THE BEST KITS WITH BEER SPONSORS EVER MADE
Beer and football are usually an excellent combination. Whether it be settling down at home for a quiet one in front of the midweek European action or on a Saturday in the pub with your mates, a good beverage can really enhance your football-viewing experience. It's an integral part of the game. Carlsberg, Heineken and Budweiser spread there names across any surface they can - from beer mats to flashy strips - making modern football perenially drenched in sticky lager.
Load of teams have worn beer brands across their club colours colours. Some shit, some good. It’s a very simple premise: rate the kit, rate the beer. I've tried to find the best combination to ever grace a football pitch. I’m well aware there are a few kits I chose not to comment on, so consider this the good, the bad and the occasionally ugly of alcoholic football jerseys.
NORWICH CITY HOME KIT 1986-87 – FOSTERS
The Kit: I’m a fan of this strip. It’s got everything you could ask for in a retro kit. Striking colour combinations, Check. Funky patterns, Check. Plunging neck line. Check. The yellow and green of the ‘Canaries’ remains the same but I much prefer this number to some of the modern, chessboard-like offerings from East Anglia. 7/10
The Beer: The problem with Fosters is that is has no niche that makes it stand out from the crowd. It’s never usually the cheapest pint on the taps, nor is it the nicest. It’s an inoffensive choice and an acceptable purchase for when watching at home in a large group. Otherwise, it’s a bit like when England flirted with Phil Jones as a holding midfielder – alright, but there are surely better options. Gets a bonus point for having a good advertising campaign. I much prefer those two Aussie blokes on the radio to Ray Winston serving me a half-time reminder that I’ve already lost my accumulator on the early kick-off. 5/10
CHELSEA AWAY KIT 1996-97 - COORS
The Kit: Fantastic. The old school badge right in the centre and the Umbro placement is like the vintage England shirts of the 90s, as well as the collar on the neck. I also think the Coors logo fits in really nicely with overall design of the shirt. Thinking about Gianfranco Zola wheeling away in celebration in a top that is about 2 sizes too big for him is a timely reminder that as well as being proper nice, the kit was worn by one of the jammiest strikers to ever grace the Prem. 8/10
The Beer: Coors is a thinking man’s choice. I only order it when I'm feeling sensible. It’s a solid pint and worth the extra dollar you usually have to pay for it. I did have a housemate once who worked at a pub and asked if her work mates could come one night and crash our quiet house drinks. They rocked up with pub stock that other staff ‘wouldn’t notice if it went missing’. 50 Coors, and one big lagery mess later, the house party was in full swing at 2am. It’s a yes from me. 8/10
QPR AWAY KIT 1983-84 - GUINNESS
The Kit: When researching this article, I was led to believe the 1983 QPR kit was iconic. But in this case I’m not sure it’s a good thing. Sure, the red sleeves with the familiar Adidas stripes look nice, but that torso is something else. I’m sure it was designed to compliment the red trim on the home kit from the same year, but if that was what they were aiming for, they royally fucked it. This kit ruins Dennis the Menace for me, and it should for you too (unless you have a burning desire look like a rebel who owns a tiny black dog). It’s a lovely – if accidental – tribute to the cartoon character but I’m not convinced it belongs on a football pitch. 4/10
The Beer: Guinness is a lovely pint in the right circumstances but I’m not sure football provides that. I've seen the the stuff fuel some fantastic St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans, including watching a man have six shots of Baileys and a pint of the black stuff in less than 30 seconds as a toast to the best Ireland has to offer. In one of the best scenes of my life, I've also seen an Irishman fall asleep at 6pm in the pub with a complimentary green plastic hat over his face after the Guinness got to him a little too much. But Guiness doesn't belong in front of the football. It's a rugby boy's drink, and if you invite your mates over for the big game and one of them brings a four-pack of tinned Guinness, you really should be asking questions over the choices they’re making. 5.5/10
LIVERPOOL HOME KIT 1996-97 – CARLSBERG
The Kit: How can you not love this kit? It’s classic 90s football goodness. The white of the collar, trim and logo flow with the iconic red of Merseyside like pure symphony. Yeah, I'm a Liverpool fan. But who gives a shit? This kit is quality. Much of my childhood was spent watching Liverpool run around with Carlsberg branded across their chest, but this effort from the year I was born is very high on my wish list. Plus, it’s nice to be reminded that Michael Owen once brought us so much joy on the football field before he went full Alan Partridge on that weird helicopter trip in Dubai. 8/10
The Beer: When I first joined a society at uni, all the socials took place at a local watering hole where Carlsberg was £1.50 a pint. I have so many good memories of wild antics, nights out and watching football. I was drinking Carlsberg when I watched Phillipe Coutinho knock Manchester United out of the Europa League, Dejan Lovren’s header against Dortmund and Leicester City win the Premier League. Admittedly, my love in with Carlsberg is mainly due to sentimentally rather than it being an exceptional lager, but it’s always cheap and it will never let you down. It also sponsored probably the best comeback in European history, so bonus point for accurate advertising. Solid 7/10.
NAPOLI HOME KIT 2000-1 – PERONI
The Kit: If you look very closely, you see’ll this strip has very faint pinstripes. Unfortunately, it seems like Diadora got a bit giddy they were asked to design a kit for a European giant and plastered their name everywhere through those stripes. I don’t know if it’s childhood resentment from going football boot shopping with my mum and desperately trying to avoid the Diadora boots on sale, but I just can’t get excited about Diadora pinstripes. Not even slightly. Outside of that, the kit is nothing out of the ordinary and the beer alone – which we’ll get to – can’t quite save it. 5/10
The Beer: Barca, Madrid, Milan, Peroni. All classic examples of European royalty. It’s just a great pint. Sure, it’s a bit on the pricey side but I don’t care. The satisfaction of cracking open a cold Peroni on a Champions League night after a long day at work and soaking up the best Europe has to offer is unmatched. I’m not alone on this one either. I had a solitary pint of Peroni at a family dinner and tweeted about how great a lager it was. A whole 7 people favourited that tweet. To those 7, I salute you and your taste in beer. 9/10
RIVER PLATE HOME KIT 2004-5 – BUDWEISER
The Kit: With little coverage in the UK, it’s easy to forget how passionate people are about South American football. Suspending the biggest game of the season over fan rivalries - not once, but twice - and having to move the game to another continent is absolute, certifiable scenes. Anyway, this kit is fit for continental kings. The infamous red stripe of River Plate looks very tidy on this Adidas creation, with the three-stripes giving the white sleeves a bit of flair. With the appeal of retro kits often centred around niche branding or wavy patterns, this is a reminder that sometimes simplicity is king. 8.5/10
The Beer: I hate the phrase ‘a bottle of bud’. Just ask me to pass you a beer like a normal person. That aside, I’ll concede Budweiser is a nice bottled lager. If you’re hosting a football-viewing session it’s a good choice as I’ve never met anyone repulsed by the idea of a Budweiser. It’s an easy crowd pleaser. I once shared a crate with my housemate in front of Eurovision as we had nothing better to do on a Saturday night. I’ve got no idea who won but I was certainly invested in Europe’s second best competition that night. Definitely a lager to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. 7/10
CHIVAS USA HOME KIT 2012-13 – CORONA
The Kit: Lets not beat around the bush, here. It’s a carbon copy of Atletico's strip. But this isn’t school and plagiarism is allowed, especially if it’s done right. It’s a great kit. The red, white and blue are perfect and the collar's a beauty. Take note, Stoke and Sunderland: this is how red and white stripes are done right. I used to want both of you to get relegated just because of how disgusting their home kits were. A stupid but very real desire for my younger self. 9/10
The Beer: I used to dislike Corona purely because I worked behind a bar and it made rounds more awkward to carry. However, now I’m on the other side of the bar, it can tickle me on it's day. Last Christmas was a particular turning point. After arguably a couple too many Coronas throughout the course of Boxing Day, I stormed to 12 points in a minute round of charades to lead my team to victory. It was made particularly sweet by the fact that my girlfriend- a team captain – declined to pick me as it was the ‘more sociable’ option. The Corona and I showed how wrong she was. On a side not, you can drink Corona without a lime. It's okay – don’t be that guy. 7.5/10
EVERTON 3rdKIT 2012-13 – CHANG
The Kit: It’s alright, isn’t it? But that’s about it. It sums up modern football. Clean cut, professional and as it’s a third kit, designed to pointlessly grab your money. Unlike some of the others shirts I’ve looked at, this top has nothing that makes you love it or feel like you really missed out by not buying it. It’s also from the year where Everton changed their badge and while I usually find it hilarious that fans get worked up over something as trivial as a logo, in this case I think they have a point. It’s dreadful. 5/10
The Beer: This beer was the whole reason I wrote this article. In Thailand, I ordered a Chang on my first night and it took me a while to remember where I’d seen the logo before. While I enjoyed my first taste of Chang, I listened to two Australian women, an Englishman, a Dutchman and a Thai lady play ‘Never Have I Ever’ – a game which apparently transcends international borders and language barriers. I’ve never been more in debt to a beer. In its company, I sat to the side keeping who and what I had done in my life to myself, while enjoying it in the Bangkok sunshine. It tastes decent too. 8/10
The Winner: CHIVAS USA HOME KIT 2012-13 – CORONA
It’s simple, really. Banging kit, solid beer. For my money, it's the best combination of beer and cloth seen on a football pitch. If you disagree, I don't care. Fight me.