Boasting over 60 local craft beers, Petco Park is one of the nation’s top baseball stadiums to a grab a brew and enjoy the surroundings, and hopefully the play on the field as well. With that said, there have been some noticeable changes from last season’s offerings.
Alpine, Green Flash, and Mission breweries have been wiped from the map and replaced with the ever-expanding Constellation Brands. Case in point: the best place to find a beer last season was the Craft Pier, where a thirsty fan would find nine different brands of local beer on draught, including Alpine Windows Up and Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Stout. Perched above right-center field and under the sun, it’s the perfect place to meet friends and share a pint or two while catching the game and maybe a home run ball. Only one company is on tap now: Ballast Point.
Ballast Point, as most know, was bought for a record $1 billion in late 2015 by Constellation Brands. Even in beer, San Diego fans aren’t surprised anymore when their bright stars sign big contracts and join another team. Constellation’s other brands – Pacifico, Corona, Modelo – have also gained a larger footprint in the stadium, while two Ballast Point Sculpin IPA bars have also popped up.
Below is a breakdown of what’s available this season at Petco Park:
Rookie to watch
The one newcomer for 2018 is North Park-favorite Thorn Brewing who rolled out a new production facility in mid-2017. Barrio Lager, Rock the Pale, Relay IPA, and Foreplay Blonde 12 oz. cans are in the well-stocked fridges inside Seaside Market. Another neighborhood favorite, Resident Brewing, promises to have a successful sophomore season at Petco. With the best/only juicy IPA in the park, Chasing Citra will give the haze-crazed their much needed fix along with Perky Blonde and the mosaic-laden Urbanite IPA.
Most Valuable Pint
For another year, Pizza Port offers the best value in the park. One of the trusty veterans of San Diego beer, Kook 8.5% double IPA, 16 oz. cans cost $11.50. There are only a few double IPAs in the whole stadium – Karl Strauss Big Barrel, Stone Ruination, Coronado Idiot – but no other come in the 16 oz. format. All three main formats edged up this year by about 75 cents – 16 oz. cans, 20 oz. draft for $13.75, and 22 oz. bottles for $17.50. Prices are standardized throughout the park, so don’t bother scouting amazing steals.
The nexus of the universe between beer and baseball resides at .394 bar and restaurant on the 1st base terrace. At the shrine to Tony Gwynn, no offering is more sacred than AleSmith .394 Pale Ale, named for his 1994 career-high batting average. (Baseball trivia: 1941 is the last time a player posted a higher season mark, San Diego-native Ted Williams.) AleSmith lightens its offerings this year, replacing malt-forward Anvil ESB and heavy-slugger Speedway Stout with the Sublime collaboration Mexican Lager and Orange X.
Mike Hess and Coronado took the offseason to examine their game and change their approach – drastically. Mike Hess has called up their San Diego-style Solis IPA, Steel Beach Lager, and Into the Sunset Blood Orange IPA. In turn they left behind Claritas Kolsch and one of the only tart options in the park, My Other Vice Berliner. Coronado Brewing follows last summer’s acquisition of Monkey Paw with more growth into East Village, adding a new cart on Craft Row behind 1st base. Along with reliable originals Orange Ave Wit and Mermaid Red, new beers CoastWise Session IPA and Seacoast Pilsner help carry their evolving brand.
Pizza Port’s main location, tucked next to the right field corner, is the best spot to get a fill of rotating choices. Opening day starters were Bacon and Eggs Imperial Coffee Porter, Fanny Pack Belgian-style Witbier, and Kickflip Kolsch. Throughout the season look for new kegs from the various Pizza Port pub locations.
With five locations, and 28 different beers, the Craft Beers of San Diego stalls should be a hit. However, almost all of their options are 22 oz. bottles. Herein lies the problem. At $17.50 each, the price per ounce is a bad bet (on draught, $13.75 gets you only 2 ounces less) for what is probably not as fresh. Compounding that, the serving logistics of finding, opening, then pouring each individual bottle into cups means a slow-developing play that may cause one to miss actual plays on the field.
For more game day options, here are the upcoming dates for Padres BeerFest:
- Friday, May 11 vs. Cardinals
- Friday, July 13 vs. Cubs
- Friday, August 17 vs. D-backs
- Friday, September 28 vs. D-backs