heritage sites of national significance, all dating back to the 16th century when the town underwent considerable extension. On the other hand The “Schlössli” (small Castle), the Rore Tower and the upper gate tower have remained nearly unchanged since the 13th century, with the castle the oldest building left standing in the city, circa 1200.

One notable resident of the town was a Albert Einstein who attended a local high school for a while.

Other interesting things about Aarau is that there is a shoe museum in the city, in 2005 the city held the Swiss National Yodelling Festival and as Aarau has an unemployment rate of about 2.35% (with most working for the government, typical!) statistically it has the most jobs per capita of any Swiss city,  (thanks to Wiki for that last one!)

But perhaps the most interesting thing I found about the city is that it has a horse racing track. I didn’t even know the Swiss were into that kind of thing! Apparently its meant to be one of the nicest tracks in the whole of Europe and has been on the go since 1921, but is it any good for racing on? Who knows, but I know as we are in Switzerland you definitely dont want to be backing fucking losers that is for sure……..

Getting to the town is relatively easy as it is well connected by train to Basel (about 40 minutes) and to Zurich it takes about 30 minutes by train. A little later by car for both destinations, but still within the hour.

Overall Aarau is a nice enough place, lovely street and those cool gables that they are oh so proud of, overall it is a bit quiet and not a whole lot going on, but I liked the Church tower that was a nice marker in the town centre. Not a bad place to visit for a day out,but not enough bars to keep me happy here. 

Pub watch

Penny Farthing Pub

Address: Bahnhofstrasse 57, 5000 Aarau

http://www.pennyfarthing.ch/

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The Penny Farthing Pub is a traditional British Pub situated not too far from the main train station, easily found as you make your way from the station into the city. 

First pub of the day, a short walk from the train station where I got my train from Basel to Aarau which only took me about 30 minutes or so. 

Thought it was closed as the doors looked slammed shut, but joy they were open. Early about 12. or so, but still a few other souls in the bar. The bar has a good selection of beers from the UK and Ireland, and some interesting Scottish whiskies as well. Ordered a Brooklyn Brewery lager, a first timer for me, which was on tap, and poured by a friendly bar lady. Pint looked good but wasn’t impressed with it, nothing to the quality of the pint poured but found it hard to drink. Not a Brooklyn fan I guess. 

The decor has some references to the Penny Farthing bicycle of the 1870’s with photos and an actual bike itself on one of the walls, which was pretty cool to see. Of course the pub was also decked out with a dart board and plenty of TV screens for sports for the more modern customer!

I liked this bar, good friendly service, nice decor, nice long bar, and good atmosphere for that time of the day. Overall a good pub to start the day.  

 

Mr. Pickwick Pub

Address: Graben 6, 5000 Aarau

www.pickwick.ch

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There are a few of these Mr Pickwick Pubs dotted around Switzerland. They are quintessential British style pubs.

Have some decent fare on tap here, but I ordered some Valaisanne Zwickelbier (bière de cave), a lager from Sion. I had never tried it before but on the recommendation of the barman I went for it. I tell you he wasn’t wrong, it was delicious, so good in fact that I had ordered another one straight after the first, this breaking my one pint one pub rule. Heck there were fuck all pubs in the town anyway!!

Pub had the usual decor to be expected from a British style bar, service was decent enough and in a very relaxed style, bar staff were a bit chatty

Didn’t detect any “British” style atmosphere here, but it was a comfy place to have a few beers and they went down fairly well too, so no complaints! And they charged my phone!

Place was busy enough for the middle of the day. 

As I couldn’t find a whole lot of bars in the town I did return here again later in the day. Second time round a different bar man, friendly, said he never met an Irish man in the bar before…..but i doubt that’s true.  Just had the usual Feldschlossen beer lager, which was fine, nice and refreshing and cold. 

Liked this bar, quiet and a good place to while away a few hours. Comfy and good pints

 

Bierstübli

Address: Pelzgasse 25, 5000 Aarau

www.1212.ch/ag.290.bierstube.aarau.bar.html

An interesting one this, easy to pass as it is has very small frontage. Bierstübli, the smallest bar in Aarau, is in the heart of the town, a tiny bar with some very rustic settings inside. Altogether I counted about 8 seats and four bar stools in this box of a bar! 

You have to be careful of the time as this place doesn’t open until 2.00 most days, so for me when I arrived at 1 I had to walk around the block a few times to kill time!

The bar is very old fashioned, there are numerous old beer jugs on display, models of Swiss warriors from the Second World War on the ceiling and all bills are paid from a cashier from the 60’s, all the while an old wooden clock slowly ticks in the corner of the bar.

As its a small bar I guess it can be easy to meet new friends, but alas at just after opening time, midday, I was the only customer! Also the bar man smoking from a pipe, was wondering why this strange looking foreigner with a bad haircut and a smirk was in his bar. This was most definitely a local bar for local people. 

Anyway these days you will find less and less of these kind of places in Switzerland as modern bars aiming to make the big bucks entice all the crowds and custom. 

The bar is well stocked in beers though, selling 15 different types of beer. I went for a Cardinal Rousse, a 5.2% ale from Sion, which was fine and a Boxer Old, a pale lager from Yverdon-les-Bains (west Switzerland) another 5.2% beer, again a fine beer. On an empty stomach these beers definitely did the business. Good that you can get beers that otherwise you might not try.

As it was myself and the bar man in a very quiet and small environment, i decided to lighten the mood by picking a few tunes on the Jukebox, all 1950’s to early 1960’s stuff…….I struggled to find something good but I did…..Chuck Berry for example, early Beatles stuff, Elvis (cant beat a bit of Elvis!)

Truth be told I liked this place, if only to try out some new beers and it was nice to reflect on life in a quiet bar while humming along to the King on the jukebox, guess I most really be getting old!

OscarOne 

Address: Schlossplatz 1, 5000 Aarau

www.oscarone.ch/en/home

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Not finding many bars in the town for my beer crawl I got desperate and ventured into OscarOne, a hip looking Lounge, CockTail and Wine Bar. I say desperate as these are really not establishments I feel comfortable in! I’m not hip or cool enough for these kind of places, I’m an ordinary fella who has simple pleasures……football and beer, not really into strobe lighting, fancy cocktails and showing off my new designer gear, if I had any!

Took a long time to get served, a long time. Which was funny as there really wasn’t anyone else at the bar. Sure the place was busy but I was the only one sitting up at the bar. The two staff were doing the age old art of looking busy without actually doing anything, you know…. moving around here and there, the long walk, a wipe here and wipe there, pick up a few glasses, etc. Having said that though the service was friendly all the same. 

Anyway, got served eventually, got a Franziskaner Weissbier, which was pretty difficult to stomach, but that;s just me, as I’m not a great fan of Weissbiers.

The route to the toilet is a real hazard, a very steep spiral staircase to the basement, in a darkly lit bar it was a bit too steep and I’m sure if this was Ireland it would definitely be popular for those that like to partake in frivolous insurance claims! 

Had a nice interior, quite high class, all nicely decorated and stylish, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, a good crowd in for a mid day Saturday, albeit a bit quiet, but you know it didn’t do anything for me, so overall OscarOne didn’t impress me too much. 

 

FC Aarau

Arena/Stadium: Brügglifeld stadium 

Location: Brügglifeldweg in Aarau

Capacity: 9,249

Manager: Marco Schällibaum

Founded: 1902

Leagues: Swiss Challenge League

Club home page 

geschaeftsstelle@fcaarau.ch

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Nicknames: “The Unabstandable” (“that can not be relegated”)

FC Aarau is a Swiss football club, based in the small town of Aarau. They play in the Swiss second tier in the Challenge League, relegated last season from the top division.  

FC Aarau were formed on the 26th May 1902 by workers from a local brewery, and within ten years they won the Swiss Championship in 1911/12, repeating it again in 1913/14. It wasn’t until the 1992/93 season that they won the Swiss National League again, a break of 79 years. 

In 1985 Aarau won the Swiss Cup for the first time, coached by Ottmar Hitzfeld, yes that Ottmar Hitzfield, two time CL winner with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. There for 4 seasons it was here that he first tasted success as a manager.

FC Aarau have got the nickname ‘Die Unabsteigbaren’ which in English means ‘those that cannot be relegated.’, as they were seen as a lucky team that could not be demoted, in the top league since 1981, with one exception (relegated in 2010), and generally escaping relegation by the skin of their teeth on a few occasions. They were relegated though last season 2016/2017. I guess they need to get a new nickname so…. 

But the biggest challenge the club faced was in 2002 when the club was in serious financial debt, but thanks to the help of the fans who put their hands in their pockets buying 4,500 shares that were made available by the club helped stave off liquidation. The sale made 1,510,000 Swiss Francs (roughly 1.4 Million Euro) for the club and a holding company, FC Aarau Ltd, was set up to run the club.

They have played in European competition on 5 different occasions, but never getting past the first round of the various competitions they entered.  They did however give the mighty AC Milan a good run for their money in the Champions League, only going out 1-0 on aggregate to the same team that eventually went on to win the competition by hammering Barcelona 4-0 in the final. Not bad! 

FC Aarau play in the Brügglifeld stadium, which has a capacity of 9’249, and have been doing this for more than 90 years (opened in 1924). The stadium is an old style ground and somewhat unique in this era of modern shiny soulless stadia, the stands are close to the pitch, with most of the ground uncovered terracing, and a ground in which the fans can easily make their feelings known to the players, small and compact. 

The club play in all white, and take the Aarau city coat of arms of a Black Eagle as their club logo 

To the game

FC Aarau 4 – 2 FC Le Mont LS 

18.02.2017  Stadium Brügglifeld
5 ‘Geoffrey Treand
34’ Sandro Burki
38’Damir Mehidic
53 ‘Helios Sessolo (Le M)
65’ Zoran Josipovic
87’Patrick Bengondo (Le M)

Attendance: 2’749

Good game with a cracking atmosphere. I must say I enjoyed my time seeing FC Aarau. 

Another Swiss game, another early goal for me. This time after just 5 minutes. Geoffrey Tréand with a long range shot from outside the box placing it nicely past the goalkeeper. Nice strike, good start.  Two more goals followed and by half time FC Aarau were well in control. 

Le Mont got one back in the 53rd minute but Aarau replied in the 65th minute to put the game to bed. 

Good game, FC Aarau had little problem putting Le Mont to the sword, good atmosphere in the old ground and despite the weather and wet conditions it was a good day out.

Overall the day was good, good pubs, decent beers, a nice place to stroll around and a good old style ground with a cracking atmosphere. Yes, might be back for another game in the future. 

 

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Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu Klosterstoff

Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu Klosterstoff

Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu Klosterstoff 

https://shop.alpirsbacher.de/bier/klosterstoff.html

Brewed by Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu
Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest 
Alpirsbach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu is a brewing company in a small town called Alpirsbach in the Black Forest region of Germany

Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu KlosterstoffThe company was founded in 1877 by Johann Gottfried Glauner who reactivated the former monastery brewery. In 1880 the company was passed onto his son, Carl Albert Glauner and in 1906 the company was renamed to Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu. The company was and is continuously held by the Glauner family that is now in its fourth generation of ownership.

The company has an annual turnover of 22 million euros (2014), and its big seller, its “spezial” lager, won the prestigious World Beer Award in 2013. Read my review of that beer here

Other beers they produce have also won prestigious awards. Its Pils getting a silver in the World Beer Cup in 2014, and its Wheat crystal, Monastery Starkbier and Monastic substance all picking up awards in the World Beer Awards

Review: 0.33l flip top bottle of Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu Klosterstoff Märzenbier: ABV: 5.9% 

Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu KlosterstoffBottle with a cool flip top, lets open the beer from the Black Forest. 

On pour got a lovely crystal clear golden colour and a nice white head that appeared. 

Nice bit of carbo, bubbling away.

Head does thin out but maintains and the colour does fade a little, not as sparkling on pour.

Got a lovely initial smell of malts, all really pleasant on the nose but faint. But I also detected some hot spicy aromas which was interesting!

Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu KlosterstoffNice big mouthfuls. Tasted wheat, grain, malts, altogether not a bad taste at all and very smooth.

Very smooth, must be the good waters from the streams near the Black Forest, I guess! 

Good creamy mouthfuls, soft on the tongue.

A Good beer that was lovely and smooth.

Not particularly hoppy, to me at least. Easy to drink, refreshing, and very well balanced. It is not going to set the world alight, but I liked it. 

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Bush Blonde, when looks are not important!

Bush Blonde, when looks are not important!

Bush Blonde 

http://dubuisson.com/en-gb/beers/bush-blonde

Brewed by Dubuisson
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Pipaix, Hainaut,Belgium

Bush Blonde, when looks are not important! Bush, a Belgian beer brand and the flagship product of the Dubuisson Brewery, located in Pipaix, a village near the Belgian town of Leuze-en-Hainaut in the Walloon Region of the country. 

An Independent brewery, using locally sourced yeast and fresh water from its own deep wells, with the hops and barley coming from the Czech Republic. 

In 1933, one year after Alfred and Amédée inherited their parents’ brewery, they decided to compete with the English who occupied a leading position on the market of strong beers. That is how the brothers created the Bush beer, with its 12% alcohol content. To compete they gave their beer an English sounding name. Dubuisson bière would be translated into English as Bush beer. However, in the United States, the beer is sold under the name “Scaldis” (the Latin name of the river Scheldt that flows through western Belgium).

Bush Blonde, when looks are not important! It’s Amber Bush, created in 1933, is one of the oldest “special” Belgian beers and the most popular, and strongest, among Bush beers. Other selections include Bush Blonde, Christmas Bush and Luxury Bush.

Bush beers are sold all in the UK and all over Western Europe, North America, Japan, Brazil and South Africa, and they have won a variety of different awards down through the years: World Gold Medal Selection in Amsterdam in 1992,  gold medal and first place at the World Championship of Chicago in 1988, Gold medal at the World Beer Championships in Chicago in 2012. 

Review: 33cl bottle of Bush Blonde: ABV: 10.5%

The Bush Blonde, on the go since 1988, and introduced by Hugues Dubuisson on the 65th anniversary of the Bush Ambrée launched by his grandfather, Alfred. Considered to be one of the strongest beers from Belgium coming in at an alcoholic volume of 10.5%

Bush Blonde, when looks are not important! A lot, and I mean a lot, of gas on the pour, a bit of a mess truth been told. Full of carbonation, resulting in a massive head and a beer that took a long time to settle.

It also was very murky looking, a lot of sediment in the bottom of the glass floating around, which looked a bit worrying and not at all appetizing. 

Head does die eventually to leave a small but decent looking head that maintains, and an orange looking beer. Minimal lacing.

Overall, it looks terrible! One of the worst I have seen. 

On the nose get a strong citrus and fruity smell.

Taste: initial taste, it was fucking horrible, a harsh alcohol taste, but once it settles down and I settled down myself from the shock, it is actually not too bad. Smooth enough for a 10% beer
Can feel the alcohol alright but quaffable enough and not overpowering, not hoppy

Bush Blonde, when looks are not important! Smooth enough, all things considering (all the carbonation)
Not hoppy. No bitter tastes. Yeah not bad
A lot of sweet malts, some sweet fruits,  and yeast. 

Overall this beer tastes a million times better than it looks, and after you get over the initial hit of all the strong smells and taste, it eventually is a beer to savour. 

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La Goudale Biere, a slow burner

La Goudale Biere, a slow burner

La Goudale Biere 

http://brasseurs-gayant.com/

Brewed by Les Brasseurs De Gayant
Style: Strong pale ale
Douai, France

La Goudale Biere, a slow burner Brewed in Douai, a small city in the north of France by the Gayant Brewers.

La Goudale, a blonde beer, is made with a recipe dating back to the middle ages, and also uses specially flavored hops carefully chosen from Flanders, has been brewed since 1994.

The Goudale got its name from the 14th century, where all good beers were called “Goudale” (Good Ale). 

The brewery have many brands such as Amadeus, Tequieros, La bière du Démon, St Landelin but their main product is La Goudale.

La Goudale is sold widely in supermarkets in the North of France and has won numerous awards down through the years, most notably gold at the World Beer Challenge in Portugal, 2014. 

Review: 50cl Can of La Goudale Biere: ABV: 7.2% 

La Goudale Biere, a slow burner Coming in a very interesting shiny can that had a lot of distinctive black lettering. Stands out, even if its not obvious what exactly it all means!

On appearance got a hazy amber orange colour that produced a pretty large frothy white head, which does die over time but maintains overall, albeit small. Some lacing. Nothing special to look at.

Smells of caramel and the usual blond aroma of yeasts, sweet malts, grains and with a bit of citrus, nothing special.

No hanging around with this beer, on initial taste you can immediately get the alcohol, straight in with an aggressive taste………lots of yeast and citrus lightning up the taste-buds!

La Goudale Biere, a slow burner But no real discernible after taste. All in the front taste.

Not nice, too harsh on the palate. Very bitter. Fuck me, its hard. Disgusting even!

Second can much more manageable. Deep tasting hops. Sweet Malts
Tastes much better. A slow burner.

Creamy bodied
In the end I kind of liked it, don’t know if the alcohol kicks in and the initial shock with the first can but it was ok, albeit the second can, similar to a Belgian strong pale ale.

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