Saturdays Suds: Pubs near the Park #13 – Cooperstown Brewing Company

30 07 2016

I did a post on Ommegang last week, but we attended one other Cooperstown brewery while there.  For the next few weeks, I plan on doing a Cooperstown beer, since I’ve now had quite a few that are “baseball related”.  This is the last brewery I’ll do for a while, but it fits because we went here right after the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

CBC sign

Establishment:  Cooperstown Brewing Company

Ballpark:  Doubleday Field, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Dreams Park in Cooperstown

Location:  110 River Street, Milford, NY 13807 – about 6 miles south of the Hall of Fame

CBC building

It’s really close to Ommegang, just a few minutes south.

Beers served:  They have 6 or 7 beers on tap at any given time.  They have a good variety – the flagship is Old Slugger Pale Ale, but they have an IPA (Back Yard), an English Golden Ale (Nine Man), and a Porter (Bench Warmer) that are always on tap. When I was there they had the following special brews:

  • Induction Ale – a Rye IPA that was available everywhere in Cooperstown and I had a few times (but not at the brewery) – it was very good
  • Pride of Milford – an English Strong Ale
  • Bambino Amber – an Amber Ale

CBC 9 man 6 pack

Menu (if applicable):  They don’t serve food, however there’s a food truck – Pig Dog Food Truck – right there on site that has solid food.  We were eating somewhere else that night, but we did get fried pickles.

Is it baseball-themed?  Or is it just close to the ballpark?  All their beers are baseball themed; they are built around the idea that a brewery around Cooperstown should focus on the baseball part of the town.  They also sponsor the Binghamton Mets.

Description:  CBC actually over 20 years ago in 1995.  I had a few of their beers when I went to Cooperstown in 2009.  The original owner sold the business to Butternuts Beer & Ale in 2011, but it was shut down in late 2013.  Northern Eagle Beverages bought it in 2014 and reopened it shortly thereafter.

Today it’s a small but fun place to hangout.  You can play cornhole (we did), get a dog from the Pig Dog food truck, and buy plenty of their beers on tap or to go.  If you like beer and you’re going to Cooperstown, I’d recommend stopping here.

CBC Benchwarmer porter


Saturdays Suds: Pubs near the Park #12 – Ommegang Brewery

23 07 2016

Yesterday was my first day in Cooperstown for this year’s Hall of Fame induction.  So before I get started – are their any bloggers who are going? If so – let me know, it would be cool to meet up.  I haven’t done too much baseball stuff yet – but we did see Al Leiter walking around town last night and Joe Torre was eating dinner at a restaurant nearby as well.

My parents have been gracious enough to drive up to Chicago to watch the kids while I go on this excursion to see enshrinement of my favorite player.  But my wife and I are doing a few other things while we’re here – not just Baseball Hall of Fame things.  We flew into New York on Thursday and went to Hoboken and Manhattan.  Yesterday we went kayaking at a lake nearby, and went to Ommegang Brewery for the first time.


Establishment:  Brewery Ommegang

Ballpark:  Doubleday Field, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Dreams Park in Cooperstown

Location:  656 County Hwy 33, Cooperstown, NY 13326 – about 6 miles south of the Hall of Fame

Ommegang Brewery

Beers served:  At any given time, they’ll have about 10 Ommegang beers on tap.  Ommegang focuses on Belgian style ales, but have been doing some other things of late.  Their flagship beers are Witte (wheat ale), Rare Vos (amber ale), Hennepin (farmhouse saison), Abbey Ale (Belgian dubbel), Three Philosophers (Belgian Quadrupel), and Gnomegang (Blonde Ale).  When we went yesterday, they had a new Barrel-Aged Gnomegang that they’d just released.  Below is a typical logo from a 4-pack – Cooperstown Ale which I posted about a long time ago.

Ommegang Cooperstown Ale 4-pack

Menu (if applicable):  They have a moderately eclectic menu with anything from steak frites to chicken and waffles to Hog Wings.  We got a cheese board to split since we’d had a huge breakfast.

Is it baseball-themed?  Or is it just close to the ballpark?  For the most part, just close to the ballpark.  If you read their about us, they sometimes point out that they have nothing to do with baseball.  The area in upstate New York, like the northeast in general, has a long history of brewing. The Cooperstown Ale above does pay tribute to the shared history there.  If you go to the brew house, you will undoubtedly see some baseball fans.

Description:  Ommegang built their brewery in 1997 – nearly 20 years ago – so they were very early in the craft brewing excitement.  Their built on 136 acres of land where they grow hops, and were the first farmstead brewery built in the U.S. in over 100 years – there have been quite a few to follow as the craft beer movement grew.


From my experience – this place really is beautiful and is worth going to just for that aspect.


The brewery offers tours where you can hear about their meticulous process in detail.  We had planned on doing one but the timing didn’t work.  And honestly, just walking around the scenery was great   They’re a highly decorate brewery from an awards standpoint.  Belgian is a style not everyone likes, and while it’s not my favorite, I think most of their stuff tastes pretty damn good.

Saturdays Suds: Pubs near the Park #11 – Bootleggers

2 04 2016

I don’t usually do a post on an in-the-ballpark-place.  But this one has some history behind it.

Bootleggers GABP Front

Establishment:  Bootlegger’s Bar

Ballpark:  Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati

Location:  Great American Ballpark – 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202, in the walkway behind the first base line

Bootleggers GABP


Beers served:  A number of craft beer selections, including local Cincinnati breweries Christian Moerlein, Rhinegeist and Rivertown.

Menu (if applicable):  No food here – beer only!  But  you can find local favorites like Skyline chili, La Rosa’s pizza or Penn Station in the other sides of the concession structure.

LaRosas logo

Is it baseball-themed?  Or is it just close to the ballpark?   It’s in the ballpark, though it does have a lot associated with other parts of Cincinnati’s past as well as with baseball.

Bootleggers GABP Brewing HeritageDescription:  In preparation of the All-Star Game in 2015, the Reds upgraded Great American Ballpark in a number of ways.  One new feature was on the first base side, where a large concession area was built up like a speakeasy.  The Reds designed it based on Wielert’s beer garden.  Wielert’s was an Over-the-Rhine establishment frequented for political meetings at the turn of the last century by Cincinnati’s “Boss” George B. Cox, and Reds’ president August “Garry” Herrmann.  Herrmann was the de facto commissioner before Kennesaw Landis and became known as the father of the World Series.  There’s more about that here, but I may save the original Wielert’s for another Saturday Suds post later on!

Today’s bar is a great place to get craft beers at the Reds game.  It’s got a marker from Cincinnati’s Brewing Heritage Trail, and it’s a pretty nice area in the concourse where you could kill an inning sipping on a cold beer – because there’s plenty of places set up to place your beer, stand, chat and watch the game from the TVs there.  Though, as you can see from this pic during the All-Star game – it could be very crowded when there’s a sell-out crowd!

Bootleggers GABP inside

Saturdays Suds: Pubs near the Park #10 – Big Hurt Brewhouse

12 03 2016

I haven’t done one of these Saturday Suds in quite a while.  But I found a restaurant that fits perfectly into this theme of mine.  Frank Thomas started a brewing operation a few years ago and he opened a related brewpub just a little bit west of Chicago in 2014.  This works out perfectly for me – we moved to the western suburbs last year.

Big Hurt Brewhouse Logo

Establishment:  Big Hurt Brewhouse

Ballpark:  US Cellular in Chicago

Location:  6801 W Cermak Rd, Berwyn, IL 60402 – about 12 miles west of the White Sox home park


Beers served:  This isn’t just a famous athlete opening a restaurant.  Thomas started a brewing operation first, working with the Wild Onion Brewery to create some beers in his nickname.  Then he opened this restaurant.  There are some national and craft beers, but on tap you can get brews from Big Hurt Brewery.  And the 2 I tried were very good.  I had the BHB Honey Girl, which is a wheat beer that isn’t overly fruity.  I also had the Big Red, which was good as well.  Next time I go, I’ll try something a little more hoppy, but both of those were good beers to start off with and then wash down your meal.


Menu (if applicable):  We went there with the family – which means me, my wife, a 3 year-old and a 1-year old.  They have a different kind of menu.  It’s set up as a nice sports bar, but it’s not just the food you could get at Buffalo Wild Wings or Miller’s Ale House.  They had some unique stuff.  My wife didn’t stray too far – she got a burger.  But she thought it was really good.  I got a brisket sandwich that had jalapeño and some shredded veggies.  Like I said, kind of different – but really good.

Is it baseball-themed?  Or is it just close to the ballpark?   Obviously it’s geared around Thomas’ name.  There’s plenty of Thomas memorabilia around the restaurant, but it’s not overdone.  The coolest thing for me was that, when we went there on the last Saturday of January, the Big Hurt himself was there, sitting at the bar.  I’ve since read that he does make a fairly regular appearance, but at the time it was really cool.  After we were done eating, he took a picture with me and my son, next to the statue that’s in the front of the building.  Taking that picture was his idea.  I doubt my 3 and a half year-old will remember it, but it sure was a cool memory for me.  He was really friendly – I would say definitely more than the situation required, so the impression I had of him being a “good guy” was confirmed.


Description:  Thomas opened this brewpub a little less than 2 years ago in Berwyn, IL, which is about 12 miles west of Chicago, just south of Oak Park and I-290.  It’s located in a historic building, the Berwyn Town Bank Building.  This is a refurbished building with a really high ceiling that has a cool ambiance.  There’s a mini-casino with some slots that I did think was a bit weird.  Especially when my 3 year-old kept trying to run in there.  Start ’em young I guess.

The beer selection is anchored by the Big Hurt beers I mentioned, but there are plenty of others.  They serve a lot of things you’d be used to at a sports bar, but also some as well the Chicago sports bar and restaurant serves-up contemporary American comfort food paired with local brews, including Big Hurt signature beers – Hoppy Girl, Honey Girl, Big Red and Hall of Fame Pilsner (HOF).  During the summer, there’s a beer garden – though in late January that’s obviously not open.  They did have a fire pit burning out there, which intrigued my son.

I hope this restaurant has some legs.  We’ll probably go there again, it was good, and it’s not bad from a price standpoint.  I also appreciate that Thomas is doing more than just adding his name to the establishment.

Saturdays Suds: Pubs near the Park #9 – Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant & Sports Bar

22 08 2015

After finishing off the Mantle reprint set in my last post, it got me thinking – I’ve been to a restaurant that was owned by the Mick.  So I wanted to do a pubs near the park post for it.  The last pub post I did was for my Babe Ruth week.  I did a post about two restaurants / saloons owned by Babe Ruth’s father that closed nearly 100 years ago.  Naturally, that wasn’t a bar you could go to any more.

My next bar is also sponsored by a famous Yankee, and unfortunately it has closed as well.  But, as I said, this is a restaurant I’ve actually been to.  This post is for Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant and Sports Bar in Manhattan, which closed 2 years ago.

Mickey Mantle's Restaurant ad

Establishment:  Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant and Sports Bar

Ballpark:  Yankee Stadium in New York

Location:  42 Central Park South (59th Street between 5th & 6th Avenues) – about 6 miles south of Yankee Stadium


Beers served:  From what I remember, it was your standard fare – Budweiser, Miller Lite, etc.  I don’t remember a particular selection of craft beers or anything, though I went there about 7 years ago which was a little before the craft beer craze come about recently.

Menu (if applicable):  Mantle’s restaurant was a true sports bar – and had about what you would have thought.  Wings, burgers, etc.  Though it was far from the best American bar food I’ve had – I do think this had to be one of the first sports bars considering how long ago it opened.

Is it baseball-themed?  Or is it just close to the ballpark?   Obviously it’s baseball themed, since the Mick owns it.  It had an impressive selection of Yankee memorabilia, with an obvious focus on stuff from Mantle.  It’s in the middle of Manhattan, so it’s not right next to Yankee Stadium, but I think a lot of people who went there did what I did – ate there after taking in a Yankee game.

Description:  Mantle opened this restaurant in 1988 just off the southeast corner of Central Park in Manhattan.  As I mentioned above – the idea of a sports bar had to have been pretty novel at the time.  This had to be one of the earlier ones, at least as far as people think of the average sports bar today.

Mantle’s was actually a little bit nicer than your standard sports bar from what I remember.  It was well-lit, and was far from a dive bar.  But it was in the middle of tourist central – just north of Times Square and just south of Central Park.  This meant it was pretty damn expensive for what you were eating – which was solid, but neither my dad nor I were blown away by the food.

Mantle’s did have a very cool memorabilia selection, and I remember walking around a little bit to check some of that out.  The chairs were specially made, with the number 7 carved in as you can see on the photos below.

Mantle's Restaurant inside 2 Mantle's Restaurant inside

In 2007, there was a really cool – and really large – replica of old Yankee Stadium in the middle of the restaurant with a lot of bells and whistles that was kind of the centerpiece of the restaurant.

I went there with my dad in 2008.  We did a long weekend to New York, getting tickets to the last Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium, which was very cool.  One of the nights we were there, we went to Mantle’s restaurant for dinger.

As I mentioned, the restaurant closed 3 years ago.  It’s now an Italian restaurant called Villagio.  There is still a steakhouse operated under the Mantle name in Oklahoma City (OK was his home state).  If I ever make it down to Oklahoma City, maybe I can do a post about the other Mantle restaurant!

Saturdays Suds: Pubs near the Park #8 – George Herman Ruth Saloon / Ruth Cafe

9 05 2015

Next-to-last for Babe Ruth week – here’s a Saturday Suds related to the Babe.  Unlike most of the “Pubs Near the Park” posts that I’ve done, this is not a bar you could find near a MLB park or a restaurant sponsored by a former player.  These are two restaurants / saloons owned by Ruth’s father when the Babe was a kid.

Ruth's Cafe Calendar

Establishment:  Ruth Saloon / Ruth Cafe

Ballpark:  Oriole Park in Baltimore

Location:  406 West Conway St. – directly on the property which is now Camden Yards


Beers served:  Whatever was the preference for working-class folks in the Ridgely’s Delight neighborhood.

Menu (if applicable):  Not sure what Ruth’s family made for fare.  There’s actually not that much known about specifics of the saloon, and, considering Ruth is one of the most famous athletes in history, there is surprisingly little known about his childhood.

Is it baseball-themed?  Or is it just close to the ballpark?   It wasn’t at the time, but Babe Ruth spent some of the time when he wasn’t in reform school there, and the area is now center field at a Major League baseball park.

Description:  What is known is that Ruth was born to George Herman and Katie Ruth in February of 1895.  His father sold and repaired lightning rods until Babe was about 6, when he purchased property to become a saloon keeper.  The family moved above the bar in the Ridgely’s Delight neighborhood, and George, Jr. (the Babe), basically became too much trouble for his father to deal with, and his family sent him to reform school at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys.  This is where Brother Mathias famously introduced the greatest ballplayer of all-time to the game that would make him a national treasure.

George Sr. bought two more saloons in the time that his son was at reform school.  The last one he bought, in November 1905, was the bar at 406 Conway St (corners of Paca and Conway).  He owned the bar for the next 6+ years; center field at Oriole Park sits now where Babe Ruth’s dad once tended bar.  In 1990, when excavation began on Oriole Park, remains from the building were found and you could have purchased bricks from that excavation at auctions over the years.

Ruth plaque Camden Yards

The park has a plaque in the outfield commemorating this, and Ruth has a statue outside.

Babe Ruth statue CYrd  52605

Babe’s father apparently got out of the saloon business for a while, possibly due to losing his liquor license for selling booze on Sundays.  He later got back in when he bought another restaurant on Eutaw Street about 4 blocks north of his old saloon.  His new endeavor was ostensibly assisted with the help of his son, who had become a famous pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.  There’s a famous picture of Ruth with his father taken at this bar, around Christmas time a few years before George Sr. passed away.

Ruth Cafe with Father

That building is still standing, but it’s unfortunately turned into a gentleman’s club.  There are certainly some local watering holes to be found Oriole Park, but those are posts for a different day…

Saturdays Suds: Pubs near the Park #7 – Goose Island Brewpub (now closed)

4 10 2014

I usually do “Saturday Suds” every other weekend, but I moved this one up because of a surprise I learned about on Monday.  Goose Island was a craft brewery before craft breweries were a thing, and it’s no longer really a craft brewery since it was purchased by the largest brewer in the world a few years ago.  However, the two local brewpubs are very solid places.

Now that number is down to 1 – on Monday, I woke up and the local news reported they were closing down the one in Wrigleyville since the landlord couldn’t guarantee them a year lease (the brewpub loses money in the 6 months that baseball isn’t in season).  I have been here a few times, and always had a good experience.  In fact, it’s about the only place in Wrigleyville I felt like I could take my 2-year old, so I was bummed it closed.

In “Pubs near the Park” – I look at a specific bar near various Major League parks.

Goose Island Brewpub

Establishment:  Goose Island Brewpub

Ballpark:  Wrigley Field in Chicago

Location: 3535 N Clark St. – less than a block south of the Wrigley home plate entrance.

The other location is on 1800 N. Clybourn, which is 2 miles south of Wrigley.

Beers served:  It’s a Goose Island establishment, so obviously that’s the beers they have.  312 is the most popular, along with Green Line or Honker’s Ale.  I think you also could have gotten your standard Bud Light, Miller, etc. – but why would you get that when you’re at the Goose Island restaurant?  The Wrigley location had a couple of beers with cub-specific themes.  I’ve posted about the Cubby Blueberry in the past, which is pretty good.  There was also a wheat beer called Wrigleyville White, which you could also get at a few of the rooftop establishments.  I hope they still brew these for sale next year, even though the Wrigley location has closed.

Menu (if applicable): Classic bar food, and very good bar food at that.  My favorites were the Wisconsin Cheddar curds, which came with ranch and were delicious.  Or you could get poutine, which is french fries with those cheese curds and gravy on top.  You can’t beat that as a pre or post-game snack.  For a meal – I liked the Stilton burger which was crusted with pepper and topped with garlic.  They also had a few German meals that were pretty good.

I believe the Clybourn menu is pretty close to the Wrigleyville one, so I’m glad I’ve still got the option to go there.  If there was one thing I wouldn’t recommend – it’s the buffalo wings, which really weren’t all that good.

Is it baseball-themed?  Or is it just close to the ballpark?   More than anything it’s a brewpub near the ballpark – but they did have quite a few nods to baseball.  First, as I mentioned they had a few beers named after the Cubs or the Wrigley area  the fact that  – a resounding yes.  There was also quite a bit of baseball memorabilia / replicas on the walls which made for a good atmosphere.


Description:  Like I said, this was a great place to go before or after the game if you didn’t want one of the crazier bars around Wrigley.  I felt pretty comfortable bringing my kid, though I admit that’s a stretch on gameday even here.  We had gone there for dinner or lunch a few times when the Cubs were out of town.


It was a pretty cool atmosphere – they brew some of the beers right there on site.  I think you could have taken a “brew tour”, though I never did.  The atmosphere was fun but not crazy, and the memorabilia on the wall was pretty cool, too.  There was seating upstairs and a few outdoor options, which were also great for before or after a Cubs game.  I’ll miss this place!