Port St. Lucie (Clover Park and Hop Life Brewing)

Clover Park

Teams: New York Mets (Spring Training) and St. Lucie Mets

Affiliates: N/A and New York Mets (Single A)

Ballpark Basic: A ballpark that is beginning to show its age (even with recent upgrades)

Key Stats:

Parking: $15 spring training games,  $5 when the minor league St. Lucie Mets play.

Seats in the Shade: Much of the inside ring between 1st and 3rd base and also under the Budweiser Terrace.

Opened in 1988 Clover Park went through a number of upgrades before the 2020 season with many of the renovations happening to the outside of the ballpark. A new wide staircase leads up to the main concourse behind home plate. Once inside the park the upgrades are harder to notice. 

A wide opening behind home plate opens up to the field. There is a small walkway that bisects the two seating areas but the main concourse sits behind the seating bowl and can be dark and cavernous at times.  Besides the main seating bowl there is berm seating behind the right field wall, a party deck with some picnic tables in the left field corner, another deck down the left field line and the Corona Beach House deck behind the left field wall. The unique clamshell canopy does a great job of providing shade for the majority of the seating bowl for day games.   

The concourse is not the only part of the park that makes it feel dated. You don’t see many of the components in newer ballparks. The concourse does not wrap around the entire park and there are limited areas for groups to watch the game. While there is berm seating and two party decks both of the decks lack enough tables or even ledges to place a drink.  

Best Spot for Beer: This is another area that is really lacking. Every concession stand had the same options for beer (Bud, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, and something called Nütrl). There was a Blue Point stand on the concourse near the right field party deck and the Corona Beach House had a number of (macro) Mexican Lagers on tap. However, try as we might, we could only find one local or craft option: the Corona Beach House had one tap for Sailfish Brewing Company. It has been a long time since we have seen a ballpark with such limited options for beer (local or craft).   

One part where park excels is in the branding department. From the time you turn onto Piazza Drive you know who plays in Clover Park. Large banners dot the outside walls and almost every inch inside of the concourse is covered with pictures of former Mets, historical moments in the team’s history and even Mr. and Mrs. Met adorned in the tropical best. After paying $25 for berm seating for a Spring Training game, one fan we encountered said they were even charging New York prices.  

A visit to Clover Park will depend on whether you are attending a Spring Training game or a St. Lucie Mets game. With the expectations (and prices) that come with a Spring Training game Clover Park has been passed by new ballparks in the Grapefruit League (and even some of the older ballparks). However, we could see it being a pleasant place to take in a minor league game later in the season.  

Hop Life Brewing

Rating: Double

Basics: A well placed space that isn’t fully maximizing their proximity.

Dogs: Service dogs inside, all (leashed) dogs outside.

Good for Groups: Yes, but more outside than in. 21+ after 7p.

Food: Popcorn and a permanent Scratch Kitchen truck outside

Curve around a winding road within walking distance of Clover Park, and you’ll find Hop Life Brewing at the end of an industrial park. Plenty of free parking, a good sized indoor space, permanently parked mobile kitchen and a wide patio are all conducive to receive the spring training crowds. So we were surprised to find Hop Life didn’t even open until about an hour before first pitch. A steady stream of people came in as they opened but it seemed like a missed opportunity to open so late when you had large crowds driving in early to claim parking and kill time before a 1pm game.

The place itself was hard to put a finger on. Overall, it felt like one person had designed the space and another had come in and added décor. The original design felt curated for a lack of a better term. There were carefully thought out finishings, bamboo colored chairs, faux flame lighting, tables made from steeping barrels, dried floral arrangements in large vases, and similar items selected to provide a “higher-end” feel. 

Then it was like a second person came in and set up the brewery in this space. They put up thin red, blue and green line flags and uniform patches from various law enforcement and fire agencies, which was on theme with the fire station motif, but then it kind of went sideways. There was a sort of thrown together “beer it forward” wall, tawdry bathroom signs, a “live” webcam stream on weekends, they referred to tasters as “beer shots” and more. Nothing over the top tacky, but just an odd divey juxtaposition from the underlying vibe of the place.

Beer Breakdown:

Being one of the lone food and beer options near the park, we’d looked in advance for game-day specials but it wasn’t till we arrived that we saw a bogo special with your same-day game ticket. We hadn’t picked ours up yet and were looking to sample a few, so we stuck with a flight.

Raspberry Lager 5.4% ABV Gold in color with visible carbonation and a fruited bouquet. The palate started quite light, but built to a solid raspberry finish.

Nut House Coffee 5.5% ABV – This was a milk porter with a light, sweet coffee smell. It had a light, thin mouthfeel but was full flavored, similar in mouthfeel and color to a root beer, but with good coffee flavor. The smell and the start of the sip was like a coffee cold brew with the malts and nuttiness at the end.

Zero Vis “Florida” IPA (6%) – Despite having been to Florida on several occasions, the “Florida IPA” was a style we were introduced to on this trip. Overall these seem to fall into the “dank and hazy but still hoppy” class of IPAs. The combination of Mosaic, Citra and Amarillo hops seemed standard enough but this banana yellow beer was swampy and all but undrinkable. Both the smell and the mouthfeel was thick and dank, with a weedy taste and a coating like cough syrup.The aftertaste was similarly off, bitter and sort of sour but not like sour on purpose, sour like it went bad.

Puckr’d “Mother Pucker” (5% ABV) – With Five Alive juice color and punch-you-in-the-face sour throughout, this is a small sips only type of beer. As it warms the flavor notes individualize and in this variety of the Puckr’d series we got a strong hit of mango in the center and a softer pineapple sweetness in the end. It packs a punch and a fruit basket too.

Hop Life Brewing Co.

679 NW Enterprise Drive

Suite 101

Port St. Lucie, FL 34986