[UPDATE: Please note that this post was from 2015. There have been significant changes to the beers offered, both on tap as well as by the bottle, at The Coke for this season. A complete new post of this topic will be forthcoming.]
Beer and Baseball have quite a history together. Even hot dogs take a back seat to the connection between beer, their breweries and a ball game. Indeed, I believe it an intrinsic part of the game-day experience for those who are able and chose to partake of a cold beverage at the ball park.
Coca Cola Park and the IronPigs management have done a very respectable job making a variety of brews available to the beer-drinking public at the games. Every year, there’s a new twist, some new choices, and some new places to grab a drink. Here’s a general “map” and “menu” of what’s available, and where to get it, and how much it costs. At the end, I’ll give you some strategies for the thirsty baseball fan who doesn’t want to miss any of the action standing in line.
Keep in mind please: These things are subject to change all the time. I’ll try to update this post periodically, but I’ll never be able to keep up with it completely. Too much beer–too little time. If you’d like to make additions or corrections, please feel free to add them in the comments–it will make this piece better as a reference.
As you enter the park at the main entrance, you’ll find the Blast Furnace Grill and some other food stands on your right. If you’re purchasing food straight away, you can add a beer here. They don’t have taps, but have the “Standard Bottles” for $5.75 and “16 oz Premium” for $6.50.
Throughout much of the park, 16-oz aluminum bottles of Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Bud Light Lime, and Coors Light are widely available. These are the common choices the “Beer Man” has in his bucket coming through the stands or positioned strategically on the concourse.
Premium bottle beers usually include Sam Adams Boston Lager, Sam Adams Seasonal, and Corona in 12-oz glass bottles for $5.75. The beer will be decanted into a plastic cup by your vendor. There are “premium” 16-oz cans of Shock Top and Landshark, and perhaps some others, about, as well for $6.50.
If you’re entering the park and proceeding to the left where where most of the seating is located, you’ll likely encounter one of the beer vendors in a yellow shirt. If you’re in need of a cold one right away, this can be an excellent way to get one quickly. They used to be $5.50, but are now $5.75. I never take the quarter(s) as change. There’s almost never a line.
Straight across the plaza before you turn left to head towards most of the seating, you’ll find a Beer and Snacks portable. They have Shock Top, Landshark and Bud Light on tap. Shock Top and Landshark are $6.00 for a 16 oz cup, while Bud Light is $5.75. The important thing to know here, is that these drafts are also available in the big 32-oz cups for $10.00 and $9.50 respectively. Some simple math will tell you that this is a good way to get two beers if you were going to drink them anyway. The downside, is that those big 32-oz cups are a bit flimsy–tricky to carry, and in the dead of summer your beer will tend to get a little warm unless you down it quickly. The Beer and Snacks here also has the “Standard Bottles” as well as O’Doules alcohol-free beer for $4.00.
Continuing down the concourse on the first base side, towards home plate, you’ll encounter another Beer and Snacks portable. The beer choices are the same. Continue to this location if the line at the first one is too long, and you’re looking for the 32-oz cups.
After the second Beer and Snacks portable, you’ll encounter the “Rita Cabana” portable. They have the standard bottles there, plus a selection of Bud Light “Ritas.” Lime-a-rita was the first to debut from this group, but now they have Straw-Ber-Rita, Raz-Ber-Rita and Mang-O-Rita in 8-oz cans for $5.00. I believe they decant them into a plastic cup for you–over ice if you wish. They also have Bud Light Lime and Landshark on tap for $6.00/16oz or $10.00/32oz. They’ve got the “Standard Bottles” and O’Doule’s here, as well as some sodas and bottled water. If your game-day companion would like an adult beverage but doesn’t care for beer–this would be the place to go–as well as the Bud Light Trough and the Tiki Bar.
The next portable is the Gluten Free stand. They have gluten free beer available for $5.75. I believe it’s a 12-oz bottle of Red Bridge which will be poured into a cup for you.
The first main concession stand you’ll encounter as you proceed down the concourse will be the Pizza Stand, on your left. They have 16-oz drafts of both premium ($6.00) and standard ($5.75) variety. Premium choices here are Redds Apple Ale and Labatts. The standard choice is Coors Light.
Just past the pizza stand, and still on your left, is the entrance to the Biergarten. The biergarten was built out of a pic-nic and smoking area a few years ago. This season, it gets a new covered bar which you can access from the park side where there are picnic tables and a bratwurst stand, and from the outside (gated in) area, where you are permitted to smoke. There are tables to sit and eat and/or drink, and screens to monitor the game action. On tap and available as 16-oz or 32-oz drafts, are Budweiser, Bud Light, Landshark, Shock Top, Sam Adams Boston Lager, IronPigs Piggy Bock, Fegley’s Blueberry Belch, Troegs Hopback Amber Ale, Victory Hopdevil, and Victory Seasonal. These selections change frequently. On a recent trip, a Troeg’s seasonal replaced the Fegley’s. Bottles available at the biergarten include the standard choices, as well as: Longboard Lager, Angry Orchard, Hop Explosion, Steelgarden Wit, Flower Power IPA, Troegs Perpetual IPA, Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat, Weyerbacher Last Chance IPA, Dogfish Head 60-Minute, and Lime-A-Ritas. Lines at this bar are usually not too long. Plus, it’s an excellent chance to get some of the many choices in the large-format glasses. Sometimes they have a plastic 18-oz commemorative mug available, too. Draft prices are $5.75/$9.50, $6.00/$10.00 and $6.25/$11.00. Bottles range from $5.00 to $6.50.
Next on your left, is the second permanent concession stand on our beer journey: The Home Plate Grill. Here you’ll find 16-oz drafts for the normal prices: Budweiser, Bud Light, Shock Top and Landshark.
As you round the corner near home plate, you’ll likely encounter another “beer man” or two. If you’re entering via the club entrance, here’s where you join the concourse. Just around the turn is the Craft Beer portable on your right. They feature 16-oz and 32-oz drafts of Fegley’s Amber Lager and Fegley’s BrewWorks Seasonal for $6.25 and $11.00. They also have bottle of Corona, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Sam Adams Seasonal, Corona, Coors Light, and Fegley’s Hop Explosion.
The third main concession stand on the tour is the Lunch Box Grill. This concession has three different lines–you can probably get beer in any of them–you’ll have to choose your line based on what kind of food item you’re ordering. On the beer side, they have 16-oz “Super Premium” drafts for $6.25, as well as the $6.00 Premium and $5.75 Standard we’re familiar with. In this case I think the “Super Premium” is Goose Island 321, while Landshark and Shock Top are the premium and Budweiser and Bud Light are the standard choices.
Now heading up the third base line towards left field, we encounter another Beer and Snacks portable. At this one, we have Blue Moon, Labatt’s Blue, and Coors Light. They are available in both 16-oz and 32-oz sizes. The Blue Moon is $6.25/$11.00 while the Labatt’s is $6.00/$10.00 and the Coors Light is $5.75/$9.50. Bottled beers at this location are Sam Adams Boston Lager, Sam Adams Seasonal, Corona, Coors Light, and Angry Orchard Hard Cider.
As you near the PPL Picnic Patio, there’s another Beer and Snacks portable on your left this time, away from the field. This one has Troegs Hopback Amber, Victory Seasonal, and Bud Light on tap. The Troegs and Victory are in the “super premium” price level, with the Bud Light is standard. Bottled beers here are Budweiser, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, and Michelob Ultra.
The PPL Picnic Patio does have it’s own beer vending on the back side of the building, facing the field. I don’t believe they have a lot of choices there, but Budweiser and Bud Light, certainly.
Now we’re in left field, and you can’t miss the Tiki Bar. There are Oasis tables of four, and reserved seating, as well as other tables you may be free to use. Wait service is available here for food and beverage. You can also walk up to the bar on the outside portion (the inside is for the group(s) in the Tiki Terrace seating area). On tap, expect Fegley’s Amber Lager, Corona Light, Michelob Ultra, Landshark, Victory Hopdevil, Shock Top, and Bud Light. Bottled choices include Corona, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Sam Adams Seasonal, A selection of Lime-A-Ritas is available, as well as a frozen variety!
As you make your way around the outfield, past the lawn seating, and back towards the ATT Plaza, you’ll note no beer vending–perhaps to keep the lawn more of a family-friendly environment. As you get close to the plaza, though, and observe the trough seating, you’ll see the Trough Bar. They’ll have some “super premium” and “premium” choices here on tap, usually including Shock Top Specialty or two, Shock Top Regular, Victory Hopdevil, Fegley’s Amber Lager, as well as Bud Light and Coors Light, and Bud Light Lime. Plus, a selection of Lime-A-Ritas is available.
Now let’s head upstairs. The Club Level features three places to get brew, as well as a “beer man” sometimes. The main choice is the Club Level Bar. The friendly bartenders here will get you a Bud Light, Coors Light, Shock Top, Landshark, Fegley’s Amber Lager, Victory Hopdevil on tap in either 16 oz or 32 oz cups. They have the “standard aluminum bottled” Budweiser products as well as the Sam Adams, Sam Adams Seasonal, and Corona bottles. As always, you don’t get the glass bottle. This bar is the only place in Coca Cola Park where you can get a mixed drink or a glass of wine, although there are some rules about what they can mix, liquor-wise. However, they do pour some semi-premium brands such as Maker’s Mark, Crown Royal, Ketel One, Grey Goose, Patron and others. They also have a couple different pedestrian wines available, and the Lime-A-Ritas, and Angry Orchard Hard Cider.
The Hog Heaven food stand has beer on tap–usually Budweiser, Bud Light, Shock top, Goose Island 321, and Troeg’s Hopback. If the lines at the bar are too long, you can sometimes grab a beer here more quickly. They have only the 16-oz cups for $5.75/$6.00/$6.25.
A new choice this season is the Pig Stop on the club level. It’s no longer a carving station or a sandwich station, it’s now a supplemental concession stand with pizza, peanuts, candy, and the ability to order from the Club Bar Menu for the tables in the area. They also have beer now! They have the “standard aluminum bottles” as well as the same list of micro-brew bottles as the biergarten downstairs. They also have one tap, which is now IronPigs Piggy Bock.
Dugout Suites, Party Porches and Other Hospitality Areas
There’s a bar in the dugout suites with a few of the basic choices. I’ve not been down there this season, but you can expect something similar to the Club Bar with perhaps fewer choices. I believe Dugout Suite guests can take the elevators to the Club Bar to get whatever else they may need. Beer available in the luxury suites on the 300-level portion of the Club is at the discretion of the suite owner, and purchased by the six-pack via the catering–otherwise, if you’re a guest in a suite you have access to the Club Bar for whatever else you might need. The same can be said for the Party Porches, which may have a bar or may not, depending on the host and the catering package. Again, party porch guests have access to the Club Bar.
In some of the areas with wait service such as the Hot Corner, Pig Pen, Tiki Tables, and Bacon Strip, you can expect something similar to the picture below, with the possible addition of draft choices in the Hot Corner.
Policies and Procedures
Most beer sales at the concessions, biergarten, portables and “beer man” end after the middle of the seventh inning as is customary in most ball parks. The Club Bar stays open through the end of the game with the exception of extreme extra inning games. The Tiki Bar and Trough Bar also stay open past the seventh in some cases. Please don’t drink and drive. Liquor mixed drinks and wine purchased in the club level cannot be carried downstairs onto the concourse. You cannot carry your open beer out into the parking lot, either.
Strategies for the Thirsty Fan
If you need a cold beverage as soon as you enter the park, my advice is to find the “beer man” in the yellow shirt–if you’re entering via the ATT Plaza, he’ll likely be right across from the entrance to the Majestic Clubhouse Store before you enter the covered portion of the concourse. If you’re entering via the Club Entrance, he’ll be straight in, past the stairs and the elevator, near the lower seating bowl. If you need a 32-oz “big boy” beer, use the Beer and Snacks portables near the plaza or head up to the Club Bar.
If you just need a beer quickly during the game, and don’t want to get stuck in a line, my first advice is to locate a “beer man” in a yellow shirt and go to him–don’t wait for him to come to you. I’ve found beer service in the stands to be rather hit or miss at Coca Cola Park, both at field level as well as club level. The second option is the biergarten or the two beer and snacks portables on the third base side. The first-base ones tend to be more crowded. The Tiki Bar is pretty quick if you’re in the area, and up in the club look to the Pig Stop if lines are long at the bar and at the Hog Heaven concession and no “beer man” in sight.
If you’d like to keep your beer tab to a minimum, here are some possible strategies, if you like:
- Purchase the 32-oz cups
- Come early on a Thursday for “happy hour” $2 domestic drafts from 5-6PM.
- Make sure you use your “Loaded Credit” if you’re a season ticket holder or if your tickets were purchased from a season ticket holder. Also, members of groups have loaded value of $2 or more, usually, as well.
- Maybe don’t drink so much?
- Better yet, bring a friend who agrees to “buy the drinks” for the night. Buying the tickets is always cheaper than buying the beer–with me around, anyway.
I once went to a single-A park where the entire beer concession was operated by the local brew pub! Having local choices available at the park is a cool regional advantage at Minor League stadiums, and something I always look for when visiting other parks. At Coca Cola Park we have both Fegley’s and Weyerbacher choices, which are Lehigh Valley breweries. Much of the Sam Adams you get is brewed in Fogelsville, despite the fact that it’s not really a “local” beer. Victory is in Downingtown, PA, and Troeg’s is from Hershey.
Despite the presence of many micro brews and choices, there are a couple glaring omissions: First, there are very few imports. Labatts and Corona are about it. perhaps they should add some Heineken or Amstel or Beck’s at the biergarten? How about some Guiness on tap? The problem, of course, is that they’d likely have to add another price level.
The other glaring omission is the 1,000-lb gorilla in the room: Yuengling. Almost every day someone approaches the club bar and asks for one. Usually, they are happy with the Fegley’s Lager or the Sam Adams, but a source of Yuengling Lager would be greatly appreciated by many.
Politics and distribution preferences impact things here–and so does money–I know how that stuff works. The choices are plenty at Coca Cola Park–those are the only changes I would suggest if they could be made. I’ll even live without my Miller Lite. (BTW, Miller Lite and Yuengling are both available in Reading).
Good luck, enjoy the ball game with your cold beverage, and remember, please, PLEASE, don’t drink and drive. If you’ve any notes or changes to add, please do so in the comments below.
See you at the park,