The new beer stand in Ashburn Alley at Citizens Bank Park might be the city's gold standard for sporting event beverage selection. But PPL Park is a close second, mostly because the Venn diagram comparing soccer "snobs" (like me) and beer "snobs" (also like me) has a rather large overlap.
So if you don't have plans this afternoon, head to Chester and try my rankings on for size (only if you have a designated driver, of course).
5. Bud Light from a vendor: If you need a quick beer and only have a minute before kickoff, the vendors do a nice job of parking in the middle of the concourse. Keep your ears open around the 65th minute, as well, when the same vendors roll through the sections at lightning speed to beat the 70th minute last call. UPSIDE: Fast and easy. DOWNSIDE: It's still Bud Light.
4. Victory HopDevil: I know there is one small kiosk near midfield on the south concourse, and I believe another on the north side. They're set up on the opposite side of the concession stands, closer to the field. UPSIDE: HopDevil is always outstanding. DOWNSIDE: Is it greedy to request Victory Summer Love during these hot-weather games?
3. Snake & Shield: There's 2 of these permanent stands (one just inside the plaza on south side). Their selling point? Double-size beers. They're selection is somewhat limited to beers available in 24-ounce bottles, but the Blue Moon or Stella Artois is better than the Bud heavy, and with no stoppages until halftime for a refill, you'll appreciate the big cup. If you're a season-ticket holder, add some money to your card and use it to buy beer. A $14 "premium" beer becomes $12 and change. UPSIDE: They even have gluten-free beer, if that's your thing. DOWNSIDE: On a hot day, you're left with warm beer at the end of the cup (drink faster).
2. Boddington's: There's at least one of these stands on the south side, and I assume another on the north. The guy working the tap knows how to properly pour it, and even (politely) corrected a customer in front of me last month who INSISTED that he should tilt the cup while pouring. UPSIDE: No beer screams "I'm at a soccer game!" like Boddington's. DOWNSIDE: The line can get a little long at halftime.
1. Parking Lot Beer: It's cheaper, it's colder and it's usually accompanied by grilled meat. I'm partial to Lot A myself, but if you're drinking beer in a parking lot with a river view on a summer day, you're doing something right. UPSIDE: Philly's best tailgating scene. Hands down. DOWNSIDE: Eventually, you'll actually have to go into the stadium.
Philadelphia Union (7-5-4, 25 points) vs. FC Dallas (8-3-5, 29 points), 5:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network
This will likely be the last game for Jack McInerney until August, after being called up to the U.S. National Team for the Gold Cup. The Union will miss his finishing touch, but if Sebastien Le Toux and Conor Casey keeps playing like they have been of late, the Union should be able to survive until his return. Expect McInerney to get a big send-off from the crowd today, and expect him to find the back of the net at least once.
Prediction Sure To Be Way Off:
McInerney gets at least one, and Casey gets another. Whether the Union can keep Dallas off the board will be the real question. But I think they do just enough to get stay hot heading into a tough mid-week game in Salt Lake City.
Union 2, FC Dallas 1.