Baseball and beer share a cherished and, for the most part, an amicable history. The exception was the ill-fated ten cent beer night the Cleveland Indians scheduled against the Texas Rangers in 1974. “America may need a good five cent cigar,” observed American League President Lee McPhail after the ensuing insanity, “but it doesn’t need ten cent beer.”
The Cleveland beer riot notwithstanding, beer is woven into the fabric of professional baseball. Milwaukee’s team is known as the Brewers, and the Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals and Brewers all play in stadiums named for beer company sponsors. And it’s no wonder. Ballparks sell a lot of beer, most of which is made by the same giant brewers that advertise all over the parks and during commercials in televised games. But like a growing number of restaurants and pubs, major league ballparks are acknowledging that there’s money to be made selling beer to more discerning drinkers.
As microbreweries become more established across the country, ballparks are tapping into local and regional beer. Philly fans get Troegs, Flying Fish and Victory beer; in the Midwest, Indian fans can drink Great Lakes, Harpoon IPA and Goose Island. The baseball gods have not smiled on San Diego of late, but thanks to the area’s rich microbrew culture, Padres fans can drown their sorrow in Stone Pale Ale, Levitation and IPA; Firestone-Walker; Red Hook Swim Chance; Ballast Point Yellowtail Pale Ale and Big Eye IPA; Alaskan IPA; Rogue Dead Guy Ale; Deschutes Black Butte Porter; Green Flash IPA; Widmer Drifter Pale Ale and Anderson Valley Boont Amber, among others.
Sadly, Giant fans have been poorly served by a bush league lineup of overpriced, underperforming “craft” beers poured out of bottles at remote outposts scattered around the park.
With the opening of Public House, Giants fans might finally have the beer to match the majesty of the park. Public House, along with the adjoining Mijita restaurant, has replaced the Acme Chop House this season. Public House has about two dozen taps, most of them representative of West Coast brewing stalwarts like Bear Republic, Moylans, Marin Brewing, Firestone-Walker, Port, Stone, Deschutes and Valley Brewing. The pub also has a couple cask-conditioned ales, including an unfiltered Double Barrel Ale from Firestone Walker in Paso Robles and a cask-conditioned English-style ale from Magnolia in the Haight.
Interesting bottles include Belgian beers such as Rodenbach Grand Cru and Westmalle Tripel, and German beers like Weihenstephan Korbinian, from what’s reputed to be the oldest brewery in the world.
This is all well and good for a pregame beer, but what really separates Public House from the other pubs in the neighborhood is the turnstile that leads into the park from the bar. That turnstile magically transforms ordinary pub beer into ballpark beer that you can enjoy while you watch the game.
Here’s how it’s done.
When you order your beer (or any other alcoholic beverage) make sure to have it poured into a plastic cup, since you can’t bring glass into the park. Carefully tote your beer or two (taking a sip if necessary to avoid spillage) to the turnstile/doorway in the back of the Public House, which leads into AT&T Park the same way the Giants Dugout Store does. Have your ticket scanned and proceed to your seat with your beer and whatever food you want to bring in from Public House, Mijita or wherever else you buy your food.
That’s all there is to it. While your neighbors are draining blue bottles of crappy Bud, you can savor a craft beer fresh from a tap.
But that’s not the end of the story. You can also exit the park, duck back inside Public House and return with another craft beer. You’ll need to have your hand stamped when you exit the park and have your ticket with you.
The quickest way out of the park and into Public House is probably via the steps behind the center field bleachers. If you want to maintain contact with the action as long as possible, you can stroll through the arcade or around the lower deck seats until you reach the exit at Second Street and King, then duck into Public House for your beer. Armed with your beer, head for the turnstile again and show the ticket taker your ticket and stamp, and presto, you’re back in the park with a craft beer that is typically not only cheaper than what you can buy in the park, but infinitely tastier. Moreover, you might be able to return to your seat faster than if you were waiting in line for a Miller Lite.
In our next post, we’ll provide a scouting report for the beers currently available at Public House and suggest how to best enjoy them.
Public House alert:
Magnolia brewer, David McLean, has created a cask ale just for Public House!
We will be tapping it for the first time on Wednesday, April 7 at 5pm. Come join us to celebrate and try out this exclusive ale paired with some of our favorite menu items.
24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94107