By the time this post, which I’m writing on Friday 10/13, goes up on Monday 10/16, the whole notion of the Oakland A’s professional baseball team as a World Series-bound team of destiny may have gone up in horrific flames, but a week ago, when I watched them vanquish the Minnesota Twins’ playoff hopes in person at the ballpark, it was pretty friggin’ plausible. See, I dig baseball – before I was a music freak and a beer dork (i.e. in the 1970s, when I was turning 10) I was making lists & gathering baseball stats & collecting cards like the obsessive that I still am. One thing I’ve never done until last week, though, is go to a playoff game. I had tickets to Game 5 of the 1989 World Series – you know, the earthquake series – but thank to the A’s sweeping my Giants, there was no game 5. So I sprang for them this time, took the day off work, and all that. And what pastime goes better with rabid sports enthusiasm than beer drinking, am I right? I arrived at the stadium determined to find a couple of quality microbrews on tap, and to my glee, I found that which I was looking for.
The Network Associates Coliseum is by most measures a total concrete-and-plastic abomination & way past its prime, but folks, they have DESCHUTES’ Mirror Pond Pale Ale on tap! I started getting my mojo going with one of those, as I did so many times when I lived in Seattle in the late 90s. It continues to impress – perhaps not to the exacting standard of Deschutes’ off-the-charts amazing BLACK BUTTE PORTER, but a darn sight better than most brews. Smooth, moderately hoppy, not very cloudy to look at, not very aromatic, and probably something fairly representative of what the Pacific Brew News podcast calls a “lawnmower beer”. Or a ballgame beer – whatever. There’s nothing to complain about – just an excellent example of a simple Northwest American pale ale. 7/10! I then headed over to the SIERRA NEVADA stand, where there was a taphandle with “Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest” emblazoned upon it. I asked the young lady to pull me one of those, and I dug this one too. A nice rich amber color, very malty but way smooth again, with a hint of a “bite” to back it up. That may have been the hops on this one, because apparently they didn’t skimp of them. A lot of Oktoberfest Marzen beers are a little too intense at times for me, but this was nothing of the sort. Maybe that’s why this, too, was being served to the great unwashed hoi polloi at the ballgame. I gave it a 7/10 as well, and what a banner day that makes!