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Monday, August 28, 2006

Phantom Beer at Safeco Field

I caught my first baseball game at Safeco Field, lured up by a Red Sox visit. Sadly for me, the Red Sox are in one whale of a tailspin, so we were naturally waxed by a fairly woeful M's club. Big Papi had 46 dingers coming into the game, and left with 47, so the day had its perks. (Raul Ibanez hit a grand slam, too, which added drama.) But hey, the sun was out, we were in the shade, and the beer was good. Yeah, surprisingly, the beer was good.

At quite regular points near all seating were places to get bottled beer. Just up from section 213 was a vendor with over a dozen bottled beers, including Full Sail Amber and Deschutes. Redhook ESB was on tap just about everywhere. It nostalgically has that diacetyl character that was the result of inexperience when the brewery first got started in the early 80s. Not a lot of hopping, but a pretty tasty fair-weather beer.

Also on tap was a far better choice, a phantom beer that was not, I see now, Sierra Nevada Summerfest. When I ordered an $8 pint, I expected a summery straw-colored beer, a kolsh or light ale or perhaps a lager. And in fact, that's what Summerfest is--a classic pilsner. What I got instead was a thick, hearty ale of nearly brown hue that bulged with Chinook hops. It was a strong beer, too, for my head began to spin right about the time Raul was winding up to smack the grand slam.

As I ponder this mystery, something occurs to me. When I went to buy my afternoon coffee--that's pre-beer, to keep the caffiene demons at bay--I got fitty cents in change. (Biggest rip-off at Safeco? $3.50 coffee. Not latte, not mocha, drip coffee. Twelve ounces of. They know they have a whole lot of addicts at their mercy and they take advantage). One of the quarters was a state quarter for Massachusetts--which I brandished to nearby Sox fans as a lucky omen. Even after the Mariners went up 6-1, I still held faith in my little Mass quarter. With two outs at the top of the ninth, I whispered to my brother-in-law that my faith in the omen was wavering--but not completely gone.

Now I see what happened. The omen was accurate. It augured good beer for a Beervarian (Beervarian (n) a resident of Beervana) outside his home habitat. After all, what do I care about baseball?

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