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Thursday, February 20, 2020

A beer nerd’s guide to baseball: Ranking every stadium by craft beer offerings

1. T-Mobile Park, Seattle
Top beer: 10
Average beer: 10
Accessibility: 10

The craft beer scene in Seattle is in full bloom, and its ballpark has followed suit. Pacific Northwest labels Fremont Brewing, Reuben’s Brews, Georgetown Brewing, Bale Breaker, Black Raven Brewing, Ecliptic Brewing, Ninkasi Brewing, and even the smaller pFriem Family Brewers all have beers available at the ballpark. There’s a $6 (!) can deal every year, and one year it was a hazy IPA from Georgetown Brewing called Bodhizafa. Practically every food vendor has a craft tap, and there are cans in the aisles.

And not only does this place run on craft beer, but it also has a stand behind home plate (section 129) that boasts hard-to-find cask, barrel-aged and specialty beers on a rotating basis. The list of rare beer releases at that stand last year was enough to excite even the most “hardcore of beer geeks” as Washington Beer Blog put it. Whether you want a cheap can of a crushable IPA, something hazy and local on tap, or something hard to find — you’re not far from it in Seattle, which is the crown jewel of craft beer in baseball.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 20, 2020 at 05:43 AM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: beer

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   1. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: February 20, 2020 at 11:24 AM (#5925562)
This is an opportunity to mention that the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is the only minor league ballpark with a brewery located inside the stadium. None of their beers are especially noteworthy; they're all firmly in the camp of beer-flavored beers, all designed to successfully compete with the likes of Budweiser and to be best enjoyed on a hot night at the ballpark, preferably alongside nachos or a hot dog. A major selling point is that they usually come in tall boys, rather than 12 oz cans. The light beer is the Plantonic ideal of the sort of light beer that one might imagine buying at a ballpark from a walking vendor, when you can't be sure if he has Bud Light, Miller Light, or Coors Light. It's 3.5% alcohol so you can safely settle in for nine innings of drinking. I love the stuff.
   2. mathesond Posted: February 20, 2020 at 11:43 AM (#5925569)
I am not at all surprised to see Toronto in last place on this list, and that's without factoring in the costs. At least there are plenty of places in walking distance of the SkyDome that can satisfy the urge for decent beer before/after a game, and while overpriced, are still around $3-4 cheaper than what you'd pay at the park.
   3. Spahn Insane Posted: February 20, 2020 at 11:43 AM (#5925570)
I suppose Louisville's Against the Grain Brewery is merely attached to Slugger Field as opposed to "inside it," but it makes some excellent, creative beers.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 20, 2020 at 11:46 AM (#5925572)
Not an Athletic subscriber, but I can't imagine Wrigley fares well at all in this ranking. A couple of decent Goose Islands are available from roaming vendors (but I think they're like $12 or more now), but if you want anything other than Goose or Bud Light-type sh*t, you have to go to the patio concourse at the top behind home plate. And even there the selection isn't wide - they have a couple more nice Goose options (Sofie is particularly satisfying on a hot day), but that's about it.
   5. Itchy Row Posted: February 20, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5925573)
The Wrigley entry apparently starts with "Just get an Old Style, really.”
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 20, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5925574)
Sounds about right. Except Old Style tastes pretty terrible.
   7. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 20, 2020 at 11:52 AM (#5925575)
Wrigley is #23 on the list.

Citi Field seems about right at #14, and their commentary is exactly what I would have said if you asked me what I thought before I read the article.
   8. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 20, 2020 at 11:53 AM (#5925576)
4--23rd. Get hit for accessibility of craft brews.

I don't drink beer but need to know it for social reasons and think Sarris leans west coast here. But Sarris readers are like Bernie Bros so no point trying to have a discussion as that bunch will ####### freak out.

Reasonable list. Don't agree across the board but that is what makes things fun. Actually think Miller Park kind of high but maybe rest of MLB really does have issues with providing quality in numbers. Hilarious that StL is 17th. King of Beers baby!
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 20, 2020 at 12:48 PM (#5925612)
Can someone who subscribes let me in on where PNC Park ranks?
   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 20, 2020 at 01:08 PM (#5925625)
PNC is #19. There's not a lot of differentiation between #s 15-23, though.
   11. Rusty Priske Posted: February 20, 2020 at 02:09 PM (#5925657)
I am kind of surprised that Toronto is last, but I realize that just because Canadian beer is better on average than American beer, that doesn't mean there isn't great American craft beer. It also doesn't mean there are good options at the Skydome.
   12. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: February 20, 2020 at 02:28 PM (#5925671)
Not an Athletic subscriber, but I can't imagine Wrigley fares well at all in this ranking. A couple of decent Goose Islands are available from roaming vendors (but I think they're like $12 or more now), but if you want anything other than Goose or Bud Light-type sh*t, you have to go to the patio concourse at the top behind home plate. And even there the selection isn't wide - they have a couple more nice Goose options (Sofie is particularly satisfying on a hot day), but that's about it.

Yep, but he doesn't even talk about Goose:

Sure, they added Bell’s Oberon in the bleachers, and some Revolution Brewing here and there, and it’s super sweet if you can find the 3 Floyds Zombie Dust (Section 132 most likely). The list supposedly says there’s Half Acre in there; I think I’ve seen it once, tucked away. All of the locations are on the first level, and most are by Gate D, or at least the locations you can get to without a special ticket.


Comiskey is 4th. It really is outstanding there - the food is also miles better than Wrigley.
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 20, 2020 at 02:35 PM (#5925679)
Huh. I've never seen Revolution, Half Acre or Zombie Dust there. Maybe Gumballhead in the patio deck area? I never sit in the bleachers, so I'm not surprised I had no idea about Oberon.
   14. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 20, 2020 at 02:58 PM (#5925688)
1. T-Mobile Park, Seattle
2. Petco Park, San Diego
3. Oracle Park, San Francisco
4. Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago
5. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
6. Progressive Field, Cleveland
7. Target Field, Minnesota
8. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
9. Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
10. Miller Park, Milwaukee
11. Comerica Park, Detroit
12. Minute Maid Park, Houston
13. Oakland Coliseum
14. Citi Field, New York
15. Truist Park, Atlanta
16. Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
17. Busch Stadium, St. Louis
18. Camden Yards, Baltimore
19. PNC Park, Pittsburgh
20. Citizen’s Bank Park, Philadelphia
21. Angel Stadium, Anaheim
22. Coors Field, Denver
23. Wrigley Field, Chicago
24. Chase Field, Phoenix
25. Fenway Park, Boston
26. Marlins Park, Miami
27. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
28. Yankee Stadium, New York
29. Rogers Centre, Toronto
   15. JAHV Posted: February 20, 2020 at 04:23 PM (#5925723)
For all the great beer in Orange County, Angel Stadium sure doesn't offer a lot of it. And the Orange County beer they do rep the most (Golden Road) is mediocre at best.
   16. Manny Coon Posted: February 20, 2020 at 04:41 PM (#5925724)
So on average parks named after juice have better beer than parks named after beer.
   17. RJ in TO Posted: February 20, 2020 at 04:49 PM (#5925726)
The last time I was at the Rogers Centre, it was basically a choice between macrobrews, or "craft" beers from the craft labels of those same macrobrews, which was fine enough for watching a game. Pricing was generally only a buck or two more than picking up the same beer at one of the restaurants or bars nearby the park, so it wasn't like it was hugely marked up - about $10 for a 473 ml can (including tax), when most places within walking distance of the park would charge about $8 a pint, plus tax.

As for craft brewers, there are a ton withing Toronto now, who would make nice options for the park, but I'm not sure how many of them would brew in large enough quantities to be able to keep the Rogers Centre properly supplied. Bellwoods, as an example, is great, and only perhaps a 10 minute drive from the Dome, but there's no way they could supply enough. You'd probably have to look for something like Nickel Brook, Collective Arts, Flying Monkeys, Muskoka, or Great Lakes, and only one of those are from within Toronto's borders. I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting too, who could manage the supply, but they're a relatively small percentage.
   18. Itchy Row Posted: February 20, 2020 at 04:52 PM (#5925727)
Parks named after teams have really good or really bad teams but generally shitty beer.
   19. NattyBoh Posted: February 20, 2020 at 05:54 PM (#5925740)
So on average parks named after juice have better beer than parks named after beer.


They should have New England IPA's.
   20. Dillon Gee Escape Plan Posted: February 20, 2020 at 09:35 PM (#5925761)
12 - They also had 3 Floyds Gumballhead. I think they had Pony and Daisy Cutter as their Half Acre offerings and maybe some Bell's?
   21. Walt Davis Posted: February 20, 2020 at 11:14 PM (#5925775)
Bell’s Oberon

[Pat Hughes] Excuse me that is Bell the Official Craft Brewery of Cubs Radio to you bub [/Pat Hughes]
   22. SandyRiver Posted: February 21, 2020 at 11:42 AM (#5925857)
Given the plethora of craft breweries from Providence to Portland, I'm surprised at Fenway's low ranking. (Or should I be surprised that the Red Sox don't make many of those available?)
   23. Due to the leadership of Zonk... Posted: February 21, 2020 at 11:59 AM (#5925863)
Huh. I've never seen Revolution, Half Acre or Zombie Dust there. Maybe Gumballhead in the patio deck area? I never sit in the bleachers, so I'm not surprised I had no idea about Oberon.


There's a stand in the bleachers and some very select and hidden stands elsewhere, but yeah - Wrigley's low ranking is fair. Accessibility is terrible.

Usually, I just overpay for a Goose Island - which is perfectly cromulent and at least as available as Old Style... To do otherwise generally isn't worth the hassle and the stroll... and the more varied menu locations are almost NEVER close to any particular seating configuration - probably by design, they seem to always place the bigger variety stands away from seating areas and the ramps directly leading to seats.

That said, while I agree Comiskey is better - I'm not sure I'd say accessibility is that much better.... you're still trekking to specific locations to get to the good stuff. Vendors are more varied though, but I'm not so sure that isn't just luck of the draw - I've got a far smaller number of south side visits to judge from...
   24. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:16 PM (#5925874)
I'm not sure I'd say accessibility is that much better.

Totally disagree. There's stuff everywhere - not everything is in every stand/vendor, but you're never far from something no matter where you are there. Plus, being able to walk all the way around the park, unlike Wrigley, makes a huge difference.
   25. Due to the leadership of Zonk... Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:25 PM (#5925879)
Totally disagree. There's stuff everywhere - not everything is in every stand/vendor, but you're never far from something no matter where you are there. Plus, being able to walk all the way around the park, unlike Wrigley, makes a huge difference.


Fair enough - my experiences were right next to one of the "Kaves", so figured I was just lucky... or rather, special :-(
   26. NattyBoh Posted: February 21, 2020 at 01:10 PM (#5925898)
Given the plethora of craft breweries from Providence to Portland, I'm surprised at Fenway's low ranking. (Or should I be surprised that the Red Sox don't make many of those available?)


Fenway is ABInBev heavy. It's a pain to purchase anything else. IIRC they started selling Sam Adams only a couple of years ago; it's the iconic New England craft brand in the minds of most people. When I go see a concert I'm usually so PO'ed at what they offer on the floor that I won't buy any beer at all.
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 21, 2020 at 02:56 PM (#5925923)
Usually, I just overpay for a Goose Island - which is perfectly cromulent and at least as available as Old Style... To do otherwise generally isn't worth the hassle and the stroll
Likewise. I associate the taste of Goose IPA with good times at Wrigley, which is nice.

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