Team: Salem-Keizer Volcanoes
Affiliate: N/A (Mavericks League)
Ballpark Basics: We challenge you to find a more appropriate geographically named ballpark.
Volcanoes Stadium was named after the Northwest League team that played here from 1997 until 2019. The team got its name from the fact that you can see Mount Hood from the Stadium on a clear day. The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes lost their affiliation status when MLB realigned the minor leagues after the 2020 season. In 2021 the team formed a four team independent league reintroducing four team names with legacies in the Pacific Northwest: The Portland Mavericks (the infamous team from the 70’s), Campesinos de Salem Keizer(the Volcanoes’ Copa de la Diversión alter-ego when they played in the Northwest League) and the Salem Senators (a team that played in the Northwest League under a number of different iterations).
The ballpark sits just off of Interstate 5 in a fairly commercial area surrounded by parking lots from some big box stores along with smaller stores and an In-N-Out Burger. There is also a Holiday Inn Express in the development where we were lucky enough to stay so we could easily walk to the game.
A long cinderblock building runs behind home plate and houses the press box, team store, restrooms with suites sitting on the second floor. The concourse is open and wraps around the lower bowl of seating with ten rows of seats with seat backs. A set of bleachers down the first base and third base sides sit above the concourse. Behind home plate there are a few four tops that have a semi-circle table that can be purchased as a group. A picnic area and berm seating in the left field corner finish out the seating options at Volcanoes Stadium.
Best Spot for Beer: When you enter the ballpark you will notice a beer tent next to the bleachers along the first base side. During our visit there were six beers on tap but most of them were macros with Deschutes being the only local option. In the left field corner is the Lava Lounge, a sports bar with multiple taps, albeit mostly macros again, but with wine and mixed drinks available as well.
We visited during the 4th of July weekend and the Volcanoes did an annual Patriotic Tribute with American flags flying throughout the entire ballpark. Nicknamed “Oregon’s Field of Dreams” we were happy to see that Volcanoes Stadium was still able to be put to use even after the MiLB contraction and love the idea of honoring important teams to the PNW.
Rating: Home Run!
Brewery Basic: Don’t judge this book by the cover.
Another industrial/business district, another day; but just because the initial space is the conventional doesn’t mean the brewery is. The first indication that you’re in the right spot are the (look up the name of these) Mexican prayer flag banners hanging over brightly colored umbrellas and tables on a patio. It butts up to the garage bay window/doors which on a nice day are up and open, and make this an extension of the interior.
Inside they’ve really done a lot with the space. The bar is straight ahead, running long ways down the building, with a perpendicular extension and additional seating on the close side. Tables are a mix of picnic and traditional style chairs, and line the walls opposite the bar. Mostly white, it’s a fun space with bright pops of color – turquoise and orange accent walls, benches and chairs, yellow bar stools, and more contribute to an overall Santa Fe vibe. If you’ve had the privilege to visit Mexico and experienced a bazaar or historic area (Tulum, Xhichanitsa) the geometric logo design and bar tiles will feel familiar and authentic as well.
Xicha was very popular for both food and drink, the staff was helpful and took a team approach to serving everyone to stay out of the weeds.
Gillian was initially less interested in going to this Xicha, simply because it was billed as a brewery with a Mexican twist – and Mexican style lagers (picture light yellow with a splash of lime) just aren’t her jam. However, while the Hispanic theme extends to décor, logos and food, the beers were all assorted types and styles, and all good. Here’s our lineup:
Amor Apasionado (4.6% ABV/10 IBU) This passionfruit gose is white wine in color and more tangy than sour. Passionfruit is present in the front sweetness, the end is a little earthy and a little salty. As it warms, it becomes less margarita-esque and takes on more of a witbeer style.
La Cobriza (6.5% ABV/25 IBU) a maibock with copper coloring and a subtle, sweet smell. You’ll get lightly toasted bread up front and honey sweetness and malts in the end of this standard, basic ale.
Pale Especial (6.5% ABV/44 IBU) A pale ale that takes on a slightly amber color thanks to the addition of mango to the recipe. Another subtle smeller, but it has a bunch of flavor.One of the maltier pale ales we’ve had. It’s easy to drink, you definitely get the hops but it’s balanced, finishes clean, and the mango becomes more pronounced as the beer heads toward room temperature. The most complex of this set.
Cabeza Dura (6.2% ABV/50 IBU) Single hop IPA that is golden yellow but light with lots of bright white lacing. The smell is hoppy, the flavor all hop with just a bit of a chemically lemon aftertaste. Perhaps it’s the blend of hops here, but despite the moderate IBU, it’s really a palate killer. Great to compliment spicy Mexican food.
La Roja (6.2 ABV/50 IBU) Presents with an amber rust color and a strong, sweet malt smell. The taste is more biscuity and floral. La Roja has a bright, drier finish that edges toward bitter. As it warms sweeter molasses notes become more pronounced.
576 Patterson Street NW
Salem, OR 97304