2018 World Cup Bracket of Beer: The Finals Edition

2018 World Cup Kylian Mbappe France Belgium
SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – JULY 10: Kylian Mbappe of France in action during the Semi Final FIFA World Cup match between France and Belgium at Krestovsky Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Fred Lee/Getty Images

It’s here, the final match of the 2018 World Cup. Who would’ve thought a month ago that not only would we have an all-European semi-final round, but that we’d see Croatia become the second-smallest nation to head into World Cup finals? If you’re like most of us here, our brackets were mostly busted by the end of the Group Stage (thanks, Germany, Argentina, Portugal, et cetera).

That being said, the two teams that have made it, France behind the newly-recognized superstar talent of 19-year-old Kylian Mbappé and Croatia behind a team effort led by their captain, Luka Modrić. Both have busted their asses to get where they are. Good on them for that. No matter which team you are cheering for, it is going to be a good match this coming Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.

With that in mind, we thought we’d revisit the two countries left standing and the beers that we initially picked for each. Based on brew alone, who do you think will win? Is it going to be the craft beer or the beer of the entire nation? Let us know in the comments.

The Finals

France – Thiriez Blonde d’Esquelbecq

The first (and most popular) beer from France’s oldest functioning craft brewery, Blonde d’Esquelbecq is a biere de garde that expresses itself through citrus notes and bitterness, while maintaining qualities similar to Belgian beers, which are located only a hop, skip, and a jump away.

Croatia – Ozujsko

Ožujsko, or Žuja, is the most popular beer in Croatia and the sponsor of the Croatian soccer team. The golden lager highlighted by sweet corn and malt notes was first introduced in 1892.

Article originally published June 14, 2018. Last updated July 13, 2018, to include information about the 2018 World Cup finals.

The Original Bracket

In case you want to revisit the original bracket, the Group Stage information has remained untouched. Just because these countries are out of the 2018 World Cup doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy their delicious beer.

Group A

Russia – Baltika #3

A Russian standard, Baltika is the second-largest brewery in Europe. Baltika produces a range of beers (named, simply, #1, #2, et cetera), with #3 being the most popular since the mid-90s. Baltika #3 is a pale lager that you’re sure to see in the stands during the World Cup.

Saudi Arabia – N/A

As a predominantly Muslim country, Saudi Arabia completely bans alcohol. While a few people might produce it under the cover of darkness, the country as a whole is against it. There has already been controversy surrounding this during this World Cup.

Egypt – Sakara Weizen

When your country is more than 90-percent desert, you’re going to want a beer that will easily slake your thirst. This Weizen beer by Sakara does just that. With a crisp body and a refreshing finish, you really can’t beat it when it’s a thousand degrees outside.

Uruguay – Davok IPA

Made by one of Uruguay’s most popular breweries, Davok IPA is an American-style IPA that (thanks to its 6.2% ABV) cuts through the heat and humidity of summer. Hop-forward, the malt body rounds Davok IPA out into an easy-drinking beer.

Group B

Iran – N/A

Despite a deep history of beer drinking dating back to the 3,500 B.C., beer and other alcoholic beverages have been illegal in Iran since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Sad.

Morocco – Société des Brasseries du Maroc Casablanca

The Castel Group operates several breweries, Société des Brasseries du Maroc, in Morocco, which makes a few beers, including the premium pale lager Casablanca. Casablanca is a dry, bready lager.

Portugal – Super Bock Original

The 11th largest beer producing country in Europe, Portugal has two main breweries. Super Bock is produced by Unicer and is the best-selling Portuguese beer in the world.  The Original is a pale lager, but they make a number of other varieties.

Spain – Alhambra Reserve 1925

Spain is highlighted by Mahou-San Miguel, which makes an array of beer across the globe, including Alhambra 1925 in a unique green bottle and a sweet and bitter caramelized fruit flavor.

Group C

France – Thiriez Blonde d’Esquelbecq

The first (and most popular) beer from France’s oldest functioning craft brewery, Blonde d’Esquelbecq is a biere de garde that expresses itself through citrus notes and bitterness, while maintaining qualities similar to Belgian beers—which are located only a hop, skip, and a jump away.

Australia – Coopers Sparkling Ale

Made by Australia’s largest brewery, Coopers Sparkling Ale is bottle-conditioned and one of the signature beers produced by the brewery. Fruity and floral (but backed by sweet malty notes), this is a solid year-round option.

Peru – Cusqueña Dorada

Named after the residents of Cusco, Cusqueña Dorada (Gold), is the flagship beer for the brand. Light and crisp, this is everything you expect in a beer for hot days and long nights.

Denmark – Øl Brewery Gose to Dim Sum Restaurant, Orders One of Each

We’ll admit, we were hooked by the bottle image to begin, then by the pun, then by the fact that this beer is a gose made with lychee, dragonfruit, and soya. With that combination, how could you go wrong?

Group D

Argentina – Quilmes Cristal

Founded in 1888 by Otto Bemberg, Argentina’s “national” beer is Quilmes, representing more than 60 percent of the beer market. Quilmes Cristal is light and refreshing, although will show nothing new on the palate.

Croatia – Ozujsko

Ožujsko, or Žuja, is the most popular beer in Croatia and the sponsor of the Croatian soccer team. The golden lager highlighted by sweet corn and malt notes was first introduced in 1892.

Iceland – Ölgerdin Egill Gull

Banned for most of the 20th century, beer has seen a resurgence in Iceland since Prohibition ended in 1989. Ölgerdin is the oldest brewery in Iceland (in operation since 1913) and its Egill Gull won World’s Best Standard Lager at the 2011 World Beer Awards.

Nigeria – Star Lager

Beer is big in Nigeria (especially Guinness), but Nigerian Breweries is the oldest and largest brewery in the African nation. Star Lager was the first and flagship brand of the company and is a traditional pale lager.

Group E

Brazil – Cervejaria Nacional Mula IPA

Made in São Paolo by one of Brazil’s most popular craft breweries, Mula IPA feels like a kick from the beer’s namesake, a mule. You’d have to be a jackass not to try it. Slightly citrusty and all IPA, you’ll see why it’s a local favorite.

Serbia – Jelen Pivo

Jelen is the most popular beer in Serbia, with Pivo (their pale lager), being the most popular release. As a light lager, this is everything you expect of the style. Perfect for having a number of them while watching multiple soccer matches in a row.

Costa Rica – Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Company’s Segua Red Ale

Brewed by the country’s largest craft brewery, Segua is a malty beer (as you would expect from a red ale) that manages to still toes the line on being a crisp refresher as well—a perfect thing when you take a second to think about Costa Rica’s climate.

Switzerland – Appenzeller Quöllfrisch Naturtrüb

Brewed with three different types of hops, this beer from one of Switzerland’s premier breweries is fruity, yeasty, and eternally drinkable. Slightly hazy (Naturtrüb means “naturally cloudy” after all), you can expect an easy-drinking beer from first to last sip.

Group F

Germany – Brauhaus Riegele Hefe Weisse

Recently crowned German Craft Brewer of the Year, Brauhaus Riegele’s Hefe Weisse is the epitome of a good wheat beer. Unfiltered, the beer is refreshing and fruity, with a slight yeasty tartness.

South Korea – Oriental Brewery Cass Fresh

Two breweries, HiteJinro and Oriental Brewery, dominate the beer market in South Korea, including OB’s Cass Fresh brand. The light pale lager became the top-selling brand in the nation in 2011 and was once endorsed by Gordon Ramsay.

Mexico – Tecate

Mexico is a land of beer production, with well-known Mexican lager brands like Corona, Modelo, Sol, Pacifico and Dos Equis all brewed there. Tecate is one of the most well-known brands in Mexico thanks to its support of sporting events nationwide.

Sweden – Pripps Blå

Pripps Blå has been brewed since 1959 and the light lager is one of the best-selling beers in Sweden. Now owned by Carlsberg, the beer is made with 51-percent barley. There’s also an extra strong version, Pripps Blå Extra Stark.

Group G

Belgium – Westmalle Tripel

You could close your eyes and point at a Belgian beer and it’d be worthy of leading its team to the finals. What’s not to love about them? Take Westmalle Tripel, for example. The beer is 9.5%, but the clove and banana on the nose, then the sweet biscuit body hide that fact well. It’s a beer many might call perfect.

Panama – Casa Bruja Chivo Perro IPA

Named after an inside joke among the owners (one’s goat eats the other’s dog’s food), Chivo Perro is a tropical IPA is the brewery’s most popular beer. Passionfruit and mango explode on the tongue, masking what is already a fairly low level of bitterness.

Tunisia – Celtia

Unlike Saudia Arabia where the is a complete ban on alcohol, Tunisia (with an overwhelming majority Muslim population) does have both domestic and imported beer available for consumption. One of those is Celtia, which you’ll likely be able to find in most hotels. Celtia is a pale European-style lager that is a great thirst-quencher.

England – Weird Beard Beer Company Black Perle

It’s got beard in the name, how could we not? (We’re fans, after all.) A coffee milk stout, Black Perle is sweet, roasty, dark, and a wonderful sipper (or a wonderful beer to drop a shot of whiskey in).

Group H

Colombia – Cervecería Bavaria Pilsen

A large microbrewing culture exists in Colombia, but the market is still dominated by large breweries, including Cervecería Bavaria, which makes the brand Pilsen, a 4.2-percent pilsner.

Japan – Asahi Super Dry

In America, Sapporo reigns supreme as Japanese beer, but in Japan? Sapporo is the oldest brand in Japan, but Asahi and Kirin lead the way in market share. Asahi Super Dry is the dominant beer, with a taste reminiscent of northern German lagers.

Poland – Kompania Piwowarska Lech Premium

The Polish brewery Kompania Piwowarska has a 45 percent market share of the country’s beer, with Lech Premium pale lager as the flagship brand, along with Lech Pils and Lech Mocny, a strong lager.

Senegal – West African Brewing Company La Gazelle

Beer can be sipped pretty much anywhere in this West African nation, and it’s almost a guarantee it was brewed at the West African Brewing Company in the capital city of Dakar. It’s also likely La Gazelle, a pale European lager — light, a little watery, and perfect to battle the heat all day long.

Ready to taste them all?

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