Two people have been banned from baseball for life — Pete Rose and my IPA swilling road buddy. The difference is while the former is not happy about his fate, the latter did so willingly, with joy, and gratitude.
So off to the College World Series I went, alone. Willingly. With joy. And gratitude.
It has been a lifelong dream to come to the CWS. Of course, that dream always included my alma mater, the University of Texas, playing in the series. So my dream didn’t exactly come true, but here I was, in Omaha, at the College World Series. Who cares who was playing.
Finding good beer at a baseball game is typically a challenge. And since this was an NCAA sanctioned event, there was no beer in the stadium. However, there was plenty of it to be found in “tent city” just across the street. In fact, if you can make your way past all the vendors selling the same CWS swag in every tent, you find The Old Mattress Factory, which is (wait for it) an old mattress factory that has been converted into a bar and restaurant.
There I was able to enjoy a couple of beers before the game. While I’ve tasted several offerings from Founders Brewing Co. — the Porter, the Nitro Oatmeal Stout, the Breakfast Stout (my favorite), the Imperial Stout, and the KBS — I hadn’t ever seen the Scotch Ale before, which the Mattress Factory had on tap. It was a typical Founders effort, well-made with all the appropriate characteristics of the beer’s style. It checked in at about 8% ABV, so one was plenty as a starter.
I followed that up with an Oatmeal Porter from Zipline Brewing Co. out of Omaha. I’d never had a porter made with oatmeal before, and this one tasted exactly as you would expect — the sweet maltiness of a porter combined with the thick woodiness of an oatmeal stout. A little bit of caramel rounded out the flavor. All-in-all, a beer I would definitely try again, and the type of porter that even my IPA chugging friend soaking in a tub back in the bed ‘n’ breakfast might enjoy. According to Zipline, the Oatmeal Porter was just a winter seasonal until an angry mob of cult followers threatened the brewers, who now make it available year round for our pleasure, and their safety.
Two beers was enough tonight for I had baseball to attend … to.
While there were plenty of burger options at the ballpark, I took a burger break and enjoyed a spicy Italian sausage with peppers and onions. Yum.
It was a perfect evening for baseball. And even better, the team I was cheering for won.
Hook ’em Frogs.
— Eric Van Steenburg