Team: Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Affiliate: N/A (MLB Draft League)
Ballpark Basics: A no-frills ballpark that was a casualty to the MiLB realignment.
Eastwood Field sits on the edge of the Eastwood Mall complex in Niles, Ohio, a suburb of Youngstown. It is billed as the “largest retail shopping complex between Cleveland and Pittsburgh” and thus surrounded by a sea of parking lots. However, the Scrappers charge $3 per car to park for games at Eastwood Field. How do they implement this? They have set up a chain link fence around a section of the parking lot and charge a $3 walk up fee PER PERSON complete with a turnstile and security guard!
The main entrance brings you in right behind home plate. A small team store is located to the left and a small beer stand to the right. The main concourse sits behind the seating bowl and has multiple concession stands with a couple of specialty food carts. The team takes their Scrappers mascot to the next level and offer an order of french fries in a dog bowl.
The seating bowl is divided up into two sections. The lower section only has seven rows and seats with seat backs. The upper section behind home plate also has seat backs while there is bleacher seating down the third base line and a patio section with picnic tables down the first base side. Suites and the press box sit above the seating bowl and offer and air conditioned option for groups.
Best Spot for Beer: There are multiple beer carts throughout the ballpark (behind home plate, down third base and first base) as well as concession stands that have the same four to five beers (with Penguin City being one of them). On our visit they even had the wildly famous Beer Bat at one of their concession stands. In the right field corner you will find the Penguin City Beer Co. Bullpen Bar and Grill. Here you will find the Scrapper’s own beer produced by Penguin City as well as the team’s signature wine.
The Scrappers were one of the many teams that lost its affiliation with the reorganization of the minor leagues in 2020. Now playing in the MLB Draft League the team is no longer affiliated with a parent club but they are now the “Official Community Ally” of the Cleveland Guardians. With the upgrades that would be needed to stay affiliated, it is easy to see why Eastwood Field did not make the cut. However, it is a nice stop to catch a game if you are in the area catching a Pirates or Guardians game.
Rating: Grand Slam!
Basics: A brewery that’s looking to reignite a whole town.
When we visited, Penguin City Beer was enjoying their first summer in existence, in fact, when we stopped by on a Tuesday and asked when they’d opened, the answer was “Friday”. But you wouldn’t know it. This family-owned business has got their stuff together, every aspect covered, and big, big plans.
Located in a big black warehouse that was once home to Republic Steel and a drywall company, Penguin City has totally transformed the space, with more to come. The vibe is just fun and casual, no craft stuffiness here. Big open spaces with garage bay doors to let in the outside on nice days, and accent neon to up the party vibe in a variety of color options. There’s room for live music or a DJ, cornhole, and long group picnic benches. They’ve got ads on the tabletops for local businesses, and a “Stay Golden Youngstown” neon for all of your social media photo shoot needs.
Mindful of the environment as well, their spent grain goes to a Waygu beef farm in Slippery Rock, NC, and they’ve got a recycling program setup, tallying each account that returns their plastics and awarding swag to the most active recyclers. Most interesting to us, the area has been removing the dams around the nearby Crab Creek tributary of the Mahoning River, which means the current low-lying dry rock bed out back of the warehouse should soon flood. Not only will this vastly improve the view for the future beer garden, but Penguin City Beer is fully embracing the returning water by planning a dock to allow water access for kayakers and the like.
The building is now also home to Dope Cidery and Winery, which is the first African-American, female owned brewery in Ohio, and there is space for a restaurant as well. This should give you an indication of A) their big plans for the space and B) how they’re trying to be something for everyone. Their event room is being built out with a mind to flexible spaces and customization, and will house a wide variety of events, in fact they’ve already got everything from wedding receptions and Oktoberfest events to Art exhibitions and wrestling matches on the books.
Youngstown is also home to Youngstown State University, and though most college students aren’t technically of drinking age, Penguin City Beer is looking to be a place for them as well. From repurposed lockers that will be their own version of a “mug club” as a place to leave a hoodie, and maybe a couple of textbooks or chargers, to a robust mocktail and even plans for a study lounge.
They just started brewing June 10th, 2022 so on our trip, some of the 12 taps were guest taps, but as they build out their offerings, more and more Penguin City concoctions including seltzer, have become available on draught. On our visit, the engaging and helpful staff (shout out to Shelby) – who weren’t even open and hadn’t been given a head’s up that we were coming by – were superb hosts answering all our questions, giving us the ten-cent tour and allowing us to try four, fresh off the line beers, but you can also find Penguin City on tap and to go:
Penguin City Golden Ale 5.4% ABV – Penguin City’s flagship ale, is a truly golden beer that smells malty and slightly bready. Built on a backbone with dry Saaz hops that ends slightly sweet. Light to moderate carbonation that’s crisp, clean with a light bready aftertaste. Easy to drink but flavorful, this classic taste is a good place for traditional beer drinkers looking to dip their toes into the craft beer pool.
Penguin City Light 4.1% ABV – This standard lager is a solid entry into the light beer category. Similar to the Golden, the main notes are bready and sweet. It really carries almost as much flavor as their flagship, but is just a shade lighter in both color and palate. For you Youngstown State Fans, keep an eye out for the special edition YSU cans for that next level tailgate.
Lanternman Dark Lager 6.5% ABV – The official beer of the 2022 Youngstown Marathon, we were excited that we didn’t have to put in the miles before trying this one that was right up our alley. This dark lager pours a deep, chocolate brown color. It smells roasted with coffee notes and the palate backs up the aroma with a malted, roasty body. Not overly heavy it’s a perfect darker and robust option when you’re not looking for something weighty, or maybe after you’ve just finished a run?
Penguin City Winter Warmer 6.5% ABV – A russet, slightly ruby-jewel toned beer with long lasting white lacing. Clove is prominent throughout with currant and raisin notes in the middle, and a dry, crackery finish to close this one out. While the winter spice is present, all the flavors blend so that none overpower the rest, resulting in a well-balanced beer.
460 E Federal Street
Youngstown, OH 44503