It’s after Thanksgiving and there’s really nothing going on that the Cubs front office wants to share at the moment. Maybe we should talk about beer. It would be a nicer conversation if I could actually drink beer like I used to, but because I apparently have some weird form of post-surgery glaucoma and Illinois hasn’t legalized pot yet, I have to take a medication called methazolamide which results in a metallic taste whenever I imbibe anything carbonated. That includes my favorite soft drinks (I’m a Coke fiend) and unfortunately, beer. So sad.
Not that it actually matters at Wrigley Field. As far as I could ever tell, the only beers served at Wrigley are Old Style (yay, tradition), Bud Light and maybe Miller Lite. They have stuff on tap at the various food stations in the concourse but those serve the same brands. Someone told me that once upon a time you could walk around and bump into a Goose Island dispensary, but I’ve never been able to find it. I figure if you’re going to spend $8 (including tip) on a beer to poison your liver and brain, it should be a good beer, not a lukewarm volume of asswater in a plastic cup delivered by some irascible beer dude who doesn’t care about you or hygiene. But that’s inflated stadium pricing for ya.
When I used to drink (i.e. when I had random disposable income and beer didn’t taste like battery acid due to stupid medication) I really enjoyed beer like Guinness, Newcastle, Samuel Adams and the like. I liked the Goose Island varieties once I moved to Chicago permanently. It actually makes little sense for a Chicago-based team not to serve beers from a Chicago-based brewery. There are plenty of local craft beers that citizens of Chicago consider “good” and I would bet that most of them are superior to Bud Light or Old Style. It may not even have to be from local breweries (although that’s obviously preferred as a neighborly gesture). Plenty of top ten lists of beer out there, for those of us who think that Bud Light, Old Style and Miller Lite all taste relatively the same (like ass).
Integrating the local flavor isn’t a new idea either. Many other MLB clubs have partnerships with specialty brews, though Wrigley Field often finds itself at the bottom of the barrel in terms of beer selection and taste. While Wrigley still has a great environment and view, and is obviously a wonderful place to watch a ball game, when the only “craft” beer is Old Style, there’s a bit of a problem.
I’m not sure if it’s because Cubs fans are such sticklers to tradition that they don’t care that their taste buds are being assaulted. Maybe the smaller dimensions and facilities prevent the Cubs from accommodating a bigger selection. Maybe they don’t want to charge for premium beers while ticket prices are still relatively high and the team is terrible. I don’t really know the details. I just know that if I want to get plastered and have to spend $8+ a pop doing so, I’d rather it be good beer than beer pong beer. I don’t even mind spending a bit more than the lite beer price to get my specialty beer that doesn’t suck.
In the end, this beer quibble I have probably doesn’t matter. The Cubs need to get better players and better player development. They need to improve the product on the field and everything else should fall into place. But we pretty much know they will suck for a while, and while that is happening, I’m guessing at least a subset of the fans who have the stomach to show up for home games would like a better brew to drown their sorrows with.