One member of Last Out Media’s podcast is the Dining on a Dime podcast. It is a weekly roundtable discussion about topics all around the food world, with a special nod to Philadelphia and South Jersey areas. In a recent episode, the panel discussed some fun topics with alcohol and beer. From facts, history, recipes, and more this is an episode you should check out.
It brought me back to something I had read and been thinking about since before the start of the Phillies season and having beers again while watching baseball. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen so those plans ended up on ice. Despite being a 17-year-old ballpark, CBP still looks good and remains one of the better places to take in a game in the whole league. This is especially true on a warm spring or early summer day, whether it is a Sunday at the ballpark or a business person’s special. Plus it doesn’t hurt that Philadelphia is one of the best beer towns in the US, so that combination should mean that CBP is one of the best beer locations in the MLB right?
According to The Athletic, that isn’t true. Eno Sarris did a full breakdown of the best and worst stadiums for craft beer in the league, and ours came in 20th. The synopsis is simple, the craft beer in the park itself is very good. Yards, Victory, and Troegs are the big three and all have great options at the park, and Philly was one of the first towns to get craft beer into the stadium. The problem is outside of them and things like a Goose Island park exclusive beer, that’s it. There is nothing unique or new about what could and probably should be an ever-rotating list through the stadium. With the sheer amount of breweries in the area, Philly should be rivaling Seattle and San Diego near the top of the list.
Best in the Ballpark?
Despite the relatively low ranking from Sarris, CBP has some really great beer. Thanks to a handy list from the folks over at ChocCover’d Memories we can pick out the best craft beers the stadium has to offer and figure out where to get them.
Now we’re taking it further and utilizing Untappd to give you the top 5 Philly beers you can find at the stadium by their ranking. The app/website uses a 1-5 rating based on the averages created from “check-ins” from avid beer drinkers to craft nerds to the rare badge and beer collectors alike. Anything over 3.5 is a really good score, as most beer rankers can be very difficult graders. For reference, a Budwiser has an average score of 2.5, and the far superior Yuengling Traditional Lager scores a 3.48.
Honorable Mentions (Non-Philly Craft Beer): Flying Fish Salt and Sea 3.66, Golden Road Mango Cart 3.77, New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA 3.79 Founder’s All Day IPA 3.72.
A note for non-IPA folks, since they tend to get high rankings they’ll be featured on the list, but Yards Philly Pale Ale, Victory Summer Love, and Troeg’s Sunshine Pils are all readily available around the park and among the best of the rest if you’re looking for a classic ballpark beer.
#5 No Brainer IPA by Victory Brewing Company (3.59 average score)
Finding this one at the park might take some careful searching (section 204 or downstairs at Harry the K’s) but it’ll be worth it to grab this IPA. This is a citrusy IPA with the flavors of tangerine and mandarin orange coming to complement the on-field action. It stands at 6.8% alcohol by volume (ABV) and a middle of the road 55 on the IBU scale (a 1 to 100 scale of bitterness) so this is a beer that stays over the plate.
#4 Bullpen Session New England Session IPA by Goose Island (3.61 average score)
Making an appearance on the list is the Goose Island stadium exclusive we mentioned earlier. Now Goose Island proper is in Chicago, but there is a brewpub in the city which provides this exclusive NEIPA. It is an easy-going 4.8% ABV and only scores a 20 on the IBU scale so it is an easy-drinking IPA that won’t burn you out on a hot day. Plus the park has those great bullpen views, even though the Phillies can never seem to figure theirs out.
#3 Blood Money IPA-Conshohocken Brewing Company (3.62 average score)
We’re extending the definition of “Philadelphia beer” a bit on a few of these since they are big players on the overall PA scene. That goes for Conshohocken and their Blood Orange IPA which for being juicy and providing big flavor and aroma. At 6.7% ABV and sporting 74 IBU’s this packs more of a punch than the Goose Island entry, which it only edges out by a hair on the Untappd rankings. Like how somehow Greg Luzinski has a better WAR than John Kruk.
#2 Perpetual IPA- Troegs Independent Brewing (3.81 average score)
If you grew up in the Philly area you probably went to Hershey Park as a kid, and now maybe drag your own there. So it is part of the Philadelphia experience and by translation a Philly beer. Plus it is a damn good beer. At 7.5% ABV and 88 IBU’s this beer is one best enjoyed in the shade or maybe a comfy box seat since it mashes as hard as Pat Burrell on a heater. It has a blend of 6 different hops but remains drinkable even in the summer.
#1 Cloud Walker Hazy Juicy IPA- Victory Brewery Company (3.87 average score)
Philly loves itself a New England IPA apparently. The highest-rated beer comes from the Downingtown beer moguls who started in an old Pepperidge Farm bakery. Clocking in at 6.8% ABV and a middling 55 on the IBU’s this juicy citrus-forward IPA is made with some oats and lactose which adds some softness and drinkability to the beer. The Citra/Mosaic hop combo works together as well as an Utley Rollins turn at 2nd. The highest-rated of the listed beers available at Citizen’s Bank Park, this one will do as well in spring as it does closing out another season in the fall, hopefully, next October rather than September.
If you’re an IPA drinker and at the park, you’re in luck. You’ve got some really great options available and the plenty more down the street at Xfinity Live. If you see your favorite brewery listed by not your favorite beer from them, let them know, they’ll have to time to try and get it on tap for the season.
If you use Untappd and are a beer lover like me, go ahead and follow me and check out my podcast, The Sporting Chance Podcast for more Philly sports and local craft beer talk! Drink responsibly, fire Matt Klentak, and cheers!