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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

American Family Field - Milwaukee Brewers



Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29

American Family Field One Brewers Way Milwaukee, WI 53214


Year Opened: 2001

Capacity: 41,900

 

Baseball, Beer, & Brats at the Brewers Game

American Family Field is the home field of the Milwaukee Brewers. Originally known as Miller Park when it opened in 2001, the ballpark is known for its tailgating before the game, its ballpark food of Wisconsin treats, and strong fan support. It houses a fan-shaped retractable roof that opens or closes in 10 minutes. 


The ballpark received $500,000 worth of public funds to renovate the stadium. It resulted in a 12,077 square feet video board in center field, a 2,840 square foot board in right field, LED displays, and the creation of the 3rd Street Market Hall with 4 new restaurants in the right field loge level.


Before moving into American Family Field, the Brew Crew called County Stadium home from 1970-2000. The ballpark is gone, but the field is now the site of a Little League baseball park, Helfaer Field. It is located near the AAF and it provides the opportunity for kids to run on the field before a Brewers game.


The renovations will guarantee the Brewers will stay in town until 2050 (the club’s 80th anniversary since moving from Seattle) and enhance what many considered a ballpark to visit during the season. 




Food & Beverage 5


American Family Field was named the second-best MLB stadium for food by USA Today's 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. This year includes the addition of four new eateries that are located in the 3rd Street Market Hall Annex in the right field loge level and include the following establishments:


  • Kompali Tacos: Steak tacos, Chicken tacos, Vegetarian Tacos, and Chips and Guacamole.

  • Smokin’ Jack’s BBQ: Texan Sandwich, Pork Shoulder Sandwich, The Smokey Bird Sandwich, and Smoked Meat Nachos.

  • KAWA (Asian fusion): Crab Rangoon (3 pieces), Spring Roll (4 pieces), Godzilla Roll, and Chicken Fried Rice.

  • Anytime Arepa (Venezuelan): Brisket and Cheddar Arepa, Chicken and Cheddar Arepa, Black Bean and Cheddar Arepa, Mini Empanadas (3-piece basket – Chicken, Ground Beef, and Cheese) and Tostones and Mild Salsa. 


The J. Leinenkugel's Barrel Yard (Loge area in right field) is a restaurant and experience overlooking the field. It features a three-barrel brewing system and brewmaster. The restaurant is opened all-year-round and offers a full menu of steak dishes, chicken wings, Wisconsin cheese boards, cheese soup, and a Wurst platter. Fans enjoy a patio view of the game on the concourse with a wait staff.


However, more options specialize in Wisconsin favorites of sausages, burgers, brats, hot dogs, and sausages. A few highlights include the peppered brandy burger with melted Swiss cheese, bacon, and caramelized brandy onions; the Tipsy Polish with caramelized brandy onions, fries, pickled peppers, and Bavarian sprinkles; and the Top of the North hot dog with kraut, jalapeno mayonnaise, bacon, brown mustard, and Super Secret Stadium sauce.


The options do not end here; the concession stands serve pizza slices, chicken parmesan sandwiches, giant helmet nachos, Vienna beef hot dogs, chicken tender baskets with fries, and fried cheese curds.


The highlight of the beer selection includes the Local Brews bar, located on the lower level near section 207. It serves 24 beers from numerous Wisconsin breweries, including Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewery, Ninja Dust from One Barrel Brewing Company, and GumbSkull Sea Salt & Lime Lager from PetSkull Brewing Company.


Atmosphere 5


Everything begins about 3 hours before the game in the ballpark parking lots. The birth of tailgating was born here when the Braves came to town from Boston, and the tradition continues today with multiple tables, tents, and grills serving up some of the best foods in the major leagues.


The stadium is separated into four different levels. Fans enter through the field level (100), and the wrap-around concourse houses an abundance of food and merchandise options. There are also island bars allowing fans to enjoy the game from all four sides of the structure. There are also open views from many parts of the concourse, allowing fans not to miss the action on the diamond.


The Loge level (200) is where you will find a few interesting sections that enhance the game day experience. As mentioned earlier, the 3rd Street Market Hall Annex was recently added. The Miller Lite Landing offers sweeping views of the field from above the left-field wall. The area also has a wait staff, drink rails, charging stations, and TV sets. When the roof is open, the view is ideal for pictures from this vantage point.


The 300 level is where you will find club-level suites with a wait staff. A few more suite and all-inclusive areas include the Vizzy Loft, Johnsonville Party Deck, and the Association Bank Power Alley. X-Golf is located on the Loge level and features seven state-of-the-art indoor golf simulator bays over two floors – with three bays that offer expansive views of the playing field. Reservations are required. The Terrace level (400) offers some of the better views of the entire stadium. 


The ballpark is known for several unique features: Famous Racing Sausages, Bernie’s Chalet, and the Bob Uecker seats in the last row of the stadium in the 400 level. The sausages race between the 6 inning, and featured five different sausage and mini sausage mascots racing from the left field corner to the first baseline. The team’s mascot, Bernie Brewer, will slide down from his chalet after every Brewer home run.


The Aurora Health Care® Kids Zone is a special kids' interactive playground located on the Terrace Level behind home plate. The area offers slides, areas to test kid’s speed, pitching, and face painting. Fans can also look around the walls of the ballpark to see team logos, sayings, and murals honoring the Brewers history in the town.


Neighborhood 3


American Family Field is 4.3 miles from downtown Milwaukee. It should not be surprising since it was built next to the team’s former home County Stadium. When County Stadium opened in 1953, it was designed with the motorist in mind and was the first major league ballpark constructed outside the city limits. It is best to drive to the game and visit downtown Milwaukee afterward.


The Milwaukee Riverwalk is worth a visit on a warm summer day and is accessible to the Milwaukee Public Market which is located in the Historic Third Ward where cobblestone streets line up next to restaurants, shops, and bars. The city is home to the Harley-Davidson Museum and a few brewery tours that include Miller, Lakefront, and Specher.


If craving more baseball, the Milwaukee Milkmen and Lake Country Dockhounds of the American Association play 15 and 30 minutes respectively from the stadium. Still, the Lakeshore Chinooks of the Northwoods League play less than 20 minutes north along the shoreline at Kapco Park.


Fans 5


The Brewers are known for having some of the best fans in the major leagues. The club averages well above 15 other major league teams, and fans are decked in team gear from the powder blue shirts of the 1980s to the current navy blue jerseys. They support their ball club regardless of record on the field.


Access 4


Being set outside of downtown, the ballpark is easy to access with multiple lots to choose from before the game. There are 8 preferred parking lots and 3 larger general parking lots that are a little further walk. Once inside, the main concourse is the hub of activities with escalators and elevators available to take you to your proper section.


The Molitor Lot is the furthest parking lot but provides the quickest access to I-94. Several restaurants offer shuttle service from downtown Milwaukee, including Brewski's Sports Club, Paulie's Pup & Eatery, Jack's American Pub, and Who's on Third.


Return on Investment 4


Brewers tickets are among the cheapest tickets in the major leagues. Based on the website TickPick, tickets are as low as $5 during the week and as high as $20 during the weekend or giveaway nights. If the Chicago Cubs are in town, the price will be higher, and it's advised to purchase parking passes in advance for a steep discount. General parking Monday through Friday is $13, compared to $15. A preferred parking ticket for a weekend game will cost $20, compared to $40.


The Brewers concession prices are in line with many major league ballparks. They are a tad on the high side; however, “The 414 Menu” offers four items a la carte for just $4 each – a junior hot dog, junior nachos, Cracker Jack, and 16 oz. soda is ideal for folks with little kids or on a budget.


Extras 4


First, tailgating is among the best in baseball and is a tradition. Take time to arrive early to check out the scene or bring something to eat or drink. The Famous Sausage Race is a must-see at the game and among the team’s favorite traditions, along with Bernie Brewer sliding down his chalet after every Brewers home run. Another extra is when the roof is open, the best part of the ballpark might be the Miller Lite Landing, offering sweeping views of the field from above the left-field wall.


Final Thoughts


American Family Field is one of those major league ballparks that might not stand out to most, but after a visit, you might want to reconsider. It is known for its tailgating, loyal fans, great food, and racing sausages. Also, ticket prices are among the least expensive in the league, making it affordable for anyone looking to enjoy a game at a major league ballpark during the season.


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Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com 




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