Did you enjoy an Anchor Steam at the ballpark last year? Or how about a nice 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon? Well, you might be out of luck this season: According to the first draft of Lee Porter’s 2014 Citizens Bank Park Brew Locator, they weren’t available at the ballpark during the exhibition game played last month.
In their place: More beers owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest brewer in the world. I hope you like Goose Island’s beers, because they’re literally all over the freaking ballpark now.
Now, let's be clear: It's not dire. While both Anchor Steam and Hell or High Watermelon are excellent beers to enjoy with a baseball game, they're from San Francisco. Who really cares if San Francisco beers are out of a Philadelphia ballpark. There are still plenty of local beers to enjoy: Sly Fox Royal Weisse, Yards Philly Pale Ale, Flying Fish Extra Pale Ale, Philadelphia Brewing Company Walt Wit, Troegs DreamWeaver Wheat, Victory Swing Session Saison, and so on. Craft brews aren't gone from CBP. And, it's early in the season: Anchor Steam and Hell or High Watermelon (which has only just started showing up around town) could show up!
But things are definitely... different. Last year, Goose Island beer was available at just five locations in the ballpark. This year, on the 100 level concourse alone, it is available at 25 spots. Twenty five! Goose Island isn't bad; certain Chicago friends swear by it. Goose Island was independent before a 2011 sale to AB InBev, which owns Budweiser, Stella Artois and other popular beer brands. AB InBev has been pushing this brand — last fall, a rep was buying people cans of Goose Island at Garage one night when I was there — so it's not surprising it's taken over the ground floor of the ballpark.
Porter, who is in his third year of compiling a chart of beer availability at the ballpark, says the idea began with one beer: Sly Fox Royal Weisse. "When it was really hot in CBP, I might stroll on a really hot day in left field and grab two of them and walk back," he says. "It was really nice and refreshing on a hot day." Porter's family has purchased season tickets for 20-plus years at both Veterans Stadium and Citizens Bank Park.
As he was about to walk over to left field early in the 2012 season, Porter noticed Royal Weisse was for sale near his seats. "Well, if that switched — I can’t be the only person who likes certain beers," he says. "If they switched that up, they probably moved other beers, too.... I’m a geek, I love spreadsheets and Google Docs."
And since then it's become a mission. "Bringing Phillies and beer together is about as perfect as it gets for me," he says. He usually tries to get the whole thing done during the exhibition games, but he wasn't able to get to all of the upper concourse levels at the first On Deck game — and the second one game was rained out. He expects to have the spreadsheet fully completed by tomorrow or Thursday.
What else can we expect at the stadium this year, besides a ton of Goose Island? His introductory post of this year's spreadsheet gives some good examples. The highlights:
- Lots of cans! Way more cans than in years past. Coors and Miller beers come in cans up to 24-ounces, while Budweiser's big size can is 25 ounces. It's like when you go to a food truck downtown and get one of those weird 24-ounce Cokes.
- "[D]ue to the addition of a ton of mega cans, there appears to be less 12 ounce bottles and thus fewer local beers at Brewerytown locations."
- But there's an upside! "[Y]ou’ll enjoy a larger variety of beer at most standard kiosks/stands, not just the specialty stands." Hooray for canned beer!
- Troegs Trogenator. 8.2% ABV. Sections 102, 109, 114, 135, 139. Don't drink too much.
Porter will be updating his CBP Brew Locator all season. First-pitch Tuesday for the Phillies is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. The easiest way to make it more likely local craft beer will continue to be served at the stadium? Buy local craft beer. Or if you want a 25-ounce Budweiser? Sure, whatever, have fun. That extra ounce might be worth it.