Ballpark Beer Review: PetCo

A southpaw of suds.

Beer is worth traveling for. Most times its to your nearest bar with crafts on tap, but many times its to your nearest beer festival with brewers plying their wares.

Some times it’s worth traveling to a ballpark for a non-baseball-reason. Not all of the ballparks boast only mass-brewed urine waters. Your rare stadium makes beer a priority and features suds worthy of a pilgrimage.

San Diego’s PetCo Park is just one such stadium.

Perhaps there’s no better way of communicating PetCo’s beer prowess other than this analogy: The Budweiser of PetCo is Stone IPA. Yes, that’s citrus and pine with a dry finish instead of aroma-less alcoholic soda water with a dead finish. And every second tap in this ballpark offers the local Stone products, rated among the very best in American crafts.

But there’s another way to describe the heights that the beer selection at PetCo reaches. Try Neil the Beerman, who serves the brews at the Brickhouse Deli, the only concessions stand inside the Western Metal Supply Co. Building that stands in left field. Neil tweets about his beers, and they are worthy. Here are the 32 bottled beers that are available at his modest stand:

Tijuana Brewing Co Guera (bohemian pilsner)
Tijuana Brewing Co. Bufadora (bock style)
Stone IPA
Corona Light
Ballast Point Big Eye IPA
Ballast Point Calico Amber
Green Flash West Coast IPA
Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale
Fat Tire
Shiner Bock
Red Stripe
Landshark Lager
Alaskan IPA
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Lucky Budda (Chinese Lager)
Heineken Light
Guiness Black Lager
Widmer Hefeweisen
Blue Moon
Rolling Rock
St. Paulie Girl
Woodchuck Pear Cider

Yeah. It may not be the top 32 beers of all time, but it’s quite the list. Green Flash West Coast IPA is a top-three IPA according to this humble IPA lover. Perhaps only Firestone Double Jack IPA is a clear win over the Flash. My wife had the Lucky Buddha, but it was a let down, as the beer tasted like a bad version of Tsingtao. And as much as I love Ballast Point, their Sculpin IPA is the best offering from that brewery.

No matter. There were plenty of other options when we returned to visit Neil again. And again. And again. The high notes at this concession stand were well worth any walk around the stadium.

If you do find yourself on the other side of the stadium, however, fret not. In section 105 you’ll find the following beers on tap:

Coronado Brewing Co. Islander IPA
Coronado Orange Ave Wit
Ballast Point Yellowtail Pale
Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat
Knee Deep Immigration Red Ale
Knee Deep Beautiful Blonde Ale

The Coronado is a highly drinkable IPA, featuring orange and mint as the main accents. If it’s a little sweet in the middle, that’s a flaw that works fine at a ballpark along with salty, salty snacks.

The rest? Well, I’ll need to get back to PetCo to taste them all. And that might really be the most impressive aspect of the beer offerings at PetCo Park. If the whole region is worth visiting for the plethora of craft beer breweries (and the weather!), PetCo has proven itself a worthy destination on its own for sudsy sightseeing. Oh, and tell Neil that Eno sent you and he might just autograph a card of his for you.

Print This Post

Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.

18 Responses to “Ballpark Beer Review: PetCo”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. DbacksSkins says:

    It being San Diego, I’m kinda surprised there weren’t more Stone brews.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jeff says:

      Can’t think of any other Stone beer I would want to drink at a ballgame in the summertime. (Maybe the pale ale? I’ve never had it…) Stone makes a lot of heavy beers that are probably better suited for the time when other regions of the country experience winter – I’m particularly baffled that they release their indescribably awesome (and motor-oil-thick) imperial stout as a SUMMER seasonal.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Jonathan says:

    I’m dreading this ever getting done for Fenway. I love the place and all, but the beer is awful.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Jerry Meals says:

    This may be a dumb question, but doesn’t MLB require that all beer has to be 3.2% alc/v…Is the Western Metal Supply Company considered outside the ballpark?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Where did you hear such nonsense?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Kevin McReynolds says:

      The BudweiserMillerCoors beers at Petco Park are “stadium” style, aka 3.2%. Supposedly it’s to help keep a family atmosphere (or at least sell more cups of BMC). It’s nice that the craft beers aren’t watered down there.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. J-Dog says:

    The Safeco Field beer selection is pretty good too – I don’t know if the list is quite as long though.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • marc w says:

      Safeco’s got a decent selection, but it’s so spread out. You can’t go to one place and choose from 32. There may be 40 or so available, but you’d have to circle the stadium on each level to find them all.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. MikeS says:

    Most impressive.

    US Cellular has Blue Moon, Guinness, Stella Artois, Pilsner Urquel, Modelo, several Leinenkugel varieties, Goose Island 312, Land Shark and a few others on draft. They have “Beers around the world” with a couple dozen interesting beers in cans or bottles including Bell’s Oberon IIRC. And of course, more MGD/Lite than you can shake a stick at – but never too much to ignore.

    It’s nowhere near Petco’s list but it’s (almost) enough to distract me from the White Sox “offense.”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • scout1222 says:

      I hear you on that, which is why it’s wonderfully coincidental (or is it?) that we have such a great beer selection to enjoy while watching the Padres.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Seitz says:

    I don’t know that I’d compare a double IPA (Double Jack) to a regular IPA. Though Union Jack IPA is pretty solid in its own right. I’d put them in a different class of styles, usually differing by a good 3% of ABV or more.

    I’m kinda surprised I didn’t see one of the majors on that list, though I assume they’re available in the park. Good mix of high quality craft (Stone, Green Flash), stuff that people think is high quality craft even though it kinda sucks (Widmer, Blue Moon), and widely available stuff that even serious beer drinkers can enjoy (Sierra Nevada, Shiner).

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. DD says:

    Wow, great list. Keep these coming if at all possible.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. AK707 says:

    AT&T is also top notch for its featuring Gordon Beirch as their staple

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Bryan says:

    Here is a link to an article on craft beer at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. That’s a pretty damn good selection for a ballpark. Thanks for the write-up.

    What’s the price range like?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Baseball_Beer_Bacon says:

    Given that there are 54 operational brewhouses in San Diego (with more on the way), I’m a little dismayed that there aren’t MORE breweries represented at Petco. But I live here and can brewery hop at my leisure when not at the park.

    Price range at Neil’s stand (left field) is about $7. There are 2 other “Ballpark Brews” (1st base side/Toyota Terrace) with an identical lineup. The few stand alone carts, you mentioned are priced at $10 (but pours are larger than 12oz size). All stands you listed are on the main concourse level, but there are a couple other brews not at these stands-you have to look for them, however. Alesmith’s Nautical Nut Brown, for instance, is in the PCL/Hodad’s restaurant.

    By the way, Neil rocks! My seats are on the 1st base side, but he’s always so nice and greets me by my name that he’s my first stop (and maybe 2nd, 3rd,…)

    Vote -1 Vote +1