Eight years ago I first recommended a beer to drink while watching the Phillies game.
Opening Day in Philadelphia? Go with the classic: Yuengling Traditional Lager. Smoother than the mass lagers; as Philadelphian as beers get.
That launched a tradition of recommending gameday beers, which lasted past my initial run at Phillies Nation.
Now here we are, and here I am, my first opening day at Phillies Nation since 2009, and what the hell – let’s start recommending beer again.
Of course times are much different than they were in 2008. As of 2013 there were more than 2,800 breweries in America, and that number has only grown since then. Today you can find craft beer in small towns and villages, in convenience stores and supermarkets. Homebrewing is easier than ever, and websites devoted to beer information and sharing have only aided in our exploration of hops and barley.
My tastes have grown since then, too. Back then my favorite beer was probably Harpoon’s UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen – still a very good beer of its style – but that was before I fell deep for Belgian tripels and strong ales, then American barleywines, then porters and black ales, and more recently, sours.
These days I’m actually big on hop-heavy beers, which obviously were in vogue two to three years ago. My palate is just a little different, I suppose.
Writing about beer and baseball eight years ago seemed a little risky. Very few people were really going deep about craft outside of the craft movement, so it felt great to expose Phillies fans to new beer (while trying tons of new beer myself during the 2008-09 run). Now, since we’ve all tried our share of craft since then, I hope this feels more communal, like I’m sharing with you what I’m having while hearing about what you’re having.
So let’s make it a conversation. Before every game I’ll recommend a beer in the Gameday post (except today, of course), and please, if you want to recommend a beer for me and the community, just drop a comment or reach out to me on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!
Game 1 at Cincinnati: Rushing Duck War Elephant
My first beer this year will not be Yuengling since, well, we’ve all had it now. Allow me to share with you a beer from my part of the world, the Hudson Valley of New York. Rushing Duck (Chester, NY) is a great brewery with a small tasting room and some defiantly strong beer. Maybe the favorite beer among visitors is War Elephant, a double IPA with a hop-forward profile but distinct notes of citrus, giving it a definite West Coast taste.
To be blunt, War Elephant is one of my favorite double IPAs ever. It’s a great sitter but will take something out of you at 8.7%. Be careful. Sit back, relax and enjoy opening day.