Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox
Affiliate: N/A (Spring Training)
Ballpark Basics: One of the largest Spring Training facilities, inside and out.
Parking: Free and plentiful (if not always close).
Seats in the Shade: Very few but during an afternoon game shade will slowly appear, starting under the announcer’s box. 100 level, 1st base side is your best bet. The farther up you sit, the earlier the shade.
Camelback Ranch is a massive facility that houses the spring homes for both the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. Covering 141 acres with two clubhouses, multiple practice fields and even a massive lake it can be easy to get lost when walking around the grounds. We visited for a sold-out Dodgers game against the Padres and the majority of the parking had already been claimed. We ended up getting placed in an employee lot far away from the ballpark. Signs directed us through the sprawling campus to the main entrance which sits behind center field.
The expansiveness continues once inside the ballpark. A wide concourse circles the entire field. Multiple berms line the outfield and the outfield corners. The seating bowl is divided into two separate sections with yet another wide concourse separating them. Suites ring the infield and can offer limited shade when standing on the concourse during day games.
They do a good job of recognizing each team. The Dodgers use the third base dugout while the White Sox use the first base side and each dugout is painted to represent the respective team. Of the multiple practice fields each team has one with the exact dimensions of their home park. The two team stores, one behind home plate and one in the outfield, are stocked with both teams’ swag. Even each city is represented in the food department with Dodger Dogs and Chicago Dogs available.
Along with representing each team, the ballpark does a great job of representing the Arizona landscape. The seats are tan to blend in with the environment. The landscaping incorporates cacti and other native plants. The walkways are created with rocks and stones that are wrapped in wire mesh. Even the rooflines of the ballpark are uneven to mimic the look of the nearby mountain range.
Best Spot for Beer: Each concession stand carries mostly macro options with one of two craft options. However, there are two beer specific stands, one along the first base side and one on the third base side, with multiple local and craft options. Four Peaks also has their own stand in the right field corner with multiple options, even if it is no longer a truly craft beer option.
Camelback Ranch has done a great job of not only representing both teams that play at the ballpark, but also highlighting the beauty of the desert. Being one of the largest facilities in the Cactus League can make this a difficult place to navigate at times but once inside, it is truly a great place to catch a game.
8 Bit Aleworks
Basic: A small-batch brewery that pairs good beer with classic Nintendo? “Lets-a-go!”
Dog Friendly: Patio
Good For Groups: Parking lot events and outside yes, inside might be harder to find space.
Food: Frequent food trucks and BYO welcome.
If you’re looking for a game before the game, 8-Bit has something for you. Their industrial park building is fully committed to the 8-bit theme. You’ll find Piranha Plant Flowers on each table, background music made up solely of video game soundtracks (and other related content), and green string lights hanging from the ceiling to give you that TV glow. Along with the board games that many breweries provide they’ve got dozens of classic video games you can play right in your seat. Events throughout the year range from the expected – game nights- to the more unusual – Olympics and art nights – but all will have a nod to the gaming theme, and their loyalty program even involves XP (experience points) and leveling up.
We were there as they were gearing up for their anniversary event, for which they were expecting 700+ attendees. Lucky for us, just because they were gearing up for a big party didn’t mean they were holding back on draft options. We ordered a flight, which was appropriately served in a green Mario bonus tube and poured out of taps with Nintendo controller tap handles.
We accessed the following levels:
Whitemage Wit 6.1% ABV – As light as a blonde and very clear. Smell is light but typical wet wheat and brewers malts smells. Taste is crisp and clean and slightly apple juicy. Brewed with white cocoa nibs that don’t really make an appearance until the swallow.
Black Mage Stout 6.9% ABV – Dark black soda color, smells roasty. Though not advertised as such, this seemed like a summer stout in that it was thinner and the flavor started light and sweet but built to a solid roasted malt by the end.
Hop Assassin’s Creed 4.6% ABV – This session IPA had a citrusy floral aroma and a palate that was well hopped. There was nothing “session” about the flavor. Chinook, Mosaic and Columbus hops account for the hop bite throughout and the smoother finish. True golden color.
Legend of Zymur 8.5% ABV – A DIPA that pours just a shade darker than the Creed. Smells strongly hopped but the palate is smoother and more blended than the session IPA while remaining flavorful. It ends hoppy and robust.
Beta I: Health Potion 6.4%ABV – Blackberry cobbler ale that was a pretty dark pink. It smelled like jam and tasted like pie; fruit forward with a hint of breadyness, cinnamon and vanilla. One of several specialty beers.
1050 N Fairway Drive
Avondale, AZ 85323