Beer has been a part of America’s Pastime since before people were paying to sit in the stands to watch. Drinking culture has been thoroughly engrained in the sport of baseball, and it is one of the reasons that the sport has been able to grow to its current state. Long after players have been prohibited from playing the game while drinking, fans can still enjoy an afternoon at the ballpark while washing down a few cold brews. Today, baseball teams play in behemoth cathedrals to the game that were built with money from beer sales and in many cases a lot of help from taxpayers.
Not every stadium is equal when it comes to the quality of beer selection and the price at which that limited selection is available. While some stadiums offer visiting fans an opportunity to sip beers from around the globe, others offer little more than cheap domestic light beer and a few token options. Fan experience at the ballpark continues to be a factor influenced by the quality of concessions as well as the quality of play on the field. With fans paying more than ever to watch the game they love, making it easier for them to buy a round can get more people through the turnstile.
As the craft beer market continues to grow in North America, fans in attendance will demand more selection and quality in their ballpark beers. Some stadiums have chosen to proactively offer their fans a plethora of choices to satisfy even the pickiest hop snobs, but some of baseball’s biggest franchises have been slow to adapt. The days of the Beer and Whiskey League are gone, but the fact remains that the spectacle of the game of baseball can be greatly enhanced with a few beers.
*The list will be ranked on the average price of a beer of any size.
15 Yankee Stadium - New York Yankees - $6.00 - 12 oz
While Yankee Stadium offers fans of the Bronx Bombers beer at league average price, they are rated dead last according to the Washington Post’s 2014 survey. Of the 40 beers that are offered at the stadium, 21 of them sit at or below Beer Advocate’s “Poor” rating and only one with a “Good” rating. Their rate per ounce of beer is $.50, which is not a very good value especially considering their lack of quality options. The Yankees were lampooned last year for their substandard craft beer stand, where every beer offered was Miller owned, and half of the offerings weren’t actually beer.
14 U.S. Cellular Field - Chicago White Sox - $6.50 – 16oz
Last season, the Chicago White Sox seriously stepped up their beer selection when they added Revolution Brewing’s “Anti-Hero IPA” as well as a selection from Lagunitas Brewing Company. U.S. Cellular Field offers one of the most unique beer selections in the league, while giving fans beer for $.40 per ounce. The stadium also offers eight varieties from Leinenkugel’s including “Comiskey Ale,” named after the White Sox figurehead. Of the 64 varieties of beer offered within the stadium, 14 of them have attained the “Good” blessing from Beer Advocate.
13 Kaufman Stadium - Kansas City Royals - $6.50 – 16 oz
Kauffman Stadium may not have the expansive selection that other stadiums offer, but it makes up for it with a pretty good batting average of good beers. Fourteen of the 33 beer selections have received “Good” or better ratings, including the always outstanding Stone IPA. Beer is widely available throughout the stadium including brews from Samuel Adams and Leinenkugel’s. The Royals’ $.40 per ounce is about average for the league, which isn’t a terrible price to sip on “local” Anheuser-Busch swill.
12 Nationals Park - Washington Nationals - $6.50 – 16 oz
Thanks to the success of a craft beer stand during the 2013 season, the Washington Nationals expanded their 2014 options by opening “District Drafts” stands. These stands offer fans selections from local D.C. breweries and add more variety to the already impressive list of craft choices available. The Nationals offer 27 beers that have received a “Good” or better rating from Beer Advocate, including three “Outstanding” beers, the 60 Minute IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and Gonzo Imperial Porter. All of this, along with selections available for $.40 per ounce, makes a road trip to America’s Capital a good idea.
11 Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles Dodgers - $6.75 – 20 oz
The Los Angeles Dodgers have taken full advantage of the burgeoning craft beer scene in California to give their fans one of the most local centric beer selections in the league. Of course the ballpark staples like Coors, Miller, and Budweiser are served, but the real strength of the Dodgers selection is that the top three Stone Brewing selections rise above the rest. At $.34 per ounce the Dodgers, give their fans a relatively affordable price for beer, which should provide some relief in the sweltering summer heat of Los Angeles.
10 Camden Yards - Baltimore Orioles - $6.75 – 16 oz
Camden Yards rewards Orioles fans with a fantastic selection of local craft beers to choose from. Drawing from the rich brewing scene in Maryland and Delaware, the Orioles’ beer selection has options from in-city brewery Heavy Seas or a plethora from nearby Flying Dog Brewing. Twenty-three beers have been rated “Good” or better, and the park even has rotating cask-conditioned options—for when you want to get really fancy. All of this, along with major label beer available at a $.42 per ounce, gives fans a lot of options to choose which brew is best to wash down “Boog’s Barbecue.”
9 Busch Stadium - St. Louis Cardinals - $6.75 – 12 oz
The house that big beer money built may bear the name of a major beer label, but it respects the beer aficionado all the same. Rather than taunting their customers with a sharp palate using millions of dollars in Super Bowl advertising, the Cardinals give their fans a craft selection featuring a variety of Missouri brewed beers. Urban Chestnut Brewing offers several selections exclusively sold at the stadium, which gives fans a chance to experience some of the best beer Missouri has to offer. Unfortunately, fans must pay $.56 per ounce, even for lowly selections like Busch Light and Michelob Ultra.
8 Rogers Centre - Toronto Blue Jays - $6.82 – 14 oz
Baseball fans north of the border must deal with a lot of hardship when it comes to enduring a full season, and poor beer selection is just another everyday reality for Toronto Blue Jays fans. The Rogers Centre does not offer a single beer that qualifies as “Good” according to Beer Advocate. For a period, the stadium did not even serve Labatt’s products despite being founded by the Brewing Company. The Blue Jays cut ties with their first craft beer provider, Steam Whistle, just one year after bringing them into the stadium. Thankfully, the stadium still offers a solid beer like Labatt 50 at $.48 per ounce to get Blue Jays fans through the games.
7 AT&T Park - San Francisco Giants - $7.00 – 14 oz
You would expect the defending World Series champions in the heart of San Francisco to provide one of baseball’s best beer offerings, and the Giants live up to expectation. In addition to the “Excellent” Anchor Porter and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, AT&T Park offers fans 12 other “Good” or “Very Good” selections to choose from. This ballpark is heaven for fans of IPAs, but can be a rather expensive option for those that want affordable selections from major labels. Maybe it is the $.50 per ounce cost leaving a bad taste in Giants fans mouths rather than the Coors Light.
6 Turner Field - Atlanta Braves - $7.25 – 16 oz
While the Braves have put an entertaining product on the baseball field for more than two decades, they have definitely failed their fans with discerning taste in beer. Turner Field gives Braves fans only five beers which have met Beer Advocate’s “Good” rating. If it weren’t for the selections from Sweetwater Brewing, the stadium would be virtually bereft of tasty beverages. Luckily, Braves fans only have to pay slightly over league average, but even the $.45 per ounce price will not make Bud Light Lime go down any easier.
5 Wrigley Field – Chicago Cubs - $7.50 – 16 oz
Last year, the Chicago Cubs took strides to update Wrigley Field to the 21st Century by partnering with Goose Island Brewing to give craft beer to Cubs fans. With the outfield renovation expected to last past Opening Day, fans can sip on four beers from the local label, while watching another season of futility. Aside from the Goose Island offerings, the Cubs’ beer selection is downright dismal. With only 22 varieties of beer available in the stadium, the Cubs have one of the most limited beer selections in the league, and it costs them around $.47 per ounce.
4 Target Field - Minnesota Twins - $7.50 – 20 oz
The Minnesota Twins have fully embraced their state’s wonderful craft brewing tradition and have 14 beers that will not be found in any other stadium. 25 of the beers available at Target Field have been rated “Good” or better by Beer Advocate, and the majority of those come from within the state of Minnesota. Surly, Brewing and Summit Brewing have several of their best recipes on draft for fans to enjoy, but fans of major labels also have many varieties to choose from. The stadium even has a self-serve beer machine. With prices under the league average at $.38 per ounce, Twins fans have every reason to throw back a few.
3 Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia Phillies - $7.75 – 21 oz
The product on the field at Citizens Bank Park may not be the best, but the fans in attendance may not even realize that thanks to the great beer selection available. In addition to major labels available at the great price of $.36 per ounce, the Phillies have drawn heavily from local breweries to fill out their draft lineup. Selections from Troegs, Victory, Yards, Sly Fox, and local favorite Yuengling can be found in the stadium to pair alongside a cheesesteak or crab fries from Chickie’s and Pete’s. The baseball may not be great in Philadelphia this year, but the drinking certainly will be.
2 Fenway Park – Boston Red Sox - $7.75 - 12 oz
Fenway Park is one of the most hallowed grounds in all of sports and Red Sox fans pay a premium to enjoy a beer in that setting with the most expensive beer per ounce in the entire league. At $.65 per ounce, you might as well stay away from the major labels and shell out some extra cash for a Smuttynose Finestkind IPA or a Boston Lager from Samuel Adams. The stadium also serves Wachusett Brewing’s “Green Monsta,” which can be enjoyed from a view atop its namesake.
1 Marlins Park – Miami Marlins - $8.00 - 16 oz
At $8, Marlins Park is the most expensive ballpark in the MLB to buy a single beer. Although their $.50 per ounce rate isn’t the worst in the league, their lackluster beer selection is among the worst in the league. Luckily for Marlins fans, a variety of brews from Goose Island are available which counterbalances the absurdity of having something like Corona Light on tap. Other notable selections available at Marlins Park include Sweetwater’s 420 Extra Pale Ale and New Belgium’s Ranger.