Even though this beer is a little out of left field for me, it’s still cool enough to sit on my sill.
Did I ever tell you that I hate the Red Sox?
I’ve hated the Red Sox since I first learned about baseball after moving to the United States in 1987, and I will hate the Red Sox until the day I die (there will still be beers on my window sill, don’t you worry). That being said, I kinda like Fenway Park.
Sure, it’s got a bit of an awkward layout, is a dreadful pea green color and has seats that are not comfortable if you’re any larger than your average-sized seven-year old boy or girl, but it has personality. It has character. It has a certain…je ne sais quoi that almost makes it tolerable for a Yankees fan like me that the place is always full of obnoxious Red Sox fans.
In my opinion, Fenway’s charm comes from a series of structural anomalies in its designs–things you’d have to be a little nutty to purposefully include in your blueprints if you were building a stadium today. First, there’s “The Triangle” in center field, where balls, and outfielders, go to die. There’s also the “Pesky Pole” in right, named after former Red Sox great Johnny Pesky, who managed to master the art of not hitting the ball high, nor far (sorry, John Sterling), and still getting it to go over the fence for a home run.
The most identifiable Fenway structure of all is the 37-foot tall, 231-foot long wall that towers over the left field glass, aptly named The Green Monster. When you talk about iconic stadium accoutrements, there aren’t many like the Monster. That being said, it was once a lot different than it is today.
When the stadium first opened in 1912, the Monster was only known as “The Wall.” It was made of wood, and there was a 10-foot tall mound of dirt that ran along its entire length. Did I mention this hill was in play? It was soon nicknamed named “Duffy’s Cliff” after Duffy Lewis, the unlucky Red Sox outfielder who was tasked with playing left field at the time. During the dead ball era (named so because players couldn’t hit the ball that far) the team sometimes actually roped off the mound and opened it up for seating to handle fan overflow when needed. Pretty neat to sit on, probably awful to play on.
The wall was overhauled completely in 1934. The wood was replaced by concrete and tin, Duffy’s Cliff was leveled off and the famous manually-operated Fenway scoreboard was added. In 1936, a net was added to catch home run balls so that they wouldn’t threaten the storefronts across the street behind the fence.
It wasn’t until 1947 that the Monster gained its true identity, though. All of the advertisements that adorned the wall were removed, and it was painted green to match the rest of the stadium. Although there have been many updates to the wall in the decades since–both structural and aesthetic–that’s basically when the Green Monster became what it is today.
With all that in mind, I headed to the window sill to indulge in a Green Monsta IPA from Westminster MA’s Wachusett Brewing Company.
I opened up the bottle expecting to unleash a monstrous flavor deserving of the Green Monsta monicker, but instead got just another pleasant and refreshing American IPA. I was very disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong, this beer was quite tasty. It had a nice, muted aroma, and the hoppy flavor wasn’t in any way overpowering. It wasn’t too dry or too bitter, and the alcohol content (6.1%) was just right. The aftertaste didn’t even hang around that long after I drank it. It was an altogether nice beer.
But that’s precisely what let me down about it. First of all, it was first brewed in 2004, when the Red Sox broke the curse of the Bambino and won their first World Series after an 86-year drought. If you’re going to celebrate that monumental of an accomplishment by brewing a beer in honor of one of the more ominous and iconic structures in all of sport, should it not kick your ass a little when you drink it?
Shouldn’t it be extra bitter? Or super hoppy; or hazy and murky? Shouldn’t it be one of those crazy 13% beers? Hell, it could even have been dyed green for the sheer novelty value. You’re supposed to be honoring the end of an 86-year World Series drought, as well as a staple of the oldest stadium in professional sports. Give a little extra effort!
If you want to have a nice Sunday IPA, name it after the Pesky Pole. Or the Lone Red Seat. Or maybe even Williamsburg. Hell. Name it after Ted Williams himself. Don’t name it the Green Monsta.
Again, I’m not taking anything away from the flavor, or the skill with which it was brewed. In fact, if I didn’t have to ever look at the label, I would drink it again. It was just not enough for me.
I guess that serves me right for drinking a Red Sox beer. Go Yankees.