Few things are more important to Americans than beer.
Don’t believe me? Check out this animated short giving you the full run down. Now that we agree on beer being an essential part of our nation’s history and culture, baseball is right up there — the ordering is debatable.
Dubbed America’s “national pastime,” the game moreover played a role during the Civil War and later in breaking the racial barrier in sports. Even if the baseball itself doesn’t hold your attention, going to a game makes for a fun night out, and the ballpark has become the perfect spot to grab a good craft brew.
The MLB is holding the 2017 All-Star Game and festivities in Miami, where Marlins Park, like many other venues around the country, has greatly improved its beer selection over the past several years. Whereas only beers from macro producers like AB-InBev (Bud, Bud Light) and MillerCoors were available at professional baseball parks for most of the past century, you can now enjoy beers made right down the street or craft beer made and packaged from a thousand miles away.
And while the All-Star Game marks the halfway point in the season, there are still 81 games left in just the MLB regular season. That’s 12 week’s time you have to go to your local stadium or take in a road game where you can enjoy both the baseball and the suds as a craft beer lover.
Here’s an All-Star lineup of ballparks to visit, catch a game and drink some great independent brews.
American League West
Arguably the best ballpark for beer in the country, Safeco Field boasts over 100 different beers to choose from depending on where you're sitting in the park. Of course those include plenty of Washington-brewed favorites from breweries like 7 Seas, Pike, Ghostfish, and Fremont. Throw in some others from around the country like Alaskan, Victory and Stone, and you’ve got a perfect ballpark beer recipe.
Safeco is also the only stadium to serve cask-conditioned beer during every game. And keep an eye out for their Firkin Friday where they tap firkins with a mallet and tap, pour beer straight from the keg, and drink till there’s nothing left! Sounds more like a party than a ball game to me.
Oakland Almeda Coliseum - Oakland Athletics
One of the best things about the beer selection at The Coliseum is that the A's have provided fans with the Coliseum Beer Finder. Want to make sure you have access to quality suds during the game? Consult the beer finder before you buy your tickets. And even though many of the beers available to fans can also be found on The Cut Off, you can still drink local with choices from the likes of Drake's, 21st Amendment and Calicraft.
One more thing that puts the Coliseum on this list is that in 2017 the A's lowered overall beer prices. A craft beer throughout the stadium costs ten bucks, just two bucks more than a macro.
American League Central
Similar to how the organization gets some of its best players, the Twin Cities stay local with most of its breweries on tap including Indeed, Summit, Surly, and Bauhaus. This ballpark focuses on the homegrown aspect of its beers. You’ll find some Sam Adams or another big name brewery here and there, but the majority of the brews will give the trip to Target Field a full Minnesota experience.
Kauffman Stadium - Kansas City Royals
In 2017 The Royals named Boulevard Brewing the official team craft beer. You'll find all the best beers from the Kansas City brewery all over Kauffman Stadium. It seems Boulevard has as many beers on tap in the ballpark as the Royals have players. Kauffman also brings in plenty of outsiders. Look for Boulevard's sister brewery Ommegang, who fittingly shares their home with the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Another recent addition to Kauffman Stadium is the Craft & Draft seating package, where fans can enjoy access to over 75 beer choices, gastropub fare, in-seat service and high top tables.
American League East
Flying Dog Brewing immediately comes to mind when you think craft beer in Maryland, so unsurprisingly Camden Yards carries some of their best year round brews on tap. Delaware neighbors Old Dominion and Dogfish join them as well, along with plenty of nationwide favorites like Anchor Steam. For real Oriole fans however, grab one of Dempsey’s baseball themed brews like Wild Pitch Wheat, Rain Delay IPA, or ’83 Golden Ale, named after the year which the O’s last won the World Series.
Fenway Park - Boston Redsox
Outside of Oriole Park in the AL East, there's not much to cheer about when it comes to actual craft beer choices. However, the best of the rest is the legendary Fenway Park. Here, you'll at least be able to escape the crafty marketing of AB InBev and Miller to grab a Samuel Adams, a Harpoon or Narragansett. Even beers from Smuttynose, Wachusett, Long Trail, Beer Works and Jack's Abby have been spotted.
One of the downsides about Fenway is that it has recently ranked number 1 in most expensive beer at ballparks around the country. Don’t let this scare you away because you’ll find few places better to watch a game than with the Red Sox faithful.
National League West
One of three baseball stadiums named after a beer company, Coors Field has way more to offer than just the macro it gets its name from. Colorado powerhouses New Belgium, Great Divide, and Avery are all available on tap at this high altitude ballpark. Choosing a good beer here is an easy home run. Many have even credited Coors Field with helping to spark the explosion of craft beer throughout the nation, and for that reason they definitely deserve a spot on this list.
PETCO Park - San Diego Padres
California is home to five Major League teams, the most of any state. While the Padres have been the least successful as far as baseball goes, PETCO Park in San Diego leads its in-state neighbors in beer selection. With arguably the strongest local lineup, you can have a beer from at least 23 different San Diego area breweries. Local big players, Stone and Green Flash have an abundant presence, but don't sleep on beers from Alesmith, who brews a pale ale in honor of the Hall of Fame right fielder Tony Gwynn, the smoking hot Mike Hess or Lost Abbey.
National League Central
The home of the 2015 All Star Game easily makes the list of best spots to catch a game and grab a beer. Great American Ballpark has Great American options from coast to coast and everywhere in between: 21st Amendment from San Francisco, SweetWater from Atlanta, and of course plenty of local favorites like Rhinegeist, MadTree and Christian Moerlein.
Miller Park - Milwaukee Brewers
You'd think that a ballpark named after one of the largest breweries in the world, in a town that it kind of put on the map would have some kind of agreement in place to make sure that beers under its ownership would be featured throughout the park exclusively. Well, not in 2017. Just check out this beer menu that Miller Park revealed at the beginning of the season. The Brewers even installed a slick new tap station where you can get one of the over 21 independently brewed beers made right there in the Milwaukee area.
National League East
Citizens Bank Park is home to the Philadelphia Phillies and to a great tap collection spanning its home state. Pennsylvania favorites Troegs and Victory lead off and Philly’s own Yards Brewing knocks them home for a solid rotation of local choices. Sierra Nevada, Anchor Brewing, and Bell’s all join the party for the Phanatics to choose from.
Nationals Park - Washington NationalsOur nation’s capital is the final location on this All Star list. Nationals Park home of the Washington Nationals has a more modest selection than some of the others, but still comes in strong with many East Coast favorites mentioned before like Flying Dog and Dogfish Head. Look for Heavy Seas, Allagash, and Cooperstown’s Brewery Ommegang making frequent appearances as well.
Remember, there is plenty of baseball left to be played this season. So, make a night out of a game and enjoy the best craft beers that your stadium has to offer.