Hello baseball fans!
We are at the midpoint of the season, and it has been an interesting start. Despite the loss of some key talent, the Cardinals and the Yankees are still holding on to their divisions. No one at the start of the season saw the Astros being one of the best teams in the league, or the White Sox being one of the worst. The Royals are proving they were not a fluke, and the Cubs are hoping this is the year they can get back into playoff contention. Experts saw the NL dominated by three teams, but the AL was anyone’s to take. One thing that everyone knew was that this year, all eyes would be on our neighbor to the south Cincinnati for one week. That week begins today.
Great American Ballpark will be the center of the baseball world as it hosts the 2015 All Star Game. Cincinnati will be showcased in all her glory, and not just the stadium. We all know what an amazing city it is, but the thousands of people coming to visit may not see it that way. It was the second city founded in the state of Ohio, and the “Queen of the West” according to Longfellow. Before Chicago earned its reputation as a meat packing center, Cincinnati earned the nickname of “Porkopolis” because of its hog packing capacity. It is also the home of the first paid firefighting unit AND the first paid baseball team. That professional baseball team, the Red Stockings, evolved over the years into the team we see on the field today. And our own Dayton Dragon have had a hand in feeding that team some excellent talent.
Many people also don’t know the rich beer and cocktail history that Cincinnati enjoys. Chicago and Detroit get most of the press as hotbeds of Prohibition activity, but the Queen City had its own bootleggers and criminals making sure that a thirsty nation did not got wanting. Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch is from Cincinnati, one of the first breweries to start building the craft landscape we see today. There are going to be tens of thousands of thirsty visitors milling around Cincinnati this week, looking for delightful beers to enjoy. The focus is on beer, because that is what goes with baseball. I have searched through the local beer scene (and by local I mean Ohio), and came up with suggestions for each of the teams represented this week at the game. I paid particular attention to the beers available at Great American Ball Park, and Cincinnati itself, before looking for other breweries to highlight.
Since this week’s game is going to be at a National League stadium, we’ll let the away team go first. The teams are in order of their standings as of this writing, and the number after the team is how many players represent them in the All Star Game. An asterisk indicates a beer that can be found in Great American Ball Park.
New York Yankees (3) – Chickow! by Triple Digit Brewing (10% ABV, 28 IBU) is one of the heaviest hitters on this list. Which is fitting, because the Bronx Bombers are close to the top of the home run leading teams in the league.
Baltimore Orioles (4) – Based in LeBron territory, Akron’s B.O.R.I.S The Crusher by Hoppin’ Frog (9.4% ABV, 60 IBU) is an amazing Russian Imperial Stout, and another heavy hitter. It looks like you have to be to keep up in the AL East.
Toronto Blue Jays (3) – The Blue Jays have scored the most runs in baseball (470) at the break. They have been Rounding Third (Madtree (6.5% ABV, 51 IBU)) more than any other team in the bigs. And they are STILL third in their division.
Tampa Bay Rays (2) – The Columbus based Elevator Brewing’s Dark Force (5.9% ABV) came from out of nowhere in 2007 to win quite a few awards. The Rays can still take this division, but it is going to require some work.
Boston Red Sox (2) – The one exception to the Ohio rule. But not really. These boys of summer are sitting at the bottom of a tough division. *Sam Adams Summer Ale (5.3%, 7 IBU) can keep them company while they are down there.
Kansas City Royals (7) – Their fans are the kings of the ballot box. *Ermal’s Belgian Style Cream Ale by Warped Wing (5.4%, 20 IBU) has some similar qualities to Kansas City’s Tank 7 by Boulevard. And the can had a nice blue color, which their fans can appreciate.
Minnesota Twins (2) – I am not sure, but I think it is getting close to winter in Minnesota. Mt. Carmel’s *Nut Brown Ale (6.0%, 38 IBU) is a great beer to keep warm with, offering hints of maple syrup along with the rich brown ale.
Detroit Tigers (5) – Did you know that the state of Michigan produces the most blueberries in the United States? I am sure that Rivertown Brewing’s *Blueberry Lager (4.3%, 19 IBU) has more than a few of them in their fruit forward beer.
Cleveland Indians (1) – Jason Kipnis was a beast in May. The seasonal Lake Erie Monster by Great Lakes Brewing Company (9.1%, 80 IBU) is a very appropriate beer from his team’s city. It is an Imperial India Pale Ale with plenty of bite to it.
Chicago White Sox (1) – Elliot Ness was a federal agent from Cleveland that spent some time in Chicago, helping to bring down one of its most infamous citizens. Great Lakes Brewing Company brewed a delicious amber ale (6.1%, 27 ABV) in his honor.
Houston Astros (2) – When you think success in baseball, you think money. The Astros are taking *The Lesser Path (Blank Slate Brewing (6.5%, 70 IBU)) by being one of the best teams in baseball with the second lowest payroll.
Los Angeles Angels (2) – Californians seem pretty relaxed. A light sessionable sipper, Zen by Rhinegeist Brewing (4.8%, 45 IBU) is a perfect beer to kick back with while watching a baseball game.
Texas Rangers (1) – Is there any state that shows their independence like Texas? Divergent by Rivertown Brewing (3.8%, 10 IBU) is different, with sour fruit notes and a clean finish. It is a great beer to try if you have been considering sour beers, but just were not sure.
Seattle Mariners (2) – Coffee and Seattle go hand in hand. Named after the bridge connecting Cincinnati to Covington, KY, Roebeling Porter by Rivertown Brewing (7.9%, 35 IBU) uses local coffee and vanilla to enhance the roasted notes in the porter.
Oakland Athletics (2) – Fifty West Brewing created *Wire to Wire Wheat (4.8%, 18 IBU) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Reds last World Series victory. Who did they beat in that series? I’ll let you guess…
And now, the home team!
Washington Nationals (2) – A capital beer for the capitol’s team. *Leopold by Listermann Brewing (6.2%) is a blonde ale with Belgian spice notes. After a rocky start, they have finally climbed back to the top of their division.
New York Mets (2) – When I was doing research for another project, I discovered near where the Mets played there was a brewery dedicated to pale ales. *Altered Pale Ale by Christian Moerlein (4.3%) is a nod to that brewery.
Atlanta Braves (1) – I love peanut butter porters. Georgia grows the most peanuts in the United States. Is there any other beer for them than Nut Case by Listermann Brewing (5.0%)? If there was some sort of Waffle House beer (Waffle House is based in Georgia), that would be a close second.
Miami Marlins (2) – While doing research, I discovered that Dortmunder beers go very well with fish. Dortmunder Gold by Great Lakes Brewing Company (5.8%, 30 IBU) is one of the better examples of that style. It also represents the city the Marlins beat to get their first World Series win. They have that going for them.
Philadelphia Phillies (1) – When you are at the bottom of the league, you really could use a boost. Fortunately, Madtree Brewing has something you can use: a Lift (4.7%, 11 IBU). Light and delicious, you can enjoy a few of them in one sitting.
St. Louis Cardinals (6) – The entire division is looking to take over your throne. You have claimed it five of the last ten years. For that I give you Warped Wing’s Mr. Mean (9.7%, 96 IBU). It is named for the 13th album released by the Ohio Players. Lucky number for you?
Pittsburgh Pirates (4) – You may want to explore a different classically brewed amber lager while you are in town. Hudepohl’s Amber Lager (4.7% ABV) is from a brewery established just twenty six years after Yuengling. Try it…you’ll like it.
Chicago Cubs (2) – It is crazy that this team is angling for a playoff position after last season. *PsycHOPathy by Madtree Brewing (6.9%, 70 IBU) is an amazing India Pale Ale, challenging Truth for the best IPA to come out of Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Reds (3) – Was there really any other choice? Rhinegeist Brewing Hustle (5.4%, 35 IBU) was brewed for baseball season and given the nickname of one of the most beloved Reds players of all time. It is a nice rye spice pale ale that hits all
Milwaukee Brewers (1) – Back to the classics for one of the big, German beer cities in the country. Over-The-Rhine Ale by Christian Moerlein (6.0%) shows off the German heritage of the area with a traditionally brewed ale. It harkens back to a time when generous hop profiles were needed for preservation, not just flavor.
Los Angeles Dodgers (5) – California grows the most strawberries in the United States. Which is why the seasonal Sol Drifter by Madtree (4.3%, 18 IBU) was selected for any Dodgers fans that may be heading to the Midwest.
San Francisco Giants (4) – When India pale ales were initially developed, they were highly hopped for long journeys. For the longest trip to Cincinnati (barely edging Seattle), we give you *Truth by Rhinegeist Brewing (7.2%, 75 IBU). Fresh beer for the end of an almost 2,400 mile journey.
Arizona Diamondbacks (2) – There are a wide range of flavors and great depth to Mystic Mama (7.0%, 130 IBU), a local favorite from Jackie O’s in Athens. And there are snakes on the can, which may have had more influence than I want to admit.
San Diego Padres (1) – If there is one thing I know about San Diego, it is sunny and 75 F at all times. Fathead Brewing has created Sunshine Daydream (4.9%), something light and easy to drink for looking out over the Ohio River. It is no Pacific ocean, but it still offers a nice breeze and a place to dip your toes.
Colorado Rockies (3) – Do you miss the mountains, Coloradans? Chomolugma by Jackie O’s (6.5%) derives its name from what the Tibetans call Everest. It is a delicious brown ale flavored with wildflower honey.
If you are looking for places to enjoy these beers while taking in the atmosphere of the All Star festivities, Holy Grail Tavern and Grill, Arnold’s Bar and Grill, the Moerlein Lager House are just few in the Cincinnati area with great food and some of the delightful beers mentioned. Have a great time this week on the historic banks of the Ohio River, and enjoy the efforts of the talented local brewers we have in the Buckeye State. Cheers!