Cincinnati Reds Make Craft Beer Roster Moves for 2014
The Cincinnati Reds have made some roster moves on their craft beer starting lineup ahead of Opening Day 2014. Some of last year’s fan favorite beers were sent to the minors while others made it to The Show. Queen City Fresh has the comprehensive bottle and draft menu.
MadTree Brewing and their bright green cans of PsycHOPathy IPA found their way into the hearts, minds (look at that Rorscach tree!), and stomachs of local beer and baseball fans last season as rookies. However, the Reds brass along with their food and beverage vendor have different plans this season and will not carry cans of MadTree beer.
It was fairly miraculous that such a small, fledgling business would be picked up by the Reds but they made good on their promises and kept Great American Ball Park well stocked throughout the 2013 season. Fortunately, you can find this fresh IPA on draft but don’t look for the cans. So long, Best Canned Ballpark Beer.
On the flip side, they did promote downtown neighbor, Rhinegeist, with their cans of Truth and Cougar. This presents an excellent opportunity for the young OTR brewery to showcase their (c)hops after they joined the draft lineup mid-year last season with a strong showing. You will continue to see draft Truth this year alongside their cans.
Another rookie call-up this season is the nostalgia-inducing Wire to Wire Wheat from Fifty West Brewing. I don’t have any of the specs on this beer yet but I feel confident Fifty West will deliver on such a proudly named product. Seriously, I don’t think these guys know how to make sub-par beer. Also, Blank Slate was rewarded with a permanent tap handle to share their regularly rotating seasonal beers.
Finally, we have the elimination of the Friday night special tappings. If you’re not familiar, there were rare kegs and firkins tapped at every Friday night home game. They brought in some killer beers which often meant the beer was gone quickly but it was a real draw for craft beer fans. I know I bought some walk-up tickets to catch a game on a nice night and to get a pour of something special.
The Reds Brewery District
I was really excited to learn about the plans for a new Craft Beer Bar. There were high hopes that it would be all craft beer but things didn’t quite pan out that way for what is being called The Reds Brewery District. It will feature about a dozen craft beers being poured next to some crafty beers and macro lagers. Expect 23 different beers spread across 60 tap handles. This is the only place to get draft local craft beer not made by Moerlein.
Moerlein Tap Takeover
Speaking of Moerlein, the two craft beer stands from last season have been rebranded under their Lager House moniker. You will only find Moerlein on tap at these stands but you’ll find nearly fifty packaged craft beers from a variety of breweries available.
Overall, we are fortunate to have a great craft beer lineup that has been the result of the efforts of a few passionate individuals within the organization lobbying to meet the demands of better beer drinkers. However, their wasn’t much progress made which was a little disappointing. The slow progress was surprising after they added a second craft beer stand during the middle of the season.
It’s also great to see solid local brewery representation among the many offerings. Besides the ones mentioned earlier, other local breweries being poured include Listermann (Pre-Probition Lager takes the places of Serpentine Wheat) and Rivertown (Lil SIPA takes the place of Hop Bomber). Mt. Carmel’s Amber will be poured again and we will see Moerlein’s Zeppelin (among others) first introduced last summer.
Like the ball team, I had hoped for some flashy off-season talent acquisitions to really wow us. Instead we were left with a mixed bag of the MadTree can head scratcher, thumbs up for Rhinegeist, Fifty West, and Blank Slate, a pronounced “brewery district,” and some higher prices for fans ($9 for 16oz draft).
The beer selection is head-and-shoulders above where it was a few short years ago but it still pales in comparison to the big league talent at stadiums on the West Coast. Let your voice (and wallets) be heard this season whenever you visit the ballpark. Let’s move two steps forward in-season after an arguable step back in the off-season.
Cheers to the Redlegs!