Team: Detroit Tigers
Ballpark Basics: Replacing a legend is never easy but the Tigers do a good job.
Replacing a ballpark with the history and charm that Tiger Stadium held was never going to be easy. It was one of the last classic ballparks still standing when the Tigers moved into Comerica Park in 2000. Talking to some people from Detroit you can tell it is still a sore subject and it feels that sometimes this has impacted how people view Comerica Park. After getting mixed reviews of the ballpark we didn’t know what to expect when we attended our game, but we had a great time!
Comerica Park offers sweeping views of downtown Detroit as well as Ford Field peeking over the left field wall with nary a bad seat in the house. There is even a section of seating with large comfy chairs with a small side table along the third base side for extra comfort. The concourse is wide and open to the field so never miss any of the action while walking around the park. There are lots of unique features all around, so make sure you get out of your seat and do a few laps around the park if you get the chance to visit.
For example. The Tigers have done a great job of incorporating the team’s history throughout the park. On the concourse you will find large displays dedicated to each decade of Tigers’ history, with photos and artifacts that climb 30 plus feet into the air. Behind the centerfield wall you will find statues to Tiger greats Ty Cobb, Willie Horton, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline and Hal Newhauser. Other tributes to Tiger history include The Corner Tap Room (after the famous intersection of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Avenue where Tiger Stadium was located) with memorabilia on display as well as Kaline’s Corner in right field as a nod to the treacherous corner at Tiger Stadium.
Best Spot for Beer:
One thing is for certain when attending a Tigers game, you will not go thirsty. Almost every concession stand will have at least one local option if not multiple. The Corner Tap Room along the first base side has a ton of local and craft options. The Beer Hall can be found next to the merry-go-round and also showcases an extensive beer list. However, when we go to a game we try and find local beers and Comerica Park has a concession stand dedicated solely to Michigan beers. The Michigan Craft Beer can be found in the right field corner of the lower concourse and contains nothing but Michigan beers on draft and in cans (plus a cider or two).
Many of the people we spoke to complain that Comerica doesn’t have the intimacy that Tiger Stadium did but it is hard to find any ballpark built in the last 100 years that does. Some gripe that there are too many distractions, such as the merry-go-round or the Ferris wheel, but these are placed far from the concourse and do not distract from the game. However, these same people would complain about obstructed view seats or if a concourse was too narrow. Situated right downtown, it adds to the resurging city which has supported the longest one-town, one-name team in all of major league ball. (Fun fact: The Tigers were founded in 1894!) We truly enjoyed our visit to Comerica Park and while it may not exude the history that Tiger Stadium did, it’s a stadium worthy of a storied franchise.
Bonus Ballparks: If you find yourself in Detroit for a game you can check out two historic ballpark sites within a few miles. The former site of Tiger Stadium has been redeveloped into the Corner Ballpark. While the structure may be gone you can still see the field (now covered in a synthetic turf) where Tiger greats played for almost a century. Five miles away from Comerica Park is Historic Hamtramck Stadium, one of only five Negro League home ballparks still in existence. Both ballparks are definitely worth a visit.
Motor City Brewing Works
Brew Basics: A local hangout for more than 20 years, unconcerned with fads.
Like any major city (or really any city, suburb or dell) these days, Detroit had a plethora of breweries to pick from. After asking around, and avoiding the major ones, we settled on a lower key spot conveniently located near our Airbnb, and whose moniker was a nod to the Detroit’s glory days as the Motor City. This laid back bar opened in 1994 and still thrives mostly by being a local hangout, despite having a newer, (hipper) sour-focused brewery opening across the street.
A small building with a cement horseshoe bar facing in to a square kitchen decorated with stickers and surrounded by mosaic tiles that cover pretty much anything that isn’t a window. A beer fridge, shirts, growlers and dog treats are all available just to the left of this area. Motor City Brew Works also has a small secondary room with a few tables, and a few seats outside as well. Our chatty fellow bar patrons, and the wake n bake bartender who regularly espoused wisdom along the lines of “you have one life, live it” suited the local, hippy feel of the joint.
With the temperature outside up over 100° and the pizza oven going full bore, the little building with no a/c was ill equipped to deal with the heat. However, the people were friendly and the beers were worth the sweat. Here’s what we tried:
Summer Brew (6.7 ABV) – hazy, honey orange color that smells yeasty and wheaty with a sweet honey finish. Despite the slightly thicker (honey) mouth feel, this one will cool you off on a hot day.
Strawberry Rhubarb (7.5 ABV) – thick, pink grapefruit juice color but the smell and taste is all strawberry rhubarb. This radler-esque beer had a little bit of carbonation at the end but was just too sweet to make it drinkable.
Ghettoblaster (3.8 ABV) – Ghettoblaster is the Motor City flagship, and pours a sun-tea brown color. This English Mild Ale is promoted as “the beer you can hear” and represents “an ongoing documentation of the Detroit music scene”. A mostly biscuit beer, with caramel notes, this packs a lot of flavor without the abv punch.
Honey Porter (5.2%) – Creamy and malted with a nutty finish. There are some honey notes in the middle, but they are nowhere near as pronounced as with the Summer Brew, and also have a lot of other flavors to compete with in this ambrosial porter.
Corktown Stout (5.2%) – The Corktown is quite thin, just this side of watery, and always served on nitro. It has a dry, Irish roast flavor and has much more muted flavor than the ones before. Subtle, and probably a better one to start with, and drink slightly warmer.
Dank and Hazy DIPA (7.8) – In this summer of dank and hazies, this aptly named DIPA has a lower ABV than many in its class. Don’t let it fool you, as this is one of the best New England style IPAs we had anywhere in Michigan. It had golden grapefruit haze and consistency. The four hops that make up the character – American, Cascade, Citra and Mosaic – all blend but aren’t bitey. Juicy dankness for a sweaty, summer day.
470 W Canfield Street
Detroit, MI 48201