Suds and Studs: A Different Kind of All-Star Team

The best and brightest in baseball players are headed to CitiField today to represent their teams and battle for home field advantage. What this post wonders is what it would look like if it were beers headed to an All-Suds game instead.

American League
LF Mike Trout, Angels => Pliny the Younger (Russian River) sits atop the California leaderboard, and this well-balanced triple IPA is aptly named to represent the young, versatile star in Southern California — it’s very hoppy and very sweet, but well put together as a whole much like Trout is powerful and fast, but his overall game defies easy categorization.
2B Robinson Cano, Yankees => We’ll reach down into Pennsylvania for Cowbell (Vodoo Brewing) — that state won’t need to send a beer otherwise, and there’s something so right about mixing a sweet milk stout with the sweet swing of that second-sacker in the Bronx. Unless all that sweet swinging has made you bitter, and you’d rather take the Nugget Nectar, a hoppy imperial red from Troegs Brewing Company.
3B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers => This one is a slam dunk. Hopslam Ale has the perfect name to accompany Cabrera’s game, it’s from Michigan, and it’s appropriately… number two overall.
1B Chris Davis, Orioles => I haven’t had this porter, but Sweet Baby Jesus! is a porter from DuClaw Brewing and also something people say when they see Davis’ home runs leave the yard. So, even though it’s only a six-win beer, we’ll take it.
RF Jose Bautista, Blue Jays => Are you more of a Smashbomb Atomic IPA person, or Boneshaker IPA one? Doesn’t matter, both of these five-win beers are from Ontario and are correctly-named to represent their slugger at the game.
DH David Ortiz, Red Sox => Ortiz only got better as he grew older, so taking some cellar-aged 10th Anniversary Utopias from Sam Adams works out. And not only because that beer sits atop the Massachusetts leaderboard.
CF Adam Jones, Orioles => Just to turn the Erik Bedardian sized knife in the backs of Mariners’ fans, we’ll pick a beer from the Northwest to represent the Baltimore slugger. The Abyss from Deschutes is a great double stout from Oregon, and it, too, is well worth enjoying on the east coast.
C Joe Mauer, Twins => We had a good run of well-named beers, but there’s no way around what’s coming from Minnesota. You see, Surly Brewing dominates the beers from that state, and they name their beers… in a surly manner. So we’ll go with Abrasive Ale, just because it’s a ten-win beer. It’s not like Furious or Darkness would fit Mauer any better.
SS J.J. Hardy, Orioles => The Orioles are taxing their surrounding region with all their excellence. But since J.J. Hardy has come back from the brink a few times already, we’ll just take Resurrection, a Belgian Dubbel from The Brewer’s Art in Maryland, to represent the shortstop.
SP Max Scherzer, Tigers => Bell’s Brewery is dominant in Michigan, and rightfully so. Max Scherzer is also dominant in Michigan. He has two different-colored eyes, and Bell’s has their Two-Hearted Ale. Match, made.

National League
2B Brandon Phillis, Reds => Ohio is not known for its craft beer nationally, but a few good breweries still ply their trade so close to the heart of the bourbon world. We’ll take Head Hunter IPA from Fat Head’s Brewery, even though we want to be clear we are *not* making any sort of comment on the recent Reds/Pirates dustups on the matter.
RF Carlos Beltran, Cardinals => Is Carlos Beltran artisan, or more of the people? We could take Barrel Aged Abraxas, the best Imperial Stout that Missouri has to offer, or we can reach past that bottle to bring Tasmanian IPA from Schlafly, the craft brewery that first comes to mind when you think of St. Louis. Notice I said ‘craft brewery.’
1B Joey Votto, Reds => Joey Votto is so good that he transcends geography. We’ll go right to the top of the leaderboards to get Heady Topper from Vermont to represent the Reds’ heady slugger.
3B David Wright, Mets => David Wright is all that is right with the world. And so it makes sense that Connecticut’s leader, Fuzzy Baby Ducks IPA by New England Brewing, is the beer to represent him at the All-Suds Game. That’s the kind of beer you’d want your daughter to marry.
LF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies => Carlos Gonzalez is best enjoyed in a home game where his power plays up and that sweet mix of defense and speed all combine at the right levels. Left Hand’s Milk Stout is best enjoyed in a bar off the nitro cask, or at the very least, poured straight down the middle out of a nitro can. That’s how all the elements play together best.
C Yadier Molina, Cardinals => Yadier Molina is a tank. Missouri’s Boulevard Brewing makes an excellent saison named Tank Seven. Enough said.
SS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies => Deviant in that he’s likely to deviate a septum or some other body part, and not in moral terms (I know nothing about Troy Tulowitzki’s habits outside the park), there’s some link between the Rockies’ shortstop and the best pale ale from Colorado, maybe. But Deviant Dale’s is worth trying, no matter how tortured that link was.
DH Michael Cuddyer, Rockies => In the same vein, since Cuddyer has already tweaked a few muscles this year, we’ll use Tweak double stout from Avery to represent him. Four-win beer, named after one of Cuddyer’s most prolific talents? Sure.
CF Bryce Harper, Nationals => Dogfish Head is in Delaware, but their 120 Minute IPA is a nine-win beer, so it can represent for the region. The beer is too much for some, too — at 15-20% alcohol by volume, that’s not surprising — and Bryce Harper is too much for a lot of fans out there.
SP Matt Harvey, Mets => There, at number three overall on the BeerGraphs leaderboards, is Zombie Dust from Three Floyds Brewing. Sure, the brewer is from Indiana. But Harvey’s excellence deserves a worthy representative. And one that seems to suggest that his power comes from somewhere nebulous and dark and unknown to us daywalkers? Yes.

AL Beers Above Replacement: 14.2 + 5.4 + 14.7 + 5.7 + 4.6 + 8.2 + 6.9 + 11 + 2.1 + 9.3 = 82.1
NL Beers Above Replacement: 8.9 + 6.5 + 15.1 + 9.5 + 6.2 + 5.5 + 6.2 + 4.5 + 8.8 + 14.5 = 85.7

National League wins the All-Star game. That’s science.

This piece also appeared on BeerGraphs today. Come check out the leaderboards for fun.

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With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

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Well-Beered Englishman
Well-Beered Englishman

Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro is indeed one of life’s great pleasures.

As an IPA non-thusiast, I must decry the prevalence of hops in the WAR calculations. But this may not be the proper venue to do so.