Baseball is back! And whether you love the game itself or just like an excuse to drink outside in the sun, the arrival of Opening Day is always a joyous occasion. Some early series might be a little chilly–cold weather in Cleveland actually cancelled the Indians’ home opener on Monday–but soon enough the weather turns, and summer means longer days, warmer temps, and lots and lots of hot dogs and cold beer.
Summer is especially sweet for Chicago Cub fans because it signals a mass return to the Wrigleyville area, a neighborhood teeming with sports bars, outdoor patios and fans playing hooky from work to catch a day game. Streets that stay relatively quiet in the winter months are flush with activity, from rowdy twenty-somethings packing the back room at The Stretch to the seasoned vets sidled up to the long wooden bar at Murphy’s Bleachers.
I love a long day in Wrigleyville pre-gaming at my favorite haunts, hitting up a game and then meeting friends for a few more post-game brews. And it’s not officially Cubs season for me until I get my hands on a Goose Island Cubby Blue. The amber colored ale is a special beer offered only at Goose Island brewpubs and a few other Wrigleyville spots. I first discovered it on a rooftop outside the ballpark and immediately fell in love.
Cubby Blue is sweet enough to appease a lover of fruity beers (like me!), but not saccharine. It’s smooth and medium-bodied with notes of blueberry, caramel and malt. A mild hoppiness checks the sweetness and the natural fruit flavor keeps it from tasting artificial or cloying. Beer “snobs” might scoff at a fruity, easy-drinking brew like Cubby Blue, but for me it’s the perfect thing to pair with a long day out in the sun.
This upcoming Monday, April 11, marks not only the start of the Cubs’ home slate of games, but the unofficial start of Cubby Blue season, too. Guess I’ll have to keep the good vibes from Thursday’s “National Beer Day” celebration going through the weekend and into Monday. Bring on baseball (and Cubby Blue!).