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Don’t freak out about the Nationals’ $16 craft draft beer

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At Monday’s media tour, the Nationals announced they will introduce 24- and 25-ounce large-format beer options throughout Nationals Park for the first time this season, but they didn’t offer much in the way of pricing information.

A tweeted photo of a concession stand advertising craft draft beer for $16 during Tuesday’s exhibition game at Nationals Park led to multiple blog posts about how the Nationals are charging $16 for craft beer this season. “The Nationals’ new beer prices could pay for Bryce Harper’s contract themselves,” read Big League Stew’s headline, which wouldn’t be the worst thing for fans who hope Harper remains in D.C.

Over the past few days, I’ve received a number of questions from thirsty fans about the beer options — and prices — at Nationals Park, including an email from someone who was concerned the Nationals are now charging $16 for 16-ounce beers. (They’re not.)  I’ve done my best to answer those questions below.

Wait, are the Nationals really charging $16 for beer this season?

Well, yeah. A 24-ounce draft beer at District Draft stands, which offer a rotating selection of craft beers from breweries in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, will cost $16. The 24-ounce size wasn’t offered last season. In addition, Blue Point Toasted Lager will cost $16 for both 24-ounce draft and 25-ounce can options.

What’s the cost of other 25-ounce cans?

Twenty-five-ounce cans of domestic macro beers, including Bud and Bud Light, will run you $12. Twenty-five-ounce cans of “premium” beers will cost $15.

Will 16-ounce drafts and cans still be sold?

Yes, 16-ounce beers will be available at multiple locations inside the park, according to a Nationals spokeswoman. In fact, 16-ounce cans will be $9 this season, which the Nationals say is 50 cents cheaper than last year. Basic math reveals the 25-ounce can (.48/ounce) is a better deal than the 16-ounce can (.56/ounce).

Yeah, but won’t a 25-ounce beer get warm before I finish it? Gross.

I dunno. How fast do you drink? Are your seats in the sun? If you’re worried about drinking warm beer, which is a perfectly valid concern, you have at least four options: bring a koozie from home; purchase a large format can koozie at Nationals Park, which will be available at stands and from vendors for $1; buy the 16-ounce size; or don’t buy beer.

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What size cans will my favorite beer man or woman carry?

“A variety of sizes,” which presumably means both 16- and 25-ounce cans will be available from vendors in the stands.

What else can you tell me about District Drafts?

This year’s lineup of breweries hasn’t been announced, but the “guest tap series,” which features offerings from smaller breweries that aren’t a part of the regular rotation, is back for 2018. In addition to the 24-ounce option, 16-ounce draft beers will be available for $12 at the eight District Draft stands throughout the park.

Is the pregame happy hour special at the Budweiser Terrace back? 

Yes. From the time the gates open up until 30 minutes before first pitch, 16-ounce Bud and Bud Lights will be available for $5.

Is Miller Lite still available on draft? 

Yes, but only at a few stands, including Haute Dogs and See You Tater in the left field plaza.

What’s the takeaway?

Ballpark prices have been ridiculous for years. You’re better off eating and drinking outside the park or bringing your own food. For those who like to enjoy a cold one at the park, the Nationals are offering beers in larger sizes this season, which will cost as much as $16. The team will still offer 16-ounce beers, with Bud and Bud Light available in those sizes for $9. Drink responsibly.

This post has been updated.

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