The Rugby World Cup – we’ll drink to that!
Even if you’re not that interested in what’s taking place on the pitch, here are 20 reasons to get involved in the celebration of sport and culture via the universal ice-breaker that is beer, wine and hard liquor.
We’ve picked out the best alcoholic drinks from each of the 20 nations taking part, most of which you can buy locally…
Old Speckled Hen
There’s so many distinctive English ales, ciders and bitters to choose from, especially when you live in England.
Over here we have to make do with what the supermarkets and off licences decide to stock. The pick of this bunch would have to be Old Speckled Hen.
Wolf Blass Eaglehawk Chardonnay
When winemaker Wolfgang Blass moved from Germany to Australia and started producing his style of red and white wines he claimed they would “make strong women weak and weak men strong”.
Dodgy quotes aside this is quality plonk. In case you’re wondering why we didn’t pick Fosters, I have it in good authority that Fosters is the beer the Australians send away and keep all the good stuff for themselves.
A real no brainer here. Brains beer is by far Wales’ most famous drink. The company boasts a huge range of lagers, bitters, ales and craft beers.
Most of them they keep to themselves in Wales, but some, like the Rev James range, you can get in several offies here in Northern Ireland.
Like the hard-hitting rugby team this beer will leave you with a pounding head the next morning.
It’s pretty much exclusive to the island of Fiji – just as well as the reviews of it aren’t great.
This is the Uruguayan version of sangria, except instead of mixing fruit with red wine, they mix it with white wine and leave it to marinate for a couple of hours.
Sounds worth a try, better still the fruit cancels out all the carbs of the alcohol (probably).
Castle Lager was first brewed in Capetown in 1895, though anyone who’s had the pleasure of tasting this 120 year old beer will vouch that it’s remarkably fresh.
Everyone has their favourite Scotch whisky. Ours is Glenfiddich. It tastes like glory. Something the Scots are unlikely to sample at the Rugby World Cup.
Not to be confused with cava, this mildly narcotic elixir is made from the pounded roots of the kava plant.
Drinking it is a shared experience with people gathering around a communal bowl to sup aplenty.
There’s a number of Japanese beers available here in Belfast including Asahi and Sapporo, but sake blows them all out of the water.
It’s a rice wine which can be served hot or cold. You’ll get it in any Japanese restaurant and also some specialist off licences.
Some people think it’s a whiskey, others think it’s a bourbon. It’s actually liquid heartburn, but we love it all the same.
Joking aside, it’s a liqueur.
Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc
There’s nothing quite like the taste of Oyster Bay, one of the more expensive carry out purchases at over a tenner, but thankfully one which is regularly on special offer at £8.99. Not a massive saving we realise, but it’s purely psychological that we’re getting a bargain.
This potent red wine from Argentina, and also produced in France, comes from the purple Malbec grape.
The rule is you are only allowed to consume it when eating steak.
That right, it’s Kava again. After thousands of years it remains the drink of choice in almost all of the Pacific Island nations.
Kindzmareuli is a fruity, red wine reputed to have been Stalin’s favourite alcoholic beverage. It just had to be red, didn’t it?
That’s right, Namibia has its own lager which you’ll not be surprised to learn is pretty hard to come by.
If anyone’s tasted it or knows where to buy it locally please get in touch.
Although we’ve got an amazing selection of beers, ciders and spirits produced on these shores, there can only be one winner… Guinness.
Let’s hope we’re drinking it from the Webb Ellis trophy rather than drowning our sorrows after an exit at the pool stage.
We’d considered reds from Bordeaux, whites from Alsace, Champagne from, er, Champagne, but in the end we plumped for Cognac – after the huge feed of drink we’ve already covered by this point a digestif is needed.
Peroni just edged this one from a number of worthy Pino Grigios and its long time rival Birra Moretti.
If only the competition for places on the Italian rugby team was as fierce.
Sounds a bit like a Bond villainess and probably equally as deadly.
Let’s finish with a cocktail. This Canadian creation contains vodka, Clamato (a blend of tomato juice and clam broth), Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce, and is served with a stalk of celery.
You’re thinking Bloody Mary, aren’t you? What makes it different is the inclusion of clam broth. It’s a subtle difference, but then Canadians are very sensitive to subtle differences. Have you seen how they react when you call them Americans?