It's about this time of year when baseball once again captures Americans' hearts, minds, and livers. Since it's a Summertime sport best enjoyed in the sun (or, if you're a Rays fan, under soul-deadening fluorescent lighting), there's a good chance you'll have a beer in hand when you watch it. But is it the right beer?
We've done the tough work of selecting a single beer that fits every team in MLB. What makes a good fit? It's not necessarily the best beer in that city, but it is the one that reflects the character of said city, its team, and current or former players. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and if you're an Astros fan, you'll have yet another reminder that your team is horrible.
(Editor's Note: Major League Baseball and the teams mentioned here are in no way affiliated with any of the beer brands mentioned, and were not involved in the creation of this article. If anyone from MLB is reading this, we hope they'll consider replacing umpires with ball and strike-calling robots, and bring back Rob Deere. Man, could that guy strike out.)
Their beer: Sonoran Brewing Company's Sonoran IPA
This team played .500 ball last year -- a spectacularly average season -- which bored the tan fanbase in the city of golf courses. And what better to pair Diamondbacks' baseball with than the fittingly (and boringly) named Sonoran IPA, a serviceable IPA from Phoenix-area Sonoran Brewing Company?
Their beer: Red Brick Brewing Company's Dog Days Ale
ATL's oldest brewery (it was previously named Atlanta Brewing Company), Red Brick has been around since 1993, around when the Braves started dominating the NL East. And, like the Braves, this Hefeweizen is best enjoyed during a hot Summer night, likely while doing that tomahawk chop FSU always claims as their own.
Their beer: (AMENDED) National Bohemian
From what we hear, if this pick isn't Natty Boh, everyone will assume you are from, like, DC or something, even if you are wearing a kind of sweet Joe Orsulak jersey.
BOSTON RED SOX
Their beer: Samuel Adams' Cream Stout
Like the Sox, Sam Adams was once a plucky little underdog, but now they're a plucky, well-funded behemoth. And the Cream Stout is a call out both to the Irish makeup of Boston and the fact that it leaves you with a little bit of a mustache, though nowhere near Jonny Gomes-level facial hair. In other Sox news, remember Nick Esasky?
Their beer: Heileman's Old Style (Pabst Brewing Company)
For the first time in 63yrs, Old Style was almost not served at Wrigley, but it survived, and it will always be the unofficial beer of the Cubs, no matter where they pour the damn thing. And there's no doubt that Cubs fans will still be drinking the stuff this upcoming season, especially during their victory parade when they win their first title since 1908! Just kidding, they'll be in last, like always.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Their beer: Big Hurt Brewing Co.'s Big Hurt Beer
The first ballot Hall of Famer Frank Thomas has endorsed a beer that bears his nickname, and there can be no beer more representative of the White Sox, unless there was also a beer that was proud of itself for being slightly better than the Minnesota Twins.
Their beer: MadTree Brewing's Happy Amber
You've gotta have a red beer for the Reds, and the reddish-tinted Happy Amber from MadTree fits the bill. And like trees in the Fall, the Reds shed a serious amount of solid players in the offseason, from Arroyo to Shin-Soo Choo. No arguing with us, that's a solid metaphor.
Their beer: Great Lakes Brewing's Burning River Pale Ale
When you haven't won a World Series in 60yrs, and you get legitimately indignant when someone argues that another sporting city might be more miserable than you are, the only beer for you is this delightfully crisp pale ale named for that infamous time you set your river on fire and inspired the Clean Water Act.
Their beer: Blue Moon's Belgian White
Beer doesn't get any more tied in with baseball than beer that's physically made inside the ballpark, which is why Blue Moon is the obvious choice. Though Coors makes their beers on a much larger scale these days than when this location opened in '95, you can still drink booze made in the stadium to this day. Also, they only make the playoffs once in a Blue Moon. Random player shout-out, #2: Dante Bichette!
Their beer: Detroit Beer Co.'s Broadway Light
In honor of the Tigers dropping 275lbs worth of Prince Fielder, the team is best saluted with a sessionable light beer from the Detroit Beer Co. brewpub. The pub's a scant 5min walk from the stadium by foot, which wins it bonus points. And since they still have Cabrera and solid pitching, there will be plenty of reasons to celebrate there after a game.
Their beer: Saint Arnold Brewing's Endeavour IPA
For a team that got its start in the NL and migrated to the AL, there's no more appropriate beer than the Endeavour IPA (aka Divine Reserve #11), as it "starts off with a touch of citrus but then turns decidedly into peaches". And since most Astros fans would prefer to forget the last few seasons (and will want to forget the current one as soon as the first pitch is thrown), that 8.9% ABV can be a solid aid.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Their beer: Boulevard Brewing Co.'s Saison-Brett
Sure, these Royals are poised to make a run with Infante and Vargas, but the last time they won it all in '85, a guy named George Brett played for them. Pay homage to George with a namesake beer not at all named after him. It's based on Boulevard's uber-popular Tank 7 recipe, but bottle conditioned with Brettanomyces yeast, among others. It's also supremely drinkable come Summertime. Win, win.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Their beer: Noble Ale Works' Pistol Whip'd
A team that's officially named the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim deserves a beer with a bit of an identity crisis, and Noble Ale Works' (conveniently located around the corner from the stadium) Pistol Whip'd combines a Czech-style pils with New Zealand hops. A truly confusing combination of ingredients that results in a delicious beer -- drink it with a confused look on your face while watching big bats like Pujols and Hamilton not hit for crap.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Their beer: Golden Road's Better Weather IPA
Grab a tallboy of Golden Road's double IPA and drink in the beer that celebrates the sweet Southern California weather the region is known for. It's also perfect because cans are easily portable, so when the fans leave in the 7th inning to beat traffic, they can throw whatever's left of the four-pack in their car and miss Puig hit the game winner. Sample Bill Plaschke headline: "YASIEL PUIG IS TEARING THIS TEAM APART, I THINK, THOUGH I'M NOT BASING THIS ON FACT!"
Their beer: Abbey Brewing's Brother Dan's Double
Get it? A "double" is also a thing in baseball! No one will read this, because the Marlins have no fans. And no one in Miami really cares about beer, either. A "double" shame.
Their beer: Miller Lite
The Brewers play in Miller Park. There cannot be a more appropriate beer for this team. Unless there was a beer made out of Robin Yount's soul.
Their beer: Fulton Beer's The Libertine
One of the newer breweries in Minneapolis' huge craft beer scene, Fulton's stunning patio gives you reason to never step foot in Target Field in the Summertime, where the only activity is witnessing lackluster pitching. And since there won't be any meaningful baseball in September, at least take solace in the seasonal red ale that hits shelves and taps that month.
NEW YORK METS
Their beer: Shmaltz Brewing Co.'s HE'BREW IPA
NEW YORK YANKEES
Their beer: Bronx Brewery's Pale Ale
It's really hard to go against beer that is ACTUALLY BREWED IN THE BRONX. Also, the thought of starting a decrepit Derek Jeter at SS makes Yankee fans go pale.
Their beer: Trumer Brauerei's Trumer Pils
Brewed a steroid-era McGwire home run away from Oakland in Berkeley, Trumer is an underrated, Moneyball-worthy pick. Plus A's fans are constantly having to swallow bitter pils every time their good players get paid out by other teams.
Their beer: Yards Brewing Co.'s General Washington's Tavern Porter
Yuengling makes a beer as old and storied as the Phillies franchise itself, but it's brewed 2hrs outside of Philly, so no dice. Instead, we'll go with Yards' General Washington's Tavern Porter, which uses an ancient recipe almost as old as the current aging Phillies lineup.
Their beer: East End Brewing Co.'s Fat Gary's Nut Brown Ale
Iron City famously left town to brew elsewhere, so they're out of the running. Instead, the pick has to be beloved brewery East End's Fat Gary's Nut Brown Ale, because we guarantee that at any Pirates game, there are at least 500 people in attendance who go by the nickname Fat Gary, and at least half of those people are just biding their time until the Steelers play again. Soon, Fat Gary. Soon. Random player call-out #3: Andy Van Slyke!
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Their beer: Stone Brewing Co.'s Punishment
Because Stone is a fantastic San Diego brewery, and watching this team try and score runs will definitely feel like punishment. But not this punishment, because it's delicious, and 10% ABV, so, eventually, no matter what happens in the game, you won't feel much of anything.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Their beer: Russian River Brewing Co.'s Redemption
With all apologies to Anchor and 21st Amendment, we're opting to go with Redemption here, because the Giants hadn't won a ring in SF until getting two of the last four. And Pablo Sandoval has redeemed his shattered confidence while dancing in clubs by dropping lots of LBs.
Their beer: Elysian Brewing's Savant IPA
Seattle's management decided Robinson Cano was worth 10yrs and $240mill, so there can be no beer more appropriate than Elysian's Savant IPA. Because only a savant can see $240mill worth of talent in a guy who plays baseball like he doesn't care about playing baseball. At least the beer's good.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Their beer: Budweiser
They may play in Busch Stadium, but there's no question which brew in the AB portfolio ought to represent the Cards. Both have an iconic red-and-white color scheme. Both make bold proclamations that tend to irritate competitors ("The King of Beers", "The Best Fans In Baseball"). Both back it up with enough success that competitors become even further irritated.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
Their beer: Green Bench Brewing Co.'s Saison De Banc Vert
Another brewery within a short walk from the stadium, Green Bench Brewing has only been around since Fall of last year, but it's already turned into a place to get inexpensive and reliably tasty beers -- like the beer equivalent of the Rays roster, making the playoffs almost every year while barely spending anything.
Their beer: Deep Ellum Brewing Co.'s Wealth & Taste
Princes are known for their outsized wealth, and with the way the Rangers' newest Prince (Fielder) is getting paid, he can afford to buy good taste ($24mill in 2014!). There are also not a lot of choices for good beer in Arlington, so we had to go all the way to Dallas for Wealth & Taste, which is a phrase you don't hear a lot.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Their beer: Labatt Brewing Company's Labatt Blue
Labatt Blue is Canadian. The Blue Jays play in Canada. They both have blue in the name. Do you really want to make an argument for Molson? Random player call out #4: John Olerud!
Their beer: DC Brau Brewing Co.'s On The Wings of Armageddon
Don't let the name fool you, these are the Expos. And if the Expos ever win the title, it will truly be on the wings of Armageddon, because that's also the time that hell will freeze over. At least watching the Nats choke yet again will be easier to take if you gulp this smooth-tasting Imperial IPA. Because they will choke, despite their solid hitting and even more solid pitching (ED NOTE: This was written by a depressed Phillies fan).
Lee Breslouer writes about food and drink for Thrillist, and can be found in the cheap seats at Coors Field drinking a Blue Moon whenever it's nice out. Follow him @LeeBreslouer, because you can't make up a name that good.