Coors: Inside the Park
And then there’s Coors Field, the home of the major leagues’ only inside-the-park brewery. SandLot Brewery, which was built by the Coors Brewing Co., turns out several beers for the ballpark’s concession stands—including Power Alley ESB, Right Field Red, Sluggers Stout, and Wild Pitch Hefeweizen. It also brews seasonal and experimental beers that are served at the pub, called Rounders. One SandLot specialty, Blue Moon Belgian White, proved so popular that Coors’s front office promoted it to the big leagues. Another favorite is pre-Prohibition-style Barmen Pilsner, which can be found at only a handful of establishments in the Denver area. The beer, named for Adolph Coors’s home town in Prussia, was described by a corporate spokeswoman as a “seven-minute pour.” In other words, it’s dispensed with the same patience as a proper pint of Guinness.
There are distinctive drinking venues elsewhere in the majors. Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL, has a mini shopping mall with food from local eateries, a cigar bar, and the Budweiser Brewhouse, featuring brew kettles, a turn-of-the-century Budweiser label, and plenty of cold beer. Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark honors the great Reds teams of the Seventies with the Machine Room, an industrial-themed bar overlooking left field. It’s filled with memorabilia, including the AstroZamboni used to mop the artificial turf after rain delays at the old ballpark.
But my favorite place to drink ballpark beer is virtually in my backyard: the Millwrights and Carpenters Beer Hall at Detroit’s Comerica Park. The beer hall, which fuses German gemüchlichkeit and American sports bar ambience, is dominated by a 70-foot-long bar and filled with heavy wooden tables already covered with a patina of fans’ autographs. Overhead, there are dark wooden beams emblazoned with words of wisdom from baseball’s greats, along with plenty of strategically placed TV monitors. The menu offers sandwiches and snacks, and the baskets of peanuts are free. Fans have also discovered it’s a good place to cry in their beer. Last year, they had plenty of reasons to do so: the Tigers managed to lose an astounding 119 games.