Only 79 more home games until the Minnesota Twins vacate the Big Inflatable Toilet and head west to Target Field. I can’t wait for opening day next year. Hopefully we’ll be lucky enough to get tickets. But either way, it’s going to be a big change of pace for baseball fans in this state, as well as the downtown scene.
As much as I despise the uncomfortable blue plastic seats, horrifically bad food, and weirdly insulated and artificial atmosphere that makes you feel at times like you’re in a tent (well, in a way you are), some of my most memorable moments growing up as a kid are from the Metrodome. Snapper Mow-Em Down innings…Frankie Sweet Music Viola…Puckett’s catch in Game 6 of the ’91 Series…the wind tunnel leaving the game…and of course in 1987 when Mark Salas refused to give me an autograph as I begged and pleaded at the metal rail near the Twins’ bullpen. “Come back when the game is over kid.” I faithfully abided, only to find a pile of chewed up sunflower seeds where my favorite catcher once sat. I never did forgive Mark Salas for snubbing me that day. But karma is a bitch, as he was soon after traded to the Yankees that season, only to miss out on what would become the greatest World Series run in baseball history. Instead of a champion’s ring, the Twins organization gave Mark a crappy watch. Served him right. I hope it was a Swatch.
During game two of the Seattle series last night (which ended in a fantastic and dramatic fashion with the Twins edging out the Mariners in a 9th inning rally), I weighed out my options of macro lagers at the concession stand, which as expected weren’t great. But, one shining ray of hope appeared on the horizon as I spotted a small red tap handle down the row of macro madness. Small script lettering adorned its side…Grain Belt Premium, or “Premo” as it’s known around these parts. August Schell Brewing in New Ulm actually makes this beer now after the brand changed hands multiple times throughout its long and storied history in the state. Grain Belt Premium, different than its predecessor Grain Belt, was developed in 1947 to cater to the changing tastes of the American demographic that were more interested in lighter tasting beers. So in many ways, it could be considered a forerunner to our now ubiquitous American adjunct light lagers. But to call Premium a macro wouldn’t be entirely accurate, given its limited distribution in the Upper Midwest.
From a taste and aroma perspective, it’s not too dissimilar from Miller Genuine Draft or Budweiser. Sweet nose of grain and corn. No real hops to speak of, especially compared to triple-hops brewed Miller Lite, but if you really concentrate you get a fleeting sense of them. Taste is pretty smooth, more of the corn characteristic. Pretty highly carbonated giving it a full mouthfeel. I’m pretty sure the Metrodome version of this is your run-of-the-mill 3.2% ABV beer, but it normally comes in bottles at 4.6% ABV.
I actually enjoy drinking this beer, partly because it’s locally brewed but also because it really isn’t that bad, all things considered. For the style of beer, I’d say it’s one of the better examples you’re going to run across. My buddy even enjoyed Premo so much after a handful of samplings that he felt inclined to sing Journey’s Greatest Hits into his mustard-covered bratwurst during the seventh inning stretch. Yet another Metrodome memory.