Erie, PA (Jerry Uht Park and The Brewerie at Union Station)

Jerry Uht Park

DSC_0166Team: Erie Seawolves

Affiliate: Detroit Tigers (AA)

Ballpark Basics: A downtown ballpark with one-of-a-kind seating, arranged to fit within a city block.

 

Ballpark Breakdown: One of the great things about ballparks is that no two are alike.  Many times downtown ballparks need to be crammed into a city block and this can lead to unique aspects (take Fenway’s Green Monster for example).  Jerry Uht is one minor league park with a ballpark quirk due to the footprint.

When you enter Jerry Uht Park from the home plate entrance you walk up and see the diamond open up in front of you.  To your left you see the third base grandstand rise up from the concourse.  However, when you look to the right, the first base grandstand is stacked on top of the lower seating bowl.  This is due to the fact that they didn’t have enough room to fit in the entire grandstand on the first base side.  Sometimes you need to build a large green wall, sometimes you need to double-stack your seats to make it fit.

The backdrop DSC_0186behind the outfield fences is another unique aspect to this ballpark.  The Erie Insurance Arena towers behind the left field wall while behind the right field wall several downtown houses and and apartments dot the landscape.

There are picnic areas in each corner of the outfield.  However, there is a double-decker picnic section in the right field corner along with the Bud Light Beer Garden on the second level.  Don’t let the name fool you since they do have some craft options.  They also have cornhole games set up for those interested in taking a break from watching the game.   Speaking of taking a break, the kids section is located in the left field corner with large inflatables on hand to distract the little ones.

DSC_0162Overall, the beer selections skew towards the macrobrews with options from Bud Light, Molson, Blue Moon, and Goose Island available throughout the park.  Sometimes you need to hunt to find the craft selections.  Ironically, Erie Brewing Co. is a sponsor of the team complete with an ad on the outfield wall.  However it was not easy to find the actual beverage during the game.

The 2015 season marks the 20th anniversary of Jerry Uht Park. Through great design and smart upgrades the ballpark does not feel dated and doesn’t show its age.  With its downtown location and unique seating bowl it’s a great place to take in a game.

 

The Brewerie at Union Station

DSC_0159Rating: Triple

Beer basics: A transformed train station with good beer, unique attributes and one ghost.

Having been open eight years one would suspect that The Brewerie has a successful business model keeping them going.  But this place is a mystery.  On paper it would seem to be a raging success.  A unique building, 25 seasonals, and even a guest tap list to promote other craft breweries.  Additionally there’s an outside element, good beer and good food, but on all three visits the place was mostly dead.

Making a record three trips here in the course of our one night in Erie, the following observations are based on more evidence than a typical review.  To start, the building is amazing.  The Brewerie is built into a large chunk of what used to be Erie’s main train station; named like many other major cities of the day, Union Station. They have done a great job preserving and incorporating the unique aspects of this historic building.  Big arches that once led the way to boarding gates are everywhere, and many still have the original “to trains” signs).  The dining and pub areas are separate rooms, tied together by a bar and shop which inhabit the spot that once was a main ticket window.  The decor is a mix of train memorabilia and antique beer signs, and they’ve even used the arrival/departure boards to announce the current beer options.  The upstairs outside area was by far the most popular section on this warm summer night and it was easy to see why, and an understatement to say it’s a unique place to grab a drink.  Formerly a train platform it has been transformed into a beer garden with bocce, upstairs bar service and even real trains running through on occasion.

Beer Breakdown: DSC_0227Our visit happened to coincide with a U.S. World Cup game, but the Brewerie isn’t a sports bar so we had to go elsewhere to see it.   Visit two was to take pictures before going to the baseball game, as intrepid reporters we brilliantly deduced the need to get the shots in daylight. Visit three we finally got to sit back and enjoy the building and it’s wares.  Here are the results:

Apparition Amber 7.0% ABV – Almost apple butter in color and fairly opaque too.  Very smooth, with a malty palate and nutty finish that is clean and lightly sweet. It is there most popular beer, and interestingly a tribute to a turn-of-the-century woman named Clara who died on the stairs and now is rumored to haunt the building and cause trouble.

Major McNair’s Nut Brown 5.6% ABV – Named for Erie’s first brewer, the McNair pours with a creamy head and looks like a coke.  It is served more chilled than cold, which helps bring forth a nutty flavor, but unlike the amber whose nuttiness comes from the malts, this is more of a dry walnut taste.  Another smooth beer that’s a well rounded, lighter bodied brown.

The Brewerie ErieSilk Bomb Milk Stout 5.8% ABV – A dark black beer with a sweet finish and faint coffee smell that leads to big coffee taste and a hint of smoke.  It’s thin for a stout but still creamy like a milk stout should be.

Against the Grain Wheat IPA 5.8% ABV – – An American IPA, with the strongest smell of any one we tried.  Big hops upfront that never really settle down throughout the sip and bouquet.  Pretty beer with a bright golden color and lacing that stays on the glass.

The Brewerie at Union Station

123 W 14th S

Erie, PA 16501

(814) 454-2200


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