The final games of the group stages are well underway. Some groups already know the teams advancing to the knockout stages. This group, B, containing Spain, Portugal, Iran and Morocco, is a bit more open. Morocco are only playing for pride at this point, but a strong performance, coupled with a not-so-favourable result in the sister game in the group (Portugal vs Iran), could potentially knock Spain, a pre-tournament favourite, out of the competition.
Mandatory “Espiga” Facts
- Untappd Rating: 3.49 (at time of writing)
- Country of Origin: Spain
- Brewery: Cervesa Espiga
- ABV: 4.5%
- IBU: 25
- Style: Blonde Ale
- Serving: Bottle, 330ml
A teal coloured label coats this bottle. On the right side of the label I notice “sin gluten”, meaning “gluten free”. I’ve had mixed experiences with gluten-free beers, but I’m always happy to try a new one! The beer poured a light, slightly cloudy orange colour and produced a large head, within which you could see every single bubble! It slowly settled, thankfully, as initially it mushroomed high above the rim of the glass. It smelled light and fruity, making it really appealing. On sampling, the citrus notes came through, with a hint of melon at the back of the palate. It finished with a subtle bitterness, just enough to lift the tasting experience.
Rating: 3.25/5. “Espiga” is probably the best gluten-free beer I’ve sampled to date. Light, with some fruity notes and a touch of bitterness. A well-rounded beer happily enjoyed with the football and a curry!
Mandatory “Casablanca” Facts
- Untappd Rating: 3.06 (at time of writing)
- Country of Origin: Morocco
- Brewery: Société des Brasseries du Maroc
- ABV: 5%
- Style: Lager
- Serving: Bottle, 330ml
I was genuinely surprised that I managed to find a Moroccan beer! Brewed in Casablanca, Morocco’s primary port, the bottle is quite tall for 330ml, with a long, tapered neck. The beer poured a light, transparent-golden colour, with a modest white foam head. Bubbles migrated to the top of the glass continuously, which proved both mesmerising and slightly distracting! It had a typical “lager” smell and on sampling, had a light, malty flavour with a smooth mouthfeel.
*Apologies, the picture quality isn’t great*
Rating: 2.25/5. ‘Casablanca’ is an okay lager, but I feel that it is one-dimensional. Personally, I wouldn’t rush back.
Football: Spain manage to clinch a point in injury time to rise to the top of Group B. I couldn’t believe it! Not only did Spain do just enough to edge into the knockout stages, Espiga slightly edges Casablanca in this round, allowing the Spanish a double victory! I’m looking forward to sampling more of these Spanish beers as the tournament progresses.