Curse of the Beerbino
March 11, 2004
Spring is in the New Hampshire air. I can’t help but to enjoy the balmy 50 degree temperature which is tee-shirt weather for us northerners. Soaking in this sultry heat triggers a reminder in my head that baseball season is just around the corner.
Hundreds of miles away in the tropical paradise of Fort Myer, Florida, my beloved Red Sox prepare for the daunting task of beating the Alex Rodriguez Yankees. The ticker on their website displays 27 days: 3 hrs: 39 mins: 3 secs until their quest can begin with the first pitch thrown in Fenway Park.
As you all know the Red Sox are an American League team, however, you may not have known it was originally dubbed the ‘Beer and Whiskey League’. In the late 1880’s, league team owners felt baseball was better suited for a more upscale crowd instead of the riffraff often associated with beer and whiskey. They banned gambling, raised ticket prices, and introduced one of the most boneheaded restrictions in the history of professional sports: all consumption and distribution of alcohol in professional baseball stadiums would no longer be tolerated.
The league was outraged, but no more so than several team owners who were also brewers. Beyond appalled by the rules, they formed a new league that is what we now know as the American League. The briefly distraught turn-of-the-century ball fans were overjoyed to see the warm fizzy yellow liquid once again flow into their cups.
A lot has changed in baseball since the alcohol restriction bullet was dodged. The Brooklyn Dodgers are now in Los Angeles, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, and our nation’s capital no longer has a team. Yet one constant that hasn’t changed is the warm fizzy yellow beer.
If any baseball team’s fans need good beer it has to be the Boston Red Sox. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat in Fenway or a sports bar next to a hardcore Sox fan that gushed something along the lines of “This will be our year, with Schilling and Pedro we have the best pitching in the league,” all while clenching their white plastic Miller Lite cup.
Hold on tight to that fizzy yellow beer my clueless friend. Come September, you will need it more than you do now as the beloved Sox choke once again at the hands of the Yankees. Bostonians claim this happens year after year because of “The Curse Of The Bambino”.
As a Bostonian I have heard about “The Curse Of The Bambino” since I was a kid. History recollects the curse began in 1920, when then Red Sox owner Harry Frazee traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees to finance the musical “No, No, Nanette”. Supposedly, The Babe cursed the Sox to never win a Championship again. We all know what the Yankees have done with their dynasty. The Red Sox haven’t clinched a Championship since.
Legend of the curse also states that in the Babe’s last season with the Sox, he got hammered and shoved his piano into Willis Pond in Sudbury, Massachusetts. Sox fans believe that if they can locate and retrieve the piano then the curse will be broken and the Sox will finally break out the champagne celebration.
Anyone that knows anything about Babe Ruth or any of the other old school players knows these guys liked to drink a lot more than they like to play the piano. The story of the Babe pointing to the bleachers to call his home run shot is total myth. In actuality, he was waving to the beer guy in the bleachers making sure he had a wet one waiting for him in the dugout after he rounded the bases. He hit the homerun to get to the beer that much quicker.
If you want to break the “Curse of the Bambino”, to hell with the piano, get some good booze in the ballpark! By serving up watery hooch, Fenway is not going to make the ghost of Babe any happier. Serve this bloated lush a decent drink and watch the curse go down the toilet. At least if I’m wrong and the Sox choke again, fans tears will drop into a decent beer.
I am not suggesting they serve up 12% barley wine in the Fenway bleachers, though that would make for a very interesting Red Soxs/Yankees game – especially on bat day! Baseball is a spring/summer sport so I think we need to get away from the winter beers like the barley wines and imperial stouts. It’s time for pilseners, pale ales and tasty lagers!
Here are my baseball beer picks for fat, drunken, bloated apparitions, as well as Red Sox and baseball fans alike:
From the Dominican Republic, home of Pedro Martinez. This beer hosts a delicate translucent blonde color with a clean aroma. There is an all so slight hop flavor just enough to give a nice dry finish.
Commercial description: Presidente beer is brewed and bottled by Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana, the largest and most prestigious beer company in the Dominican Republic. Brewed with the highest quality ingredients. The finest blend of imported hops and barley malt. Great flavour with body and minimal aftertaste. No more than 6% alcohol by volume. Presidente Beer accounts for 96% of the Dominican market (40mm cases) and is the #1 finished good exported product from the Dominican Republic.
Victory Prima Pils
One of the best pilsners I have ever had in my life. This is a perfect spring/summer beer. Light but not lacking in any way. Pours a see-through soft golden color. Creamy in texture and body, it’s not light and lacking like other pilsners I have had. There’s plenty of hop flavor buried in this offering.
Commercial description: Heaps o’ hops are hiding under the full, frothy head of this elegant Pils. All German malt subtleties linger beneath a long dry finish of this classy quencher. Composition Malts: 2 row German pilsner malts Hops: German and Czech whole flowers
I have no clue why they don’t have this beer in Fenway Park. Boston-based Harpoon brewery is exactly 5 miles from the field! Harpoon IPA has a deep golden almost copper color with a very flowery hoppy bouquet. It sparkles on the palette but is not fizzy in any way. This is crisp and light but in no way a lacking spring/summer ale.
Commercial description: In the tradition of India Pale Ale’s(IPA’s), this copper colored ale is floral, medium bodied, with a distinct hop finish. Originally our summer seasonal in 1993, it is now available year-round. Harpoon IPA was ranked atop both domestic and imported IPA’s by Beer Connoisseur Magazine
And my number one pick is:
Long Trail Double Bag
This 7.2% Strong Ale will give Boston 1st baseman Kevin Millar an excuse if he pulls a Bill Buckner. With the kick this beer has he can always claim he saw two balls roll between his legs. Based on a German strong ale, this beer hosts a huge flavor profile. The 7.25 ABV will definitely keep you warm on cool spring evenings. It beer pours a beautiful dark amber with a quickly vanishing thin tan head. As I bring this beer to my nose, I get a citrus-y hop aroma balance by a malt-y semi-sweet profile.
Commercial description: Also known as a Stickebier (German slang for secret beer), Double bag as originally offered only in the brewery tap room as a special treat for our visitors. All of Long Trail’s beers are brewed with artesian well water named Vermont’s best drinking water by The States Agency of Natural Resources.