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2018 Preview: New York Mets, Citi Field

Citi Field

Citi Field has evolved into more than just a place to watch baseball: it’s now a great spot for spotting food trends, and the changes there for the 2018 season from the New York Mets are worth watching.

In our view, Citi Field is one of the most underrated MLB ballparks. The design has help up over time, with great views of the action throughout the ballpark. And the Mets are totally devoted to entertaining fans with new concessions offerings annually—and 2018 is no exception. This year fans can sample a fried chicken sandwich from the trendy Brooklyn-based Sweet Chick (look for Lil’ Sweet Chick), a Baked Cheese Haus stand offering cheesy brats and more, and various offerings from celebrity chef David Chang. The food experience at Citi Field is a fascinating one: yes, you have your offerings from Chang and Danny Meyer and Pat LaFrieda, and then you’ll have a standard ballpark-food stand and a vendor selling ridiculously overpriced macrobrew tallboys. None of it is particularly cheap, but when you can have the likes of a SmokeShack bacon cheeseburger or a bowl of Mets Cake Batter at , why bother with a humble hot dog?

On the facilities front: the Mets are undertaking a significant renovation to the Home Plate Lounge at Citi Field, doublings its size to make it more attractive to corporate entertainment. Open to all ticket holders in first eight rows of sections 11-19, it’s an amenity most fans won’t see. We covered it in February.

The biggest news on the Citi Field facilities front, however, is indeed open to all. We’re talking about the opening of the Mikkeller brewery. This is part of a larger trend of MLB ballpark breweries—Terrapin Beer opened a five-barrel brewhouse at SunTrust Park in 2017, while Denver’s Coors Field has sported The Sandlot Brewery since 1995—and we’re a little surprised that teams like the Milwaukee Brewers and naming-rights partner Miller Brewing have not opened one as well. At Citi Field, fans lined up to taste the offerings Mikkeller Brewing NYC, a 10,000-square-foot brewery, taproom and dining space. Copenhagen-based Mikkeller is a trendy player in the microbrewery space, and the addition to the MLB ballpark scene is a notable one.

The new Mikkeller microbrewery is located between the bullpen and right-field gates. Mikkeller NYC officials say they will rotate 60 beers in the taproom, including signature ballpark beers—including Henry Hops IPA, Henry Hustle pale ale, Henry Heater imperial IPA and Say Hey Sally pilsner—as well as selections from Mikkeller SD, Mikkeller Denmark and other vendors. The taproom is served via an adjoining 20-barrel brewhouse featuring several vertically stacked 20-barrel fermenters and a canning line. The Mikkeller NYC includes a 120-seat communal dining space. Cans, bottles and merchandise, all designed by Mikkeller art director Keith Shore, are also available to take home from an on-site shop along with varieties from other select breweries. You don’t need a ticket to visit Mikkeller NYC, and it will be open on non-game days as well.

That the Mets would partner with a trendy brewery and star restaurateurs isn’t surprising: team officials have been pretty prescient at anticipating food and beverage trends. Mikkeller beers were sold at Citi Field in 2017, for instance, while the team has hosted a Shake Shack outpost since 2009, well before their hamburgers became a cult item across the country. Partnering with high-profile partners like Meyer and Mikkeller makes good business sense, and it also makes Citi Field one of the best destinations in all of baseball.

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