Team: North Shore Navigators
Ballpark Basic: A current take on a WPA park.
Located just 14 miles away from Fenway Park, Fraser Field seems a world away. Built in 1940 as a WPA project the ballpark has seen its share of minor league ball throughout the years.. The North Shore Navigators of the Futures League currently call Fraser Field home.
You feel as if you are entering a spaceship when you enter the concourse from the street with its curved entrances. The arched theme continues in the covered concourse that sits above the seating bowl. The cantilevered roof gives this ballpark its most distinctive feature as it extends over the top portion of the seating bowl. It has an almost modern feel for a facility that was built over 75 years ago.
The seating bowl wraps around from first base to third base with a mix of seats with seat backs closer to the action and bleacher seating towards the top.The night of our visit there was an enthusiastic (if small) fan base scattered throughout the park. The ballpark is starting to show its age since its last renovation in 2003 but all it really needs is a fresh coat of paint.
BEST SPOT FOR BEER: We weren’t expecting much when we showed up. Many of the collegiate leagues offer small concession areas with the bare minimum. While the concession area at Fraser Field was not large it did offer a decent selection of craft(ish) options. Located on the concourse directly behind home plate there were selections from Goose Island and Blue Point. However, the best option was a cooler full of Bent Water Brewing.
Summer collegiate leagues have become some of our favorite places to catch a game and Fraser Field did nothing but reinforce that. It gives us an opportunity to see ballparks whose best days are probably behind them but are still worthy of catching a game. With avid fans and a focus on the play on the field it also reminds you of what makes this game so great.
Bent Water Brewing
Brew Basics: an up and comer who is making their mark with unique twists and bright design
At the time we visited, Bent Water had no distributor, had opened the building in February 2016, and had their official grand opening at the end of May that year, but you wouldn’t know it. We were there in the middle of a Wednesday and they had a steady stream of patrons. The bartenders and owner were very friendly and made us feel welcome.
There is a black bar and seats with chair backs. Edison bulbs suspended from wood window planter boxes suspended above the bar provide light along with a salvaged Neon sign from the Tic Tac Lounge. Though small, Bent water has lots of events along with their beers, tap takeovers, yoga sessions and even something they call Flowers and Flights. Local bands play regularly, and a local artist, Mike Shaughnessy had done the art on the walls, which like their labels and cans are brightly patterned and fun. They’ve also expanded into the parking lot, so weather permitting you can grab a game of cornhole.
Bent Water’s tasting room/brewing location houses roughly 13 30-45 BBL tanks, so they’re consistently putting out new things, and, like the name implies, always looking for a twist on the traditional. Some of our favorite options that we had just missed were the Blood Orange Acid beer and Cosmic Charlie Blackberry. They had 12 on tap, and since we couldn’t try them all, we tried to pick the most varied options:
Franklin Old Ale (6.1%) At first blush, this iced tea colored ale gives off notes of molasses, corn, hops and oats, and tastes peppery and of carmel with a toasty finish. When warmed, a liquor profile becomes more pronounced and the aroma takes on a brandy smell.
Hazard Pale Ale (5.7%) Named after a favorite Belgian soccer player, Hazard is a blend of Galaxy and Citra hops. Very floral with fruity highlights. This pale but still yellow Belgian Pale Ale was floral and fruity in both aroma and finish, and had wheaty notes becoming more pronounced toward the end.
Sluice Juice #4 (5.5) What’s Massachusetts without a juice bomb IPA? Their Sluice Juice styles are born in the traditional New England IPA style. Though the malts tend to stay the same for each iteration, the yeast and other properties may change to develop different character profiles. For example SJ#6 was dry hopped, this one was not. They brew these as almost test market batches, and consider canning the most popular versions. This was the only one “left” when we were there, but we enjoyed the interesting caramel and orange palate.
X-Series No. 15 A special brew for Valentine’s day that they happened to have found and were willing to share. This one off batch had lots of chocolate malts, and was lactose sweet with a dark, chocolate middle and a milk finish. A dark black colored beer, with Irish cream like tan head and coffee and chocolate aroma.
180 Commercial Street
Lynn, MA 01905