Thursday, May 28, 2009

Beer at PGE Park

PGE Park is a cute little ballpark. It's handy to have the home of Beavers baseball and Timbers soccer right downtown, in a place you could bike to, or possibly walk to, with a MAX line running right past it. It's completely ludicrous that anyone would think of 1. Moving the town's baseball team out of downtown, or 2. Spending millions of dollars to "renovate" a stadium whose last renovation isn't paid off, and which is actually pretty nice the way it is right now. By the way, some of those millions are tax dollars.

Speaking of high prices, let's talk about having a beer at the ballgame. Your best bet is Thirsty Thursdays, when a 12-ounce cup of Widmer or the like is half-price: $3.75. Here at It's Pub Night, our unit of currency is the six-pack equivalent (SPE), so your Thirsty Thursday SPE is $22.50. On non-thirsty days of the week, let them supersize your beer to 20 ounces for $8.25 -- SPE $29.70 -- instead of submitting to the 12-ounce SPE of $45.

The concession stands in the park are stocked mostly with Miller Lite, with taps of Widmer Hef or Drop Top interspersed. Beer snobs need to be aware of the two locations in the ballpark with better beer selections: the beer garden, and the Beer Here stand between Sections G and H.

Widmer's beer garden, located at playing field level along the right-field line, serves Broken Halo and Drifter in addition to the aforementioned Hef and Drop Top. They also serve some wine and cocktails. The beer garden is a great trick for cheapskates: buy a general admission ticket, show up early, and get a front-row seat in the beer garden. For the price of the bleacher seats with no back, you get cast-iron lawnchairs and a table to set your drinks and nachos on. It's not the ideal location for watching baseball, but for soccer it's almost at the same spot as the premium seats, only closer. Kids are allowed there except on Thursdays.

If you simply must have a non-Widmer beer, then you'll need to check out the Beer Here stand. Wait a minute! That's the name of Mr. Foyston's blog, The Beer Here. That's a nice homage -- I might drop my resistance to the stadium boondoggle if the new ballpark in Lents were to be called It's Pub Night Field. Anyway, the little beer stand between sections G & H has six non-Widmer taps:
  • Deschutes Green Lakes Organic Ale
  • Diamond Knot IPA
  • Mac and Jack's African Amber
  • Pyramid Slim Chance
  • Heineken
  • Tecate
Well, it's not as good a selection as at PDX airport, but it gives you something to work with. I have a soft spot for the Mac and Jack's, a tasty, satisfying beer; Diamond Knot IPA rates a whopping 98 on Beer Advocate, and Green Lakes is quite nice as well. There's not even a slim chance that I'd have the other three, but who knows, maybe someone will like them. The Beer Here also has a few 12-ounce bottles for sale -- there were some Deschutes bottles like Black Butte, and I believe I saw a bottle of Guinness, but nothing really noteworthy. They should stock some 22's of Ninkasi, or the new bottles from Hopworks and New Old Lompoc.

The schedule of Timbers and Beavers home games is here. If you're in the mood to try out a Thirsty Thursday, there's a Beavers game tonight. Play ball!


  1. I went with Bret to a major league game in Oakland back in 2005. Cups of Sierra Nevada Pale were $7.50 each. After we'd each downed our third beer, I turned to him and said, "Boy, it sure doesn't seem like we've had $45 worth of beer, does it?"

    We laughed to keep from crying.

  2. Thirsty Thursdays are where its at. Combined with the pretty cheap ticket prices and reasonable beer its a fun outing.

    They must actually rotate the taps at the good beer stand. At the end of the last soccer season I was grabbing glasses of Obsidian Stout on the way to the beer garden - which really are great seats for a football match! then refilling on Broken Halo to avoid the long trek mid-game.

  3. Justin: the Beer Here tap list is as of Tuesday, when I was out there. Though I do remember Green Lakes and Diamond Knot from last year. Thanks for the report on the Obsidian.

    Since they re-coup the cost of a keg on sales of about 10 beers, I think they could afford to put in a bigger selection that that.

  4. OK, SPE is going to become my new standard. Excellent.

  5. grotusque: I'm already plotting my Javascript SPE calculator.