Team: Lansing Lugnuts
Affiliate: Oakland A’s (High A)
Ballpark Basics: A cozy ballpark that never feels cramped.
Located in downtown Lansing just a few blocks from the Michigan state capitol building, Jackson Field fits into a single city block which makes for a very cozy ballpark. The dimensions are so tight (305’ down each line) that it requires a dueling set of “green monsters” in each outfield corner (each 23’ tall). The concourse is so tight in some places that people outside of the ballpark can sneak a peek of the action as they walk down the street.
However, the ballpark never feels cramped. The wraparound concourse circles the entire field with multiple options for seating; There is the main seating bowl that extends around the infield, berm seating behind the left and right field walls, as well as group seating behind the center field wall and in the Pepsi Porch along the third base side. A drink rail sits behind the seating bowl and is perfect for people to stop and watch some of the game as you walk around the park.
Best Spot for Beer:
The Lugnuts have their own signature brew, the Lugnuts Pale Ale from Lansing Brewing, which can be found in many of the concession stands on the concourse. However, if you are looking for options, your best bet is the Good Hops bar in the left field corner. Here you will find twelve rotating taps with many local and craft options as well as a selection of cans.
The Good Hops bar resides on the first floor of an apartment complex named the Outfield Lofts that dominates the view behind the outfield fence. The apartments have blocks that jut out in alternating patterns and are painted blue and green. They even have the distance from home plate painted on the top of the building (483’ to center, 507’ to the right field power alley).
Built in the middle of downtown Lansing, Jackson Field offers a number of activities throughout the year, including concerts, soccer games, Nitro Circus and winter festivals. The Michigan State Spartans baseball team even calls Jackson Field home for a limited number of games each year and they face off against the Lugnuts in the annual Crosstown Showdown game each spring. The Lansing Lugnuts show that a downtown ballpark can be so much more than just a venue for baseball games.
Lansing Brewing Co.
Rating: Home Run!
Brew Basics: A brewery that’s worth stepping into – if you can bring yourself to leave the porch.
The second you come into sight of the brewery, Lansing Brewing makes its presence known with their name painted in feet-high lettering across the length of the bright red building. The next thing you’ll notice is probably the porch. LBC boasts a concrete and grass area that spans the entire length of the brewery and is well protected from the sun’s rays by umbrellas. There are lots of seating options from picnic tables to cushioned patio chairs populated by friends playing bags, families, kids, dogs, and even a couple of visiting ducks.
If there is a wait for the immensely popular outdoor seating, there is always the indoor option. The main room is mostly concrete with long wooden tables for standing, a bar area, and traditional seating as well. There’s a vintage feel done by painting “ghost” signs (the old, but still mostly visible ads you most often see on the sides of old city buildings) on the walls.The second room, aka the “Stock House” is similarly decorated room with a second bar – check out both areas before sidling up to one, as the Stock House bar has beer options you can’t get elsewhere.
The double bar situation also allows for a significant number of taps, and unlike some places we’ve been recently with IPA after IPA on tap, the options here spanned the gamut of styles and flavors. Grab a coaster to fill out a “Flight Plan” and pick your poison.
By default, the flights come in sets of five, so we figured that was a good place as any to start:
Brunch Beer (8.6 ABV/27 IBU) Pretty dark, reddish-brown lager with pink tones. The recipe for Lansing’s Brunch beer calls for bourbon, and no less than three types of local coffee (for you coffee connoisseurs, the blends are Jamaican, Traverse City Cherry and Breakfast Blend respectively). The palate is solid and strong, with maple notes to start, a cherry finish and prominent coffee throughout. Though one might assume a “brunch beer” to have a lower ABV, this one comes in fairly strong however the coffee balances the liquored sweetness to be not too strongly boozy or bourboned throughout.
Velvet Villain (8.2%ABV/25 IBU) Dark brown with an aroma that would suggests an oaty beer, but the flavor for the most part is smooth and chocolatey, with the oat flavor only becoming more discernible at the end, which makes drinking the Villain similar to eating a chocolate chip granola bar. Big bodied, strong porter that is not viscous.
Angry Mayor IPA (6.8%ABV/ 60 IBU) True gold in color, the Angry Mayor is a dry IPA. The palate is a little citrusy but mostly hopped flavor that is consistent and piney throughout and finishes dry. It became slightly sweeter when it warmed, which is notable only in that it is rare that an IPA improves as it warms.
BBA Hermit Old Ale (10.1%ABV/52 IBU) – Thin chestnut brown color with red hues in the light. Boozy and dark fruit aroma with currant, raisin and caramel malts making up the flavor profile. This was a thinner beer than the first three, and though the end is a little watery and sweet, this is still a very flavorful beer, or as Jim described it “a booze machine”.
Sham Pain (7%ABV/55 IBU) By far the lightest colored beer on our tray, this yellow gold beer smells tropical, but the taste is earthy and fermented from the Mosaic hops (which are blended with Azacca and Zythos hops). Not a bitter hop blend, but a farmhouse-y saison one. Smells fruiter than it is, but has a small berry note in the back and is highly carbonated, as the name implies.
518 E Shiawassee Street
Lansing, MI 48912