Press Clips: Baseball Misconstrues and Loves Craft Beer

Two of America’s pastimes — baseball and beer — have long been intertwined. With the interest in craft beer spreading across the country, it was only a matter of time before these brews made their way into ballparks.

While injuries, aging and the steady bundle of bloated contracts may have diminished the New York Yankees, it’s their beer offerings and semantics that have drawn criticism from some at the dawn of the season. Writer Amanda Rykoff noticed the “Craft Beer Destination” at Yankee Stadium and noted that the featured beers included Blue Moon, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Crispin Cider and Batch 19 lager, all owned by MillerCoors.

Photo by Amanda Rykoff

“Once again, the Yankees have figured out yet another way to charge a superior price for an inferior product,” Rykoff wrote.

The blog post caught the attention of NPR, which noted that shortly after Rykoff’s write-up and a slew of responses, the Yankees changed the moniker to the “Beer Mixology Destination.”

“Other than seeming to be a brazen attempt to glom onto yet another trend — and risking the wrath of cocktail enthusiasts — the new name hints at the concoctions that result from combining Crispin cider with its three stand-mates,” NPR’s Bill Chappell wrote.

As Yankee Stadium struggles to understand craft beer, Comerica Park in Detroit has fully embraced it. A story by ESPN’s Darren Rovell notes that in right field, the craft beer stand features 26 local brews, 10 on draft and 16 in bottles.

“Craft beer is more than a trend,” Bob Thormeier, general manager of Delaware North Companies Sportservice at Comerica Park, said in the article. “It has become a mainstay. Certainly it will never replace traditional beer, and nor should it. But it gives the consumer variety, and as such, it appeals to a broader demographic.”

Of the extensive options, visitors of Comerica Park can enjoy draft of Bell’s Oberon and Two-Hearted Ale, Founders All Day IPA and Motor City Brewing Works Ghettoblaster, among others. Bottle offerings include Atwater’s Cherry Wheat, Purple Gang Pilsner, Detroit Pale Ale and Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale, Founders Porter, and New Holland Sundog Amber Ale, to name a few.

Frank "Big Hurt" Thomas and friends

Baseball’s infatuation with craft beer can also be found outside of the ballpark. The Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday that the Berwyn City Council approved a redevelopment agreement for Big Hurt Brew House, a new microbrewery, sports bar and grill operated by Frank “Big Hurt” Thomas, the former slugger of the Chicago White Sox.

Thomas launched his line of specialty beers, known as Big Hurt Beer, in the fall of 2011, and currently offers an imperial lager and the recently released MVP, an American lager.

Big Hurt Brew House, which will plan promotions such as athlete appearances and broadcasts of sporting events, will brew on-site and plans to distribute to other retailers. The project is currently in the design stage and will be completed at the end of this year or early 2014.

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