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.
Pete: Siren's Lure, Fair Winds Brewing Company. This is the Bryce Harper of this brewery. A little sweet, a little hoppy, it’s a strong beer, while still maintaining some nice saison funkiness. A true five tool player. However, this beer’s name is kind of a metaphor for how I foresee this series playing out. This team is really good but there is still that chance they get tempted off course and crash on the rocks. Bryce is everything to this team, and how he goes, this team will go. And hey, if that’s how it’s going to turn out, we could all use a few more Siren’s Lures.
York: Anchor Steam Beer, Anchor Brewing. Recently moving from DC to San Francisco, this is a pretty obvious match in my head. The Nationals gave the DC area a baseball team to get excited about again, and they were adopted objectively as the area’s team. Everyone in and around DC seems to root for the Nats when they play, just like everyone from San Francisco knows to go for the Anchor Steam when it's on tap. Anchor Brewing has been putting out West Coast craft beer for over 100 years, and has a true regional loyalty. Likewise, the Nationals, regardless of whether it's Bryce, Zimm, Stras or any of their other superstars, encapsulate the energy and loyalty of their city.
Shane: 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Goose Island Beer Company. 312 is an old go-to of mine. It’s easily one of my favorite summer beers, and my favorite thing about it is that just about every grocery store, convenience store, and beer store has it on the shelf. On a similar note, "on the shelf" also applies to what feels like half of the Nationals lineup. Stephen Strasburg is injured. Jayson Werth is injured. Wilson Ramos is injured. Daniel Murphy is injured. Bryce Harper is supposedly banged up. Ryan Zimmerman is ancient. This team is basically the walking wounded. But much like Goose Island, when they are at their best, the Nationals can go toe-to-toe with anyone. 312 is among the best summer beers around, and while one of its strengths is the fact that you can always find it on the shelf, the Nationals are probably hoping to avoid that description in the future.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Pete: Brawler, Yards Brewing Company. This is more a tribute to that ageless pugilist, the great Chase Utley. A team that preseason looked really good, and ended up winning the division in a way that few expected. Losing Clayton Kershaw for a good portion of the season, problems with Puig, and a lot of uncertainty. But this team just kept on fighting, and they went on to win the division in spite of all of this. This beer embodies that mentality of fighting through adversity and still coming out on top. It is one of my favorite session beers because it isn’t just a low ABV IPA. Its roasty a little citrusy making it that perfect combination of refreshing and drinkable. It may not have all the crazy hops and a ton of ABV, but it gets the job done. Just like this Dodgers team.
York: City of the Sun, Modern Times Beer. I absolutely love Los Angeles. If only the National League would finally acknowledge that the DH makes the game better, I might find myself a Dodgers fan. I love how they acquire talent with seeming reckless abandon. See a good outfielder? “Good sign him”…”But wait we already have 5 starting outfielders”...”Whatever, we’ll make it work.” They Dodgers have an eye for talent and make good things work the best way. Kershaw goes down and Puig implodes? No problem, they still beat out the Giants for the division, all the while playing in a gorgeous city and what I think is one of the coolest stadiums out there. Modern Times makes beer. And roasts their own coffee. And barrel ages. And releases multiple new beers every month. These guys find something good and make it work in their lineup. I can’t get enough of that approach and have become a huge fan of what Modern Times is doing. Simple, classic art and branding does wonders for both the Dodgers and Modern Times, and the always-find-something-new attitude goes a long way with their fans.
Shane: Voodoo Doughnut Mango Astronaut Ale, Rogue Ales. I don’t really understand the Dodgers. They are a hodgepodge of players who didn’t really work out elsewhere (looking at you, Adrian Gonzalez), who people thought were too old to compete anymore (looking at you, Chase Utley), who wildly exceeded expectations (looking at you, Kenta Maeda), and who are total and complete head cases (looking at you, Yasiel Puig). Their depth chart is basically a list of names that will make you go “oh yeah! That guy!” Howie Kendrick. Carlos Ruiz. Joe Blanton. Andre dang Ethier, you guys! But somehow they seem to make it work. And then there are the superstars--Clayton Kershaw and Corey Seager can play for my team any day. What I’m trying to say is, the Dodgers possess incredible talent, but the way they’ve managed to put it all together absolutely baffles me. That’s about how I feel about Rogue’s Voodoo beer series. Rogue is an absolute powerhouse of a brewery, but some of these beers just make me scratch my head. Who came up with this idea? Who decided on these ingredients? Who gave it the green light? I don’t have answers for Rogue any more than I do for the Dodgers, but neither one of them seems to need my advice. I’d say they’re doing just fine.
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