Best place for a beer? Ballpark!

S ince 2008, the Dayton Dragons and Heidelberg Distributing Company (founding sponsor of the Dragons since 2000) have worked to bring beer connoisseurs together within the beautiful confines of Fifth Third Field. Join them this year for the Great American Beer Tasting on Saturday, August 11. Ian Bock, of Bellbrook, has attended the past several […]

Great American Beer Tasting returns to Fifth Third Field


Hey guys, how’s the beer tasting? Tastes like another one you say? Well, you’re at the right place! 

By Christy Lynne Trotter

Since 2008, the Dayton Dragons and Heidelberg Distributing Company (founding sponsor of the Dragons since 2000) have worked to bring beer connoisseurs together within the beautiful confines of Fifth Third Field. Join them this year for the Great American Beer Tasting on Saturday, August 11.

Ian Bock, of Bellbrook, has attended the past several years with his wife, Jen. “We really feel like we get our money’s worth,” Bock notes. True. The cost of the ticket has only increased once in 11 years.

An event that began with about 50 beers and approximately 200 attendees has grown to about 100 beers and about 2,000 people in attendance for 2017, according to Laura Elking, Marketing and Media Manager, ABI/Yuengling, Heidelberg Distributing Company.

The tasting has steadily become a tradition among Daytonians. John Slaidins, of Dayton, has gone for several years, and he already has this year’s ticket. “I’ve always been a beer lover,” he says. “It gives me the opportunity to sample new beers.”

Sampling is what it’s all about. You’ll receive a punch card good for 20 4-ounce samples, a 2018 pint glass, and a guide for maneuvering around the sampling tables. Popular domestics like Budweiser Freedom Reserve, Bud Light Lime and Orange, Yuengling’s Golden Pilsner and Black & Tan Porter, Michelob Ultra and Ultra Lime Cactus, and a few hard seltzers will be available.

And for craft beer fans and those looking for new beers to try, Heidelberg is bringing about 40 percent more new beers this year versus last, says Elking. Selecting is no small feat. “We try and pick a good variety of all the different breweries and suppliers we represent…things that are new and innovative.”

Such as Ballast Point Coconut Victory at Sea, which will be available as a specialty sampling. Get in line early for this one: Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout 2017 (draft) will make a special edition, limited release appearance. It’s likely this beer will be offered in 2-ounce pours, but Elking says, “We are figuring out the best way to get to folks.” There will be several limited edition or specialty beers available as part of the tasting. A few other beers you can expect to see include Golden Road Man-Go-War (new to the GABT, Beerland season 2 winner), Deschutes Abyss (a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout), Linderman’s Strawberry Lambic (new flavor), and Odd Side Ales Bean Flicker Blonde (new to Ohio and the GABT, a flagship Coffee Blonde Ale). Be sure to look for other Ohio beers (like from Rhinegeist, Mother Stewart’s, and Rivertown).

Want to see the beer list before the event? The Dragon’s event page will update as beers are selected. Then there’s the GABT event page through the Untappd smart phone app. Megan Norkunas, Manager of Corporate Partnerships at Fifth Third Field, suggests using Untappd to provide feedback. “There’s a website for it, as well as an app you can download,” she says. She’d love for attendees to use the app to give feedback on the beers they like, and the ones they don’t, “So we can make sure we are giving the people what they want,” Norkunas says, especially in preparation for next year.

New traditions and new beers emerge every year. “It’s just a fun day to hang out with your friends or family,” Norkunas says. For instance, Jessica Erbaugh of Beavercreek bought tickets for her and her father one year. “We went and had a blast,” she says. “So now that’s my go-to Father’s Day gift.”

Forging the way for friends and family to gather and enjoy beer is what it’s all about. Says Elking, “The Dragons really put all the effort into executing it and marketing and promoting [the event], but it’s because of the partnership that Heidelberg has with the Dragons,” and because of the products, that the GABT continues to grow.

Ticket price includes a raffle chance to win prizes like tickets to a Kid Rock/Brantley Gilbert concert, a Bud Light dartboard, and more. Norkunas suggests checking the event’s Facebook page for pictures. Additional raffle tickets can be purchased at the event for $5.00 each.

The ballpark’s concessions will be open for food purchases. Like Gluten-free beer? They’ll have a few of those, too. If field games are your thing, soccer darts, basketball, connect four, corn hole, and giant Jenga will be available, to name a few. And rain, shine, or heat, the beer will pour.

This is a 21-and-over event so please drive responsibly. Designated driver tickets are $5.00. DD’s get their own punch card for 5 4-ounce samples of non-alcoholic products (energy drinks, tea, and sparkling waters) and a voucher for a drink from the Dragons to use at a concession stand.

The Annual Great American Beer Tasting takes place Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, from 2-6 p.m., at the Dayton Dragons Fifth Third Field. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 at the gate. Age 21 or older. For more information, visit daytondragons.com/beertasting or stop by the Dragon’s team store or box office.

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About Christy Lynne Trotter

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