I sent along a full write up of the Citi Field Beer selection over to John Kleinchester of Beertography, so you should go check it out.
If I was going to grade the selection available I’d give it a “meaningful games in September” grade and just missing the playoffs.
This is still a big step forward off a down year last year however. The selection is still reeling from the loss of the Brooklyn specialty beers at Taste of the City stands in center field. In fact, if you poke around on Beertography you can catch hints of similar stories about what seems to be “Big Beer” pushing out the little guys. Particularly in the review for Yankee Stadium and the Prudential Center in Newark.
My hope is that Citi Field continues to add new local beers, and expands beyond what they have now. At the very least, adding more Sixpoint cans including the newly released summer ale Apollo, would be excellent news.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
@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.
Citi Field is still very much a work in progress. They’ve already changed the green to black around the Apple, for batter’s eye reasons. I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, and I can’t wait to get there when it counts. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that went wrong, or that don’t seem quite right. I’m not going to whine and cry and count Mets banners and complain when it doesn’t meet my internalized quota, but I’ll point out my observations from my second trip. (Read about my first trip)
While some people working their did seem friendlier, I did nearly get into a fight with the woman checking tickets at the Caesar’s club door. Stupidly of me, I let my hat blow off my head from the Promenade, and it landed one level down. I raced down the stairs to try to retrieve it, basically begged this woman to let me just grab my hat, and all she could do was utter variations of ‘No, go upstairs’. Eventually someone tossed the hat down the the field level, where the ushers were actually helpful.
Since the concourses are set back under the seats Cow-Bell Man’s normal style of walking around the stadium would keep him away from the action and mostly unheard.
I had to sign for my $23 purchase at Box Frites. At least the line moved, and they’re slowly learning how to swipe, fill up sodas, find the buttons on the register and move a line.
The Promenade Club is too low down/embedded into the stands, so that the rows of seats just in front of it actually blocks the view of home plate from inside. I don’t know if there is anything to be done about it though.
The Mets really should reconsider the contract with whatever escalator company they use.
There are more seats at Citi with small obstructions here and there. (Although none as bad as back rows of the Loge) I had to stand to see Wright make any catches along the dugout. It’s one of the drawbacks of not building huge dizzying grandstands and keeping fans closer to the field.
Some people expressed dislike for the black and orange walls and the green seats. I don’t think any choice would’ve made me unhappy here so I may be biased, but I kind of like that the Mets stadium is built on top of a Polo Grounds look, with a Ebbetts Field entrance. It’s certainly not any of those parks in any way, and it is where we came from. Especially the Polo Grounds. The line? I’m curious how it will play out. It might just work.
I’m suspecting ceremony the 13th, when I’m not there, with putting the flags up.
Blanche de Queens, one of the exclusive Citi Field beers out in the Taste of New York center field concourse, is excellent. As it’s name suggests, it’s kind of a white ale, similar to a Blue Moon. It was a full-bodied beer with plenty of flavor, while still being light and smooth. It was by far the best beer I’ve ever had at a sporting event. I can’t wait to try the Brooklyn Sabroso Ale next time. I tip my hat to Garrett Oliver and Brooklyn Brewery.