Yesterday the Mets released some of the new beers that will be available at Citi Field this year, and tweeted this picture.
These are nine beers from New York breweries of various quality, and luckily, various styles. They’ll be available at two Empire State Beer Stands; one on the field level near section 132 and the LF exit, and one in the Promenade food court. First, let me talk about what I like about this.
Nine new beers is great, provided this is in addition to and not a replacement to beers that were already present like Sixpoint Bengali Tiger and Sweet Action. I’ve had some of these and enjoyed them, and am excited to try others. I’m glad to finally see a dark beer, even if a black IPA isn’t quite a porter or stout, as well as some very drinkable IPAs. I love that there is a Kölsch in the mix because it’s a great summer style for drinking in hot weather. These nine beers added to the list will definitely make it so I actually have to consider what beer to get at Citi Field.
It’s not perfect though. I’m not thrilled with the Anheuser Busch-InBev connection to baseball in all stadiums and how they dominate the market, but their ownership of Goose Island now Blue Point Brewing Company is a great way to get those quality beers to my glass. I really like Toxic Sludge and the already present Toasted Lager. Ommegang is brewed in Cooperstown, making it a brewery that really should be a staple at every ballpark. I won’t go into the contract brewing debate here, which for now encompasses Queens Brewery and Original Sin, but it is something to think about.
My concern is what is, and what might be, missing. I’ll be sad if Sixpoint was displaced as Bengali Tiger is better than any of these beers, and the announced location of the Empire Beer Stand is also the location of last year’s Craft Beer Dugout where Sixpoint was served. The list is also missing a couple of notable New York breweries, though I”m sure there are business reasons for some of it. It’s not easy to negotiate things like this and I admittedly have no idea what goes into it. The decision to stick to bottles and cans bothers me a little, because there are some great breweries that are draft only. Singlecut Beersmiths, brewed in Astoria, is one of those although they’ve recently started canning. As is Greenpoint Brewing Company. There’s also Ithaca Brewing Company, Saranac Brewing Company and many more.
I’m not going to stop campaigning for a true stout or porter, and I’d like to add Saison as a style that’d be perfect for a baseball park. Still, I’m quite excited to get to Opening Day on Monday and explore and try some of these new beers. Below is a table compiled via BeerGraphs’ leaderboards detailing the nine new beers and their Beer Above Replacement values. None of these are world beaters by any stretch, but their is some quality there.
|Southern Tier Brewing Company||IPA||American IPA||2.075|
|Brewery Ommegang||Ommegang Witte||Witbier||3.258|
|The Bronx Brewery||Bronx Pale Ale||American Pale Ale||1.806|
|Blue Point Brewing Company||Toxic Sludge||Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale||-0.232|
|Original Sin||Original Sin Hard Cider||Cider||-0.364|
|Blue Point Brewing Company||White IPA||American IPA||-1.088|
|Captain Lawrence Brewing Company||Captain’s Kölsch||Kölsch||1.138|
|Queens Brewery||Lager||American Amber / Red Lager||-0.320|
|Coney Island Brewing Company||Seas the Day||Imperial / Double Pilsner|
I’ve been lazy in posting about..well, about much of anything lately, but there have been some interesting developments on the Mets front regarding beer, and the beer available to us in 2014 when we go to a Mets game.
First off, about two months ago I had a chance to ask the Mets new VP Lou DePaoli, the one involved with tickets, marketing, and sponsorships, a question. I asked him about beer events like Oktoberfest, and about craft beer in general. The response was very enlightening.
He didn’t expect to see anything much more in depth than what we saw at Oktoberfest last year. Events, for better or worse, are not likely to become all out affairs. No 30 beer tastings type events, at least not by the Mets. An independent could probably organize it as a group outing fairly easily. That segued into a response about the beer in general, and DePaoli’s response suggested he understands what craft beer is all about. He also dropped a “Big Beer” reference too about the selection and availability, which only adds fuel to the fire about AB InBev doing sneaky things to push craft beer out.
However, the good news is DePaoli also referenced something he did in other cities before this, such as Pittsburgh, called beer passports. The funny thing is the way it’s described in Pittsburgh is precisely what he seemed to imply we wouldn’t be getting with Oktoberfest type events.
“BEER SAMPLING of great local craft beers for 90 minutes in Club 3000 starting when the gates open (5:35 p.m.) and concluding at the start of the game”
So yeah, that’d be great. The Pirates featured at least Tröegs, a great local brewery, and Bells, a great brewery in general, at one of their events, and something similar at Citi Field would be awesome. Another year mentions Erie Brewing, Flying Dog, Church Beer Works, Victory, Tröegs and East End. They’ve been doing this since at least 2009, and frequently they’d have beer passport nights several times a season. The Mets already have a relationship with Sixpoint, Blue Point, and Brooklyn breweries inside Citi Field, so expanding this shouldn’t be hard. They also have an Ommegang brew inside the Delta Club. Ommegang, which is brewed in Cooperstown, is a brewery that should be inside all 30 stadiums almost by MLB rule.
But wait, there’s more! Shane Byrnes, who works for Blue Point Brewery, tweeted this:
Thank you ARAMARK and @Mets for meeting today! Look forward to a great season and the best craft beer selection at any of NYC stadiums!
— shane byrnes (@BluePointShane) December 19, 2013
Well, that sounds promising. Also a subtle dig at other stadiums, which I appreciate as well. I’m excited to see what we’ve got this year, both on the field and in the beer cooler.
I’ve been writing a bunch about beer over at BeerGraphs, and you should definitely check it out.
If you pay attention to these things you may have noticed that the Craft Beer Dugouts at Citi Field no longer have Blue Point, Sierra Nevada, or Magic Hat cans. This is a big blow that the addition of Brooklyn East India Pale Ale or Sixpoint Bengali Tiger cannot erase.
A discussion on craft beer broke out on Twitter, which let to this revelation by BluePointShane who works for Blue Point Brewery.
@brew_york to be fair, Citi has been very reasonable to work with. Cans must be 16oz, blue point, sierra pale, magic, abita, oskar all 12oz
— shane byrnes (@BluePointShane) July 23, 2013
I sorta get it; Having to deal with different size cans and hence the option for different size cups can be a layer of complexity Aramark and the Mets want to avoid in a ballpark where speed of sale is important. However, due to green initiatives you’re just handed the can of beer anyway and only get a cup if you ask. The Mets haven’t even raised the prices on the 16oz cans, charging the same as the 12oz bottles in Big Apple Brews. This year though they’ve raised the price on the Craft Beer Dugout taps to $12. I’m sure you’re getting at least 16oz of beer with these, and maybe a little more, but that’s a decent hike.
When Citi Field first opening there were four unique beers at the four food stands out in center field that created a base level of awesome beer. Since they’ve allowed Big Beer to price those options out of Citi Field, we’ve been stuck with these half measures. They’re nice measures for sure, but it’s an opening move that needs to be followed up by creative and innovative options for the Mets to get even to a league average beer selection.
For one, there are no dark beers. While dark beers are often less desirable in the summer, there’s still a demand for some bocks, brown ales, or even stouts and porters. You get cold nights in April and even some September nights can be chilly. Some darker styles would get enjoyed by many Mets fans even in the summer.
There is only one truly craft tap; Blue Point Toasted Lager at Catch of the Day. You can get a couple of others if you can get to the Excelsior level, and even more in the Delta Club, but there are so many good local breweries that would fit in great from Brooklyn, Sixpoint and Blue Point to more Ommegang. Singlecut, a new Queens brewery, would be a great fit as well. If the Mets need a way to offload the unused beer at the end of the year, perhaps they can work out something with McFaddens.
The Mets and Aramark are making progress in that they seem to at least recognize the desire for good craft beer at Citi Field, but they have a long way to go before there is a real selection of said beer.
There are plenty of people headed to Citi Field for the first time ever next week for the All-Star Week festivities. Plenty of those people will be looking for a good beer list while they are there, and as the Citi Field Beer Expert, It’s my duty to inform them of the selection at the park.
The best options are also local ones. Sixpoint Bengali Tiger or Sweet Action are available from a couple of locations, specifically the Craft Beer Dugouts and from the Pat LaFrieda steak shops. You can also get Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, and some other nice beers as well. The dugouts are located on field level by the foul poles, and on the first base side of the Promenade food court above the Rotunda behind home plate. Take a look at the map I’ve included for the location. Blue Point Toasted Lager is also a great local beer, and that one’s available on tap at Catch of the Day which is located on the right field side of the Shea Bridge in center field.
If you happen to be in the Delta Sky club there is a bar with a decent selection as well, including Blue Point White IPA and Victory HopDevil.
Otherwise the best place to get beer is at Big Apple Brews, which is a standalone island of beer coolers behind home plate on the Promenade level and out in center field on the field level. Everything in there is distributed by Anheuser Busch, but there are still drinkable options like Goose Island, Kona, Redhook and Widmer.
That’s your beer selection. It’s not the best, but there are acceptable and tasty choices. Another thing worth mentioning is the price. It’s $8.75 for premium beer, and that’s the same price whether you get the tap of Kona Longboard Lager, the can of Blue Moon, or the 16oz can of Sixpoint Sweet Action. The light lagers are discounted to $8.25 elsewhere, and some stands have a 24oz option.
Citi Field could do much better with it’s beer selection. This week the Mets visit San Francisco and fans out there will watch some baseball and enjoy some beers. Let’s take to Untappd and take a look at some of the beers they’ll be enjoying and see how it stacks up against Citi Field.
Anchor Steam is the big brewery out there, and they’re well represented. I see check-ins of Anchor Summer, Anchor Steam, Anchor Porter, Brekle’s Brown, Anchor California, and Anchor Liberty Ale. The selection from one brewery exceeds the real craft selection at Citi Field. Other local breweries I see represented are The Lost Abbey (San Marcos), Speakeasy Ales and Lagers (San Francisco), Russian River (Santa Rosa), and Gordon Biersch Brewing. An embarrassment of riches and I didn’t even mention them all.
Going outside of Bay Area breweries are other winners like Ballast Point, Allagash, Sierra Nevada, Spoetzl Brewery, or even any of the Anheuser-Busch (ABInBev) distributed ones like Goose Island, Redhook, Widmer and Kona that you can get at Citi Field as well.
I also saw a couple of stouts and a bock, all of which are darker than anything available at Citi Field. (And they have Guinness as well)
In terms of beer selection, AT&T Park makes Citi Field look like the minors.
This weekend I got a chance to visit the new Queens brewery, Singlecut Beersmiths.
You can click on that link for my review, but the gist of it is that it was good stuff. Queens hasn’t really had any breweries at all until recently, and Singlecut fits right in. You should all know where I’m going with this now. The Mets should support a local business, and get (at least) a tap of their beer into Citi Field. They did a great job with the craft beer dugouts last season, and adding Singlecut to the selection would not be that difficult.
It’d be a great way to expand the beer selection to include a larger variety of local beer.
I ended a Citi Field drought Saturday by making it out to the park for Mike Piazza bobblehead day. You can check him out in my new header image.
I was finally able to have the Steak Sandwich from Pat LaFrieda. It was delicious, as confirmed by a billion other people at this point. Also confirmed by others, but worth posting here for completeness’ sake, the beer selection. No new beers available, despite rumors/hopes that other Sixpoint nano-kegs would be present, but you do get Sixpoint Sweet Action, Brooklyn 16oz cans, and three pints of the mass produced variety.
The Mets won, which was nice to see. They even scored three runs! The crowd, understandably, was dead. There was no Lets Go Mets chant until the 9th inning, and the scoreboard barely prompted us to cheer. There was an annoying bunch beyond us that wanted to scream for long periods of times when Dickey struck someone out..mercifully R.A. Dickey only struck out two.
Realizing my chances were running low, I got a Carvel Sunday in an ice cream helmet, so I could add the 50th anniversary helmet cap to my collection. The ice cream hit the spot too.
Tejada made a really neat jump and fake on a throw to third from Scott Hairston. It kept Greene from taking an extra base on the throw, and although it’s a play that should probably be made on most chances, it’s still nice to see the Mets putting in the right effort and execution on the fundamentals.
There will be one more Seatcrew.com ticket giveaway in early September.
I’ll be out of the country for the second half of September. Likely without much internet or time. I’m probably going to schedule a bunch of baseball and beer related posts, so keep an eye out for that.
Thanks to CoreyNYC for pointing me to this tweet
— Union Beer Dist. (@greatbrewersnyc) July 25, 2012
Now, as you can see by the picture, Sixpoint Sweet Action is already served at Citi Field at any of the three Craft Beer Dugouts. These are located near the foul poles on the field level and just to the first base side of the Big Apple Brews stand in the Promenade Food Court area behind home plate.
The section 139 mentioned in the tweet is the last section of the left field reserved section on the field level, on the left field side of the apple. There is already one of those beer of the world stand there that looks similar to the Craft Beer Dugout and has four taps. So perhaps all this tweet means is an additional Dugout. This is a poor place for it, as it’s basically on the Shake Shack line when it gets really long, but maybe getting a beer prior to getting on the Shake Shack line (even if you can no longer get Shackmeister Ale) is the perfect spot.
What I would love for it to be, and I doubt it would be given the location and proximity to the Big Apple Brews (distributed by Anheuser-Busch), is a stand devoted to carrying excellent local craft beer cans, starting with the half dozen or so nano-kegs (cans) that Sixpoint carries. If they included Diesel this would match my request for a darker beer at Citi Field.
Unrelated to the tweet, Blue Point was supposed to have their White IPA available in cans at Citi Field, but I have had yet to see them. I’ve seen tweets from Blue Point folk that the cans have been released recently, so hopefully they’ll start showing up at Citi Field. The beer itself might be a little more palatable for the casual fan, as it’s not as super bitter as many associate with IPAs. It’s a little more floraly and has some Belgian wheat beer feel to it.
Blue Point Brewing Company has a new beer. It’s a White India Pale Ale and it’s available at Citi Field starting on Opening Day. It’ll also be available via cans in the summer. (So will Blue Point Toasted Lager and Blue Point Summer)
Here’s the description of the beer via Blue Point:
European-style white ale that finishes like a fresh American IPA. Malted and unmalted wheat, west coast hops, and Belgian yeast give it a perfectly balanced character with less bitterness than traditional IPAs. 40 IBU, 6%
Last night was a preview event for the new food options at Citi Field for the 2012. I’ll get to some of that in a different post, (Or you can check some of the other obvious places, such as the confluence of all Mets and Sandwich news, Tedquarters. Spoiler alert: We both agree on what was the best new food option.) First off, the beer changes!
The Citi Field Beer List lists Blue Point Lager and Blue Point Toasted. Those are actually the same beers as far as I know. It’s Blue Point Toasted Lager. One has a star and one does not, so I think this means it’ll be available at both the craft beer stands and at some normal places. (Catch of the Day is where it’s been) Another weird one is Goose Island Sum Blonde Ale. I don’t think Goose Island makes a blonde. They make Goose Island Summertime, which was occasionally available last year at Big Apple Brews due to it’s Anheuser-Busch/InBev distribution.
Yes, craft beer stands. Located near sections 105 (That’s by the World’s Fare Market), section 127 (Near the other foul pole) and in section 413 (That’s the Promenade food court area) of the Promenade Level meaning we don’t have to go downstairs from the cheap seats to get good beer.
Real craft beers that weren’t on the list last year, or were only available in the Delta Sky 360 Club (The Ommegang may still only be there) include Blue Point Summer, Blue Point White India Pale Ale (This one’s a new one, premiered March 29th, 2012), Ommegang Abbey Ale, Redhook Pilsner, Six Point Sweet Action, Sierra Nevada, Magic Hat #9, and Widmer Drifter Pale Ale. Also new is the expanded line of Shock Top ales, the Lemon Shandy, the Raspberry Wheat, and the Wheat India Pale Ale.
I’m still going to do a full analysis of Citi Field on Opening Day to take in the options and confirm this list. Having a craft beer stand is an excellent idea, and having three of them even better. I’m happy with this expansion, but I also hope this is a first step and not a final idea. The list has 12 stars on it representing the beers available at the craft beer stands in either cans or drafts. I imagine some of the more seasonal ones will rotate out, like Blue Point Summer, but the others include Shock Top, Leinenkugel Summer Shandy and Blue Moon, which are macro brews. Also included are Anheuser-Busch/InBev distributed Goose Island IPA, Kona Longboard Lager, and Widmer Drifter Pale Ale. The real expansion is the Blue Point brews, and that’s great. It’ll also be nice to be able to have Magic Hat #9, Sixpoint Sweet Action and Sierra Nevada outside the club areas. Sixpoint has a large line of cans available these days, so hopefully more of those start showing up.