How Good is Petco Park's Beer Lineup?
The Padres’ home hosts an impressive list of craft brews alongside the usual mass-produced options
Petco Park offers baseball fans one of the largest selections of craft beer in the country | Photo by Bruce Glassman
Most ballparks around America have gotten hip to craft beer. Some say that craft has driven up the price of everything else—hence the $5 can of Bud Light at Twins games and the $19.25 price tag for a 22-ounce bomber of craft at Oracle Park in San Francisco. Best deal out there? Supposedly, it’s a 14-ounce beer at Chase Field in Arizona for $4. Sure, sounds like a bargain, but then again, I have no idea what beer it is.
Fan tastes tend to dictate how far a ballpark will go to provide craft options. According to Sports Illustrated, opening day for the White Sox this year featured 77 different craft beer options at their ballpark (Guaranteed Rate Field) with more than 90 beers in the planned rotation for the season. Comerica Park offers Detroit Tigers fans 57 different options for beer, including a bourbon-barrel-aged stout from Bell’s in the mix. Wrigley Field offers tons of craft options (including the super-culty 3 Floyds Zombie Dust IPA), PNC Park offers Pirates fans more than 50 varieties of beer, and Coors Field in Colorado is dominated by—you guessed it—Coors products, but it also manages to offer Great Divide, Left Hand, and Odell selections.
At Citi Field in New York, Mets fans can enjoy a unique ballpark beer experience: They have a brewery right there in the stadium. In March 2018, Mikkeller opened a 10,000-square-foot brewery and restaurant inside the ballpark featuring Henry Hops IPA, which is packaged in special Mets-themed cans.
Closer to home, Dodger Stadium has limited options, but includes a nice selection of some of California’s finest, such as Stone IPA, Lagunitas 12th of Never Ale, Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, even Arrogant Bastard. Golden Road supplies Dodgers Blonde beer, which is a special brew you can only get at the stadium.
Angel Stadium actually offers lots of San Diego craft, including Aurora Hoppyalis from Karl Strauss, Orderville from Modern Times, and Mosaic from Saint Archer, plus two beers from its local brewery Santa Monica Brew Works. Santa Monica Brew Works also has three beers in 19.2-ounce cans at Dodger Stadium: 310, IPA and WIT.
According to SI, the Giants have one of the best beer lineups in baseball. The magazine recently wrote that the selections one sees at Oracle Park rival that of any great downtown bar. The team recently added beers from Laughing Monk, Henhouse, and Russian River, and Local Brewing is slotted to make a specialty tropical blonde beer with fruit grown in a garden located in center field. Now that’s local craft! To top it off, there are more than a dozen beers available at Oracle that rank 4.0 or higher with Beer Advocate, not the least of which are Russian River’s Pliny the Elder Double IPA and Blind Pig IPA.
Lots of ballparks have gotten the word that fans want more than Bud Light at the game, and the explosion of the craft beer scene around the country is the primary cause. So, how does our hometown venue stack up in the beer department?
Turns out, we have nothing to be ashamed of.
At Petco, fans can find more than 100 varieties of local craft beer in rotation on tap, in bottles, and in cans. Special facilities for Ballast Point, AleSmith, Pizza Port, Karl Strauss, and others offer wide ranges of each brewery’s beers within their walls.
There are also special brews created specifically for San Diego baseball fans. This year, Ballast Point partnered with the Padres to celebrate the team’s 50th anniversary by creating Swingin’ Friar Ale (a hoppy pale). Until this year, AleSmith’s iconic .394 Pale Ale had dominated the Padres-specific selections, along with Pizza Port’s proprietary Petco Park Ale.
More than 15 San Diego breweries are regularly represented within Petco Park, pouring more than 100 craft beers at various locations within the stadium. Here’s an abridged brewery listing with some of the highlights offered: Alesmith, Stone, Ballast Point, Pizza Port Brewing Co., Mike Hess Brewing, Karl Strauss, Mission Brewery, Resident Brewing Co., Belching Beaver, Iron Fist, Coronado, Alpine, Thorn, Green Flash, and Hodad's Brewing.