Walk up the first base side of the 100 level at ATT Park and you spot the premium brew stands every once in a while. Sierra Nevada. Heineken. Anchor Steam. Blue Moon. Meh. Better than the alternatives but nothing to really pen the proverbial letter home (or beer review) about.
Turn the corner towards the outfield and your appraisal of the park shifts more positive immediately. For one, you’re looking out at the bay, down at McCovey Cove. And then you scan left and you get a view like the cameraphone snapshot above. Does it really matter what beer you have in your hand when appreciating that view?
If you’re still here, you agree that yes, it does matter. So continue around to the outfield, where the best food options are. Chowder bowls, crab sandwiches, bbq bowls… and Fat Tire Amber Ale. Some people like this beer, so that’s good. Some people also find it really dusty in a bad way. Luckily Lagunitas IPA is only down the stairs. And rumors of Shocktop in section 103 abound.
You can get a decent beer at ATT Park, if you try.
Or you can get some of the best beers the bay area has to offer if you just arrive a little early and enter the park through the Public House entrance. And you can take the drink to your seat if you ask for a plastic cup.
Go to the park-side bar, and this is the tap list you encounter. Once your eyes glaze over in weak-kneed anticipation of your first order, you starting planning your second and third and wondering how long you can stay in the bar before you go into the game. Here’s the tap list for one of the two bars in the Public House:
Lost Abbey Witches Wit
Highwater Tom Cherry Bomb
Vinta Wyld Pale
Victory Prima Pils
Anchor Liberty Ale
Marin Brewing Orange & Black
Sierra Nevada Ovila Saison
Drake’s Aroma Coma IPA
Lagunitas Lil Sumpin’ Wild
Stillwater Debutante Saison
Ballast Point Barmy Ale
Avery Ellies Brown
Russian River Blind Pig IPA
Northcoast Old Rasputin (nitro)
With (a little) help from our friends, we can report that the Aroma Coma IPA, Barmy Ale, Blind Pig IPA and the Deputante are all excellent beers. Excellent, excellent beers. Worth recommending to anyone. The Aroma Coma, in particular, has a beautiful smell that leads right into a tasteful blend of bitter and sweet. Drake’s is right down the road in San Leandro and their brewery is worth a yearly pilgrimage, really. The Rasputin also deserves special notice, with the nitros tap making it nice to look at and very smooth to drink.
Amazingly, the Orange and Black was also worth attention. Amazingly, because it sounded a little cheesy at first. It was brewed last year to commemorate the Giants’ run. Orange zest was somehow involved. But this black lager did not have an overpowering orange taste. The combination of stout-like taste with slight hints of orange flavor, without the heaviness of a full stout…
The place is beautiful. If you get tired of the beer selection at either of the two main bars, there are always the bottles: AleSmith and Green Flash from San Diego, Allagash from Portland Maine, Avery from Boulder, FiftyFifty from Truckee, and Jolly Pumkin from Dexter Michigan. So. Many. Good. Beers.
You might even forget to go to the game.