Spring Training returns to the Arizona for the month of March and several of our prominent Valley breweries are getting into the swing of things. Special beers celebrate both Spring Training and the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs.
The two small-batch brews join other local beer varieties developed specifically to celebrate baseball and the Valley’s spring training traditions.
The Cubs are celebrated all year with Huss Brewing Company’s “Magic in the Ivy,” according to Chip Mulala.
He described the beer made by the Tempe brewing company as a West Coast-style pale ale. It’s a tribute to the Chicago Cubs’ ivy-covered outfield wall.
Oro Brewing’s owners dubbed their new beer “In the Park” to honor “one of the more difficult offensive plays in baseball,” an inside-the-park home run, owner Chuck Wennerlund said.
Oro’s beer should be ready for Chicago’s first spring training game, Saturday, Feb. 25, against the Oakland Athletics. Click here for the full Spring Training calendar.
“We wanted to have something on tap reminiscent of baseball with all of the spring training that occurs in the Valley,” Wennerlund said.
“In the Park” will be sold only at Oro’s pub on Mesa’s Main Street. Just 200 gallons will be brewed.
Wennerlund and the owners of 12 West Brewing are collaborating on “Cubs Way Kolsch.”
Bryan McCormick, one of the 12 West owners, described it as “light, refreshing and bitter.” He and co-owner Noel Garcia will use orange peel from oranges grown at the Agritopia farm in Gilbert in the kolsch.
An added feature of “Cubs Way Kolsch,” McCormick said, is the grain and malt will be mashed into the beer with a baseball bat, honoring its baseball connection.
“Cubs Way Kolsch” will be on tap at 12 West Brewing, Oro Brewing and The Brass Tap.
Having the beer at The Brass Tap is “as close as we can get to being inside the ballpark,” McCormick said.
While much of the focus of this spring’s special beers is Sloan Park and the Chicago Cubs, Huss Brewing also has beers on tap at other Valley baseball parks, Mulala said.
Desert Eagle Brewing Company in downtown Mesa plans to brew its grapefruit session, like it does every March, in time for spring training.
One of the Valley’s newest breweries, Lochiel Brewing in Mesa, offers two spring and summer brews that pair well with baseball. Owner Ian Cameron said he’s brewed “Lochiel Mild,” a light brown ale with a malt and caramel taste. And, he’s offering “Lochiel Golden,” a beer with a taste that’s opposite from most golden ales. It starts off malty and finishes with a hop taste, Cameron said.
Celebrations are planned throughout spring training at The Brass Tap, owner Jason Rowe said. A special barrel-aged version of “Magic in the Ivy” will be served during the bar’s March 24 goat roast, a celebration of the curse of the goat that allegedly haunted the Cubs for 108 years.
According to Rowe, in 1908, the last time the Cubs won the World Series prior to last year, a drunken fan took his pet goat to a baseball game. He got kicked out of the stadium.
On his way out, the man reportedly shouted “I’ll put a curse of the goat on you. You’ll never win the World Series again.”
And, Rowe pointed out, it took 108 years for that to curse to be lifted.
The Cubs play the Cleveland Indians on March 24, Rowe said, the team they beat in last year’s World Series. So, the curse-lifting party is set for that day after the game.
– Shelley Ridenour, East Valley Tribune / Edited for Phoenix.org