The Sandlot at Coors Field has always been one of those places that remained a mystery to me although I seem to pass by it on my way to just about everything. Here is this taproom that is only open during Rockie’s home games. Also, they only have Blue Moon products – which general knowledge left me to believe it was either their Belgian White and something else that might have some pumpkin in it. And, frankly, if I am at Coors field for a game, why am I in a brewery that hardly has a clear line of sight to the field?
Furthermore, why would I – an acolyte for the craft movement, a supporter of small business – supposed to think while I walked into the belly of the Molson-Coors beast? Was this the time for sabotage or protest? In short, no. Because the war of craft and “crafty” is a series of battles so many are willing to fight, even though no one really needs to win.
First, more on The Sandlot. It’s a very decent size, looks out over the stadium, and is wrapped in beetle-kill pine. They had five beers on tap, a few experiments in a bottle, and some smaller kegs of beers they hadn’t quite perfected yet (opinion mine, but I’m sure they’d toss it in a bottle tomorrow if they wanted). Classically, there was the Belgian White and the Rockies Anniversary Beer. The Short Straw was awesome – a farmhouse red that hit all the right spots. Also notable was Proximity – essentially a wine/beer that is super sweet (like a wine) but totally ready to kick your ass at some unreasonable ABV.
It’s nice. Damn nice. Then again, I’d expect nothing less from a place that is a Molson/Coors investment. The beers tasted clean, the staff was prompt and ready. Overall – a great product. On just about any day I’ll serve as an aggressive proponent for the craft industry. I, too, was thrown by the BA’s proclamation of the craft/crafty industries of beer. I love that I have friends that have shook loose the mortal coil of a 9 to 5 to brew beer full time (or even just on weekends, in their garage).
Frankly, what it boils down to – they’re filling a need. “They” being the “crafties.” A place like The Sandlot will be full every night it is open with folks looking for something a little different than Jackson’s or Falling Rock, but aren’t ready to dive off into the deep ends of River North or Our Mutual Friend. Am I ashamed to say that I enjoyed a Molson/Coors product? Not at all. And neither should anyone else. I don’t think there is a craft beer drinker out there who didn’t cut their teeth on a product like Blue Moon’s Belgian White.
It’s a need. It’s been filled, and it could have been accomplished by any brewer in town.
So there you have it, The Sandlot is open for business on non-game days. A worthy stop on your steady crawl between the ballpark and River North neighborhoods. A great place to start your happy hours or end your evenings. Frankly, I’ll be back.
See you there.