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.

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Will I Be Lonely At The Citi Tonight?

I’m going to Citi Field, courtesy of a non baseball-watching friend who got two tickets for donating blood. (I actually haven’t figured out whom to give the spare one to) The Mets are virtually out of it, merely at .500, and 8 full games away from even sniffing a playoff spot.  I’m not going to say “It’s over” because stranger things have happened, but until they rattle off a streak better than 4-3, even I’m not going to be hanging on every game like it’s a pennant race.  So will anyone be out at the game tonight? Someone suggested I should try the dunk tank and pretend it’s Oliver Perez sitting on it.  I’ll explore the free giveaways at the Verizon Studio, and see if the seasonal beers have changed to fall yet.

Will the lines at Shake Shack be short?  Or will they be longer as more people are willing to walk away from watching the game for a great burger?

Will the crowd get into the game if it’s a good game?  Or will they mostly be disinterested and focus on booing guys like Castillo?

Will people leave early, even if it’s a close game?  If the score is 6-2 can I expect the stands to be virtually empty by the 9th?  Will they be mostly empty even if it’s 4-3?

Personally I’ll be looking forward to a good pitching matchup (Johnson vs. Dickey) and looking forward to Dickey reaching the minimum innings required to qualify for the ERA list, on which he’d be in the top 10.

I’m watching the game from section 337, row 4.  That’s Left Field Landing, and somewhere I’ve never sat before.  Always enjoy the new vantage points, and row 4 probably isn’t overly obscured like the back rows of that section are.  I’ll also probably roam at random taking pictures of everything.  If you see a guy with a camera pointing at odd things wearing a Mets Hall of Fame cap and a Wright last season at Shea jersey…probably me.

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A(nother) First Look at Citi Field

A(nother) First Look at Citi Field from the St. Johns Game.

First it’s come a long way, and it was beautiful.

From Citifield

I was getting butterflies driving towards it as I saw the first signs mentioning it, and as I looked for a spot. The parking lot (the main, Shea, General/Prepaid) that I parked in is still only partially done, so hopefully it’ll provide more exiting opportunities. I left at 2:30, but had I left a regular Mets game at the end with everyone else it might have been a mess.

From Citifield

I got there at 11:35, and figured rather than go to LF and go right in, I’d wait at the Rotunda to enter there at 11:40. I’m glad I did. The Rotunda, and the area around it, are terrific. Even the dwindling pile of Shea is beautiful in it’s own way, and people were indeed taking pictures with it. I crossed into the building, and the Rotunda is amazing. Still plenty to be done, but still amazing. I was confronting with the urge to be 18 places at once and running all over. Seeing as that was impossible, we started with probably the most mundane, the team store.

From Citifield

Team store’s a big step up from the one at Shea. And there are more of them too. There is also Alyssa Milano’s first female boutique shop in right field. I bought a Citi Field inaugural season shirt, and a shot glass, and moved on.

From Citifield

The views are great from everywhere. Sure there are more cut off corners, and a handful of overhangs in the way in a couple of places, but they definitely tried to minimize those (except for the overhang, which even if you miss the plays at the wall in RF, is still pretty cool). I didn’t find a seat that I flat out said, “I wouldn’t want to sit here”. Top rows of the Outfield Promenade Reserve aren’t great, but they’re better than UR section 36 Row N, which is what they were going for.

From Citifield

Another subject that’s important to me, Beer and food. While they retained some of the ‘generic’ staples like Nathans, preliminary reports suggest that at least the food will be served properly, hot and fresh. The concessions are quicker and more orderly, and hopefully they’re properly set up to be well stocked. The real story is the rest of the stuff. Prices are better than at Shea from what I could tell, and they have a billion more options. Much has been made about Blue Smoke and Shake Shack and Box Frites and tacos and catch of the day and on and on. I can’t wait to try them all, but Shake Shack was as good in the Citi as it is in the City.

From Citifield

Beer. I can be a bit of a beer snob, and I rarely drank at Shea because it was a struggle to find anything worthwhile. (Although they did have Killians and Blue Moon last year) I wasn’t paying $8 for a crappy Bud. This year there are dozens of options, all over the place, and local ones. All the outfield concessions have specialty beers, that appear to have been designed exclusively for the venue. That the beer was actually designed with the food you’re eating with it in mind is thrilling to me. Shack Shack has their exclusive Shackmeister Ale, and Blue Smoke has it’s Blue Smoke Blend, all from Brooklyn Brewery. There was some Queens Ale at the Box Frites place which I can’t remember the name of, but I can find no indication of a beer with Queens in the title from Brooklyn Brewery, which lends to the idea that it’s exclusive to that location. It’s going to be hard for me to not try all four of these beers on Saturday against the Red Sox, I only have to remind myself that they aren’t going anywhere.

From Citifield

I wandered all around and didn’t see everything. Much of every trip to the place for a while will be a new experience, which is great. New seats, new views. Every game is an adventure. I’ve got tickets to three regular season games already, and I’m sure I’ll be to at least two dozen more.

From Citifield

The ping of the aluminum bat felt so wrong.

From Citifield

Seeing the Mets on the out of town scoreboard was a unique experience, and pretty cool.

From Citifield

There some glitches and errors. Many will be fixed I’m sure. Some escalators weren’t working right, some water still pooled in some areas. Some TVs weren’t hooked up. The smoke from the BBQ place can/did drift past the scoreboard (depending on the wind) so you can see it in the outfield. No big deal really.

From Citifield

All you really need to know is that you need to get there at your first opportunity. You won’t be disappointed.

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