In honor of the upcoming baseball season I decided to come up with an everyday lineup and rotation of beers. I think in order for it to make sense you have to think of the lineup as beers that I would always like to have on hand at all times and the rotation as beers that I like to have only when I'm in the mood for them. Mainly though it's just a list of my favorite non-seasonal beers.
For fun, I've also taken the time to equate each beer to a Royal past or present. I didn't make an all-star Royal team, just Royals I've enjoyed or just match up with the beer. No, there is not George Brett in the list because we don't have access to some of the best beers in the country around here (though you can help bring a couple of great ones to the area by joining my Facebook group, Bring Dogfish Head to Missouri).
CF – Boulevard Wheat (Willie Wilson) – Boulevard Wheat fills a specific niche in my lineup, thirst quencher, much like Willie Wilson was all about speed. Neither brings much pop, but they're both very good at what they do. Willie ran like the wind (and is probably my second favorite baseball player ever, behind Mark Grace) and Wheat just tastes good and quenches thirst. It's a great beer to start your evening just like Willie was a great start to the Royals lineup.
SS – Boulevard Pale Ale (Mike Aviles) – Much like a shortstop in baseball, a good pale ale is very important to an overall lineup. Boulevard Pale Ale is the backbone of the team, it's not necessarily the best beer around but it does several things well. It pairs well with meals, quenches thirst, brings a lot of flavor and just work in every situation. I think Mike Aviles fits this description, he's an extremely valuable cog of the Royals lineup and is probably the only Royals shortstop in history that has had that description.
1B – Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout (John Mayberry) – Now we're to the power part of the lineup and my favorite beer that brings the power is Great Divide's Yeti Imperial Stout. I don't think in today's game John Mayberry would carry the name Big John, but he's my favorite Royal to bring the power.
LF – Boulevard Long Strange Trippel (Jose Guillen) – The cleanup hitter is the Long Strange Trippel, my favorite of the Boulevard Smokestack series. I think anybody who pulls out his own ingrown toenail equates well to a beer called Long Strange Trippel.
C – Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye (Mike McFarlane) – For a catcher you need something a little off the beaten path so I have a rye beer to fill that niche. I love rye beers and I couldn't leave the Hop Rod Rye out of my lineup. I always considered McFarlane to be a little weird because he had kind of a strange batting stance. Just as an aside my favorite McFarlane moment came in a game where he was catching Kevin Appier (who for non-Royal fans, was on his own planet much of the time, he was affectionately called “Chainsaw Bob” by teammates). Anyway, McFarlane went out to the mound to talk to Appier and took Ape's hat off and tucked the tag in and put it back on Ape while telling him whatever he went out there to tell him. It just struck me while watching, that Appier wouldn't even be wearing his uniform if it weren't for McFarlane.
3B – Great Divide Titan IPA (Kevin Seitzer) – I know everyone wants to see George Brett here, but until we can get some Dogfish Head here, I can't have George Brett in my lineup. So I'm going with the unheralded Kevin Seitzer who I think in today's game would be heralded (because of the new focus on OBP). The Great Divide Titan IPA is also unheralded, but I think it's one of the finest IPA's available and I'm happy to have it in my lineup.
RF – Breckenridge 471 IPA (Clint Hurdle) – Now that this beer is in sixers, I've added it to my lineup. It's a real nice IPA which isn't quite as good or versatile as the Great Divide Titan but is still very good. Clint Hurdle is a good comp to the Breckenridge because he didn't play much for the Royals, but when he did he was pretty good, though I've never seen anyone more disinterested in playing RF than Hurdle was.
2B – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (Frank White) – In my mind, the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the closes thing to a hall of famer that we have access to in an everyday session beer. This is perfect for Frank White, the closes thing to a hall of famer the Royals have in their past of everyday players.
Pitchers bat in the beer league.
Util – Miller Lite (Mark Teahan) – I know what you're thinking, why is Miller Lite on this list. You know why? Because not everyone's a beer geek/connoisseur and you don't always have access to one of the beers above. So when I got to the golf course, a tailgate or a party where I can't bring my own beer, I look for a Miller Lite. I think Mark Teahan is a perfect utility player as well, you wouldn't want to use him every day, but as a fill in for something useful, Teahan works nicely.
#1 – Boulevard Bully! Porter (Zach Greinke) – While porters are one of my favorite styles of beer, I don't always want one so Bully! Porter is a pitcher instead of everyday player. But Bully! Porter is a great beer and my #1 beer in my rotation as I go for it more than any other. Because porters are kind of odd being dark but not heavy, I thought Greinke was a good comparable. He's quite odd, a friend of mine thinks he's a little autistic, but he's a very good starter.
#2 – Boulevard Single Wide IPA (Gil Meche) – Because I have a couple of IPA's that I like a little bit better, the Single Wide is in the rotation. It brings a good fastball (the hoppiness) and rounds it out nicely with a little bit of fruit flavor that makes it great. Gil Meche has a good fastball that is made devastating by a quality sinker.
#3 – Goose Island Nut Brown Ale (Mark Gubicza) – Gubicza is a quality #3 starter from Royals past. The Goose Island Nut Brown is also a quality #3 beer. You're never disappointed to have it and does a lot of things well.
#4 – Schlafly No. 15 (Kyle Davies) – This makes the rotation because it's a really good beer, but it's a little odd which makes it a #4. I don't know quite how to characterize the No. 15 I just know I like it. Only time will tell if it moves up in the rotation or down and out. I think this characterizes Kyle Davies for the Royals. I don't think anybody expected too much from Davies, but he showed some promise last year. Now they may be able to count on him or he could regress, you just don't know. I think the #4 starter for any team is much like this, they have talent but haven't quite gotten established and can go either way once the league gets used to them.
#5 – Sierra Nevada Torpedo (Luke Hochevar) – The Torpedo was a much anticipated beer for me, much the way that Hochevar was much anticipated for the Royals. Unfortunately, neither one has established itself and is in danger of losing its job. I like several IPA's much more than I like the Torpedo and I don't know if I'll continue buying it.
CL – Boulevard Saison-Brett (Dan Quisenberry) – I don't really know what a closer does in the beer lineup but I love the Saison-Brett and didn't have a defined role for it. I equate it to the Quiz because it has an odd ingredient (the brett) like the Quiz had an odd delivery (the submarine) and odd demeanor. I also think the Saison-Brett is much talked about kind of like a closer.
Top minor leaguers
Breckenridge Avalanche(Carlos Febles) – This beer used to be in my everyday lineup and may have even been the shortstop, but it fits better as a second baseman. Febles kind of fits this profile, although it's a bit of a stretch to put him at shortstop. He was well regarded and then injuries kind of sidelined him. The Avalanche kind of got sidelined because of my discovery of beer styles I enjoy more than ambers.
New Belgium Giddy Up (Tom Poquette) – This is kind of an outfield type with no real power and only one skill, you don't want this beer playing everyday but for a week you don't mind him picking up a few AB's.
Flying Dog Gonzo Porter – (Kevin Appier) – Again with the weirdness of the porter style. This beer has more of a fastball (more ABV) than the Bully! Porter and is probably better it's just more expensive and a little tough to get.
Boulevard Dry Stout (Larry Gura) – A good beer that has many comparable beers that are better. It's a fine stout, there's just other stouts I like more and buy more. The Dry Stout is kind of unheralded as well like Larry Gura. You were always pretty happy with Larry Gura pitching but I think, at the end of the day, you wish you had someone who could break 90 on the gun.
Boulevard Sixth Glass (Steve Balboni) – The Sixth Glass brings the power in its ABV but it's more of a special occasion drink to share with others. Since it's the record holder (highest ABV in Boulevard's lineup) it equates well with Balboni who hold the Royals record for HR's in a season.
I'm not sure what any of this means and much like a real baseball team, a lot of pieces are subject to change based on new products and varying tastes. I'd be interested to know what's in other lineups in various locales. I'll bet California and New York have excellent lineups, Utah would probably be pretty poor. I'm sure you, our dear readers, if you've gotten this far will find many nits to pick and you may very well be right. I'm sure the 5 of you who actually read all of this will burn me up in comments. Who is the Amos Otis, Craig Paquette, Joe Vitiello and Danny Tartabulls in the Kansas City beer scene? I don't know, but it might be fun to talk about.