Dueling Brews: Another Beer Idea For Citi Field

Terrapin Brewery TapBrooklyn Brewery TapThis is an idea I’ve been bouncing around for a while, and then The Crazy Mets Fan made a comment on Twitter to Matt Cerrone that he should get a pub in Citi Field called Cerrone’s with some nice IPAs.  I chimed in (and you can follow me on Twitter here) that they should do dueling brews.

 

This started as a thought about a variable beer menu at Citi Field.  The best beer bars are not the ones with a good selection, but the ones with a rotating selection of seasonal and small release beers.  The idea was solidified while following the Giants Super Bowl run this year.   Brooklyn Brewery in New York and Anchor Steam in San Francisco made a wager on the NFC Championship game that the team’s brewery that lost would serve the beers of the other brewery.  Brooklyn beers flowed in San Francisco, and it was wonderful.

 

So why not do the same thing at Citi Field?  We know which teams are coming in for each homestand.  Why not have two rotating taps, one serving beers local to New York (minus the Bronx) and one serving beers from the city of the away team.  These two taps would ‘duel’ until one was empty, becoming the winner.  I’m not quite sure what the beer would win besides an announcement that it’d won, but it’d be a fun way to introduce Mets fans to the brews of their enemy and provide the beer-loving masses, who’s size is underestimated, with some nice beer to drink while watching baseball.

 

The first homestand features the Braves and the Nationals.  I don’t know what the availability and distribution rules are for acquiring beer from far away places, but Terrapin is an Atlanta brewery that you can find in New York, so it’d be a good choice.  Washington DC is a little tougher, and perhaps the toughest baseball city.  Baltimore has some options, but that’s a different team.  Shenandoah Brewing bills itself as Washington DC’s only brewery, but as far as I know they don’t distribute to New York.   Flying Dog is nearby, but it’s based in Maryland and equidistant to Baltimore.  On the other hand, AL is junior league baseball and it doesn’t really count.

 

I think this would be a cool idea.  Citi Field needs more distinctive beers outside of the Anheuser Busch distribution agreement and why not tie it to what’s going on on the field?  That’s why we all go there after all.

The Bisons Beer Dinner, Mets Beer Competitions?

Prost!The Buffalo Bisons are having a Beer vs. Wine II dinner Thursday at Coca-Cola Field.  It’s a rematch of a dinner they had last November.

 

This is a pretty cool idea and a great use of the park during the offseason.  $60 gets you a 5-course meal and a wine and beer pairing with each.  Your vote decides which paired better, and the votes are tallied at the end for a winner.  Of course beer won the first dinner.

 

I’m not going to whine (haha, get it?) about the Mets not doing something similar at Citi Field, although I do think it’d be a fun idea.  I’m not that unreasonable that I demand all my interests to align in one centrally located area within Flushing.

 

Except this isn’t really that much different than an event the Mets already have.  Oktoberfest!  The Mets already have a plan in place for food and drink events, so why not host a couple more?  I’d make a point to go to a “Summer Beerfest” event before a Mets game.   The competition angle is one way to go too.  When the Padres visit in town, pour five Stone Brewery beers on one side, and five Brooklyn Brewery beers on the other. Ask fans to rank their top three beers and then announce the winner during the 5th inning, which would double as a great way to advertise the next competitive beer tasting event.

More on Citi Field’s Uninspiring Beer List

Citi Field is a first-class venue.  It’s got amazing food, and much of it is local.  The Citi Field beer list is extensive, but it’s also uninspiring.  Beer and baseball go together so well yet most of the beers available, particularly to the general public, at Citi Field are only the typical expanded list of beers available via Anheuser Busch distribution. Some of these beers are pretty good, but it lacks that local flair and originality.  I’m not knocking the Redhook beers; but it seems sloppy to get them through Anheuser Busch when the brewery itself is only a handful of miles away. Even though they’re all over the place now, the Danny Meyer stands are New York creations.  Cascarino’s is a New York pizza place.  Pastrami on rye is a very New York food, and Keith’s burgers are especially homey.  Even McFaddens was first a New York staple.

 

So why was Brooklyn Brewery priced out?  Why aren’t there more Sixpoint beers around the stadium, especially now that they serve the beer in cans? What about some of the other local breweries?  Chelsea? What about Schmaltz Brewing Company which makes the Coney Island Freak line of beer. Interestingly, the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets rookie team, plays in Coney Island.  Maybe the Mets could serve Albino Python when the Diamonbacks are in town, or the Mermaid Pilsener to mock the Marlin’s cheerleaders.  What about Harlem Brewing Company’s Sugar Hill Golden Ale?  Harlem is where the Mets first placed, and where the Giants played before them.  Blue Point Brewery is probably the only real local beer outside of the Delta Club.  Their Blue Point Toasted Lager is available at Catch of the Day, but they’ve got other beers as well.

 

This all says nothing of the possibility of finding a partner to brew Mets themed beers.   Brooklyn Brewery has an expanded brewery now, and when they provided beer to Box Frites, it was their own beer called Blanche De Brooklyn that they renamed Blanche we Queens.  Why stop there?  What about a Home Run Apple Lager?  A World’s Fair Oktoberfest?  A Darryl Strawberry Blonde? The possibilities are endless. Maybe Schmaltz would be intrigued by the opportunity to create a Brooklyn Cyclones Ale for MCU Park and Citi Field.

 

I think the Mets, and Aramark, may underestimate just how many Mets fans are huge beer fans as well.  It’s not just the hardcore fan either.  There are plenty of casual baseball fans out there that could be drawn off the fence and into the park if they were tempted to try a unique beer.

 

Stay tuned, later this week I’m going to talk about what some of the other stadiums around baseball are doing with beer.

Other Citi Field Changes?

Last spring we were faced with the shocking news that Brooklyn Brewery beers would no longer be available at the Shake Shack stands out in center field.  Every season at most stadiums things change from season to season.  Usually they’re small things; advertisers change, menus get tweaked, music changes and mid-inning contests are different.  Maybe there’s a new dunk tank, a home run apple, or a new banner or piece of memorabilia celebrating the home team.

 

This season the Mets are making major structural changes to the dimensions and height of the wall.  This won’t have any real affect on the win-loss record, but it’ll probably create more home runs for fans.  At least it’ll create a different seating area that should be interesting.


So what smaller changes can we expect at Citi Field this summer?  The easy one is that Keith’s burger stand will probably become a permanent fixture somewhere and we’ll get some new test product in that space.   Citi Field has an extensive beer list, but what it lacks is local community beers.  While on a Citi Field food tour last season, I was told that some of the concessions were chosen because of their local affiliate.  Cascarino’s is so close that if you called them up and gave them Citi Field’s address, it’d fall within the delivery zone.   Hopefully they’ll take this into account when looking at the beer available next year.  The only local beer outside of the Delta Club was Blue Point’s Toasted Lager at Catch of the Day.  Great beer, but not enough.  Nor is the couple of places you can get Brooklyn Lager.  It doesn’t have to be the perfectly paired beer for Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, or El Verano Taqueria even though it should be.  A handful of craft beer booths around the stadium would work just as well.  Plenty of people in New York love their craft beer and want to drink something more than Budweiser at a baseball game even if Anheuser-Busch is going to brand the cans with a Mets logo this year.

 

Ommegang is a New York brewery from Cooperstown.  There should be a tap of beer from there in every stadium across the country in my opinion.  There’s already some in the Delta Club, so why not make it available to all?   I bet it’d be possible to get Brooklyn Brewery, or a different local brewery, to contract-brew specific beers for the Mets.  How cool would it be to be able to get a Tom Seaver Ale, a World’s Fair Unisphere Rye, or a Home Run Apple Cider?

What Beer Were the Red Sox Drinking?

Doesn’t it depend on what beer they were drinking in the Red Sox clubhouse as to how big a sin it was?  Why has no one asked this very important question?

First off, if it was something that said Busch, Miller, or Coors on it, that’s just wrong.  It’s like rooting for the Cardinals, Brewers, or Rockies.  The same goes for Blue Moon, which is part of Coors and there is a Blue Moon Brewery attached to Coors Field. 

Even worse would be if they were drinking a Bronx Pale Ale from the Bronx Brewery.

For the Wilpon conspiracists: If they were drinking a Brooklyn Brewery Pennant Ale ’55, Fred wants to trade for Lester.  Pennants aren’t won in September either. 

Perhaps the best beer they could’ve been drinking was a local microbrew: Wachusett Green Monsta IPA.  Although it says it has a homerun of hops in every sip, so perhaps that’s more of a David Ortiz beer.

Presumably anything from Sam Adams would be appropriately Boston, except Oktoberfest.  If they were drinking an Oktoberfest that’s ridiculously presumptious when they hadn’t even made the playoffs yet.

What beer do you think they were drinking?

New York Mets Oktoberfest

The Mets are having their annual Oktoberfest on September 23rd. It looks like decent fun, although I’d pass on the lederhosen.  If you pay attention at all, I’m almost as big a beer fan as I am a Mets fan, so things like this are right up my alley.

 

The Mets Oktoberfest is pretty good.  The food menu features Wiener Scnitzel, Beer Braised Bratwurst & Onions, German Style Fried Potatoes, German Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Soft Pretzels and a delicious Cookie Platter for dessert.  Of course, it doesn’t list the beer menu.   It’d be a shame if it was just the normal stuff off the Citi Field Beer List.  There needs to be at least a couple of Oktoberfests there, and a local variety like Brooklyn Brewery’s would be a great place to start.  Unfortunately, I’m busy next Friday and will be unable to go.  If someone is going and doesn’t mind reporting back to me, send me an email at ceetar@ceetar.com.

 

The price for the Oktoberfest party at Citi Field is $54 to sit in the Big Apple Reserved and get a free ticket lanyard.  I’m not going to quibble too much about something that includes free beer, but that’s $12 more than the Big Apple Reserved seating is for Premium games.   Normally, group sales get a discount on pricing.  The Social Media night the Mets held was $41 for the same seats, and including $18 of food and beverage credit.

 

I think the Mets could make more of this event.  This is New York, and as Sandy Alderson said about our farm systemeverything should be top of the line, not middle of the pack.   One example to follow might be the Houston Astros Oktoberfest.  The Astros event is two hours prior to the game, whereas the Mets event starts an hour early and goes until the 7th inning and conflicts with the game.   It’s a full-fledged party with polka music, folk dancers, and your own Astros beer stein!  Included are 12 2oz pours of 12 different beers available; many of them Oktoberfests and pumpkin ales.

 

The Astros event is separate from the game, so they allow you to buy a ticket to any section.  Obviously tickets in Houston are much much cheaper than tickets in New York, but they even discount them for you by about 40%.  They do tack on another $20 for the Oktoberfest package, but that’s still a great deal considering it’s an admission to a two hour party and you get at least a pint and a half of beer, and your own stein.  You could get all this, AND a baseball game, for as little as $27.

 

I’d love if the Mets followed the Astros example in 2012.  I know the Bullpen Plaza isn’t big enough for a full on party, but there are other options.  They could close off the Caesar’s Club for one day before the game, or block off a suitably sized section of the parking lot.   Another option would be to have a Mets Oktoberfest away game viewing party.  Have the event when the Mets are on the road.  The Caesar’s Club certainly has enough televisions to  tune to SNY.   I already own a Mets beer stein purchased the conventional way, but if a 2012 design was created, I’d certainly buy another one.

The Citi Field Beer List

This is late in coming, but just in time for the latest and longest homestand of the year.    Here is a list of every beer available in Citi Field. I count 60 distinct beers right now, although I suspect I may have a mistake or two that you can certainly help me out with.   Snap a picture or let me know if you see a beer somewhere that I have not properly cataloged here.

 

Obviously It’s sad that the Brooklyn Brewery drafts are no longer available at Citi Field, but recently Sixpoint brewery started canning their beers, and I can only hope those beers find their way to Citi Field in the near future.

The Citi Field Beer List

Eating With Bloggers: A Citi Field Food Tour

Monday night I, and many of your other favorite bloggers, was invited out to Citi Field for a Mets game, and a pre-game tour of Mets concessions and clubs with Scott Kleckner, Resident District Manager, Sports & Entertainment for Aramark.  It did not disappoint.  We ate.  A lot.

 

Obviously the Keith’s Burger that I wrote about earlier in the season was included.  We learned that it’s doing very well, and will likely become a permanent fixture in the future much like the Pastrami sandwich (which we also sampled) was tested last year.   I love that the Mets and Aramark are trying out new things and never satisfied with the status quo.  At Shea the most exciting change you could look forward to was if they changed burger suppliers.

 

Here’s a shot of the bloggers enjoying a slice of Margherita style pizza at Cascarino’s.

Cascarino’s was chosen in part because it’s local.  It’s right there on College Point Blvd and so local that if you could get pizza delivered to Citi Field, Cascarino’s is close enough to do so.

 

Speaking of local fare, I brought up the departed Brooklyn Brewery beers.  Without getting anything explicitly confirmed, it was made pretty clear that Budweiser can exert a ton of pressure financially over what beers are available.  It was also suggested that Brooklyn Brewery may not be gone forever. (besides the cans of lager that remain) Right now the only true local beer available to the masses is Blue Point Toasted Lager at Catch of the Day.  There’s also a tap of Sixpoint Sweet Action (and some Ommegang. Honestly, given it’s Cooperstown affiliation, EVERY ballpark should have some of it) in the Delta Sky Club, but that’s obviously a limited access area.

 

Perhaps the best thing we ate all night: An eggplant parmigiana sandwich.  It was delicious: perfectly breaded with tasty sauce and excellent bread.  I highly recommend it if you have a chance to be in the Delta Sky Club, or if they end up offering it elsewhere.

 

We also sampled the new fried chicken sandwich from Blue Smoke, which was my second favorite taste of the day.  I’m not a big seafood eater, so I passed on the Po’Boy and Flounder at Catch of the Day, but everyone else liked it.  I did have a handful of popcorn shrimp, which were definitely tasty but I’ll second Rob Castellano of Amazin’ Avenue in wishing there was some dipping sauces with them.  The final thing we tasted was a new appetizer in the Delta Sky Club.  It was some hot dog bites, basically a small hot dog dipped in panko breading.  It was good, but nothing to really write home about.

 

Check out some of these other write ups while you’re at it, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

http://www.ontheblack.com/2011/05/17/video-diary-citi-field-food-beverage-operations/

http://www.amazinavenue.com/2011/5/17/2174894/citi-field-food-mets-eat

http://www.kranepoolsociety.com/2011/05/17/a-great-night-of-food-tasting-at-citi-field-and-a-seat-in-the-press-box-for-desert/

The Mets and Brooklyn Brewery

I may be channeling Mets Police a bit here, but there has been a depressing change at Citi Field this year that I want to take note of.

The Mets, at the four specialty food stands in center field, no longer serve Brooklyn Brewery beers on tap.  When I mused earlier last week that the Citi Field may have one of the best beer selections in the majors, it was off the premise that those four beers were on par with any other beer anywhere else. Without them, The Mets aren’t even in the conversation.
After much discussion and inquiry on Twitter this weekend with other beer and Mets fans, the folks at Brooklyn Brewery clarified:

BrooklynBrewery:
@Ceetar The Mets asked for more than we could afford to remain in play at D. Meyer’s stands. Previously the rates were very fair. 2good2BTru”

The last bit hits it on the head. Two good to be true.  The Mets, as a business, realized that they had a hot commodity and raised the prices beyond what a small business like Brooklyn Brewery could afford.  It makes sense; Those stands are in high demand, and are you really going to wait on another line for beer when you’ve got a tap right there?  Craft beer is making great strides, but most people still aren’t that particular and don’t really care if there’s a specialty crafted beer that matches the cusine they just bought.

 

note: Good Food Stories found the same thing.  Here’s their write up of Citi Field’s food this year, complete with pictures.

 

There is still a demand for good beer at Citi Field. This isn’t a knock on what’s available at Beer Island, or the couple of good taps they have around the stadium.  Goose Island Summer is on tap, which is good. Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat is not bad.  Blue Point, at Catch of the Day, has their toasted lager available and is a brewery local to Long Island.   You can still get Brooklyn Lager in cans.

Nevermind about the pairing of the beers with the food at Danny Meyer’s stands; Plenty of Mets fans would be content with just being able to buy the beer at a separate stand, even buried in the Promenade somewhere.  I often lamented that if I wanted to get a Shackmeister Ale I had to wait on the long line, even if I didn’t want food.

Other stadiums do this.  Citizen’s Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia has a great amount of local varieties of beer available.  I don’t think they’re any bigger than Brooklyn Brewery, although I’m sure the overhead and rent in Brooklyn is significantly higher.  I haven’t been there yet this year, but the Phillies served at least these seven local beers in past years.

– Flying Fish Pale Ale Draft
– Sly Fox Pikeland Pilsner Draft
– Troegs Sunshine Pilsner Draft
– Yards Tavern Ale Draft
– Pennsylvania Lager BTL
– Victory Hop Devil Ale BTL
– Victory Hop Devil Ale Draft & Victory Prima Pilsner Draft
I’ve maintained that while it’s more expensive, I don’t think Citi Field has priced out it’s fans just yet.  There are still affordable ways to get to the games, even with families, even if they’re harder.  However, I’m wondering if we’re going the way of creating a place that only corporations can afford at the expense of the local flair that we all know and love.  I miss the days of the National League team flags on the walls instead of advertisements.  I understand the necessity of it, but it saddens me that we can’t also find a way to accomodate the local venders that make New York so great.  We’ve got a rotunda honoring a great baseball player and historical figure, but the beer representing the pennant he won isn’t, to my knowledge, sold in the ballpark.