Friday, July 30, 2010
What Kind of Beer is your Favorite Baseball Team?
In this blog post, I ask the question if your team was a beer which beer would best represent them. This list isn’t based entirely on talent; it’s based on the nature of their current players. Also, the region where the beer is produced will have little effect on which team the beer represents. However, I have found that in many cases the regional beer and the team are too similar to separate.
1. Baltimore: Pabst Blue Ribbon
The Baltimore Orioles are a well known team thanks to players like Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson, and Eddie Murray. They’ve also won three World Series the last one being in 1983. They had their Heyday, but now they pretty much suck. Pabst, very similarly, used to be one of the better beers around. It was everywhere, cheap, and not much worse than the other products out there. Today, there are still fans sipping Pabst through missing teeth remembering the good years; and there are still Orioles fans but they too are a dying breed. It certainly doesn’t help that they have to compete with two of the biggest teams in baseball, the newest/best up and coming team, and that Canadian team.
2. Boston: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
The Red Sox are one of those teams that you can’t separate from a regional beer. However, that regional beer also happens to be popular nationwide. Samuel Adams Boston Lager has been around for 25 years which is relatively old for a microbrewery but young for major brewery. Sam Adam’s is somewhere in between micro and major, whereas the Red Sox are certainly considered a major long-lived baseball team. The real comparison is that in the last 5-10 years Samuel Adam’s and the Red Sox have both made their marks in their respective fields. The Boston Lager is really a step up from the traditional lagers of Coors or Budweiser; and so recently it has been cool and popular to be a fan, just like recently it has been cool and popular to be a fan of the Red Sox. They are a talented team with some great players (Pedroia, Ellsbury), but they won’t ever be considered the “Kings” of baseball until they have a few more World Series Championships under their belt.
3. NY Yankees: Bud Light/Budweiser
The most popular beer in America has to represent the most popular team. Budweiser is the King of Beers and the Yankees are certainly the King of Baseball with roughly a quarter of all World Series Championships, 27. Bud Light is found everywhere in the country in every liquor store, grocery store, or wherever alcohol is sold. The same can be said for Yankee fans, the people love a winner. If you are a “real” beer lover Bud Light is probably not on your favorites list, but for everyone else it makes the cut. Similarly, most baseball fans from any state (with a major league team) other than New York probably don’t have the Yankees as a favorite either.
4. Tampa Bay: Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale
When one thinks of a new up-and-coming baseball team the Tampa Bay Rays usually come to mind. When one thinks of one of the new up-and-coming breweries Avery is typically just about at the top of the list. Ellie’s Brown Ale is sweet and nutty and really just a fun, drinkable beer. The Rays are a young team filled with future superstars (who hopefully won’t end up leaving for Boston or New York) that over the past few years have been a very fun and entertaining team to watch. Those who have watched the Rays typically like the Rays and those that have tried Ellie’s Brown find it virtually impossible to resist. It’s magnetism or maybe mind-warping!!!
5. Toronto: Moosehead Lager
The only Canadian team deserves the largest Canadian owned brewery and Moosehead lager is the only beer I’ve had from Moosehead. Canada’s three largest breweries (LaBatt, Molson, and Sleeman) are foreign owned, so Moosehead is the largest 100% Canadian brewery. The Blue Jays are the only 100% Canadian owned club in baseball now that the Expos have moved to DC. The Moosehead Lager is a pretty typical lager beer similar to Coors and Budweiser. It is good on occasion but nothing too special and possibly fading away, and that pretty much represents the Blue Jays.
1. Chicago White Sox: Tommyknockers Butt Head Bock
The White Sox represent big, beefy, possibly Roid induced, power guys (think: Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko), and of course the White Sox have to be characterized by their manager Ozzie Guillen. They are consistently a good team and no one is surprised to see them in the playoffs. So the beer that best represents the White Sox has to be good, powerful, and a little bit crazy. The Butt Head Bock form Tommyknockers is sweet, rich, and a little crazy on the pallet but it’s also 8.2% ABV. So this beer like the White Sox has some serious punch to it.
2. Cleveland: Guinness
Cleveland has some serious Katy Perry issues “They’re Hot than they’re Cold”, and they’ve had some great players that they never seem to hold on to. The most memorable Indians for most are of course: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen (Wild Thing), and Wesley Snipes. Major League made an okay team a popular team. Guinness is an okay beer made popular by great commercials and its varied use i.e. Black and Tans, Irish Car Bombs, and of course the Guinness Float. Guinness is a great mixer and a popular choice thanks to superior promotion, but it’s just not quite good enough to stand on its own.
3. Detroit: Deschutes Obsidian Stout
In the past five years the Tigers have been one of those teams that at any moment could be the best. The Tigers are packed with big, scary pitchers (José Valverde, Justin Verlander, etc.) and big scary hitters (Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, etc.). They have a lot of talent and power but maybe just a little over shadowed by their division and some of their rivals. The Obsidian Stout from Deschutes is a very good tasty stout, but it too is over shadowed by some of the more popular beers from Deschutes like their Mirror Pond Pale Ale and the Cascade Ale. Obsidian Stout has a 6.4% ABV, which is quite high for a stout. So like the Tigers, Obsidian Stout is strong, powerful, and has a lot of talent.
4. Kansas City: Rolling Rock
The Royals haven’t been good in a minute! They’ve definitely had their moments in the past, but all around the Royals are a pretty lack luster team. What they have going for them is a great name, good colors, and a first-class logo. Rolling Rock is one of those beers that’s just not very special. What Rolling Rock has going for them is their 30 racks that are now just as cheap as Keystone Light, PBR, and Natty Light. Rolling Rock’s advantage over these other cheap beers comes from a good logo and good tradition. Both the Royals and Rolling Rock have been around for awhile and they both stay interesting even if they aren’t that good.
5. Minnesota: Full Sail Amber Ale
Minnesota has a great fan base and a very good team. In the past decade they’ve only had one losing season, 2007. It’s tough not to be a fan when they have players like Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau always in contention for AL MVPs, Gold Gloves, and Silver Slugger awards. Full Sail Amber Ale is one of the better distributed microbrew beers. They have a large fan base and for good reason. Full Sail Amber has won heaps and heaps of awards including 14 gold medals from various competitions 12 of which have come from the World Beer Championships since 1994. The Twinkies and Full Sail Amber are perennial winners and know how to keep their fans happy.
1. LA Angels: Leinenkugels Summer Shandy
One of the better “summer” beers around is perfect for the best summer team of the past five years. During the summer months throughout the last 5 years the Angels won 60.4 percent of their games with a 250-164 record. Moreover, the Angels are a very entertaining baseball team; might I remind you of the one of the greater albeit nonconventional baseball movies of our time… Christopher Lloyd, Joseph-Gordon Levitt ring a bell? Summer Shandy is also a refreshing twist from the norm. It’s a lighter beer with a natural lemonade flavor. The Angels and Summer Shandy are out of the ordinary but extremely talented and refreshing at the peak of their season.
2. Oakland: Odell Easy Street Wheat
The A’s are good. They’ll have ten winning seasons followed by maybe two or three losing seasons and then ten winning again. They are just an exceptionally reliable and complete franchise good any time of the year. Odell’s Easy Street Wheat is good at any time and in any situation. It’s just strong and dark enough for a cold winter day, it’s light enough for a summer afternoon, and you put an orange in it you got breakfast. Easy Street like The A’s is constantly reliable.
3. Seattle: Twisted Pine Honey Brown Ale
The Mariners are the best team to never make it to the World Series. In 2001 they had a 116 win season! They’ve also had players like Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, and Alex Rodriguez (before he became a douche bag). They’ve had some awesome talent and it’s surprising they haven’t quite made it. Twisted Pine Brewery has some serious talent and great creativity. They have a lot of things going for them, but they haven’t quite made something that’s really taken over the fans. However, they are certainly capable. I believe the Honey Brown Ale from Twisted Pine, which has received Bronze from the GABF, will help make Twisted Pine more of a contender. I also believe Ichiro still has enough in him to take the Mariners to greatness.
4. Texas: O’Doul’s
The Rangers may be good this year, but they’ve never even made it to a League Championship Series. They look like a major league baseball team but I’m really not too positive they are. The Rangers have been around since 1961 and haven’t really accomplished anything. The best comparison to a beer has to be O’Doul’s “The Premium Non-Alcoholic Beer Beverage.” O’Doul’s looks and tastes like beer but doesn’t accomplish the desired result. Might as well be drinking milk, unless its chocolate milk that’s a totally different story.
1. Atlanta: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
The Braves have been a very successful team especially in the last twenty years. They dominated in the 90’s despite only winning one World Series (out of the 5 they were in!), and today they are a perennial threat to take a playoff spot. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale also had a reign of power in the early 90’s, winning the gold medal at the GABF in 90 and 92 for the Classic English Pale Ale and then 93-95 in the American Pale Ale category. Although no longer dominate as they once were, the Braves and Sierra Nevada are both highly respected and never taken lightly.
2. Florida: Alaskan Amber
The Florida Marlins is the best expansion team of the last two decades. They’ve won two World Series since joining the Major Leagues in 1993. Yet, nobody goes to their games! Alaskan Brewing Company has been a very successful brewery throughout their history. The Alaskan Amber has won more than 30 awards over the past 23 years, and like the Marlins not many visit this brewery. Alaskan Brewing Company is located in Juneau, Alaska and only accessible by sea or air. However, they have become a very popular brewery by shipping their product to every continental 48 state. Now if only the Marlins could somehow distribute and show off their talent…oh wait they do go on road trips.
3. NY Mets: Redhook Long Hammer IPA
Redhook is a microbrewery with a pretty far reach. It originated in Washington where they quickly expanded to two locations in the Seattle area. It has since opened a brewery in New Hampshire. The Mets are a popular team to cheer for because they are overshadowed by the Yankees, which makes them perennial underdogs. Consequently they are a pretty well developed team, with a solid fan base. The Long Hammer IPA from Redhook is a very popular microbrewery beer that despite coming from the Pacific Northwest (where there is a lot of competition) has a thriving and spreading fan base.
4. Philadelphia: New Belgium Fat Tire
The Phillies have a lot of history and in just about every decade they have one or two great teams. They are a classically good franchise with talented players on every roster. New Belgium Brewery is the most famous Colorado microbrewery for good reason. They have great classic beers like Fat Tire (their original) and they’re always releasing new winners just about every year. There is no doubt that they will continue to be competitive and popular as long as they don’t sell out. One of the positives of the Phillies is that they haven’t quite become arrogant, money grubbers like the Yankees or Red Sox; they’re still a little pure.
5. Washington: Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Beer
The Nationals is the “newest” team in the Major Leagues, and well technically they aren’t new because they are just the Expos moved with a different name. However, they are new to DC as of 2005 and most know very little about them. Really the only reason anyone knows of their existence this year is because of Stephen Strasburg. 312 Urban Wheat Beer from Goose Island brewery is famous for one very big reason, Barack Obama. The only reason people have become familiar with this Chicago beers existence is because it’s one of Barack’s favorite beverages.
1. Chicago Cubs: Coors Light
The loveable losers describes Coors Light perfectly just as it describes the Cubs. Coors Light has never been more than the second most popular beer company. The Cubs haven’t been the best team in baseball for more than 100 years. Coors Light has a huge market and a lot of fans but Bud Light still beats them out as the dominate beer in America. The Cubs have a huge fan base and they have a lot of good teams, but whenever you think they’re the best history tells us they’re no better than 2nd.
2. Cincinnati: Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale
The Reds have hitting homers mastered. They are arguably the best offensive team and it could have something to do with their tiny park. The 2000’s (nils?) were rough for them but in the 90’s and 80’s they really packed some heat. Finally they seem to be getting back in the swing of things. The Indian Brown Ale maybe too good for the Reds right now, but I think the Red’s might be able to live up to this comparison. The Indian Brown Ale is a hybrid between a Scottish Ale and an Indian Pale Ale. It’s a crazy powerful combination similar to power hitters in a tiny ballpark. Fireworks!
3. Houston: Rogue Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red
The Astros were a very solid team in the 90’s and have had their moments in the 2000’s. St. Rogue Red won just about every award in the late 90’s and have stayed steadily competitive. St. Rogue is unique for its roasty and hoppy flavor with a red color. More importantly though, the Rogue logo character kind of looks like Billy Wagner rockin a mullet and the logo also has a red star prominently on every label.
4. Milwaukee: Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale
The Brewers are lead by young powerful players (Braun, Weeks, Fielder, and Hart) that have brought this team to the fringe of success. It’s inevitable that if these young players remain in Milwaukee they’re going to have some very successful seasons ahead of them. Big Sky Brewing Company out of Montana is a young brewery but with a lot of talent. Soon they will be bringing home awards if they continue to progress. Moose Drool Brown Ale is already a well developed beer and has become the most popular craft beer in Montana with a bright future still ahead of it. Moose Drool is a hoppy dark beer but still easy to drink, which reminds me of how Prince Fielder is big and powerful but the guys also got some wheels.
5. Pittsburgh: Keystone Light
The Pirates are so BAD! They haven’t had a winning season since 1992. So it was a no brainer to match them up with the worst beer around, Keystone Light. Keystone Light is literally the leftovers from Coors Light re-brewed. Now if you don’t really like baseball the Pirates could be fun to watch, and if you don’t really like beer or if you’re already really “deep” Keystone gets the job done. However, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog if either of those were the case. The bottom line is that Key-light and the Pirates both suck.
6. St. Louis: Stone Brewery Arrogant Bastard
The team with the second most World Series wins deserves a prominent, popular beer to represent them. They also deserve a beer that expresses how great they are even if others don’t give them the attention. The Cardinals are a very popular team, but imagine if they were on the East Coast how much more publicity and popularity they’d have. The Cardinals and the fans believe they’ve been a little neglected and don’t receive the amount of attention they deserve…and they’re probably right. Stone Brewery’s Arrogant Bastard states in its description that they are the best around and everyone else is probably not sophisticated enough recognize it. Arrogant Bastard and Stone Brewery are very popular, but being a microbrewery limits their outreach, publicity, and therefore their popularity.
1. Arizona: Kona Pipeline Porter
The Diamondbacks broke on to the scene in 1998 and by 1999 they had clinched the division title. They have made the playoffs 4 times in their 12 seasons with a World Series Championship in 2001, and they have had a winning record 7 of those 12 seasons. Needless to say, they’ve proved themselves as contenders from the get go. Kona Brewing Company established in 1998 (like the D-Backs) from those little Islands out west. You wouldn’t expect a microbrewery from Hawaii to get a fan base and spread as quickly as Kona did. Pipeline Porter is a dark smooth beer that has a powerful coffee flavor. Pipeline Porter like the Diamondbacks will never be considered sleepers.
2. Colorado: Left Hand Milk Stout
The Colorado Rockies over the past 5 years have been serious contenders for playoff spots. Their 2007 run to the World Series is one of the most memorable and exciting moments in baseball from the last decade. They may have once been a smaller non-threatening team but that is quickly changing. The Milk Stout at Left Hand Brewing Company is a sweet, milky stout that may appear unthreatening at first, but it brings some power. The same year the Rockies made their run to the World Series, Left Hand’s Milk Stout got the Silver at the GABF. Left Hand had been around for awhile quietly waiting to make their mark and now they’re becoming perpetual winners at the Great American Beer Festival.
3. LA Dodgers: Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber Lager
The Dodgers are a historically good team, but what they are probably most famous for their move in 1958 from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. The Dodgers spread America's sport to the West Coast. Flying Dog Brewery also made a pretty historic move in 2008 from Colorado to Maryland. They helped spread the microbrewery (western dominated) out East. The Dodgers are almost always a good team, but when they have an off year they stay in the lime-light with some interesting characters, Manny to name one. Old Scratch Amber Lager is a perennial winner at the GABF, but what really draws the consumer in is their artwork. Old Scratch has a Hunter S. Thompson inspired logo of two flea-like dogs staring crazily at each consumer. Trippy!
4. San Diego: Lagunitas IPA
The Padres are not a consistent team at all, one year they’ll be good the next lousy. The best way to describe this team is unpredictable. They play a very classic low scoring style of baseball, relying on their pitchers and defense to battle it out. Lagunitas IPA is a hoppy and malty beer, which is a little counter intuitive but also the best way to explain it. At first, it’s hoppy and then sweet and malty. The hops and the malt are battling for dominance and the winner is your taste buds.
5. San Francisco: Bridgeport IPA
The Giants have been around for a very long time, and they’ve been good the majority of those years. Bridgeport IPA has won its fair share of awards, and Bridgeport Brewery is Oregon’s oldest craft brewery, established in 1984. What really relates the Giants and this beer is their vibe and the environment they both emit. The San Francisco Giants are kind of a laid back but powerful team chillin' out max in the Golden City. Bridgeport IPA has a floral, fruity taste with a punch provided by 5 different types of hops emitting a glorious golden glow. They were made for each other!