Rugby fans in the U.S. are often forced to order special channels and be up at strange hours if they are interested in catching a match on television. Many often are willing to spend the money to travel cross- country t see the rare match being played within the United States. Pretty soon it will not be nearly as difficult to do so.
Starting this September a new tournament will begin play in the Western hemisphere with competition to kickoff on September 7. This announcement on the latest move of the International Rugby Board’s Strategic Investment Programme came July 15.
Round robin style play will begin on September 7. The best four will meet in a semi-final match up October 10th with the finals taking place in Toronto on October 17th. In the process, the old North American 4 tournament will be tossed out in order for this new competition to take center stage.
A spotlight will be put on the high performance unions in North and South America with the United States, Argentina, and four provincial teams from Canada (Atlantic, Ontario, Prairies and British Columbia) being featured. The idea is to expose more local players of each team to high level, international competition.
Matches within the U.S. will not be a dime a dozen still. It is the hope of the International Rugby Board to expand the tournament in the near future.
With three countries being the center of attention for this tournament it seems only appropriate to recognize a beer from each country.
Quilmes is the most popular beer in Argentina accounting for over 80% of the total market in the country (along with being a sponsor of the national rugby team). Founded by German immigrant Otto Bemberg in 1888 in Buenos Aires it now is being produced in several countries including the United States, Italy, and the UK. To compare it to something most of us would be familiar with- it is the Budweiser of Argentina (take it for what it is).
Canada is known for its beer and has many tasty craft brews to choose from. When in Vancouver I would recommend picking up the India Pale Ale from the Fat Cat Brewery. This somewhat nutty, citrus tasting beer pours a nice, light amber color. The light carbonation definitely helps this brew go down easy, too.
In the United States there is a plethora of beer to choose from depending on what part of the country you are in. The other day I was enjoying a mushroom burger at Jimmy Buffet’s Cheeseburger in Paradise. They make their own brew there; a delicious concoction they call Paradise Beach Ale. According to legend, privateers created the recipe for it years ago from the many spices and grains they had pilfered throughout their voyages. Full bodied and smooth, this ale is refreshing and a joy to drink (the burger was pretty damned good too). Being a special creation of Cheeseburger in Paradise it is a great reason to go back and have another burger!