It isn't cricket; where is all the good stadium beer?

It was almost the perfect evening of cricket. Cool skies cleared to blue along the embankment. Trent Bridge was buzzing with an expectant crowd; the Hounds Road stand was bathed in sun. Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire played a true Twenty-Twenty showcase with thumping sixes and mad dashes between the wickets. But as the shadows lengthened and Samit Patel brought the home side home to a comfortable victory, I realised there was one thing missing – some really great beer.

Before the match, I’d enjoyed a couple of pints of gloriously pale, hoppy beer at the Southbank bar. BG Sips from Blue Monkey shines in the glass, dances on the palate and drives hops down your throat with the same ruthlessness than Alex Hales dispatches sixes with.

Which makes the beer choice inside Trent Bridge all the more disappointing. I’m not stuck by Carling; I struggle to get past the canned sweetcorn aroma. I’d rather eat my own foot cheese than drink Worthington. Which left me desperate enough to drink Magners, a couple of pints bloating me up enough to become the unofficial Trent Bridge blimp.

Now I understand the economic practicalities at play. Refreshments may be run by a concession, that concession may be tied in to a particular partner. But I still think Trent Bridge was missing a trick by not offering at least some quality bottled beers. Thornbridge Jaipur would have been magnificent, likewise Brewdog Punk IPA. I’d have certainly enjoyed something cold and continental – Budvar or Kuppers would have been spot on. Even when poured into a plastic glass.

Would I have paid handsomely for the privilege? Probably. Given that the mark-up on the beers available seemed to be about 20% of city centre prices, I’d have been happy to savour a cool IPA or kolsch whilst Notts thrashed fantastic.

Perhaps this raises a wider question about the availability of cask and bottled beer at sporting venues. I know that Thwaites had a beer tent at Old Trafford for the Bangladesh test and I’m sure that Kent have a CAMRA-run bar open at some of the championship matches. Not quite so grand as drinking Bear Republic Racer 5 at a Giants game, mind, but it’s an improvement.

Can you get a great beer at your favourite sporting event? If not, should we be badgering the powers that be for something better with which to celebrate victory or drown our sorrows?


  1. At a local level, the Newcastle Cricket Club (ex Northumberland County ground) have three real ales available on the bar, and the Chester-le-Street Cricket Club is often the North East CAMRA club of the year for its beer range. Not come across anything remotely interesting at the more mainstream/expensive events though.

  2. America leave the UK standing when it comes to @sport refreshment whether it is drink or food. I went to see the Paw Socks baseball team and could see why yanks get big!

  3. Maybe the Fast Cask could be an answer to this with cask beer? The practicalities of keeping a cellar in a stadium mean it's difficult, for sure. Bottles would be a better option, I agree.

    US baseball stadiums seem to have interesting beer choices, even if it is just a couple of craft beer pumps in each stadium, but with baseball you play series, so there will be a guaranteed 2-4 games played in 2-4 days.

  4. Everards sometimes have a small beer tent at LCCC, Grace Road. Whilst they are not the most exciting beers in the world I prefer them to queuing for half an hour to get a pint of Carling; the service is quick - straight from the cask - and it's a bonus if they have some of their more flavoursome brews like Sly Fox. I'm hoping they will be there this weekend as there's a T20 match on Friday and another on Sunday.

  5. Here's an idea out of leftfield...why don't WE(twissupers) try to organise a beer festival at a cricket game?

  6. Reluctant Scooper17 June 2010 at 20:21

    Now there's an idea...