Beer and Cubs Baseball Pt 1: Old Style with Dinner

Beer and Cubs Baseball Pt 1: Old Style with Dinner

Tastes great, less filling

When it comes to the Cubs and Wrigley Field, the latter is certainly true. The former? Not so much.

It’s our beer, and you can’t have it.

Now that's a little more like it.  With the new $140MM beer sponsorship deal with Anheuser-Busch, the late Dennis Farina’s famous words appear to be unfortunately accurate.

Regardless of the brand, the slogan, or the pitchman, suds have been an intrinsic part of the Wrigley experience since time immemorial. Heck, beer and baseball go together even better than rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.

But now Old Style, the official beer of Wrigley Field and self-prescribed cure for Cubs-induced depression, has been DFA’ed, ending a 63-year run. It’s possible that the G. Heileman beverage could come back as an injury replacement, but it’s Willie Mays with the Mets at this point.

While many fans are sad to see this break from tradition, I am not one of them. I wrote about that in a bit more detail here, but I’ll save you a little time:

“Mold Style. Old Pile. A beer by any other name would smell as sweet and would have that "crisp, rich freshness … full flavored with a delicate aftertaste." So why is Old Style such a beloved part of Wrigley Field and the Cubs? I can tell you from more experience that I'd care to admit that it's not about the taste.

Beer, particularly Old Style, is an intrinsic part of the Wrigley Field experience that fans and tourists alike have grown up with. People didn't become Cubs fans because of Old Style, but they became fans of Old Style because of its ties to the Cubs. The prospect of drinking a lukewarm barley soda on a hot day while watching a cold team was something to look forward to.

I even know this hack of a part-time freelance sportswriter who drank nothing but Old Style during the Cubs' 2003 playoff run. Numb from the final loss and unable to drink the last beer in the cooler, he stowed it in the fridge, where it was to await a Cubs title. It stayed for there for nearly 2 years until he moved to a new apartment, and then moved again in '06 to the new home he bought with his wife.

And so it was that in the summer of 2011, my writer friend and his wife arrived home to find that his father-in-law, a Chicago White Sox fan no less, had opened the beer and was drinking it. After the guy picked his jaw off the floor, he helped to finish the beer. And from what I understand, it wasn't all that bad. At least, no worse than an Old Style usually is.”

If you actually clicked the link to my earlier article, you may have seen that it got quite a response from the public, not all of which followed my line of thinking. As you can imagine, messing with Cubs fans’ traditions is a sure-fire way to rile up some tensions.

For instance, edward [sic] chided me but good:

“Hey Evan, I’d be interested to know how old you are and what beer(s) you consider to be good-tasting. While we Old Style drinkers understand that today’s under 40 “beer drinker” wants rough, heavy, harsh beer, don’t tell us Old Style isn’t good beer. We prefer smooth, mellow, go-down-easy beer whether at a ball game, watching one on TV or with dinner in a nice restaurant. And yes, Wrigley is a better place, whether the Cubs win or lose, with Old Style served. Many New York staters [sic] wish we could get it here. So, go drown yourself in Heineken, add some Sam Adams and finish off with anything A-B brews. We smooth beer drinkers will take Old Style, regular Coor’s [sic], Miller High Life, Hamm’s or Lone Star any time.”

I don’t even know where to begin with this, so I’ll start at the beginning. I’m 34 and I prefer IPAs or APAs, but will drink just about any beer once…twice if I like it. In fact, I just finished kegging a home-brewed masterpiece that I’ve christened 8/8/88 Black IPA.

Listen, I’m a craft beer fan, but I’m not some kind of elitist or snob. I do, however, have to question my reader’s palate. It’s obvious that neither he, nor my wife’s uncle Frank (or really any male over the age of 50 in the Region) was polled in this study about the 9 beers Americans no longer drink.

Alright, let me climb down from my soapbox. Actually, it was probably more of a keg stand, but I was never really good at those either. Damn those rough, heavy, harsh beers! Next time, I’ll get Hamm’s.

Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman

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Comments

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  • Is it official that there will be no more Old Style? I thought I read that although A-B is an official sponsor, the concessions buyer is still free to add other beer choices, including Old Style and whatever craft/foreign beers they may want. I don't see how having no choice in beers could possibly "enhance" any ballpark experience. I've been drinking Old Style at the ballpark since ... well, for a long time. It ain't no great beer, but it's better than Bud, and part of the Wrigley Field traditions that seem to be less and less important by the day.

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    In reply to Floyd Sullivan:

    See Pt. 2; I address that to an extent.

  • In reply to Floyd Sullivan:

    I thought they were done OS no matter the new Bud deal?

  • Just had a discussion today on Twitter about the beer options at Wrigley. I don't much like Bud, Bud Lite, or Old Style so I was always walking to the beer cart on the ramp to get better beer. There were stories last fall that AB was going to start offering Goose Island at Wrigley this season which would make a ton of sense. I'd take 312 and Green Line over anything currently offered at the park.

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    Yes, since GI is owned by A-B, it's still going to be there, perhaps with even more offerings. I address that in Pt. 2.

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    I'm not sure what happened with the link, and I've been unable to edit either, but I was supposed to have a link to an article about the beers Americans are not drinking as much:
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/nine-beers-americans-no-longer-113535041.html

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    In reply to Evan Altman:

    Got that link fixed, in addition to one earlier in the article. Not sure what happened there.

  • $140 for a beer sponsorship? The business side is truly being mismanaged!

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    In reply to mrs howell:

    If only Thurston III was handling things. Thanks for the heads-up!

  • Levy restaurants can and should bring in local craft beer. Every other stadium is doing it

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    In reply to Mikethoms:

    It'll probably only be in the form of Goose Island, since that's both local and an A-B subsidiary (I believe now wholly-owned). If Levy does anything else, it'll be to retain some of the Old Style in the park.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    That would be amazing. I'd settle for GI. Yet, Half Acre please.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I would spend a lot of money on Daisy Cutters. Revolution Brewery would be nice too...support the locals.

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    In reply to North Side Irish:

    I'd love some Thr3e Floyd's as well. The local bars have it, but I would love to have a Gumballhead or Alpha King at the game.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    I addicted to DC.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I lived above the Wild Goose (2 doors down) for four years and that place was a warehouse. Year after I moved out they turned into the Half Acre Tap Room. I never would have moved if I had known it was coming.

  • In reply to Mikethoms:

    There was a stink that Yankee Stadium had a gourmet beer bar, but it was all SAB Miller brands, such as Leinenkugel and other stuff advertised on Sox TV. Hence, the conclusion that you might get Goose Island or even Stella Artois, but certainly nothing not affiliated with AB InBev.

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    In reply to jack:

    You can get Goose Island at Yankee Stadium; I have, and that's in the next piece.

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    My reference was here.* Maybe it changed before or after, but that was the stink.

    _____________
    *Found in a search when I was trying to figure out why Third Shift, Leine's, and Henry Weinhard beer were being advertised where Miller seemed to have the exclusive (and in some cases, using the "Great Beer, Great Responsibility" legend). I guess that it is bad business to admit that a "local craft beer" is brewed by one of the big two, and in these cases, usually in Milwaukee, just as 312 is brewed in area code 315 (Baldwinsville, N.Y.).

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    In reply to jack:

    Ah, gotcha. The craft beer explosion has stolen heavily from the macro's sales and profits, so they're either buying up smaller brewers or putting out their own private-label stuff. Also, gimmicks like lime flavor have been interesting to follow. For instance, A-B's Tequiza (which I loved in my younger days) never really got a foothold. It was shuttered, but then basically brought back as Bud Light Lime. Tequiza was ahead of its time, I tell ya!

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    The issue with Tequiza was that Mexicans can buy real Mexican beer, so they didn't buy the imitations targeted to them.

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    In reply to jack:

    Yeah, but I loved that stuff. I can't believe A-B wasn't thinking of my consumption of their product.

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    The question of how many a cases a day you were consuming undoubtedly entered into their calculus.

  • I don't always drink beer, but when I do its not Bud or Bud Lite. Where I live that's a Busch Stadium brew. I prefer craft beer varieties, but down an Old Style for tradition in Wrigley Field.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    I always have to have one as well; my derogatory comments are primarily a defense mechanism. Of course, I wouldn't order one away from Wrigley...unless I thought it would help the team win.

  • Just to throw my 2 beer's worth in, I,m a Lager guy mostly, do like Red Stripe and some of our local brew's. Like to try new one's every now and then too. Moved down here to the Florida Gulf Coast from Ill. several years ago so like anywhere else we get a decent variety, even heard that Swheatness has made it down here though I've not seen it. I'm in the well over 40 crowd and I 'spose I did some OS sometime or other when I was at the age of beer is beer and didn't care as long as it was beer, those days been gone awhile. To all the Old Styler's, not knockin' you, ya'll are certainly a better man than me. HOORAY BEER!!

  • I'll throw in Archie Bunker's line "you can't buy beer, only rent it."

    Maybe Ricketts should enshrine the troughs where the rentals were redeemed.

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    "Listen, I’m a craft beer fan, but I’m not some kind of elitist or snob. I do, however, have to question my reader’s palate."

    That makes you a snob then. Let people like what they like

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    In reply to Pooch7171:

    No; my kids like chicken nuggets with noodles & butter; I question their palates. I'll still drink macrobrews when the situation calls for it, but to say that Old Style is the kind of beer you'd have with a nice dinner is something I question.

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