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.
The line to get in was really long. You could only pick up tickets at the ticket booths outside the Bullpen Gate and it took us about 20 minutes to do this. We received two vouchers each for beer, and a voucher for our Mets boot, to retrieve on the way out. No glass inside Citi Field. The lines for beer were particularly long, mainly because they sold tickets to more people than should probably stay in the Bullpen Plaza. There was very little in the way of entertainment, just one DJ with a German music playlist. None of the food options were any different than anything you can get in the main area of the park, in fact I don’t even recall what the three or four items for sale were.
And of course, the beer. Ideal would’ve been a handful or two of local seasonal options, with perhaps a tasting glass so you could try many of them. Even just two or three local craft options would’ve been special. Worst case was that they’d simply provide the generic Bud Light and Coors Light options that they provide to groups that buy Party City seats. The Mets went with the barely acceptable option; they provided Oktoberfest beers from Anheuser Busch InBev owned breweries Becks and Spaten. This isn’t horrible; after all, Spaten is a storied brewery and one of the six that’s poured in Munich, but because it’s owned by AB InBev, it’s the easiest possible option they could’ve provided. You also had the option of St. Pauli’s Girl and Bud Light.
I ordered my two beers at once because there was little reason to wait on the line again, and we ended up just heading into the park. The area was open from 5:30 until first pitch, but there was really no reason to stay.
The Mets boot was a nice touch, it’s glass and says Oktoberfest at Citi Field and all, but it’s very cheaply made and one of ours was actually chipped. It’s so obvious that it’s just two simple pieces of glass fused together, and the top of the boot isn’t even rounded like a glass for drinking. It’d probably make a nice vase though.
I like the idea of Oktoberfest at Citi Field, but I don’t know that I’d make a special excuse to come out again next year if there aren’t any real changes.
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.
There is a 2013 MLB All-Star Wine available from Purlieu Wines. This is fine, I’m all for specialized products celebrating the 2013 game at Citi Field. Of course, this product was put together with about as little effort as one could manage. The URL for the site still reads 2012, and it’s just a simple bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon with the game logo on the label. The description doesn’t even mention the Mets, or New York. Additionally, it’s from Napa Valley. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, there are a ton of nice wineries on Long Island that are local and would probably love to sell one of their wines for this event.
And there is no beer. You can specifically tailor a beer to the event and it takes much less time to brew for production than wine. There are dozens of appropriate breweries in New York that could provide something fun. Even Ommegang, the brewery located in the same town as the Hall of Fame, would be a great choice. They brew a special beer for Game of Thrones, I imagine they could spare a couple of barrels for the Midsummer Classic. Think about how neat it would be for the baseball Hall of Fame to feature a collection of bottles from each game?
Regardless, there seems to be no All-Star Beer. Citi Field’s beer selection isn’t horrible, but it has about as many All-Stars as the Mets do. It’s disappointing that the event seems so corporate sometimes it’s hard to get some of this personalization. Never mind that Budweiser is a huge MLB sponsor and would probably do their best to nix any non-Budweiser beer being celebrated anyway.
I’ve updated the Citi Field Beer List to reflect the changes I noticed on Opening Day.
Craft Additions: Sixpoint Bengali Tiger, Kona Big Wave Golden Ale.
Craft Subtractions: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Magic Hat #9, Blue Point Cans.
Macro Additions: Redd Apple Ale. Third Shift Amber Lager, Budweiser Black Crown, Beck’s Sapphire.
This is a step back. The Bengali Ale is really nice, but the pushing of the more macro crafty imitations is poor when it seems to have come at the expense of some real beer. Still no dark beer to be seen.
I was very focused on baseball yesterday and haven’t gotten to do a full sweep of Citi Field or found my way into any of the clubs to see if there’s a hidden nugget. There are probably a couple of new additions I’ve missed, somewhere, and I’ll be back to find them.
There is no mention of beer, which is disappointing. Perhaps it’s just going unmentioned and there will be some new cool local options around, and I’ll certainly be looking for them, but I’m not holding my breath. They do mention an expansion of the frozen drinks stand that was around somewhere last year.
El Verano Taqueria will have a cantina menu with frozen drinks, and they’ll also be a frozen and mixed drink bar near section 414 on the promenade. That’s right behind home plate on what I call the Citi Field Piazza.
Blue Smoke will have pork rinds, as well as a delicious sounding brisket sandwich.
Shake Shack will get their vegetarian option, the ‘Shroom Burger. Also High Heat Cheese Fries, Cheese Dog/High Heat Cheese Dog, and a “Meet the Pretz” concrete (black & white custard, chocolate covered pretzels and malt powder).
The Mets Hall of Fame will get a Johan Santana No Hitter exhibit as well as a ton of All-Star stuff to celebrate the Mets hosting the All Star Game.
There will be various ticket deals as well. $10 student rush tickets, military tickets, and some others including a free ticket for your birthday.
As always I’ll spend a good chunk of Opening Day wandering the park to see what’s new and hunting for secret beer stands. I’m sure there will be a couple of interesting things here and there.
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.
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.
Whether or not you believe the season is over or if the Mets can come back from this recent slump, I think we can all agree that we need another beer to watch right?
I was at the game Friday night where it rained half the night and was breezy and pretty chilly. I walked up to the Craft Beer Dugout and the first thing I thought was “A nice porter would really hit the spot right now.” The Mets do not sell any dark beers, not even Guinness. The closest option is probably the Leffe Brown, and that’s an import.
There are plenty of other cool summer evenings, and there are cold games in April, September, and maybe even in October some years. A nice roasty porter or stout would really be a great option for those games. Brooklyn Brewery makes a dry Irish Stout that’s very tasty, and you could even re-brand it the Daniel Murphy Stout.
The lack of a broad variety is park of what keeps the competitive Citi Field Beer from being a true champion. I suggest Sixpoint Diesel.
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.