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Camden Yards should up its craft beer game

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There are good beers to be had at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but they can be hard to track down. The Orioles should spread the love around the park.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

A couple years ago, I covered Camden Yards' beer selection, and I was fairly happy with it.  A recent roundup of MLB stadium beer selections confirmed that Orioles fans have it pretty good in the craft beer department (although I've never seen a few of those beers in my extensive beer-related meandering around the park).  There are still a lot of parks in MLB where you can barely find an ale among the fizzy yellow lagers, and if you do it's probably Goose Island or something equally mediocre.  So please know that this is all from a place of love.

But nonetheless, I have complaints!  The Orioles have improved their beer selection at Camden Yards, but what's still lacking is craft beer availability.  Because, you see, there are more than enough good beers to be had at the park, but there are only a handful of places to get them.

There are basically five places to snag good beer at Camden Yards.  Two of them (Dempsey's and the centerfield rooftop bar) are nowhere near the seating bowl.  Another two (the Flying Dog stand and Free State Pub) are very close to one another on the lower-level concourse.  The last option is a couple of craft-beer carts on the upper deck.  These last three options are clustered fairly close to the center of the two decks.

What this means, is that if you're a fan at Camden Yards who wants to get a craft beer during the game, and you're not sitting somewhere pretty close to home plate, you're in for a walk -- and no matter where you're sitting, you're in for a line if the stadium is above 50% capacity, because these few options for a craft beer are always hopping, and like any Orioles concession, they're not quick.

So the Orioles should expand the availability of the beers they already have in the park.  They don't even need more beers; they just need them in more places.  If a fan goes to get some standard ballpark fare at a food stand in the park, that stand should have at least one craft offering, whether on draft or in cans.  Instead of a long walk for a beer and a second line for food, a craft beer drinker should be able to knock out both at once, even if the beer choice is just a basic pale ale.

And the roving vendors in the stands need to carry some craft choice.  I've never seen a vendor at Camden Yards carry anything more flavorful than the offensive Shock Top; this is ridiculous when Flying Dog offers its Snake Dog IPA and Easy IPA (session beer) in 16-ounce cans.  When the new cans rolled out, Flying Dog told me the vendors would carry them.  Whether due to some kind of Anheuser/Miller exclusivity agreement or a simple lack of awareness of fan demands, they don't.

So, bottom line -- hey Orioles, you're doing OK at making some craft beer selections available for your fans.  Just put those selections in a few more places, so they're less of a headache to obtain.  Or:  Shut up and take my beer money!