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Dusting Off: The Ballpark Blue-Collar Beer

  • Sam Eichner


Here’s a cause we can all get behind: beer.

More specifically: Old Style. Even more specifically: Old Style, on draft, at Wrigley Field. But after the Cubs signed an “exclusive marketing deal” with Budweiser, making it the exclusive official beer of Wrigley Field, the opportunity to enjoy a foamy Old Style in the Friendly Confines might disappear.

And that, friends, is a damned shame. Here’s why...

Old Style has been a fixture at Wrigley Field since the ’50s. Back then, the type of beer you drank at a ball game meant something. Rheingold at Shea. Knickerbocker at the Polo Grounds. Ballantine at Yankee Stadium...

Sure, these beers all tasted more or less like... well, shit. But they were also the totems of your team. Emblems of your city. Cracking open a new can, you shared a sense of pride and camaraderie with those around you. It was the closest thing blue-collar men got to intimacy, other than violence.

Nowadays, stadium beer has much of the same shittiness, but none of the local charm. These beers, with their massive, monolithic billboards, have displaced the catchy jingles and chuckle-inducing puns of yesteryear. (Whither “Schaefer is the one beer to have when you’re having more than one”?)

Of course, there is an alterative: craft beer, whose presence is on the rise at baseball stadiums across the country. It’s a welcome trend, but... frankly, those beers are too... well, good. Plus, just try fitting modifiers like “triple-barreled” and “coffee-infused” into a cohesive jingle.

But there’s hope yet for our favorite shitty local beers. A few years ago, Baltimore fans successfully fought to bring Natty Boh back to Camden Yards. And to be clear, the Cubs can still choose to serve Old Style after Budweiser becomes the official beer next season. But just in case, you may want to sign Old Style’s online petition and join their social media campaign, designed to maintain their presence at Wrigley.

Where there’s a Twitter, there’s a way...