- Aaron S. Terry
Beer Snake returns to Audi Field
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
One of the more unique traditions in sports, and of course it would have to be part of MLS soccer, is the “Beer Snake” at Audi Field, home of D. C. United. During the match, fans in the supporters end zone will create a weaving, winding ‘stack’ of empty plastic beer cups – starting in the first row, the ‘snake’ will eventually be built up enough to reach the top of the section. The tradition is even continued by XFL fans, whose DC Defenders share the stadium with D. C. United in February through April.
Throughout the latter half of the game, fans can watch as the Beer Snake is painstakingly constructed – empty cups are tossed toward the snake, and fans will collect them into short stacks, and then pass those stacks along to be incorporated into the main snake. Fans can watch as the snake gets longer and longer, adding more and more curves as the number of cups multiplies, eventually winding its way to the very top. And if you are lucky, at that point you may see the start of a second snake, once the first snake reaches the supporter end zone’s apex.
While unique, however, the tradition is not without controversy – the tradition was apparently suspended in 2022, as there were several complaints from fans about their rowdier comrades spilling beer all over them in their cup-tossing exuberance; a few fans were even captured on video throwing full and half-full cups of beer in their zest to increase the snake’s length. But in 2023, lighthearted heads prevailed, and the Beer Snake construction crew is now back in business, albeit including additional stern warnings from stadium staff about beer-throwing and its consequences. Now if you make the trek to our nation’s capital, you can see the Beer Snake once again, and even help build it if you are sitting on that end, in all its serpentine glory.