Eastwood Field Serves Up Big League Craft Beers
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By Jim Cyphert, Mahoning Valley Flight Crew
One thing every member of the Mahoning Valley Flight Crew has in common is a true love for craft beer. Another … a huge passion for sports.
More of us tend to lean toward the teams that wear black ’n gold. But we all were thrilled with the opportunity to spend some time at the home field of the Cleveland Indians’ Class A minor league affiliate, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, recently.
We’d heard the Scrappers stepped up their game this season with the addition of a few craft beers from Platform Brewing Co., Cleveland, and Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, Alaska, to name a few.
When Scrappers General Manager Jordan Taylor invited us to come out to enjoy a game, we were in our glory. When he said he’d like us to try the new craft beers, we were thrilled. But, when he said we could also throw out the first pitch, we felt like we just got called up to the big leagues!
Jason Jugenheimer, Joe Sanfilippo and Dave Shively got the nod as Flight Crew hurlers. While we can’t say each of them threw a strike, we can say that not one put a ball in the dirt. Nice job, guys!
Once it was game time, we settled into our suite behind home plate, and the beers began to arrive. Not a bad night at all!
Here are the beers the Mahoning Valley Flight Crew sampled and a few words about the one each member liked best:
Speed Merchant White IPA (6.6% ABV, 60 IBU)
“This is an IPA I first tried when it began to be distributed in Youngstown. I had it in a can and the temperature was cold outside. It was a good IPA at the time, but there are many others I preferred.
“Skip forward a few months, and I finally sampled it again. This time, I had it on draft during a ballgame in the dog days of summer. Wow! What a different beer. It poured a nice caramel color with a citrusy hop aroma. It had a slight malt taste that transformed into a slightly bitter hop taste that resonated on the palate afterwards.
“To me, this just seemed like a different experience than the first time I tried it. I enjoyed it immensely. Maybe you can get a second chance at a first impression.”
Alaskan Brewing Icy Bay IPA (6.2% ABV, 65 IBU)
“This IPA is made from glacier-fed water and a blend of five aromatic hops. It boasts an ABV of 6.2% while offering a generous 65 IBUs. It’s smooth going down and has a nice crisp aftertaste. Icy Bay is a real good beer for IPA fans.”
Alaskan Amber Ale (5.3% ABV, 18 IBU)
“Nothing screams summer like a cold beer at the ballpark. I enjoyed the Alaskan Amber Ale, brewed by Alaskan Brewing. To the casual fan, nothing could seem more polar opposite than baseball and Alaska. As both a fanatic of baseball and this brewery in particular, I’d beg to differ.
“The Alaskan Summer League attracts some of the finest college baseball players in America, to provide minor league level baseball to the NCAA’s finest. Many of major league’s baseball greats have competed in this league, which is showcased by a Midnight Game. This game is played entirely without any artificial light. That’s because during the summer solstice, it’s light outside in Alaska for 24 hours straight!
“This beer, as the name implies, pours out in a rich amber color. The flavor is somewhat nutty and malty, and also has a hops presence. Overall, this is a rich, clean, smooth and refreshing beer to be enjoyed all year long. And when served at the appropriate temperature ... it’s like having a glacier in a glass!”
Platform Walk Off Wit (4.9% ABV, 14 IBU)
“As the name suggests...it’s a walk off to your craft beer consumption. The wit has a very light yet citrusy pleasing flavor coming in with a 4.9% ABV and a 14 IBU. You can easily grab a six of this in the warm weather and be quite content.”
New Cleveland Palesner (5% ABV, 23 IBU)
“Platform’s New Cleveland Palesner was very refreshing on a nice hot evening of baseball. This pours a golden amber color. It’s a very smooth-drinking beer with a slight sweetness to it and a bit of hops at the end.”
Our counsel: The Mahoning Valley Flight Crew recommends getting out to the ballpark as the dog days of summer are whisked away. Be sure to take in a craft beer or two while you take in a game.