Anticipating the Bedlam of Opening Day at Citi Field

Opening Day is finally just about here. It’s always a fun time out at the ballpark, but this year especially there is so much to see and do.

 

Besides the usual catching up with friends and tailgates, there’s the new Mikkeller NYC brewery to check out. 60 taps and a cool space just outside the gates? That’s a must see.

 

Once inside I need to allow myself enough time to to a loop of the stadium, check out what’s new, what’s changed, what looks different, and any unreported new food items.  With a sold out crowd that’s more in the hangout mode than a game-watching mode, that’s harder to do efficiently than usual.  I’m particularly interested to see if there are any new Mikkeller options INSIDE the stadium, or any other new beers in general.

 

Then it’s just taking in the atmosphere, enjoying being back at a baseball game, and having a good time. Watching the Mets crush the Cardinals and get this season off to a roaring start will just be a bonus. I’m predicting a Todd Frazier home run.

 

Let’s Go Mets!

What We Know About The Brewery At Citi Field

Mikkeller NYC will open at Citi Field on Sunday. As someone craving, demanding and savoring good beer at Citi Field since its inception, you know I’m absolutely thrilled about this. 60 rotating taps at a brewery/tap room just outside the stadium, typically open before and after games? What’s not to love?

Although there is no indication they’ll be open early before Opening Day, we do have a few details, in part from an Eater post, about what’s going on. There’s a menu, which is interesting but I’ll be trying the new stuff inside the stadium first anyway. I want a draft list, and Eater only lists four beers of 60. Henry Hops and Say Hey Sally, which were inside the stadium last year, Beer Geek Parlor Coffee Stout which is their Beer Geek line using locally roasted coffee, and Fruit Face w/ Cranberry, Rhubarb and Orange, which is a Berliner Weiss, a sour wheat ale.

Amazin’ Avenue writer and editor Chris McShane has some more info in this tweet. Looking at that tap list picture it looks like the Parlor Oatmeal Coffee Stout is the only other NYC brewed beer at this time. Lots of stuff from the San Diego brewery and Mikkeller’s portfolio in general, and also a nice compliment of other breweries such as Transmitter, Industrial Arts, Night Shift and Thin Man. Highly regarded breweries. There are sours, dark beers, salty beers, big beers and little beers on this list, which is lots of fun, even if they’re not actually _in_ the ballpark. There’s also 4oz pours, which might be a responsible way to ease into a day of drinking in the sun.

I don’t know if they’ll be an expanded selection inside or not, we’ll have to wait until Opening Day for that, but there’s a new great spot to head before and after a game now, and enjoy delicious beer. That’s where you’ll find me for sure.

Citi Field Beer Selection

The Mets won on the field, and in the cooler. The beer selection at Citi Field is much improved, and last year was no slouch. While i was online the group behind me consisting of what I’d describe as an average Mets fan group of guys and girls was talking about the list and how they liked it. It’s always nice to be reminded just how far craft beer has penetrated into the norm. Citi Field is definitely keeping up with the times by not serving you the same boring hot dog with the same flavorless lager that might have been the norm even 10 years ago.

photo by ceetar

There still isn’t really a dark beer in the porter or stout sense, but there IS a dark beer. Upstate brewery makes a Kentucky Common Beer called Common Sense. This is a dark cream ale meant to be consumed fresh. It was the first beer I had when I walked through the doors to Citi Field, and it got my day started off right.  Felt like a great ballpark beer, not too strong, some nice light roasted flavors and just a hint of hops. Think dark lager almost. Oh, and the can was pretty neat too.

photo by Ceetar

Some IPAs, a few lagers, and a couple of fruit beers which I think is a nice addition. Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat is an excellent beer, and I had Great South Bay’s Blood Orange Pale later in the day. It’s a nice pale ale with a delicious blood orange kick to it. I like the additions of more New York breweries.

 

Worth noting is that the Empire Craft Beer stand in the Promenade Food Court–or as I call it, The Piazza–they have taps, and in this case Sixpoint Sweet Action, Blue Point Summer, Southern Tier Hop Sum and Oyster Bay’s Honey Ale.

 

Goose Island is everywhere, and this doesn’t just refer to Citi Field. Their ownership by Anheuser Busch-InBev gets them distributed to many places, including most ballparks. Usually that just means Honkers Ale, the 312 series, and IPA, but this year they’ve got two more. Matilda, a Belgian Pale, and Sofie, a Belgian Farmhouse, can be had at a few of the Goose Island stands around the park. They’re both excellent, well-regarded beers by Goose Island.

photo by Ceetar

There is of course more to say, but those are the highlights. Check out the Citi Field Beer List for a little bit more breakdown. 

 

 

 

 

 

Citi Field’s New Cider Stand

photo by CeetarThe second half of the season is often time for change at ballparks, and Citi Field is no different.  There is now a new cider stand located on the field level in the right field corner.  Cider is a popular drink, and a growing one in popularity too. I wrote about some of the best ones over at BeerGraphs last year.

 

Obviously, some of these are macro brews masquerading as well-crafted ciders. The two taps, Johnny Appleseed and Stella Artois Cidre, are not good beer/ciders and are both brewed by large breweries. So is Smith and Forge.

 

Original Sin is a New York brewery, though technically it’s contract brewed in Florida, and I’ve enjoyed their cider from time to time. Angry Orchard ciders, both the apple ginger and crisp apple, are pretty good, and they’re brewed/owned by Sam Adams.

 

The most interesting one there though is McKenzie’s Original. McKenzie’s Hard Cider was founded in 2011 in Buffalo so they’re the most authentic New York cider on the list. I’ve never had the original, but I tasted both their Seasonal Reserve (which has the best BAR rating of any cider on BeerGraphs) and their black cherry, both which were delicious. The Seasonal Reserve tastes like apple pie. Delicious apple pie.

photo by Ceetar

You can also find 16oz cans of McKenzie’s Original at the Empire State Beer stands and also Ommegang’s Cooperstown Ale, an American Blonde, that’s new as well.

 

You’ll notice the Shock Top HoneyCrisp Apple Wheat beer logo on the Cider Stand, but I didn’t actually see that one anywhere so I won’t comment on it.

 

Fix The Out Of Town Scoreboard

I’ve been complaining about the out of town scoreboard at Citi Field since 2009, and it’s about time I wrote out my complains in full pictorial glory.

 

Mainly that 0 outs in an inning comes after 2 outs in that inning. Here’s the scoreboard suggesting the Phillies are up with 2 outs in the top of the 6th inning.

Top 6, 2 outs.

If you’re like me you spend a lot of time tracking the other games. I love that, unlike Shea Stadium, we can track the games by out. As it turns out the next Phillies batter made an out and the inning was over. As all baseball fans know the Rangers would now bat in the bottom of the 6th.

bottom 6Now wait just a second. Why are the Phillies up again? There are no outs and the light indicates it’s the top of the inning. If I hadn’t just been watching it, I’d assume that game was in the top half, which we know is not true because a minute ago there were two outs.

 

A couple of minutes later the inning flips and the Rangers come to bat.

bottom of the 6thThis is what it should’ve displayed to begin with. We went from Top six two outs, to Top six no outs, to bottom six no outs. That doesn’t make sense. Flipping the inning marker should be a step in the end of an inning process. Some places do ‘Mid-6’ but Citi Field has no way to portray this, and it’s redundant. If there are no outs and no runners, it makes the first batter has yet to resolve. We don’t know to know whether he’s actually batting yet or not, the out of town scoreboard only needs to show us the result.

 

It seems like a simple fix to my techie mind, but it’s been lingering for more than five seasons and I can’t  be the only one to have noticed.

 

Another thing that I noticed last year was that if there were multiple interleague games, they didn’t all show up. You’ll notice the scoreboard only has room for American and National League with eight games a piece. Every once in a while there are three interleague games with six intraleague games and if all three interleague games are either in the NL or AL, that makes nine games for eight slots and one gets lost, despite the extra room on the other side.

Goose Island Craft Beer Stand

photo by Ceetar

Every year it feels like there’s a new Anheuser Busch-InBev gimmick. One year it was those cups that fill from the bottom. This year it’s a Goose Island booth, that I would wager a guess is in just about every Major League Ballpark.  This stand is in Right Field to the left of the Taste of the City place under the Pepsi Porch.

 

My initial thought was “ooh, will they have some of Goose Island’s other offerings?” which was silly. No. They have the same beers they have in the rest of the park, Goose Island Honkers Ale and Goose Island IPA on tap. I didn’t ask, but the menu on the stand only lists one beer price $12 souvenir cup.

Citi Field Gets A Yellow Card

I noticed this after the top of the 9th inning. Clearly they’re directing..something, but what? Security guys on the field? Cameras? Something else?

photo by Ceetar

They also had a blue card and a red card. I’m sure it’s a standard Red/Yellow/Green-Stop/wait/Go type system, though I don’t know what the  blue is for.

photo by Ceetar

 

Another Opening Day Arrives

It feels the Mets are a more serious team this year. Serious doesn’t create wins, but I’m still excited about the start of this season, like every other season.

 

For a couple of days we can put aside season projections, depth arguments, and roster assignments in favor of actually watching baseball games and just enjoying the break of a curveball, the crack of the bat and the diving run savings abilities of Juan Lagares.

 

It’s a time for celebration, no matter where you’re watching the game. Whether it’s at home, or on the radio, or sneakily tracking it while at work. For me, I’ll be at Citi Field taking pictures of beer selection, new displays, and baseball players playing baseball. It’ll be a great time.


Where are you watching?

New Beers At Citi Field

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.

Brewery Beer Style BAR
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