Major League Beer
One of life's enduring American traditions is watching a baseball game with a cold beer. I remember when beer vendors roamed the stands (not sure if that's allowed anywhere anymore). But looking back, the beers were invariably watery and not very tasty. What they offered was carbonation and hopefully a cold refreshing drink. Since then, a lot of ballparks have gotten pretty chi-chi, with sausage races and loud music between innings to try to appeal to the casual fan (personally I'd rather just watch the game). Meanwhile, beer prices seem to have gone way up, but not necessarily better. At AT&T Park, a few decent beers are available, such as speakeasy, but they are $8.75 a bottle. I was curious what your experiences are in your local ballparks or parks you've visited, either major leagues or minor. How's the beer in your parks, what's your favorite, how expensive are they? I'd like to see more craft brews in the parks, how about you?
The new Nationals Stadium has actually made a concerted effort to have at least some variety in its beer offerings. The trouble is that I think they went into it not knowing exactly what they were doing because their solution to the craft brew demands of some of their fans was to have ONE location (The Red Porch) that had some fairly extreme beers for a baseball stadium. Clearly they wanted to have a presence at the park that would satisfy the micro geek niche because someone heard it was up and coming and Im sure they got enough requests during the first season. So someone clearly asked someone in the industry or in the know what beers the beer heads really thought were good. Well whoever they asked this question to took it literally and this kind of approach resulted in the Nationals opening the season with, among others, Kalamazoo Stout on tap along side Arrogant Bastard and 90 Minute IPA at the same price as a Bud Light! Good grief… At a baseball stadium?! Awfully impressive at first blush but when you think about it do you really want a big plastic up of Arrogant Bastard when you are sitting in the bleacher seats in the middle of July? Im thinking Pilsner… Of course… But I will CERTAINLY not complain about this overreach. Way to go! Oh and they offered Oberon by the bottle as well which was nice. But this was all on opening day. By late June the Oberon, the Arrogant Bastard and the 90 Minute were gone and replaced with 60 Minute and a UFO wheat which is certainly fine. And you can often find a Gordon Biersch bottle here or there throughout the stadium. So I will not complain about Nationals Park but I think the best park for beer is in Philly:
I went to my first Phillies game this summer, and I was pleasantly surprised by both the food and beer prices at Citizens Bank Park. There were probably at least eight or ten different microbrews at carts all around the park for $6.75. I had a Victory Prima Pils and a Flying Fish pale ale.
re: Insidious Rex
I agree that Philly has the best craft beer selection of the parks I have been in; and it hurts me to say it since I am a Met fan.
Citifield has a decent selection of bottles in the food court in centerfield and the various lines in the food court out there also have specialty beers made by the Brooklyn Brewery and there is Bluepoint Toasted Lager on tap at the seafoood stand. If you are in the more expensive seats, you can also get Brooklyn Lager, Stone IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and some other craft brews but like I said, these expensive seats are exclusive and you need a ticket to get into them. The selection is good for a ballgame, but not great, but it is alot better than Shea Stadium!
I remember 25¢ Matts Premium during Fan Appreciate Night when the Elmira Pioneers played the Utica Blue Socks.
The hubby and I got free tickets to a mets game last week and got to tour the new citi field. I was actually impressed with the selection they had going behind center field. I enjoyed some nice goose island IPA’s, a Leffe and a 312. For 7.50 a bit expensive for a bottle of beer but I still enjoyed the choice.
So I have a project trying to see every major league park a couple a year. There aren't very many I've been to that don't have some form of "better" beer available.
$8-9 seems to be the norm on a draught 16 oz. premium or bottled micro. Don't know if they still do it but Kauffman in KC had guys with 5 gal. kegs of Boulevard on packpack things roaming the stands in the early 90's. The Big Phone (S.F.) and Petco stand out in my memory of having good local beer available.
Among the worst, Dodger ($8 Corona bottle (obscene) and $9 Gorden Biersch (price/quality ratio way off), New Busch field (obvious reasons) Toronto (I think it was 100% MGD and Miller Lite) and Tropicana.
I think $7 for a Stone IPA 12 oz at Petco is about the best I've seen from a quality to price ratio.
With few exceptions I think I've found a specialty bottle stand at most parks. The ones that feature local offerings I'm willing to let the price slide. But I remember going to Anaheim in the mid 90's and seeing Bass, Guinness, Corona, Heineken for $8 each. To me, that's not even worth considering.
Some of these parks have probably changed since I started in 1990.
For those unhappy about those craft beer prices, come to Fenway Park and enjoy our $7.50 Bud Light cans poured into plastic cups.