We love baseball. We love beer. In honor of the Major League Baseball playoffs, we thought we’d do something a little bit different. Just as every baseball team has a distinct personality, so does every beer. We put our heads together to come up with the perfect beer to represent each playoff team. Then, since we completely disagreed about every single one, we decided to do it this way instead.
Shane: Sculpin, Ballast Point. Just plain solid in every way. Ballast Point has done a lot of interesting things with their Sculpin IPA, adding fruit, adding spices, and generally tweaking the recipe every which way...and it almost always winds up being delicious. This is an Indians team that doesn’t have many bombastic personalities. They aren’t led by one single star. Instead, they’re a genuinely likable, team-first group of players who are fundamentally strong at just about every position. To me, that is what Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA embodies. Sculpin, Pineapple Sculpin, Grapefruit Sculpin, Key Lime Sculpin, Mango Sculpin...no matter which one you reach for, you know it’s going to be solid.
Pete: Burning River Pale Ale, Great Lakes Brewing Company. This team sums up the city of Cleveland, this beer sums up the city. Citrus, pine, a little bitter, easy to drink. This is a hard working team and a hard working brewery. Straightforward. Cleveland is Cleveland, and no one would ever mistake it for any other city. Cleveland has a history of poor performances in the playoffs, so this beer sums up the inescapable notion that no matter how smooth things are going, the river can always catch on fire. As my father, a native Clevelander, put it, "the river actually was on fire." Yup, that's how it goes sometimes.
York: Fresh Squeezed IPA, Deschutes Brewery. Every time I have a beer from Deschutes, I'm reminded how much I like them. They make solid beer across the board and are constantly brews I go for in the fridge. The Indians are a team I don’t follow all that closely and rarely think of as a powerhouse, but somehow am also never surprised when they make the playoffs. Cleveland has a way of quietly climbing that list of contenders for the top spot much like Deschutes has continually impressed me with each release. I went with the Fresh Squeezed because it's one of the best iterations of a normal style I can think of. The Indians don't sign big controversial names or try to reinvent the wheel. Deschutes doesn’t follow the fads of fruits or flowers. Both have an aura of simple success and consistently solid top to bottom lineups.
Boston Red Sox
Shane: Rebel IPA, Samuel Adams. Obviously there's the Boston connection with Samuel Adams, but there are plenty of other reasons to choose this beer. Samuel Adams is basically the old guard of the craft beer scene. Like the Red Sox, they've been around along time. They're crafty. They know all the tricks. And they're led by a charismatic star. But the craft beer scene has changed, and Samuel Adams has shown a remarkable ability to change with it. Sometimes they throw a recipe against the wall and it doesn’t quite stick (Pablo Sandoval/Sparkling Ale). Other times, they step up and absolutely knock it out of the park (Mookie Betts/Rebel IPA). This Red Sox team is surprisingly likable, and a surprising number of fans who wouldn't usually root for a Boston team have admitted a grudging respect for this one. The Rebel IPA was a similar success for Samuel Adams, with even the most dedicated beer snobs acknowledging the quality of this beer.
Pete: Fort Point Pale Ale, Trillium Brewing Company. This Red Sox team is not like the other teams. They are flashy, bold, new, exciting, and in your face. That's what this pale ale has done to the Boston beer scene. Big, hazy, fruity, cloudy New England style beer has similarly come out of nowhere to take over the beer world much like this Sox team. While there is this new guard, there is always a harken back to the old days. The old Fort Point neighborhood is well represented on this beer, and old reliable David Ortiz is still a big part of the ethos of this team. What could be better than a citrusy, tropical, fruit-forward pale ale that you can enjoy during a baseball game? Nothing.
York: The Truth, Flying Dog Brewery. I love a brewery that just goes for it. Flying Dog is always pushing out something new with a bigger and bolder attitude. Beers like their Dead Rise (brewed with Old Bay), their Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout, and their Mango-Habanero Fever Dream prove that they aren't scared to go all-in at any given moment. Similarly, the Red Sox have shown a tendency to make blockbuster trades and signings to find the best way to succeed. That said, both the Red Sox and Flying Dog whiff here and there, but their fans are loyal because of the building blocks they use. Flying Dog has a long list of great IPA's that make up their backbone, just like the Red Sox have relied on guys like Pedroia, Ortiz, and Buchholz to make sure those risky ventures don't cause more of a shake up than intended. Flying Dog has art as distinctive as Fenway and The Truth has an ABV as high as the Green Monster.
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