From the minors to the majors, more and more baseball fans are picking up a craft beer at the stadium to wash down their peanuts and Cracker Jacks.
Some stadiums are offering upward of 60 varieties of beer, the Associated Press reported last month, the result of increased demand for craft and local beers.
At AutoZone Park in Downtown Memphis, craft beer from Ghost River Brewing is served alongside Yuengling and domestics like Budweiser, Miller and Coors.
Ghost River even created Home Run Red for its inaugural season of serving beer at the home of the Memphis Redbirds, and the craft beer has since become a staple for beer drinkers at the park. (Outside the park, the red ale has become one of Ghost River’s year-round beers, better known as Copperhead Red, winner of the 2011 Great America Beer Festival silver medal in the Irish-style Red category.)
AutoZone Park is also home to the annual Memphis Brewfest, one of the premier tasting events in the Mid-South.
On my visit to San Diego last week, I experienced another way ballparks are trying to capitalize on the craft beer movement.
The 3rd annual San Diego Padres Beerfest was a craft beer festival held two hours before the opening pitch of the Padres-Arizona Diamondbacks game at Petco Park.
The festival featured a mix of beers from San Diego-area breweries, Northern California breweries and national craft brands like Samuel Adams and Shiner. Admission to the festival was free with your game ticket, but a roughly 12-ounce pour was $5, with proceeds going to charity.
It was a great opportunity to try beers from San Diego that I missed out on during my brewery visits throughout the week. I got to try The Lost Abbey’s Devotion, Mission Brewery’s IPA, Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA, all from San Diego, and from Paso Robles, Firestone Walker’s Union Jack.
The first pour was at 5 p.m., just over two hours before the first pitch at 7:05.
The festival was held in a green space beyond the outfield wall at Petco Park, with lots of soft grass to sit on.
The brewery list included, among others, Kona Brewing Company, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Coronado Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Anchor Brewing, Deschutes Brewery and Rogue Brewery.
Firestone Walker’s Union Jack was my favorite beer of the day.
Green Flash served its excellent Le Freak and Hop Head Red.
Kevin Heffernan (left) and Paul Soter (second from right) from the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, who starred in the movie “Beerfest,” were on hand to meet fans. They liked my Yazoo Brewing shirt, which was specially made for the Memphis Brewfest.
And after the beer festival, there was baseball. Craft beers available at the stadium concession stands include selections from Stone Brewing Company and Gordon Biersch Brewing Company.