Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Take Me Out

Over the past three weeks I've been to three professional baseball games. From the highest level—the Major League New York Mets—to the lowest level—our local, single-A team the Tri-city Valley Cats—with Myrtle Beach's ball team, the Pelicans, thrown in for good measure. All three ballparks had some really great beer on hand, as well. At CitiField in New York I drank Brooklyn and Sixpoint, in South Carolina it was New South and Foothills, and up here, Troy, New York's own Brown's Brewing Company.

Baseball and beer, as I think any fan will attest, go together like peas and carrots. Most of the time it's great—like New South growing hops at the the Pelican's ball park. Other times it's not so great—like the riots that broke out, in large part, due to the decision sell 10 cent beer at a June, 1974 Cleveland Indians game. Generally though, and in my recent experience, baseball and beer have had a fairly jovial relationship.

With all my recent exposure to baseball, I was going to ask, "what's the best baseball beer?" but, in thinking about that question I realized it's not about the style of beer, it's more about where the beer is from. For me, the best baseball beer is local beer. There's a comradery—a relate-ability—that both baseball and beer share. Baseball in the United States is, and always has been, a local experience—especially minor league baseball. Beer isn't that far off. Well before the era of craft beer, regional breweries in the U.S. cultivated loyal drinkers. At one point during the mid-20th century, almost every town across the country, had a regional brewery—or one close enough by, that could be adopted—not unlike baseball teams, both minor and major, that dotted the same map. Every town had its team, and every town had its beer. While many of those regional breweries—and ball teams for that matter—have gone the way of the dodo, baseball and it's connection to beer still thrives. As long as kids keep having a catch in the backyard, and as long a breweries keep making great, local beer, there will always be beer and baseball.

On a personal note, a warm summer evening at the ball park—with the kids and Amy—hotdogs, peanuts and a 16 ounce plastic cup of Valley Cat Ale, is about as perfect a time, as could be spent.

Play ball. 


  1. Did you try the Brown's Ironside IPA? I had it at the Shmaltz opening and it was great. From what I understand, they're only selling it at Valley Cats games.

  2. I had a taste.... VERY grapefruit-y, but not in a bad way. I think some of the proceeds from it go to ALS research.