Drink Magazine

Who is the Best? Presenting the Real World Cup of Beer

By Bryan Roth @bryandroth

beer brazil

The entire world is entranced by The Beautiful Game for the next month as the World Cup kicked off this week. OK, maybe not the United States, but there’s a lot of land out there.

But what’s soccer (or football?) without beer?

The folks at The Big Lead offered up a great chart recently of the “most popular (i.e. best-selling domestically) beers from each of the 32 World Cup countries.” It’s a fun graphic, if only to better acquaint yourself with everyone’s favorite beers from around the world.

However, I fear that chart is only half the story. I’m here to tell the rest.

It’s all well and good to know which beer is each country’s favorite, but we might as well know who would win the World Cup based on this new information, right? That’s what I’m here to do.

I went through every beer listed on the Big Lead chart and took rankings from RateBeer and Beer Advocate in order to assign each brew a quantitative value. Per World Cup rules, the two highest-ranked beers from each of the initial eight groups  moved on before the knockout stage began.

Some of the results might surprise you…

First off, here’s a chart of all the countries and their beers, paired with their numerical values (click to enlarge):

world cup beer list

If a beer wasn’t listed on Rate Beer or Beer Advocate or didn’t have more than a couple reviews, it received a “not applicable.” In the case of Iran’s non-alcoholic Behnoush, I also discounted that beverage. No worries, as they wouldn’t have been competitive in the first place.

After going through each group, here are the countries/beers that advanced and their matchups (click to enlarge):

initial winners list

… and from there, here are the results of the final rounds (click to enlarge):


… and for posterity’s sake, the full bracket (click to enlarge):


In what would be considered a very tight finals, the Swiss favorite beer, Feldschlosschen, narrowly beats out the Belgians’ Jupliler. Both pale lagers perform very well on the Rate Beer and Beer Advocate rating sites, but the Swiss beer barely outranks on RateBeer, where I found ratings to be a bit more harsh:


If there was a Group of Death to be had in this instance, I’d say it was probably Group E, which not only had the eventual champion of Switzerland, but also strong competition from France’s Kronenbourg and decently-ranked beers from Honduras and Ecuador:

group of death

If you were dying to know, Croatia’s Karlovacko beat out Italy’s Peroni as the consolation winner.

As an important tell in relation to top-selling beers, nearly every beer on this list is branded as a “lager” or “pilsner.” I wouldn’t consider that a surprise, given the diversity of geographical locations and breadth of beer tastes for all the people across all these countries.
+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

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