Security Service Field
Team: Colorado Springs Sky Sox
Affiliate: Milwaukee Brewers (AAA)
Ballpark Basics: A ballpark above all others (literally).
Coors Field gets all the love for their Mile High Seats. However, Security Service Stadium, home of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox is actually the highest professional baseball park in North America, coming in at 6,531 feet above sea level.
Situated in the northeast suburbs of Colorado Springs the ballpark is surrounded by strip malls and parking lots. The team charges $5 for parking but there are multiple nearby lots that are a quick walk and can save you a few bucks.
With the Rocky Mountains rising to the west of the ballpark, Security Service Field could have had one of the best backdrops in all of baseball. Unfortunately most ballparks are built facing east to keep the setting sun out of the batters’ eyes. This means that the much less inspiring view of the rooftops of a suburban development spread out as the backdrop behind the ballpark instead.
Built before the 1988 season, Security Service Stadium does not have a lot of the bells and whistles that you would associate with a AAA ballpark. Many of the features that stand out are located down the right field line: There is a hot tub tucked in the right field corner along with the the Coors Picnic Terrace. Rows of picnic tables line the right field fence and give people an opportunity to socialize while catching parts of the game. This was a very popular spot on the night of our visit with (what appeared to be) almost half the crowd packed into this section. The First Command Banquet Hall towers over the picnic area. Lined with windows, it gives a great space to watch the game with a large group in a climate-controlled setting.
Best Spot For Beer: With a rotating tap list you never know what you are going to find at Security Service Stadium. The third base side of the upper concourse seemed to have the best options with local favorites Bristol Brewing Co. having its own stand.
While the Colorado Springs Sky Sox may not play in the most up-to-date ballpark it definitely has its perks. Being at such a high altitude brings the temperatures down for those mid-summer games. The Rocky Mountains may not dominate the backdrop of the ballpark but they are well within view and offer a scene not found in many other ballparks.
Bristol Brewing Co.
Brew Basics: A former school that could teach us all a few things about re-purposing old buildings.
The Ivywild building, built in 1916, originally house an elementary school that was shuttered in 2009. In 2012 a group purchased/started an initiative to transform the building into the marketplace it is today. In fact, one of the only indication of it’s former life as a school are the elaborate murals in the bathrooms, which were designed to teach students everything from ABCs, times tables and all kinds of science. The current incarnation of the building has cute little shops, a bakery that churns out one amazing smell after another, and ice cream from a local creamery. The biggest portion of the building is now the home of Bristol Brewing Company, which opened originally in 1994.
Walking up the large staircase of the elaborate stone building, the architecture makes you feel more as if you’re entering a Jeffersonian residence or state house. The artwork and images inside tell the history of Ivywild, and if you’re interested in learning more, click here. Just as you take in the historic building, it’s also worth taking a look at the various artwork for each beer. Luke Flowers a local artist has come up with creative and fun labels for everything Bristol produces.
Bristol had several beers on tap, and as part of their regular brew series, keep an eye out for their Community Beers. Rotating seasonally, purchasing any of these beers provides proceeds to a related charity. You can find Smokebrush Porter (100% of proceeds to the Smokebrush’s Creative Community Efforts which supports the arts), Vinatucchi (100% of proceeds to a local pumpkin farm) and Cheyenne Canyon Ale (proceeds build trails and allow for upkeep).
Belgian Wit 5.2%ABV Light white wine color, sparkling ring of lacing and a floral bouquet. The orange peel taste is oaty with coriander in the center. Tangy, but clean finish.
Yellow Kite Summer Pils 4.8%ABV Very similar to the Belgian Wit in color, but less sparkly and with more head. After a clean start this is a strong beer that’s tart to the end. Lots of flavor while remaining light.
Mass Transit Ale Sweet, malty, and pretty with pile of white lacing over top of a golden yellow beer. Great blend of four malts that work together but remain noticeable in their own right.
Red Rocket Pale Ale 5.25% ABV Sharp and bitter the whole way down, with a strong hop character and an orange color. Quite a strong pale ale, that could easily be mistaken for an IPA. This beer also has the distinction (along with the honey wheat Beehive) of having one of the best labels Bristol has to offer.
Laughing Lab Scottish Ale 5.0% ABV a light brown, sun tea color with a caramel, bready aroma malted nutty character and a slight tang in the palate that ends in a sparkly finish. A true Scottish ale with solid backbone.
World Peace Death Ray 8.0% ABV – This imperial IPA is part of the Tesla series, in honor of one of the city’s most famous residents. The Death Ray is a copper colored beer with a light ivory head. It has a strong Cascade/Chinook aroma and slight Citra finish. Not too hoppy, not too sweet; in fact the Pale Ale is more of a palate killer than this smooth IPA.
New World Saison 6.6% ABV – This one isn’t’ always available, so we gave it a shot. Like many saisons, It had a very floral aroma, with just a hint of hops. The character was similar in both appearance and taste to white grape juice. The lack of visible carbonation is contradicted by the sparkling mouthfeel.
Knob Hill Station – an Imperial RyePA 9.0% ABV Copper in color with light carbonation and some lacing. The palate has a malty start that turns very dry with a rye finish. The complex character is tangy but not overly strong, which makes it easy to underestimate the higher gravity of this beer.
1604 S. Cascade Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80905