A Beer for All Seasons

Beer is baseball. Baseball is beer. A frosty mug, a salty treat, and a ballgame is as American as the resulting obesity. So with real baseball fast approaching, GiantsPod has some fridge-stocking suggestions for the upcoming season.

No game is created equal. AL games run longer, NL games get a little wonky in the late innings with double switches. Getaway day games happen early, while the majority of games take place under the evening lights. Combat each type of game with a different brew and remember: if you don’t drink, please drive me home.

Pitcher’s duels: As a Giants fan, I enjoy watching Lincecum and Cain blow through lineups, keeping games well under three hours and my social life intact. For the shortened game, high alcohol content is a must. IPA is the way to go. For the moderately financed (teachers, writers, podcasters) Lagunitas makes a solid IPA that blends a bitter bite with a full and satisfying aftertaste. For the Wall Street crowd, Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA is the best, but it has 9% alcohol content and sells in the $11-$12 range…for a 4-pack. Try getting those past the wife.

Marathon games: The starters got chased in the third. Pujols has two homers and a hit by pitch by the fourth. The Rangers just pulled Darren Oliver after he winged one to the backstop. This game has 4 ½ hours written all over it. Best advice: switch to the light domestics. I prefer Bud Light or High Life, but can’t blame you for going the Coors route. Either way, sip slowly, the Rangers just signed Ryan Franklin off the street to pitch the bottom of the 14th inning of a 12-11 game.

Morning games: That pesky getaway day. It’s Thursday and your west coast team has a 10 am PST start in New York. You should be at work but you got chased by the Humpday Blues. Considering you just finished wiping bacon grease from your Superman sweatpants, it’s time to start drinking. Not a ton. Just a nice filling beer with familiar morning flavors- the coffee porter. Texas brewer Real Ale makes a superb beer with fair trade coffee. Fair enough.

Hot afternoon games: I’m writing this from Scottsdale, AZ where the locals say the sun is especially close right now. My forehead doesn’t live here, but its pinkish hue lets me know these people know their stuff. In the regular season, unlike Spring Training, 1 o’clock starts are usually reserved for Saturdays and Sundays, major drinking holidays here in America. And even though beer commercials try to convince us that an ice cold brew can be used to cool or refresh you, the science doesn’t back that up. But a select number of beers can give you that crisp drinkability that is ideal for hot weather. I recommend Harp’s Irish Lager or Firestone Walker’s Double Barrel Ale. The former feels more refreshing but the latter has a heavier punch, so pick your poison.

Night games: The atmosphere of night baseball is electric. It’s almost as if the wattage emitted from the light towers of the stadium goes directly into your bloodstream. The feeling of watching a white ball pierce a purple sky is unmatchable in any realm of sports. But every night game starts as a day game in the summer months, with full darkness not achieved until well into Ozzie Guillen’s second visit to the unlucky umpire of his choosing. For this hybrid situation, you need a hybrid beer. Something that hits with deep flavors but a light finish. Red Hook Extra Special Bitter is your best bet, with caramel undertones and a citrus finish, and a moderate alcohol content at 5.8%. You can enjoy them early and the balanced flavor will last you well into the warm summer night.

Minor League Baseball: A well-priced American tradition. You can see the next Manny Ramirez or the next Manny Burriss. Anything goes in these parks, on the field and off. But surely your car is parked in the Chick Fil A Parking Lot, so let’s not tempt fate with the BAC gods on this particular evening. Grab a non-acloholic O’Douls or St. Pauli Girl, because as my partner Daniel Zarchy says, “O’Douls is perfect for the minor leagues. It’s almost like drinking, because it’s almost like baseball.”

Playoff baseball: Get weird with it and switch to bourbon. Bulleit or Woodford Reserve for this guy.

So there you have it. A go-to guide for how to make it through the long season with a song in your heart and beer in your hand. Sure, you can’t close your fridge now and you just threw away a few stray yogurts to make room, but you are ready for baseball season. Or cirrhosis. Or both.