Depending on your goals, Dodger Stadium is either a boom or a bust from a beer perspective.
If you are looking to alter your experience through the use of a society-approved liquid drug, then the stadium is ready to provide. Their prices and sizes are very pocket-friendly: you can get a 24-ounce ‘tall boy’ domestic draft beer for $10.25, which is better value than most stadiums provide. These are large beers for a good price.
If your aim is to drink the best-tasting beer that you might want to drink while facing the pitch, well then Chavez Ravine might have the worst beer selection in the bigs.
Any review assumes a position of authority, and all this author can say is that he’s soiffed a lot of mash-based bubbling alcoholic drinks and that his basic stance is craft-leaning. The basic tenets if Big Beer are easy to spot: Velocity and Mass Appeal. The basic tenets of craft beer are Uniqueness and Boldness. If you pick the side that desires unique, bold tastes, you’ll want craft beers at your ballpark.
I found few craft beers at the stadium in downtown Los Angeles.
You can’t count Shocktop or Blue Moon — they might be better than your traditional Coors Lights, but they are owned by the same company and therefore suffer from the save time- and cost-saving corner-cutting tactics as the other beers brewed by their company. The “Premium Beer” huts at Dodger Stadium boast Dos Equis and Hite. Foreign Big Beer does not usually count as craft, even if it might be a step above the “Alumitek” Bud Light cans that sat right next to them on the counter. You can pay extra to get into the Prime Ticket Club but then the best beers you’ll add to the list are two InBev global specials on tap: Stella Artois and Heineken. To recap: so far we have a choice between Budweiser, Hefe Budweiser, Korean Budweiser Dutch Budweiser and Mexican Budweiser. In a simpler time, that might suffice.
Today, there are too many craft beer aficionados to assuage with this selection. Of course, there are a few craft beers if you looked hard enough, but the reward didn’t quite match the effort.
For instance, you can walk all the way to the end of the Stadium Club Level to the Stadium Club TM, and you’ll be treated with Kona Longboard and DBA from Firestone Walker on two taps. There was a lonesome Pyramid Hefeweizen tucked behind a Heineken bottle, too. I saw a Gordon Biersch Mardzen in a bottle somewhere. There were rumors of Sam Adams on tap at the Carl’s Jr. After a full tour of the stadium, that was the best I could find. It doesn’t match up to the beer offered in San Francisco or San Diego. It didn’t even come close to the offerings at Citi Field in New York, which was a stadium dominated by beers distributed by Anheuser Busch.
I’ll drink a Kona Longboard lager, or a DBA from Firestone, sure. I won’t even complain that much about a GB beer, or one from Sam Adams. But if you make me walk to the farthest reaches of the park to find these beers, maybe then I’ll complain. And if they are the best craft beers that your park has to offer, well then I’ll dock your park a notch or two in the beer review.
But that’s just because I’m always on the lookout for new, unique, bold craft beers, and I feel like a baseball stadium is a perfect venue to continue such searches. Especially when, after I left the stadium, I easily found a couple Los Angeles craft beers at the local liquor store — the Dodgers don’t have to stock their Saison Extra, but another Brouwerij West beer, or even better, one from Eagle Rock Brewing, that would at the very least be a nod to the local craft scene, and maybe even enough to assuage serious Beer Tourists.
And there are Beer Tourists out there, I assure you. Beer sales overall are stagnant, but craft sales are up. The Dodgers would do well to broaden their appeal with just a few more selections in easy-to-find spots around the stadium.