It’s no secret: soccer and beer go together like hops and barley.
Drinking while watching games, whether at a pub or at the match itself, is part of the make up of the game. It’s so integral that FIFA even had Brazil change their laws to allow drinking in the stadiums — though that probably had as much to do with appeasing worldwide sponsor Budweiser as it did with preserving the traditions of the game.
Either way, there are few ways better to enjoy a match than to sip down some cold suds while taking in the action, especially during the World Cup. And as such, loads of brewers have rushed to produce special batches to commemorate the big event.
My hometown of Cincinnati — a town many consider to be one of the country’s biggest hotbeds of brewing — is no different, as my good friends at Listermann Brewing have brewed a special beer specifically for the World Cup: E.S. Bee.
For those not familiar with Listermann, they got their start back in 1994 here in the Queen City by miniaturizing larger brewery equipment used by industrial brewers for use by home brewers. And to this day, they still feature a home brewer supply store where locals can get all of the equipment, ingredients and supplies they need to produce their own beer. Their brewery itself didn’t actually launch until 2008, when owner Dan Listermann decided to take his own home brewing operation and make it full-scale.
But back to the beer at hand for this World Cup, E.S. Bee.
Now you might be thinking, “That doesn’t exactly sound like a World Cup-themed beer.” And on the surface, it might not. But I sat down with Listermann’s appropriately named Jason Brewer to get the low down on how E.S. Bee fits the billing.
One of the first things Jason told me was how, in the international spirit of the World Cup, they formed a partnership with Lymestone Brewery in Stone, Staffordshire, UK. The relationship between the breweries can be traced back to last summer when a nephew of Lymestone’s owner was in Cincinnati for a rugby gala. And after getting together and hashing out the collaboration, some back and forth between both companies’ head brewers resulted in the finalized recipe for the World Cup suds.
E.S. Bee itself is a an English style Extra Special Bitter (ESB), which clocks in at a relatively tame 4.5% by alcohol. That makes it, as Jason explained, “perfect for the World Cup” as you can pull down a few throughout the course of the game and not end up a train wreck by the final whistle.
As the name also implies, the E.S. Bee also features a faint taste of honey. The reason for that? Lymestone’s brewery in Staffordshire uniquely features a beehive on their roof. And the sweetness of the honey plays well with the bitterness of your typical ESB, making for a smooth finish that’s perfect during the World Cup’s normal summer time heat.
The beer itself will only be available during the World Cup at two locations — Listermann’s brewery taproom and at one of my and Jason’s favorite local spots, Rhinehaus in Over-the-Rhine.
Furthermore, for those that stop by Rhinehaus for any of the 12:00pm games or US Men’s National Team games, you have the chance to snag the awesome World Cup and E.S. Bee pint glass from Listermann. Shown above, you can net the commemorative glass by dropping $10 on your initial E.S. Bee, and all refills thereafter will come at a discounted $4.
And having had a pint at Rhinehaus myself during the opening match between Brazil and Croatia, I can tell you that it’s well worth the trip in.
So if you’re going to be anywhere near Cincinnati, be sure to check out the ode to the World Cup put together by our local Listermann and friends across the pond from Lymestone. After all, the World Cup just wouldn’t be the same without a beer.