Local Pub Serves as HQ for American World Cup Soccer - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Local Pub Serves as HQ for American World Cup Soccer

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The American craze surrounding the World Cup comes to a climax tomorrow when the U.S. men's national team takes on Germany in its final game in the Group of Death. Some of the most passionate fans around will be watching that game from a local pub, right here in the Hub City.

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A restaurant by day and a bar by night, the Keg & Barrel of Hattiesburg, Miss. is a local favorite for food and beverage.
But for one month every four years, this pub is the Pine Belt headquarters of the American soccer faithful.

"[The] World Cup is gaining a lot of steam all over the country, especially here at the Keg & Barrel - kind of home base for soccer here in Hattiesburg," says Southern Prohibition Head Brewer Benjamin Green.

"The really passionate fans come here," says Keg & Barrel owner John Neal. "It's definitely not the time to bring grandma up to the pub."

It may not be the scene for the faint of heart, making it the perfect place for those with plenty of heart.

Chants of U-S-A fill the air before the games even start, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for fans willing to dress the part.
"It's an amazing atmosphere," says American Outlaws Hattiesburg Chapter founder Justin Schmidt. "It's hard to describe unless you're here.

"If you come here you're everybody's friend and that's what's cool," says American Outlaws member Drew Wooton. "It's like real life Cheers, basically."

What helps make the Keg the perfect wingman to World Cup soccer is a local group of more than 40 super fans known as the American Outlaws.

On a national level they are the ones responsible for making everyone's favorite 'I Believe That We Will Win' chant a household rallying cry, and now locally they have set up shop right here on Hardy Street.
"I'm actually a founding member" says Wooton. "Justin Schmidt put it all together."

"I found out that my friend Justin Schmidt wanted to start a chapter here in Hattiesburg, and once I found out I was fully on board," says American Outlaws member Jaime Massengale. "I was very gung ho about that."

"Fandom starts locally and I think the more local fans you have the bigger it gets on a national scale, and that's why we're here to support the United States soccer team," says Schmidt.

Of course, the American Outlaws could not create the ultimate fan experience without a little assistance.

Beer is the key ingredient to every rowdy gathering, and the Keg just so happens to sell a limited edition World Cup brew.
It is a summer wheat ale brewed by Southern Prohibition known as the Group of Death.

"Whenever I found out we were going to be in the Group of Death I thought to myself, 'this is a great name for a beer'," says Green.

"It's really good," says Schmidt. "It's a little bit 'wheaty' - it's got some hops to it but not over-hoppy. I think it's a beer everyone can enjoy."

Craft beer drinkers are traditionally soccer fans also, so it works out really well for us," says Neal. "People - when they think of craft beer they think of the Keg & Barrel, and that goes hand-in-hand with soccer, too."

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The Keg & Barrel will be serving a full breakfast spread from 8-10 a.m. on Thursday in preparation for the 11 o'clock World Cup game between the U.S. and Germany.

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To find the remaining schedule of World Cup games, click here:  http://www.mlssoccer.com/worldcup/2014/schedule
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