While the Fall Classic between the Giants and Detroit Tigers pits clubs from two very different cities, the distinctive style and taste of each team’s partisans also pour through the beer taps at their ballparks.
In a food-and-drink-obsessed city such as San Francisco, a generic “cold beer” at AT&T Park often doesn’t cut the mustard as a companion to the stadium’s pungent garlic fries or a Caribbean-style Cha-Cha Bowl. Revelers can choose between 56 different beers inside the waterfront ballpark.
At Wednesday’s Game 1, hundreds of Giants fans crammed elbow-to-elbow into an adjoining ballpark bar that sells dozens of craft brews ranging from high-octane Belgian Trappist ales to a full suite of city-brewed Anchor Steam concoctions.
“Because San Francisco is such an eclectic city and so diverse, and with all the different foods, people just like selection and they just support local beers,” said Sandie Filipiak, AT&T Park’s director of concessions. “There’s room for a lot, and not every city is that way.”
At Detroit’s Comerica Park, where only a couple of locally made beers are on tap, die-hard Motor City fans are just fine with the established American beer brands.
Detroit is a “blue-collar, domestic beer town,” said Bob Thormeier, who oversees food and drink services at the Tigers’ ballpark. “The younger segment of people are going toward the [craft beer], but a lot of our fans around here grew up on domestic beers.”
San Francisco’s craft beer obsession is on full display at the Public House, a bar on Willie Mays Plaza just outside the ballpark’s main entrance. The bar boasts 24 taps (that’s Mays’ retired number), but pours more than 60 different beers, with a focus on local breweries.
Unlike bars outside other ballparks, the Public House allows fans to take their designer brews directly into the ballpark through a turnstile tucked away in the back. Fans can come back and forth during the game, trying different ales, ciders, ports or stouts.
While the more adventurous local ales are being consumed in great quantity, the established brands such as Coors and Budweiser still lead sales at the ballpark, Filipiak said.
Detroit’s ballpark has more than 130 spots where fans can buy beer on a typical game day, and about 120 of them serve American beers that are household names.
While a chocolate stout microbrew served by hand-pump may be a tad too “San Francisco” for Detroit fans, the Tigers’ ballpark does not completely leave craft beer aficionados wanting. Those who look can find about 10 places that sell craft beers, including Atwater, which is brewed at a spot across town, and Galesburg, Mich.-made Bell’s.