MEET THE EXPERT Chris Gervenak, lifelong Brewers fan and tailgate organizer
Say what you will about Miller Park’s (1 Brewers Way) retractable roof (real fans weather bad weather, a Chicago pal once told me)—it ensures the Milwaukee Brewers can always deliver. Even through the 45mph winds tormenting Milwaukee the Sunday afternoon I catch a Brewers/Pirates game with local Brew Crew superfan Chris Gervenak.
Gervenak, 25, is legendary among friends for re-creating the “bacon explosion” for tailgates: A viral recipe in 2009, it’s a weave of bacon wrapped around a sausage log filled with crumbled bacon. His more standard-issue snacks, on deck today, are Johnsonville brats, boiled the night before in a broth of beer, bacon and onions, and heated on the grill. We join a bevy of fans in their twenties in the Molitor Lot (Yount Dr and Story Pkwy), where I learn Milwaukee’s tailgate staples: forties of Miller High Life, cornhole and a game Gervenak calls “testicle toss”: throw two balls connected by a stretchy band, trying to get the contraption to wrap around a ladder rung. But the wind is miserable, so we head inside.
For only $8–$20 a ticket, the bleachers, set smack behind the outfield, offer a surprisingly good view. Bring a towel in case you’re in the Kalahari Splash Zone, where mascot Bernie Brewer douses fans with water after every home run.
The crowd roars as Brewers left-fielder Ryan Braun hits a triple. I’m more interested in tripling down on chorizo dogs, sold at almost every concession stand. But Gervenak insists I hit Third Base Bar, outside of section 129, to try the park’s latest offering: French-Canadian specialty poutine, a heart-stopping basket of fries and cheese curds doused in beef gravy. My final sausage fix comes during the sixth inning, when mascots in chorizo, hot-dog, bratwurst, Polish- and Italian-sausage costumes race around the bases. As I watch their goofy jogs (Italian for the win! And ultimately the Brewers, too, 9–6), I learn the Cubs game got called off due to “inclement weather.” Score one for the roof.