I can’t lie, I like beer, and I like baseball. In fact, it could be argued that I like both beer and baseball too much. The recent opening of Home Run House in Stratford is the latest in a series of baseball-themed bars to open in the UK.
This week, I made my second visit to Stratford. My hitting in the batting cages is still dire, but that means there is plenty of room for improvement.
Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for my liver), I was driving, so stuck to their non-alcoholic Budweiser Prohibition, while my colleagues enjoyed the ever-popular Passyunk Pils.
In the West Midlands, baseball fans flock to The Floodgate in Digbeth. They boast an extensive range of small brewery offerings, including Tiny Rebel Cwtch (Welsh red ale), Roosters Baby Faced Assassin and Flying Dog IPA. Once again, I was driving when I visited, but the BrewDog Nanny State is about as good a non-alcoholic beer as you can find.
Base Bar is Manchester’s premier baseball bar and batting cage venue. Among their beers is Shindigger, which is pretty potent for an IPA, and they stock a range from local microbrewery Beatnikz Republic. Their driver’s beer is Special Effects from Brooklyn Brewery.
Beer and baseball; a match made in heaven.
So, I couldn’t believe my luck, when a couple of weeks ago, the great Eno Sarris, he of the most analytical of minds when it comes to pitcher evaluation, penned an article in the Athletic titled “A beer nerd’s guide to baseball.”
Beer, baseball and nerds! You can’t make this stuff up.
I won’t divulge all of the content of the article, but I will urge you to subscribe to The Athletic. It is an embarrassing low annual subscription, which, for a limited time, is 40% off with this link. I think it costs me something like £ 0.60 per week. Incredible value for some of the greatest baseball writers working today.
Anyway, back to Sarris’ article. He ranked the beers available at all 30 MLB ballparks. As far as jobs go, that’s not a bad gig.
I said I couldn’t reveal all of the content, but I’ll give you a few tasters …
You will have to read the article to see the worst venue, but it’s between Yankee Stadium (where it appears they decide beers based on the sound of their name rather than taste) or the Rogers Centre in Toronto (where local craft beer just isn’t a thing).
Sarris suggests both teams are leaving money on the table as “craft beer lovers drop serious coin on craft beer.”
The must-go-to venues
Cincinnati Reds play in a beer-lovers ballpark. Brewery District feels like a taproom, but it’s in a sports venue. Just because you don’t recognise names like Fretboard and Rhinegeist, doesn’t mean they are not great beers.
Seattle is fuelled by craft beer. Names available at T-Mobile Park include Reuben’s Brews, Bale Breaker and Ecliptic Brewing. There is everything from hard-to-find cask, barrel-aged beers to cheap $6 cans. As Sarris says, “Practically every food vendor has a craft tap.”
I didn’t know, but apparently, San Diego is often called the birthplace of craft beer. Petco Park is home to a plethora of beers, including some from AleSmith Brewing Company, Pizza Port Brewing and Mike Hess Brewing. Although if you do visit, surely you need to try a Swinging Friar?
Also, when visiting any ballpark in the US, you need to make sure you take your ID. They refused to serve me at Angel Stadium, despite having my 21-year-old daughter in tow. Bizarrely, she was allowed to purchase two beers for us with the one ID.
If you are feeling in the mood for a craft beer or two, we have a brilliant deal for you. Bat Flips and Nerds have teamed up with the guys at Beer52 to offer you some FREE BEER … yes, FREE BEER, but be quick – the offer is only valid for a couple of weeks.
You get EIGHT craft beers, plus a magazine and a snack, and you pay nothing except the £ 4.95 postage. There is no commitment to purchase any other beers, but if you do, Beer52 offers a satisfaction guarantee. They are so confident that you will love your beers, that if you don’t, they’re on them.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Gavin is one of the growing team of writers at Bat Flips and Nerds. Follow him on Twitter @_tramps