I have a love-hate relationship with baseball. Mostly, I think there should be a shot clock on the pitcher to move things along, but I grew up watching a lot of it on WGN (and still have a soft spot for the Cubs and miss Harry Caray’s seventh inning sing-along stretch). However, despite being one of the more affordable sports options to watch in person, I’ve never been a huge fan of heading out to the stadium to bask in the sun (and hope there are no pop up fouls heading my way).
But if they’re going to be bringing in great beer on a sweaty July Saturday? Yeah, I’m game.
In fact, two baseball stadiums will play host to two new events during this “July Good Beer Month” in NYC: Coney Island On Tap (click here for ticket options) on July 12th at MCU Park (home to Brooklyn’s minor league Cyclones) and the Bacon and Beer Classic (ditto) on July 26th at CitiField (home to the Mets, in case you weren’t aware).
Each event offers a different experience for attendees, and although both have designated driver tickets, the good news for straphangers is the easy access to both venues via (hopefully air conditioned) subway.
Among the features of Coney Island On Tap:
- Limited tickets – Town Square Media is a veteran producer that has limited the number of attendees to a very reasonable 3,000. They recently added a second evening session to ensure that everyone has easy access to the beer stands.
- A wide variety of breweries – Nearly 60 brewers are on board, including several that don’t frequent the festival circuit, such as hometown gypsy brewer Radiant Pig Craft Beers and one of my personal favs from NJ, River Horse (their DIPA is to die for!). More than 100 beers will be available with specialty beers in the VIP section.
- Location, location, location – Whether you decide to head to the beach in the morning, break at midday (for the 1-4 p.m. session) or head to the beach in the afternoon to hang out until the evening session (from 5-8 p.m.), you won’t make a mistake to combine this event with the beach and boardwalk.
- Affordability – because this is a beer-centric event, the tickets are relatively inexpensive ($40 in advance for general admission). The stadium is selling its own ballpark food, so bring extra cash if you want to drink and dine.
Key features of Bacon and Beer Classic:
- Restaurants – Let’s face it, beer is great but beer with bacon? Well, that’s just the best. From Tommy Harder’s team at Blind Tiger to off-the-beaten path Queens gastropubs (Oliver’s Astoria, Blackbird’s), there is a great line-up of food vendors to choose from.
- One hour VIP early admission – Typically VIP options that just throw in some swag aren’t worth the additional price, but when you get in an hour before everyone else, you’re wise to pay up. And in the case of the Bacon and Beer Classic, the VIPs get private tours of the Mets stadium, which is great if you’re a super fan because when else will you get inside the dugout?
- Demos and education – There will be celebrity chefs and beer experts on hand presenting cooking demonstrations and beer education classes. No doubt with sampling involved.
Both events look like a great chance for the non-Montauk-going set to have the illusion of getting out of town for the day, with a chance to combine baseball lore with everyone’s true favorite pastime: drinking beer.