Start 14-Day Trial Subscription

*No credit card required

Jim Dykstra's picture

Best US Sports Stadiums for Beer

Best US Sports Stadiums for Beer

Sports and beer. They go together like tequila and lime, hammer and sickle or burger and pickle. The modern “PG” version of gladiatorial combat is one of society's great stress relievers – an arena where we're free to scream bloody murder, stomp our feet and strongly insinuate that referees' vision and mental health should be checked. So it makes sense that we love to combine sports with beer, another of society's strongest recreational pastimes. Put 'em together and the cheers intensify, the bleachers echo for miles and the dreams of refs will be haunted for decades, to our delight.

With at least 140 major professional sports stadiums in the U.S. alone, choosing the best in terms of beer is no small feat. Needless to say, this is an objective list featuring some of the strongest contenders for the title of "Best Sports Stadiums for Beer. " The main factors taken into account are beer selection, prices, and overall fan experience. This means that some stadiums with excellent craft selections may be passed over due to exorbitant pricing, which can really decimate the experience for those with thinner wallets. So for the record, the San Francisco Giants have one of the best selections in the game, but their prices reached $20 for some craft selections last year.

Interestingly, it seems not all sports favor craft equally. While there are quality craft offerings and prices within each sporting arena, it seems Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer have most readily embraced craft – at least in terms of craft sponsors, and the level of integration between the beer and the stadiums (stadium breweries with specially themed beers, etc.). Let us know which ones you think should have made the cut!

Mikkeller beer in front of the New York Mets' stadium Citi Field

Citi Field
New York Mets

The Mets have the leg up on the old Yanks in terms of beer. The park offers beers from Sixpoint, Blue Point, Brooklyn Brewery and Ommegang, but leave it to Mikkeller to have met and then exceeded your expectations by offering 60 rotating taps at its 10,000-square-foot taproom by the right-field gates. The brewery will also roll out an exclusive Ballpark Beers line throughout the year, with four currently available.

Gillette Stadium
New England Patriots

How can anyone be deflated after copping a feel of this stadium's beer offerings? Fans will love the "Kraft" list, which includes Lord Hobo, Wachusett, Mayflower, Berkshire, Blatant, Heavy Seas, Harpoon, The Shed, Long Trail, Smuttynose, Stony Creek, Shipyard, Two Roads, Allagash and Victory along with other familiar craft players. Regardless of how you feel about the team, the selection is impressive, and the prices are some of the lowest in the league on average.

Guaranteed Rate Field
Chicago White Sox

Despite the snoozefest stadium name, this is a beer drinker's haven. G-Rate Field touts a mastodonic selection of 77+ offerings in the "Craft Kave"... and while names are clearly not the White Sox' cup of tea, this is the only Kave in America that will rotate 91 beers throughout the baseball season, including 3 Floyds Gumball Head, Half Acre Daisy Cutter, hits from Solemn Oath, Two Brothers and a veritable skein of Goose Island joints.

Better yet, at $4 to $12, the rates for beer are guaranteed to satisfy.

Miller Park stadium for the Milwaukee Brewers

Miller Park
Milwaukee Brewers

It would be a crime if the Brewers didn't offer a decent beer experience. Thankfully they do. Miller Park has added 15 new beers to a strong list including locals like Titletown, Third Space, Raised Grain, City Lights, Lakefront, Good City, Central Waters, One Barrel, MobCraft and many more. The stadium also features two New Glarus beers – Moon Man APA and Spotted Cow, which are only available in Wisconsin despite their wide acclaim.

Also, the Brewers have partnered with Leinenkugel to make Bernie's Barrelman Ale, a Miller Park exclusive. Prices range from $5 for domestic cans to $15 for 20 oz. draft craft, and with premium domestics ringing in at $7, you can build a buzz without decimating your piggy bank.

Mercedes Benz Stadium
ATL United, Atlanta Falcons

These teams are the pride of Atlanta, and thanks to a "fan first" philosophy, the drinking experience is something to be proud of too. Ranked among the most affordable concessions of any pro sports venue, Mercedes Benz Stadium cut food and drink prices by almost 50 percent, allowing fans to purchase craft for $5 to $9. The pricing model worked out and ended up increasing revenue by 16 percent in its first year, which has led other franchises like the Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Diamondbacks and Sporting KC to follow suit. Buying drinks at sporting events commonly amounts to highway robbery, which makes Mercedes Benz’s practices the Robin Hood of stadium beer pricing.

Further, the selection includes a stadium-exclusive brew, Wild Heaven's ATL Pale Ale, along with favorite locals like Jekyll, Creature Comforts, Terrapin and Sweetwater. To cap it off, the championship soccer squad has its own beer by Three Taverns, Rowdy and Proud IPA, which acts as lifeblood for the team's 70,000+ strong attendants.

Coors Field for the Colorado Rockies

Coors Field
Colorado Rockies

Sure, it's Coors Field, so there's Coors. But this is also a historic stadium in terms of craft beer. Coors Field became home to Sandlot Brewery in 1995, the MLB's first stadium brewery. Shortly after, brewer Keith Villa created Belly Slide Wit, which would go on to become Blue Moon Belgian White.

Prices are respectable, with both 20 oz. domestic drafts and 16 oz. craft and imports ringing in at $8.75, and the selection is too. Coors' premium offerings are all on display, including Colorado Native, and there are offerings from Boulder Beer (at one time known as "Rockies Brewing Company," Breckenridge, Odell, Oskar Blues and Upslope Brewing Co. Paired with the myriad offerings from Sandlot Brewery itself, it's hard to get a more closely intertwined baseball and beer experience than Coors Field.

BB&T Center for the Florida Panthers

BB&T Center
Florida Panthers

The NHL's big cat squad shots are all on goal when it comes to beer – not only did the Panthers ink a deal with Funky Buddha to open a 12-tap taproom within stadium walls in 2018, but BB&T has an entire section devoted to Concrete Beach Brewery (owned by Alchemy and Science, a Sam Adams subsidiary) and more craft from locals like The Tank and J. Wakefield, bolstered by more standard offerings from Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada. (Photo Courtesy Florida Panthers Facebook)

Nationwide Arena
Columbus Blue Jackets

Fresh off a new multi-year deal with Great Lakes Brewing Co., which includes a slew of its beer and branding rights, the Blue Jackets are putting on a good show for local beer within the NHL. Great Lakes, which also inked a partnership with the Cleveland Indians, boasts its own bar within the stadium offering year-round and seasonals alike. BrewDog and Land-Grant Brewing Co. also have sections within the stadium offering rotations of their beers, and the multi-brand Arch City Ales section has taps from Bell's, Citra Dog, North High, Southern Tier and more. Any stadium you could theoretically bar-hop within is worthy of this list. Also, the Blue Jackets just pulled off the most shocking playoff upset in NHL history after sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning (who had the best record in the league).

Great American Ballpark for the Cincinnati Reds

Great American Ballpark
Cincinnati Reds

An 85 foot-long beer bar with 60 taps you say? Dozens of craft offerings, including local favorites such as MadTree, Taft's Ale House, Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. and 50 West, this is a stadium full of chewy beers to sink your teeth into. Adding to the authentic old-timey experience is the Hudy Delight, a historic light lager brewed by Hudepohl Brewing Company around 1885, and now revived by Christian Moerlein Brewing Co.

MAPFRE Stadium
Columbus Crew

Columbus does beer right. Not the largest stadium or winningest team, but this is a fanbase with heart, which fought to keep its team in Columbus. As community hubs, local breweries played a big part in rallying the troops. The soccer club has maintained a long partnership with local Land-Grant Brewing Co., which has also brewed an official team beer titled "Glory," though there is a new one in the works. The stadium offers the locals you'd expect, like Great Lakes and Rhinegeist, along with other lesser-known players like North High, Saucy Brew Works and Platform Beer Co., with other craft brewery trucks and bars situated throughout the stadium.

CenturyLink Field for the Seattle Seahawks

CenturyLink Field
Seattle Seahawks

Championship teams within the NFL seem to be the ones with the best beer. Maybe the beer inspires the crowd to go the extra mile, or the players just have more pep in their step from all the hops. Either way, the Seahawks play host to an impressive repertoire of the city's sterling brews, with suds from Fremont, Black Raven, Mac & Jack’s, 7 Seas, Snoqualmie Falls, Georgetown, Silver City, Redhook, Elysian, Two Beers, Bale Breaker, Pyramid and more – all spread out between myriad pubs and stalls throughout the stadium.

Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse for the Cleveland Cavaliers

Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
Cleveland Cavaliers

Aside from consistently ranking as having the lowest beer prices in the NBA, the Cavs are also trailblazers when it comes to beer service: fans can now use their phones to order beer without ever leaving their seats, or interacting with vendors. The Cavs are in a trial phase with the "Brew2You" service, but if things go to plan, this may represent a semi-revolution in concession acquisitions. As you may have gathered by the strong Ohio representation throughout this list, the state is strong on beer and know how to integrate it into stadium culture and beer selection. The Cavs boast strong craft repertoire throughout Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, including a newly added Saucy Brew Works beer garden. (Photo Courtesy Flickr/Erik Drost)

Petco Park for the San Diego Padres

Petco Park
San Diego Padres

The West Coast came up short on this list, largely due to pricing, but Petco Park redeems itself with a Tony Gwynn collaboration beer and a heavy emphasis on craft options and venues. Gluten-free and non-alcoholic beer? Check. Pizza Port alone has five locations within the stadium, which all sell their exclusive Petco Park Pale Ale. Ballast Point operates a beer garden on the second level, along with Craft Pier, great to sit, sip and take in the game. There are near 100 craft brands here to try, including suds from AleSmith, Karl Strauss, Mike Hess, Mission, Iron Fist and Coronado.

State Farm Arena
Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta's lesser celebrated team gets a shoutout for its NBA-first adoption of the fan-first pricing model kickstarted by its raptorial brethren in the NFL (the Falcons), which was ahead of the curve within the basketball concessions realm, offering brews as cheap as $5. Willingness to partner with local favorites such as Scofflaw, which has its own "Beer Barn," specialized bars including one literally on the hardwood, behind the basket, and multiple overlooking the court. Beyond that, a 40% increase in taps leads to a feeling of walkability and diversity within the Arena. The team has set a high bar for NBA beer drinking options.

Man holding a Redneck Hill Ale at the Charlotte Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Craft beer is still in its fledgling stages within the auto racing realm, but Charlotte is charging forth, working with Cabarrus Brewing Co. to create 600 Ale, named for the track's Coca-Cola 600 race, and more recently releasing Redneck Hill, an easy drinking American Ale. The track also sells a number of other local craft options from Olde Mecklenburg, NoDa, Red Oak, Foothills, Green Man, Natty Greene's and more – all for $5. Coupled with Oskar Blues recently becoming the first official craft beer sponsor to a driver, North Carolina gets major points for bringing craft to NASCAR. (Photo Courtesy Cabarrus Brewing Co. Facebook)

Baseball dominates this list, as the sport and its businesspeople have most fully integrated craft on both a fan and corporate level, but it seems that lower pricing and more beer options and drinking venue variety are becoming universally adopted across all forms of sport. We love craft for its individuality and freedom of choice, and in the American sporting tradition, anything that encourages freedom and individuality deserves a foothold. Here's to hoping stadiums see that fan-friendly drinking modes are a win-win. (Header Photo Courtesy Flickr Hubert Figuiere)

Table of Contents