Team: Columbus Clippers
Affiliate: Cleveland Indians (AAA)
Ballpark Basics: The new standard for ballpark design.
Ballpark Breakdown: The Clippers opened Huntington Park in 2009 after moving from historic Cooper Field where they had played baseball since 1932. Since opening day, this ballpark has been racking up the awards (Ballpark Digest Ballpark of the Year, Baseballparks.com Ballpark of the Year) and is also a popular place for the people of Columbus. The night we showed up followed a day that was overcast with steady rain, and we were concerned there wouldn’t even be a game. However, the Clippers fans weren’t deterred. Our walk up to the park took us behind the right field wall, where the stadium architects designed cut outs along the outfield wall so one can watch a game without purchasing a ticket. Many people were there to take advantage of the view, and some, who must be regulars, even brought chairs for the long haul. We ended up being happy to have purchased our seats in advance, since they had sold out all but the standing room only tickets.
It is easy to see why. We entered the game from the centerfield entrance where a warehouse has been converted into a club section with balconies and even rooftop seating that overlook the field. As you continue around the walkway there is a party deck with picnic tables in the left field corner that can be rented out. The entire concourse is open so you can watch the game as you walk around but the best feature is two bars that are positioned near first and third base, and both are conveniently set up so you never miss any of the action while grabbing a drink.
The stadium really fits in with the architecture around it. While maintaining a low profile Huntington Park seems well prepared to handle any manner of events, and even has a stage set up in right field corner for bands, competitions, or on our night, a hang out spot for teens. Overall, this is an impressively designed park, and one of our absolutely favorite minor league spots. We highly recommend making time to take in a Clippers game next time you’re in town – if you can get tickets that is…
Visited: August 2010
Brew Basics: Awesome old building with must see stained glass, and a sweet happy hour.
Overall Rating: Triple
Housed in a building separate from their brewery, you would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful brew haus. The floor is tiled mosaic, the walls have beautifully designed stained glass similar to those once found in a traditional Catholic church, and the ceiling and bar are equally gorgeous, with intricately carved wood, that took someone a lot of time to refurbish and paint.
They like the color blue here (straws, lights, ramekins, napkins, stools — you get the idea) but the most interesting feature of the place might be the trough running under the runner at the foot of the bar. Be sure to ask your bartender what it was for! (*hint: the place was originally built as a whiskey distillery and gentlemen’s club in 1897 …long before indoor plumbing).
Stop by for happy hour and you can get a pint of any of their beers for 2.50, and delicious, large portions of some of their best bar food for 5.00 a plate. After you eat they do have a game room with several dart boards, and if billiards is more your style, check out their tables, both which date back to the late 1800’s!
Since our visit, they have started to offer brewery tours, but they require a week advance notice, a 4pm start time, and it costs 20 bucks. But you do come home with a pint glass and a t-shirt, so it’s a toss up if it’s worth it. Another note about this brewery, along with their website, they have a blogspot site, updated sporadically, but with more detailed info about the beers, and places around town to pick up a six.
For the most part, these beers come with good flavor and quirky names. If you intend to become a regular and want to add to your diploma wall, check out their degree options, an MBA (masters of beer appreciation) or PHD (professor of hard drinking) both are free, and meet once a month to complete “coursework”, i.e. drinking and discussing the beer of the month.
The Bleeing Buckeye (Red Ale): 5.7% ABV. Not being huge Ohio State fans, we were big enough people to overlook the name and give this beer a shot, and we were very glad we did. The Red Ale has a very similar color to the nut brown, (although the bartender will tell you it’s a red beer with a white head to mimic Ohio St. colors) but was much more delicious. In bottle form, it can take on a metallic note, but off the tap it is fizzy, with caramel undertones and just enough hops to make you take notice.
Fly’n Hydrant Light: Something not found on many micro-brew beer lists, it is brewed exclusively with barley malt and is definitely better than your average light beer. Fly’n Hydrant is described as having hints of green apple, and having solid college memories of Apple Puckers gone wrong, this was initially a turn off. In the end, this beer was crisp and refreshing, and the green apple was just enough to give it a summery feel, without being overly sweet.
Dirty Dick’s Nut Brown Ale: Typically one of our favorites, this ended up being the only beer we didn’t like. This brown ale (6% ABV, 24 IBUs) was surprisingly tasteless and our new friend/fellow drinker, who alternated between trolling for places to pick up chicks in the newspaper and chatting us up (fun but kinda strange for early afternoon on a Wednesday) agreed. It has good coloring and a decent albeit featureless aroma, but the palate was average and almost watery.
Dark Horse Lager: 5.3% ABV. Bronze award winner at the world beer festival. An excellent aroma that suggests chocolate and malt; the Dark Horse has good color and strong ivory head with staying power. Add a punch of flavor while remaining well balanced, smooth and not overly malted and you’ve got a recipe for a great anytime beer. Jim’s favorite of the evening.
161 N. High Street