Ballpark Digest is previewing what every MLB team is doing to begin the season, both on and off the field, as the 2019 season is underway. Up next: the Houston Astros and Minute Maid Park.
The Astros undertook a few initiatives to shake up the fan experience this offseason, highlighted in part by new food items introduced along with concessionaire Aramark. New offerings for 2019 are not limited to food, however, as the Astros are partnering with a local brewery to introduce a team-branded beer and have added an area at Minute Maid Park dedicated to the franchise’s history.
New food items at Minute Maid Park will include a few variations of hot dogs. One of those is the Bayou City Hot Dog (above), an item that features a Nolan Ryan hot dog with smoked pork burnt ends, Rico’s cheese sauce, pickle chips, green onions, and hot BBQ sauce. The 2019 season will also mark the debut of the Fritos Pie Corn Dog, an offering that features a foot-long hot dog dipped in house-made Fritos corn chips batter, and topped with queso blanco and Texas chili.
In addition to those items, fans can also seek out the unique Smoked Burnt Ends Topped Tots. This offering features tater tots, topped with queso blanco, BBQ sauce, green onions, pickles, and smoked pork burnt ends. Another new menu item is the Prime Rib Stake Sandwich, which features Nolan Ryan Beef prime rib, topped with caramelized onions and horseradish cream, served on a split top bun. The Astros are also introducing Beyond Burger, a plant-based burger that is served Caribbean-style, with black beans, avocado pineapple relish, and Sriracha aioli.
For a new entry in baseball’s craft beer trend, the Astros have teamed up with Houston-based Karbach Brewery to introduce Crawford Bock. Named as a homage to Minute Maid Park’s Crawford Box seating, the Crawford Bock is a 4.5 percent ABV traditional Bock-style beer with 15 IBU. The Astros tie-ins do not stop with the name, as the packaging for Crawford Bock (shown above) is inspired by the Astros vintage rainbow uniforms. Crawford Bock is available in 12-ounce cans and on draft, with a portion of proceeds from every sale benefiting the Astros Foundation–which serves initiatives such as youth baseball and softball, military support, childhood cancer awareness, and efforts to reduce homelessness.
The 2019 season will also see the Astros take extra steps to honor their history by unveiling new their Hall of Fame exhibit at Minute Maid Park. Located on the Home Run Alley in left field, the Hall of Fame is initially debuting with several exhibits the honor the team’s history before adding plaques of the inaugural inductees in August. The initial slate of inductees comprises of 14 players–including National Baseball Hall of Fame members such as Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Joe Morgan, and Nolan Ryan–and broadcasters Gene Elston and Milo Hamilton. They will be honored with a pre-game induction ceremony on Saturday, August 3. The following day, Minute Maid Park will play host to an alumni home run derby.
Image of Bayou City Dog courtesy Aramark.
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