Best ballparks for beer: Where do the Giants and A’s rank?

Every major-league stadium rated for the craft-beer offerings

Baseball season lies just ahead — and with it, those ballpark classics, Cracker Jack, hot dogs and beer. (Getty Images) Frosty beer at Ball game
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This is a joyful time for baseball fans. Spring training is under way, which means it won’t be long before many of us will be hunkered down in our favorite ballpark, under sunny skies with a cold beer in hand.

And so Eno Sarris, a writer for The Athletic — and self-described beer nerd — had a brilliant idea. He set out to rank every major-league baseball stadium by their craft-beer offerings.

His reason? “Just as the food options at most stadiums have begun to include smaller shops dedicated to interesting, well-crafted food sourced from the local culture, beer options have trended toward suds from local craft breweries over the past five years.”

Sounds good to us. Rank it and we will come.

Sarris, along with nearly 100 fans and writers, meticulously sifted through the offerings of every park and broke down his 1-to-10 rankings along three categories: top-end beer, average available beer and craft beer accessibility.

The results might surprise you. Sarris found that there are only two or three “perfect beer parks.”

Meanwhile, two parks in the nation’s biggest cities and home to extremely wealthy teams — Dodger Stadium (27) and Yankee Stadium (28) — hover near the bottom of the standings. (To quote “Bull Durham,” you know what that makes them? … “Lolly-gaggers!!”).

But most importantly, how did our Bay Area teams rate? Well, Giants fans will be pleased to know that San Francisco’s Oracle Park ranked third — very closely behind only T-Mobile Park in Seattle and Petco Park in San Diego, the fields of dreams for beer drinkers.

Sarris likes how you can obtain local beers easily in most sections of Oracle Park, “even if you don’t want to drop the $15-20 for a can of the special ones they brought in recently.”

He also pointed out that “Deschutes Fresh Squeezed is available in the outfield corners, and all of the Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas selections provide a very high replacement level.

“In 2018, the park added cans from Local Brewing Company, Auburn’s Moonraker Brewing (known for their world-class hazy IPAs), Oakland’s Temescal Brewing, Santa Rosa’s Russian River (Pliny the Elder pours!) and Livermore’s Altamont Beer Works at three locations, two of which are only accessible to Field Club ticket holders.”

The key drawback?  “The accessibility to these top-end options” is limited.

As for the A’s and the Oakland Coliseum, they ranked just ahead of the middle of the pack, in 13th place. Sarris gave solid props to the cool Tree House bar (our favorite Coliseum  hang-out), where fans can socialize and sip suds while viewing the game from its perch above the left-field bleachers.

“There are games such as ping-pong, some sort of rotating food cart, a bar with some solid taps — think Firestone Walker and Drake’s Brewing — and then, around the corner, a cooler,” he writes. “In that cooler, there are hazy IPAs and crisp Pilsners from Temescal Brewing, and some harder-to-find experimental beer by Drake’s at reasonable prices. That’s a good top-end option!”

Sarris goes into further detail before concluding, “This is what an average craft beer ballpark should look like today, probably.”

Needless to say, Sarris has us hankering for a brew — and some hardball. Opening Day can’t come soon enough.

To read more of the rankings and Sarris’ very thorough ballpark profiles, check it out here.

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