The Cactus League has become a cherished Arizona tradition for locals and tourists alike. What started as two teams coming to the Valley of the Sun for spring training in 1947 is now 15 teams and the greatest concentration of pro baseball stadiums in the United States.
It’s not just the conveniently located stadiums or great weather that draws baseball fans this time of year; it’s the camaraderie and unforgettable mix of emotions that comes from getting up close and personal with your favorite team while drinking a few beers with friends.
Yes, there’s something nostalgic about watching 9 innings with the smell of popcorn and hotdogs in the air and vendors shouting out ‘Cold beer, here!’
But beer and baseball weren’t synonymous until a man named Chris Von Der Ahe installed a beer garden at Sportsman’s Park in the 1880s. Von Der Ahe’s innovation led to an upswing in imbibing at every game and the rest, they say, is history.
Whether you’re new to baseball or a die hard fan, bring some friends and enjoy a beer at one of these five parks:
If last year’s World Series between the Cubs and the Indians left you thirsty for more baseball, all it takes is a trip out to Sloan Park to keep the memory alive. Almost every game is sold out, but some tickets are still available with limited seating and the chance of a lifetime: to see the winning Cubs play in person.
Beers you can expect to find: Tapped kegs of Budweiser, Bud Light, Shock Top, Land Shark, Goose Island and Four Peaks brews are readily available here.
Peoria Sports Complex
The San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners share turf at the Peoria Sports Complex, where you can catch a game in between shopping and dining out with family. Whether you’re craving Mexican, sushi or something else, Peoria Sports Complex offers many food options in and around the stadium. Beer enthusiasts should know Peoria Sports Complex boasts the biggest selection of craft beers from Arizona, California and Washington throughout the stadium.
Beers you can expect to find: Arrogant Bastard, Mirror Pond Pale Ale by Deschutes Brewery, a wide variety of Four Peaks beers and Cosmic Audacity are just some of the findings at the beer garden.
Salt River Fields
In 2011, Salt River Fields made history by being the first Major League Spring Training facility to be built on Tribal land. Get into the local spirit with a D-backs game, or experience something new by catching a Colorado Rockies game.
Beers you can expect to find: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy , ODells 90 Shilling and Four Peaks Pitchfork Pale Ale and Peach Ale are just some of the beer varieties you can find at Salt River Fields.
Sit in the lap of luxury when you vacation in Scottsdale. From snowbirds to locals, you’re in for a treat when the San Francisco Giants play. Libraries, museums and a high-class nightlife abound, so get out and enjoy Old Town or a concert at Talking Stick Resort after the games.
Beers you can expect to find:
San Fransisco’s Anchor Steam and Four Peaks brews such as Hop Knot and Kilt Lifter are the heavy hitters here along with lighter beers such as Bud Light and Ultra.
Tempe Diablo Stadium
Mountain views are unique to the Tempe area, which is only one benefit of getting your baseball on at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Watch the Angels while you sit and enjoy well-crafted beers with your friends in the Kilt Lifter Tap Room behind home plate onsite.
Beers you can expect to find: Of course hometown-favorite Four Peaks will be well represented, but you can also find beers such as Wolf Pup IPA by Golden Road Brewery and standards like Bud Light.
If you want another perk, buy a case to cover your base. When you buy any (mix or match) 24 cans or bottles of Four Peaks beer at your local retailer, bring your receipt to either Four Peaks pub in Tempe or Scottsdale for a free fleece stadium blanket. Buy a case to cover your base for some good times at countless baseball games this spring.
Whether you’re meeting up with friends or planning a ‘skip day’ from work, celebrating America’s pastimes has never been better than Spring Training season in Phoenix.
*Please enjoy responsibly. Beer selections subject to change.