I went to see the series opener at Toronto’s Skydome – it’ll be a cold day in hell before I call it the Rogers Centre – on Friday night, courtesy of my loving wife. The seats were good, the game exciting and the usually staid Toronto crowd a little more into it that usual. Plus, Bautista came within a single of hitting for the cycle.
Then there was the beer.
I had heard in advance that there were apparently two stands selling Steam Whistle Pilsner, brewed within spitting distance of the dome, somewhere on the 100 level, where our seats were located. There were not, or at least not so far as I could find in a complete circuit of the concessions. (Anyone from Steam Whistle, if I missed where your beer is sold, please let us all know before the next home series.)
Finally, in desperation and significant thirst, and unwilling to buy a bottle of freakin’ filtered Dasani water for almost five bucks, I dropped over twice that amount on a can of Stella Artois, what I thought was a disappointing but still passable alternative. I paid for my beer and went to grab a plastic cup to pour it into, but was stopped by the beer server, who told me that the cups are counted and that she could get into trouble if there was one missing.
So, $10.25 for a can of Stella, more than 4 times retail price, and I am denied even a plastic cup from which to drink! Great customer service there, Dome.
Now, onto the beer, which was terrible! Like Pete Brown, I have memories of Stella which now seem terribly divorced from reality. I used to defend it as a decent thirst-quencher, if you drank one and only one glass. (The follow up was always a disappointment.) For whatever other faults it might boast, it had a generally dry character and sufficient hop appeal to counteract that sickly, cloying cereally character that I find pervades the majority of globally marketed beers.
The can I had was a complete mess in terms of its flavour profile, and that I could tell even by drinking directly from from said can. (God knows what it would have tasted like in the cup. Maybe that’s why the Dome refused me one.) The hop flavours, where present, were severely disjointed and the malt profile suggested an extended lagering time of, oh, ten or twelve hours. Morbid curiosity propelled me to continue drinking and, as the beer warmed, the faults grew progressively and predictably worse. By two-thirds gone – and I was hardly nursing it – it was pretty revolting.
So, my reflections on beer at the Skydome are as follows: expensive, poorly served, lousy selection, and awful tasting.