Beer Taps Give Insight into Tigers, Giants Fans


With the World Series ending last night in an extra inning 4-3 win by the Giants, it would be a great time to take a look at the beer drank by fans during the series.  The scene at AT&T Park in San Francisco has very much an upscale feel:

In a trendy, gourmet food-and-drink obsessed place such as San Francisco, a generic “cold beer” at AT&T Park often doesn’t cut the mustard as a companion to the stadium’s pungent garlic fries or a Caribbean-style concoction called the Cha-Cha Bowl. Revelers can choose between 56 different beers inside the waterfront ballpark.


At Thursday’s Game 2, hundreds of Giants fans waited in a long line to get into an adjoining ballpark bar that sells dozens of craft brews.


The offerings ranged from high-octane Belgian Trappist ales to a full suite of city-brewed Anchor Steam concoctions.


John Callaway, 50, stood crammed elbow-to-elbow at the bar with his friend Trisha Cruse, 53, sipping a hand-pumped, English-style cask bitters made special for the ballpark bar, the Public House, by San Francisco brewery Magnolia.


“I just like English bitters, and they are not easy to find, especially in a ballpark,” Callaway said, grabbing his filled cup and heading toward the ballpark turnstile in the back of the bar.

In Detroit, however, it’s a much different scene the the upscale variety available in San Francisco.

At Detroit’s Comerica Park, where only a couple of locally made beers are on tap, die-hard Motor City fans are just fine with the unpretentious, established American beer brands.


Detroit is a “blue-collar, domestic beer town” said Bob Thormeier, who oversees food and drink services at the Tigers ballpark. “The younger segment of people are going toward the (craft beer), but a lot of our fans around here grew up on domestic beers. They grew up on your Miller Lites, your Coors Lights, Bud Lights.”

With such a large number of beers on tap in San Francisco, it comes as no surprise that there are lots of craft beers.

San Francisco’s craft beer obsession is on full display at the Public House, a ball yard bar on Willie Mays Plaza just outside the stadium’s main entrance. The bar boasts 24 taps (that’s Mays’ retired number), but pours more than 60 different beers, with a focus on local breweries.


“Because San Francisco is such an eclectic city and so diverse, and with all the different foods, people just like selection and they just support local beers,” said Sandie Filipiak, AT&T Park’s director of concessions. “There’s room for a lot, and not every city is that way.”


Unlike bars outside other ballparks, the Public House allows fans to take their designer brews directly into the ballpark through the turnstile tucked away in the back. Fans can come back and forth during the game, trying a different ale, cider, porter or stout.


While the more adventurous local ales are being consumed in great quantity, the established brands like Coors and Budweiser still lead sales ballpark-wide, Filipiak said.


Detroit’s ball yard has more than 130 spots where fans can buy beer on a typical game day, and about 120 of them serve American beers that are household names.


While a micro-brewed, chocolate stout served by hand-pump may be a tad too “San Francisco” for Detroit fans, the Tigers’ ballpark does not completely leave craft beer aficionados wanting. Those who look can find about 10 places that sell craft beers, including Atwater, which is brewed at a spot across town, and Galesburg, Mich.-made Bell’s.


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