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Friday, July 11, 2008

If that's what you buy, that's what you get

You know, I leave Portfolio and the beer coverage gets...well, you decide. Sports columnist Franz Lidz has a piece in his "The Windup" column today called Buy Me Some Peanuts and Flat Bland Beer, about "a beer-tasting tour of selected ballparks." The ballparks included Shea, Citizens, Camden Yards (do people really call it "Oriole Park"?), Wrigley, and Fenway, with a short mention of Dodger Stadium. most of you probably know, Citizens has one of the best beer selections in MLB, and, thanks to our illustrious Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell, one of the fairest pours. We can get a great selection of local brews, fresh and solid from the tap. Which is why I was baffled to read this:
Nearer to home in Philadelphia, I cajole my oldest daughter, Gogo, into joining an expedition to Citizens Bank Park. She agrees to go if I promise to buy her a soft pretzel.The pretzel is soft and salty and soggy, like it's been soaked in a bathtub overnight. At McNally's tavern at the end of Ashburn Alley in the outfield concourse I get a Rolling Rock, which is a formidable color Gogo calls "hot yellow." I wonder for a moment what they do with the bathwater after they've soaked the pretzels. We return to our seats, where I follow up with a Coors Light, a name I've always considered a redundancy.

Buddy, buddy,'s like you planned to fail. If you're going to go to America's Best Beer-Drinking City™, what the hell are you doing ordering up the same damned beer you can get at every other park in the league? Not even Ying-a-ling? What are you doing ordering Coors Light if you look down your nose at it? If you want to get beer like that, stay home and suffer through the Mets!

I've been to Citizens a number of times and I've always been able to find a solid craft beer pretty easily. You aren't going to get them from walk-by vendors, but the guy's obviously willing to go out of his way if he braved McNally's. So how come he comes to our town and gets Coors Light? Rolling Rock? Shoulda dug deeper into the story...which would have taken all of five minutes to walk to a Brewerytown stand, order a HopDevil, and take one friggin' hop-laced sip... Ah, me.

If Lidz wants to complain about the folks who go to the ballpark and get soused on expensive, mainstream beer, okay. He does a little of that at the beginning of the piece. If he wants to look into the constant rumor that beer at ballparks is watered down, okay: again, he does look into that (and finds that it's bullshit, what a surprise), but briefly. But if he was seriously looking at finding beer choice, variety, or character at ballparks...why didn't he look further than the end of his nose?


JessKidden said...

"If he wants to look into the constant rumor that beer at ballparks is watered down..."

Hey, Lew, that's another one of them "Beer Urban Legends" that I'd never heard before (in my 30+ years of studying the subject) the internet came along. Specifically, that Major League Baseball once *required* only 3.2 ABW beer to be sold at ball parks.

Just doesn't make sense to me, seeing at 3.2 beer is/was predominantly a mid-West/Southern phenomenon and back in the haydey of baseball, it was primarily a Northern & Eastern game into the mid-50's (St. Louis the most western and southern team). And the beers served were often still local/regional beers that would have no market in the 3.2 states for the most part.

Would Ballantine, f'r'instance (sold in Philly, Boston and NYC stadiums IIRC), really make a 3.2 beer *just* for the stadiums? Were regional brewers into high gravity brewing back then and watering down kegs for the major leagues (and PX's, IIRC)?

Steven said...

Man, perpetuating beer ignorance for whole new generation. What do we do with these people?

Old Stale & Spud at Wrigley? I could have led him to the Goose Island.

Nice comment to his article (at the Portfolio page) Lew, wonder if he'll reply..?

Lew Bryson said...

I agree, jess: I can't see breweries that don't normally make 3.2 making one for the ballpark. Who's checking? Makes a good story -- like saltpeter in the prep school food -- but that's about it.

Rich said...

I was just at Citizen's Bank park and the beer vendor closest to our seats was selling Yards, Sierra Nevada, Yuengling, and one other micro which I forget ATM. I thought it was pretty awesome for a ball park.

Anonymous said...

hold it this guy is looking for good beer but orders a coors light . he didnt ask if anything else was being sold in the park and he got paid for this article . cheers from mr12oz can