Edwin Donald Snider, known better by his nickname ‘Duke’ Snider, was an 8-time MLB all-star center fielder who played all but two years of his 17 year career with the Brooklyn, later Los Angeles Dodgers. The ‘Duke of Flatbush’ scored 407 lifetime home runs and helped the Dodgers win two World Series, in 1955 and 1959.
During spring training, the Duke certainly spent some time in Vero Beach. Close to that city’s airport is a former Naval housing base turned sports center known as Dodger Town when it opened in 1953. While the Dodgers officially moved spring training operations to Arizona in 2008, the facility fell into disuse. It has recently reopened as Historic Dodgertown, retaining its sports-oriented operation for a mix of local and national teams.
Firmly in Historic Dodgertown is the formal Navy warehouse home to Walking Tree Brewery. Their major contibution to keeping this aspect of Vero Beach alive is their darkest core beer, Duke Snider’s Imperial Stout (Imperial Stout, 10% ABV, 68 IBU).
Beer drinkers should fear this beer the same way baseballs would fear the Duke coming up to bat. It is big and it is thick. Massively chewy and bursting with notes of cocoa, coffee, and heavy roasted malt.
Light does not pass through this beer, something that makes me happy. It’s always nice to see a beer that is as opaque as it is bold, with an aroma of molasses and coffee that wakes up the senses as the 10% ABV dulls them back down. There’s a healthy dose of earthy hops in there just for good measure.
Snider was admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980 and passed away in California in 2011. There are plenty of homages to the Duke around, including the retiring of his number 4 by the Dodgers. Walking Tree’s Imperial stout is a good deal more delicious, though.
Hail to the Duke.
Drink Florida Craft,