Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Real All-Star Line-up

We've been talking beer and baseball here lately, both subjects near and dear to the heart at Beerjanglin'. With today's announcement of the 2007 All-Star game rosters, it's only right that we mention a place that has quite an All-Star (beer) line-up of its own: Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. If you are going to pay through the nose for a ballpark beer, it might as well be for a good one. Much as we love those souvenir 16 oz. Bud Light aluminum bottles with the team logo on the side, if we're paying $7 or $8 for a beer, we prefer to enjoy drinking it. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with gazing drunkenly at a pyramid of empty bottles with snazzy graphics and realizing you just spent $88 to create a recyclable work of modern art, but there are better ways to waste your cash, especially at "The Bank."

Citizens Bank is one of the new retro-styled ballparks that have become almost the norm since Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in Baltimore way back in 1992. It gets almost all of the
details right, although it's pretty obvious that even after moving back the fences after the 2005 season, the power alleys are still a bit too hitter friendly. The city of Philadelphia's decision to put all of their major professional sports venues in one sprawling complex outside of downtown means that it can't have the spectacular views of, say, McCovey Cove at San Francisco's AT&T Park or our favourite, PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Those are small quibbles, though, and we loved this stadium from the first time we saw it. In fact, we were there for the second regular season game ever played there, and have continue to be impressed through our handful of subsequent visits. The site lines are good, the seats are comfortable and there are plenty of good eats (we recommended the Philly cheesesteak from Tony Luke's with sharp provolone - we'll pass on the Cheese Whiz, thanks). Tony Luke's is a part of Ashburn Alley, which runs the full length of the outfield and is named after legendary Phillies broadcaster and former centerfielder Richie Ashurn. Among the other notable attractions of Ashburn Alley are Bull's BBQ (partly owned by former Phil Greg Luzinski, and their answer to Boog's Barbecue in Baltimore), Harry the K's Bar and Grille, built into the base of the scoreboard, and an exposed visitor's bullpen, which allows the Phillies notoriously polite and respectul fans to hurl verbal abuse upon helpless opposing relief pitchers for three hours every game day. But what may be most impressive of all is the beer selection. Philadelphia has earned a reputations over the past decade plus as one of the best beer cities in the country, and the draught list at the ballpark would stack up quite favourably with many beer bars. Local breweries are well represented, as well as some nice selections of more widely available beers. When we visited on a warm, sunny day in mid April, we enjoyed an old favourite, Victory Hop Devil, and also were quite impressed by our first experience with Flying Fish Extra Pale Ale. At $6, both were fairly reasonably priced, at least by ballpark standards. The baseball wasn't bad either.

Here's a fairly current list of the available beers at Citizens Bank:

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
Stoudt's American Pale Ale
Flying Fish Extra Pale Ale

Dock Street Amber

Victory Hop Devil

Yards Philly Pale Ale

Troegs Sunshine Pils

Sly Fox Pikeland Pils

Otter Creek Copper Ale

Wolaver's Pale Ale

Sam Adams Summer Ale

Sam Adams Boston Lager

Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat


Red Bridge (Gluten free lager from A-B)

Anchor Steam




1 comment:

DG Dunford said...

The Yards Philly Pale Ale is Phi-nominal.

Do you see what I did there?