The Six Nations is upon us. England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, and Italy will once again clash throughout a series of Rugby Union’s most hotly anticipated fixtures, for one of its most coveted prizes. To ensure that beer lovers get the best possible experience when it comes to each game, we’ve assembled a scrum of brews that will guarantee no matter who you support you’ll be a winner come the final whistle.
Wales: Tiny Rebel – One Inch Punch – Session IPA 3.9%
The picturesque Valleys and bustling cities of Wales howl with lively choruses whenever the Welsh take to the field. As Wales’ national sport, Rugby Union is perhaps more ubiquitous with the country than any other of the six nations – since the mid 19th century it has been woven into the fabric of the country’s everyday life. One thing which may not be so synonymous with Wales is incredible beer. However, the country is quickly becoming a hub for creative and quality-driven breweries striving to create brews for a new generation.
Hopefully few punches will be thrown throughout the competition, however sometimes it’s unavoidable. That’s why we recommend taking it easy with Tiny Rebel’s golden American session beer, One Inch Punch. A low ABV and big tropical hits of flavour ensure you can last the whole game enjoying brilliant Welsh beer without being knocked off your feet once.
Scotland: Tempest – In The Dark We Live – Black IPA 7.2%
Scotland may have often felt as though their thistle was hidden in darkness over previous years of competition. Two decades of frustration have followed their Five Nations victory back in 1999, yet many believe that the squad journeying to this year’s Six Nations is perhaps their strongest since that distant victory.
Based in the scottish borders, Tweedbank’s Tempest Brew Co are themselves highlighting a rejuvenated and enlivened Scotland, only instead of chucking eggs they’re brewing quality-packed and exciting brews. One such example being their robust black IPA, In The Dark We Live.
IPA by attitude, porter by appearance, Tempest’s In The Dark We Live, complements rich malts with complex hops. Expect the roasty toasted malts to marry with bright and sharp ripe fruit and citrus flavours. The warming finish of a higher ABV brew ensures every mouthful is memorable. Will this Six Nations see Scotland charging out of the sporting shadows of yesteryear?
England: Gipsy Hill – Southpaw – Amber Ale 4.2%
Favourites, and for good reason. The English trampled Australia in a momentous series of victories Down Under late last year – can their momentum be carried over to the Six Nations?
Gipsy Hill focus on big flavours and moreish brews. They make no nonsense, full flavoured, medium strength “social” beers intended to be enjoyed with other beer lovers, or in this case, fellow rugby fans. Grain and hop fight for dominance in their “Southpaw” amber ale, somehow both come out on top. The result is a bitter-sweet combination, bringing sharp citrus, whispers of toffee and lightly toasted malt flavours, finishing with a resolute bitterness.
Can Eddie Jones and controversial captain Dylan Hartley steady the ship and lead England to another historic victory? Will Swing Low Sweet Chariot once again ring out from the stands of Twickenham? Whatever happens, you’re in safe hands with this top tier London brew.
Ireland: Boundary Brewing – Export Stout – Stout 7%
Hot on the heels of England, and second favourites to reclaim the Six Nations crown, Ireland are as dangerous as ever – especially in the wake of their historic victory over the All Blacks in Chicago. A largely injury-free squad means serious strength in depth and a myriad of potent options in both attack and defence.
Speaking of potent options. This decadent Export Stout from Belfast’s boundary brewery is a dark beer to be savoured and enjoyed over the course of a fixture. Chocolate, caramel, coffee and dried fruit combine with the roasted biscuity malt bill to give a complex and smooth brew that will evolve from one half to the next.
Will the Irish claim their third title in four years? They’re already racking up the points when it comes to some of the world’s most exciting new brews.
Italy: Birrificio Del Ducato – Chrysopolis – Uncarbonated Sour Ale 5%
Italy’s significance as a Rugby nation is seemingly always in a state of flux. Known for the flair of individuals yet often lacking cohesion as a squad, The Six Nations may well be another frustrating outing for the boys in blue. Nevertheless, when it comes to craft beer, the nation often defined by its relationship with wonderful ingredients and great food, once again proves that flair can also foreshadow a good deal of flavourful substance.
Birrificio del Ducato are Italy’s most critically acclaimed Italian Craft Brewery. Their beers are made of passion and knowledge, culture and innovation, and deserve to be discovered by beer lovers from each of the six nations and beyond. Chrysopolis is an uncarbonated sour ale aged in Scotch whiskey barrels and made with peated malt! The perfect brew for Italy’s upcoming clash with Scotland.
Can the Azzurri cause a few upsets this year? Possibly. Will drinking a bottle of this truly unique Birrificio Del Ducato brew guarantee a unparalleled drinking experience? Most definitely.
France: Partizan - Lemon & Thyme Saison 3.8%
The Gallic Rooster that adorns the kit of the French national team is not only a symbol of France, and the French community of Belgium, but an image that conjures visions of the rural expanses of the two countries. Saisons were once the lifeblood of French and Belgian farms, acting as a easily transportable and flavourful source of hydration that would allow workers to keep their wits about them thanks to its low ABV.
Much like the workers that tended the fields, The always versatile and instinctive French team will also need a firm grasp and strong concentration when faced with such fierce opposition throughout this year’s tournament.
Partizan’s Lemon & Thyme Saison is the perfect brew to put you in the mood for a typically French display of joie de vivre on the pitch. A fruity and spicy brew, made with lemon, thyme and love. Beautifully light and balanced, a thirst quenching drop from Partizan. Vive La France!