October is EASILY top 3 as far as months go (maybe even top 2), and with the changing of the leaves come two seasonal events that get America HYPED, The MLB Postseason, and the thousands of completely non-traditional Oktoberfest celebrations that pop up throughout the country.
In light of the most wonderful time of the year (suck it, DECEMBER), I took it upon myself to compare each postseason ballclub to a refreshing craft brew, one you could possibly drink heavily at any Autumn gathering en route to earning the never-before-heard, completely original nickname “Mr. October”.
So come on this journey of taste and takes, and raise a glass to your favorite playoff contender. PROST!
Boston Red Sox – Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Origin: Boston Beer Company (Boston, MA)
Style: Vienna Lager
“Our original beer is full-flavored with a balance of malty sweetness contrasted by hop spiciness and a smooth finish.” -need better notes
Consistency and control have been the themes of the 2018 Boston Red Sox season, as well as one of the oldest and most well-known craft brews in the country. Sam Adams tastes best when the weather gets cold in the months of Fall, and within the last decade the Sox have been just as much of an Autumn staple. It will be tough for anyone in the American League to unseat this David-turned-Goliath franchise.
Baseball Prediction: The Sox have proven to be the most dominant hitting and pitching team out of anybody in the MLB, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be slowing down anytime soon. If they keep up their pace, they’ll go down as one of the best Boston ballclubs in franchise history, right up there with the ‘04,’07, and ‘13 teams.
Beer Prediction: One of the safest bets around, Sam Adams has proven to be a solid standby in the ever-changing shelves of a liquor store beer fridge. Although you could risk it and go for something sexier like an IPA or stout, Sam’s likely to give you an enjoyable night more often than not.
Houston Astros – Shiner Bock
Origin: Spoetzl Brewery (Shiner, TX)
Style: German Bock
“Tip back a bock. Brewed with rich roasted barley malt and German specialty hops, this lightly hopped American-styled dark lager always goes down easy. Originally a seasonal beer, fans have demanded it year-round since 1973.”
One through nine, the Astros are the best team in the playoffs, but it’s not like they are doing anything that’s above and beyond. They hit will, they run well, they pitch well, and they win a lot of games. Everyone on this roster makes baseball look easy, and it’s not very often you see them struggle. Houston’s come a long way to build a championship team, and Bregman, Altuve, Springer, and Correa aren’t going down easy.
Baseball Prediction: Houston is good, and their largely untouched roster from the 2017 World Series remains equally as scary. Teams are going to have a tough time getting through their order, and the ‘stros have a great chance to go back-to-back for the first time since the ‘98-’99 Yankees.
Beer Prediction: It’s a no-frills beer that tastes good and gets the job done. Flavorful, but not overly hoppy. Alcoholic, but not too potent. You worked hard for this so let it ride, and get your Texas-sized drunk on.
Cleveland Indians – Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
Origin: Great Lakes Brewing Company (Cleveland,OH)
“Robust and complex, our Porter is a bittersweet tribute to the legendary freighter’s fallen crew—taken too soon when the gales of November came early. Brewed in memory of the sunken freighter, with rich roasted barley and bittersweet chocolate-coffee notes.”
Dark and stormy, yet strong and powerful. The perfect juxtaposition of Cleveland sports (especially the Tribe) within the last decade. Terry Francona’s postseason mastery got the Indians within inches of the 2016 championship, and he’ll have to lean on his pitching once more if he wants another shot at a third ring. Luckily for Tito, Cleveland’s staff is still absolutely stacked, and their lineup has remained staunch since their World Series run.
Baseball Prediction: Out of the Indians’ last few playoff appearances, this year’s AL bracket might be the toughest one to come out on top. Playoff experience will go a long way, but Cleveland needs to be lights out on the mound and clutch in the middle of the order if they want to return to the Fall Classic.
Beer Prediction: Be brave, navigate well, and you won’t need too many of these to feel nice and loose. But be wary of the seas ahead, only a couple bad snap-decisions and you could be passed out on the couch at the pregame.
New York Yankees – Brooklyn Pilsner
Origin: Brooklyn Brewing (Brooklyn, NY)
Style: German-Style Pilsner
“Brooklyn Pilsner is a refreshing golden lager beer, brewed in the style favored by New York’s pre-prohibition brewers. We believe that you will find there to be none finer. [Brooklyn Pilsner] does not contain cheap fillers such as corn or rice, nor does it contain any preservatives or stabilizers. Brooklyn Pilsner is the real thing.”
An American classic like a golden pilsner, the Yankees need no introduction when it comes to playoff baseball. Using their traditional recipe for postseason success, New York managed to yet again build a roster with a tasty blend of pure homegrown talent, and supplement with lavish free-agent fillers. In an injury-ridden season that’s unlikely to end with a 28th ring, ROY candidate Gleyber Torres still channeled his inner Jeter (re2pect) to keep the Yankees playing in their favorite month, and will lead the Bombers to much deeper playoff runs in the future.
Baseball Prediction: The Yanks turned a Wild Card spot into a ALCS run last season, but the odds are stacked against them to pull off a repeat. However, Yankee fans need not worry, as their Pinstripers are loading up for another long reign of terror in the AL.
Beer Prediction: You’ll be happy knocking back a few of these tasty brews in succession, but at some point with all pilsners it’s time to switch things up. Even though now may not the time, these guys are an easy go-to and will always have a claim in your mini-fridge.
Oakland Athletics – Hell Or High Watermelon Wheat
Origin: 21st Amendment Brewery (San Leandro, CA)
Style: Wheat Beer
“Like Lady Liberty, we stand for independence and perseverance. In the pursuit of innovative beer, there is no obstacle too great. No journey too long. No fruit too gigantic.”
One of the best storylines of the MLB season is Oakland’s Draymond-like leap from the steps of the cellar up to their 95-63 record. With unlikely vets and youngsters producing all over the field, the Athletics overcame the many obstacles of a stingy AL West and put together a pleasantly surprising Wild-Card run. A season as fun and unexpected as a Wheat Beer that’s actually drinkable? That’s Oakland baby.
Baseball Prediction: The A’s hope to finally get over the ALDS hump, and have a great chance to do so behind Khris Davis’ red-hot bat. If they manage to sustain their momentum from September, Oakland could shock some of the American League’s powerhouses.
Beer Prediction: A classic underdog story. You like it, your mom likes it, your beer friend doesn’t mind it. You question how it’s possible to drink four Watermelon beers in a row, but give in to the magic and just keep pounding.
Atlanta Braves – SweetWater IPA
Origin: SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, GA)
Style: American IPA
“This mammoth IPA is dry-hopped to the gills, delivering a kick-you-in-the-teeth hop chop. This beer is unfiltered, as with all SweetWater’s brews, to leave all the natural flavors intact.”
What a better way to summarize Atlanta’s incredible youth-driven season than with a trendy-ass, hazy-ass, in-your-face IPA. Atlanta’s first playoff team since 2013 is no joke, and is the successful result of a carefully crafted multiple-season rebuild. Led by Rookie of the Year frontrunner Ronald Acuña Jr., their freshly harvested stock of young studs will help return Atlanta to their status as a National League dynasty.
Baseball Prediction: The Bravos have enough pop in their lineup to take care of most NL opponents, but pitching depth and a lack of playoff experience may prove costly as they head deeper into October.
Beer Prediction: You’ll be able to toss back a few of these flavorful brews en route to a solid buzz, but beware the haze. Chances are you’ll fill up early and be forced to succumb to something lighter.
Milwaukee Brewers – New Glarus Spotted Cow
Origin: New Glarus Brewing Company (New Glarus, WI)
Style: Farmhouse Ale
“Naturally cloudy we allow the yeast to remain in the bottle to enhance fullness of flavors, which cannot be duplicated otherwise. Expect this ale to be fun, fruity and satisfying. You know you’re in Wisconsin when you see the Spotted Cow.”
Fun, fruity, and satisfying is the feeling I have whenever I see Christian Yelich smile. The Brewers have gone toe-to-toe with everyone in the cutthroat NL Central, and Yeli’s led the way with his MVP caliber season. Like New Glarus beers (which are local as fuck and aren’t distributed anywhere outside of Wisconsin), the Brew Crew roll into the playoffs with a badass reputation in their region, but are poised to stay in the national spotlight and become perennial playoff contenders.
Baseball Prediction: Milwaukee is a tough team top-to-bottom, and has enough veteran leadership and talent to take them far. If the rotation holds up, expect to see them wearing the NL Crown.
Beer Prediction: If you managed to smuggle a sixer of these out of America’s Dairyland you’ll be in for a treat, but you gotta pull back the reins in order to make them last. Drink patiently, and your palate will be satisfied.
Chicago Cubs – Goose Island IPA
Origin: Goose Island Beer Co. (Chicago, IL)
Style: English IPA
“Our India Pale Ale recalls a time when ales shipped from England to India were highly hopped to preserve their distinct taste during the long journey. The result is a hop lover’s dream with a fruity aroma, set off by a dry malt middle, and long hop finish.”
I probably shouldn’t have written the Cubs and Dodgers back to back, as I’ll most likely give them both very disgruntled reviews, but honestly I could care less. I think the biggest comparison of these two is that like the Cubbies, you see Goose Island shit EVERYWHERE. They are both frustratingly popular, however unlike Goose’s kind-of-not-terrible taste, the Cubs are a solid ballclub and are no longer shitty (as they once were).
Baseball Prediction: No playoff clutchness from Addison Russell is a big loss if the North-Siders want to make a deep run, but their solid regular season play in the NL Central has earned them a good chance. Although this team has stayed consistent since their World Series victory, the rest of the National League has only gotten better, and it’ll be tough for the Chicago to revive the postseason magic of yesteryear.
Beer Prediction: As one of the okay-est beers around, it is a good choice at a stadium or event that doesn’t have any sort of selection. They’ll definitely get the job done, but there’s not really anything special about it anymore after seeing it so often. Also, for being an IPA at only 5.9%, you’re better off looking elsewhere for something more fulfilling.
Colorado Rockies – Dale’s Pale Ale
Origin: Oskar Blues Brewing (Longmont, CO)
Style: American Strong Ale
“Dale’s Pale Ale is our defiant, proud, voluminously hopped mutha of a pale ale. If you’re looking for a fistful of flavor, look no further than this hopped-up trail ride. It delivers a hoppy nose and assertive-but-balanced flavors of pale malts and citrusy floral hops from the first sip to the final swig. Dale’s Pale Ale is the beer that started it all.”
It’s time to put the Coors Field inflation talks on the backburner, the Rockies have earned their spot amongst the National League’s elite. Nolan Arenado leads his team of lunch-pail grinders into the playoffs for a second year in a row, and the Rox are licking their chops at a chance to bring postseason baseball back to the Mile High City. Although the pitching and lineup depth still may not be there, Colorado will throw blows (literally) with anybody in the NL.
Baseball Prediction: It always seems like the Rockies are a few pieces away from becoming a World Series ballclub, but when these guys are firing on all cylinders they are tough to beat. An NLCS appearance would be huge for Colorado, and be great benchmark in how far they’ve come.
Beer Prediction: Don’t go into this thinking it’s going to be an easy drinking Pale, otherwise you’ll be three beers in and dancing on top of tables. Although it tastes a little different than what you’re used to, if you play it smart you’ll have quite the night.
Los Angeles Dodgers – 329 Days of Sun Lager
Origin: Golden Road Brewing (Los Angeles, CA)
“Crafted in the city that gives us 329 days of sun, 329 Lager is the perfect companion for making the most of sunny California days. Our go anywhere, do anything lager is full-flavored and easy-drinking with a clean, crisp finish”
I’d almost rather just skip LA completely, but unfortunately they have established themselves as regular World Series contenders. The Dodgers share all too many similarities with the Yankees, in their available salary, homegrown studs, and recent track record of success. Los Angeles has the pitching, hitting, and depth to dominate 329 days of the year, but sometimes the other 36 days are the most crucial, and it will take some of that infamous LA showbiz grit to finish as champions.
Baseball Prediction: This team, like Houston, is largely untouched from last year’s World Series, and has gotten annoyingly better. A red-hot Manny Machado at the hot corner, a nasty 1-2 punch rotation/bullpen, and a Matt Kemp that despite all odds still has functioning hips. As much as it pains me to say, Los Doyers will be back in the WS, but still have to find their October mojo to reach the top.
Beer Prediction: Advertised as an easy drinking lager, and one you can drink for 11 months straight, this flavorful brew from Golden Road will easily get you there. However, since it is so incredibly smooth, don’t get so lost in the drinkability that you end up choking and tapping out of the party early.