Last year, local web series producer and food blogger Lee Porter put together a list of the beers at Citizens Bank Park. It got him and his website, Chocolate Covered Memories, quite a bit of attention from this site and many others. And what’s not to love? A list of all (well, most— more on that in a second) the beers at CBP and their locations? Like I said: yes and please. So, when Lee tweeted me a heads up last week that he would be painstakingly chronicling the 2013 selection during the On-Deck Series against the Blue Jays, I asked if I could join him, film his efforts, and put them on the site and potentially the Great Sports Debate (THURSDAYS AT 7 ON THE COMCAST NETWORK!).
Sure thing, he said.
My original plan was to get some footage of Lee, talk to him for a few minutes, and then get drunk with him. I figured he was just some dude who wanted to help you, the Phillies fan, get smashed more quickly, and with better beer. And while that’s not wholly inaccurate, I was immediately taken aback by Lee’s love of good beer… and general disdain for bad ones. For him, his list serves as a necessary personal guide to weed out awful domestics (Bud, Miller, Coors) and to find the best craft and locals brews, of which Citizens Bank Park has many.* After talking to him and his girlfriend, Suzanne, for about, oh, three minutes, it was quite obvious that Lee takes his list quite seriously.
*According to CraftBeer.com, Citizens Bank Park had one of the largest selections of craft brew in the Majors in 2012, and that list seemingly grew this year.
A full-season ticket holder with his family, Lee, who produces an award-winning web series called My Ruined Life, goes to about 40 Phillies game each summer and, as a beer guy, needs to know where he can find the best CBP has to offer. Last year, for the first time ever, Aramark changed tap handles at the kiosk behind his section. That’s what inspired him to spend an entire game going around to every. single. beer. stand. chronicling what was available on draft, in bottles and cans. When he posted his findings on his website, it just sort of became a thing.
“Philadelphia Inquirer’s Craig Laban had written an article a few years ago that, in his opinion, the best beer in the ballpark on a hot summer day was Sly Fox’s Royal Weisse, which was then only located at a beer kiosk behind section 139 in left field. When it was extremely hot and the game was a boring one or a blowout, I’d trek out to left field and get a couple of those Royal Weisses and bring them back. I was thrilled and shocked when they moved that to my section. I figured if they changed tap locations for that beer, there must be others. So I figured I’d chronicle it all.”
“It usually takes one full game to [do it]. Then another game to double check everything. And then I try to double check any changes every week or so. I consciously walk around double checking drafts. I get updates from fans once in a while. The first few weeks of the season, there often are many changes. Then, by June, the drafts are usually in check.”
But here’s the thing: Lee’s list doesn’t include every beer. No, sir. You won’t find Bud, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, Bud Light Gimmick, Miller, Coors and the like. If you drink that stuff, Lee doesn’t like you (I’m kidding– he’s actually a very friendly guy… but he probably does look down upon you, just a little bit). The list has a very specific cutoff: Stella. Lee calls it the last beer in the ballpark that he’d drink.
A beer snob? Maybe. But Lee wants to help you (and himself) find the good stuff.
Here’s an extended version of the video that appeared on Great Sports Debate. With outtakes.
Lee is a Fishtown Beer Runner (a local group founded on the theory that one pint of beer is better for you than water after a long distance run, which is something I would totally test out if I could run more than seven feet). He used to work in the beer world. He knows his stuff. Obviously. And like I said, he takes this very seriously. As an example, when I asked Lee to send me his favorite beer in each area of the ballpark so I could put them on a seating map of CBP, I got the following response: There’s a decent chance they’ll move brews in the first homestand or two (they’ve done that before), so the map would need updating STAT, if so.
But I got him to tell me anyway.
As it currently stands, these are Lee’s favorite beers at Citizen Bank Park, by location:
Lee also has some immediate observations based on the On-Deck Series (I hate capitalizing that):
- The new, expanded and renamed Alley Brewing Co. beer bar in right field corner is awesome. It features 10 draft beers on 18 different taps and an extensive craft bottle and can list. Expect many changes to take place here game-by-game and will update the list as often as possible.
- Based on exhibition games, during each game, one high end craft beer is poured in a special Phillies plastic cup. This was Goose Island beers (which is from Chicago), but it will likely change quite frequently.
- Victory Summer Love has replaced Victory Hop Devil on draft almost everywhere, which will be better for the really hot months.
- Victory Hop Devil and Victory Headwaters Pale Ale are available in bottle almost everywhere, which is amazingly awesome.
- Nice addition of Allagash, Ommegang and Philadelphia Brewing Company bottles in many more locations.
- The newly named “Your Dad’s Beer” kiosk behind section 103 features, among others, Miller High Life and PBR cans.
- They’ve added a full bar, including frozen margaritas and daiquiris, to the Budweiser rooftop bar in center field above Ashburn Alley.
Basically, Lee is doing the work so you don’t have to. Which will give you more time to drink.
Lee Porter is the writer/producer of Philadelphia’s award-winning comedy web series My Ruined Life and is the founder/editor of the food blog Chocolate Covered Memories, which features interviews with, and recipes from, national food industry folk and essential Philadelphia food/drink spreadsheets. This is Lee’s second year compiling the Citizens Bank Park Beer List, and he looks forward to enjoying many more great craft beers and Phillies wins.