Team: Lake County Captains
Affiliate: Cleveland Guardians (High A)
Ballpark Basics: A community focused ballpark
Located just 15 minutes from their parent club, Classic Park is a great place for Cleveland Guardians fans to see their young talent before they get to the majors (or for rehab assignments). It is such an easy commute that we were lucky enough to stay in downtown Cleveland and just drive out for the Captains game. Unfortunately that is where our luck ran out and our game was rained out. But not before we were able to tour the facility to get a feel for the place.
Located in the suburbs of Cleveland, Classic Park is actually surrounded by a number of businesses. Many of the businesses are industrial but there are also a number of local restaurants nearby to grab a bite before the game. Many of the shopping mall lots warn you that parking for the ballgame is prohibited, but there is season ticket and VIP parking next to the ballpark. The main parking lot is located across Highway 91 and is connected by a walking bridge.
On our visit the concourse was lined with tables highlighting multiple local organizations from community colleges to military recruiters and charitable organizations. Apparently this is a focus for the team and organizations are able to rent out the ballpark and even the field for fundraisers or corporate events.
The Lake County Captains take their nautical theme very seriously. Throughout the ballpark you will notice nods to the maritime concept: There is lighthouse behind the centerfield wall, the Cargo Hold (Team Store), Castaways Bar in the left field corner and restrooms are aptly named the Poop Deck.
Best Spot for Beer:
The aforementioned Castaways Bar is sponsored by Corona and you will find a number of macros here sprinkled in with some local and craft options. Each concession stand had at least one local option but behind home plate you will find the DraftServ machines. For our visit all 8 self-serve taps had local options on tap.
While we were not able to actually take in a game during our visit we still enjoyed our stop at Classic Park. Even without a game being played it was easy to see that community is important to the team and that the team is important to the community.
Pulpo Beer Company
Rating – All Star Game
Brew Breakdown – This Latina led brewery just hits.
Surrounded by bright colors, string lights and neon, including one that says “You are like, so pretty”, Pulpo gives off a fun, vibrant vibe the minute you step in the door. Tables are bright yellow, pink octopi are the tap handles and the main wall decor is graffiti art and Day of the Dead murals. Floor to ceiling windows, basket weave light fixtures and stacks of plants in colorful pots add to the light and verdant feel of this loft building with open duct work.
Pulpo is latina the first Latina led and owned brewery in Ohio and remains a family-run business. If you count the octopus (pulpo is Spanish for octopus) logo itself has 6 tentacles, which we were told represent the six female members of the owner’s family. While women are the face and behind the scenes at Pulpo, they are supported by an excellent staff, regardless of gender identity. Our server was enthusiastic and attentive and encouraged us to get up and explore the massive 2 story building, which includes a rooftop deck and second, more high-end restaurant, Barroco whose focus is Arepas and cocktails. He also gave us tips and pointers for both Pulpo menu; the cornerstone of which was tacos, and helped us navigate the beer selections. There were many, and we were game to try a bunch.
Blonde Mamacita (4.7 ABV) – One of the two beers that helped start it all, the Blonde Mamacita drops a ton of flavor, so don’t let the style fool you. This pale yet still golden beer presents with a sweet aroma and sweeter palate, but ends sparkly and a bit dry. Malts come out a bit in the middle as it warms adding a lightly bready note.
El Capoccino (6% ABV) – Brewed with fair trade coffee from a local roaster and Mexican vanilla beans, this orangey-brown beer smells like coffee ice cream. It’s a thinner beer in the coffee-blonde style so you don’t get a milkshake feel. Really this is a light, easy to drink beer with a punch of coffee upfront and a sweet vanilla finish.
Mangocita (6% ABV) – This Saison with mango is actually built on the Blonde Mamacita backbone, but with French saison yeast added to the recipe. Mangocita pours deep orangey-gold, with a ring of head and was the only one we tried that kept the ring of lacing due to the higher effervescence. Though the saison spices become more prominent as it sets, the finish is always a sweet candy. It was like drinking a mango, which might be a lot if you’re drinking several in a row, but it’s perfect to cut the spice of some hot salsa.
Medusa (5% ABV) – Hazy and yellow, Medusa smells floral with hints of pine and citrus. Dry to start, citrus fruits (lemon, lime and grapefruit) appear mid-sip and it ends with a bite. Medium-high carbonation.
Si, Si IPA (7.3% ABV) – Another orange-gold beer similar in color to apple cider. This was the fifth beer in our tasting and Jim’s first thought was “they haven’t missed yet”. Stronger hop bite and resin tones in the Si, Si make it kind of a west coast version of a hazy, where the hops are still pronounced in a juicy beer.
Pulpo Gigante (10% ABV) – 5 pounds of hops per barrel help this rusty, iced-tea colored beer feel every bit of the 10% that it is. Gigante is a juicy but thoroughly hopped beer with oat, pine and melon notes. It finishes spicy, peppery and boozy.
Pulpo Libre (5.4% ABV) – Last but not least, Pulpo Libre – our server’s favorite. Easy drinking and like the Blonde, solid flavor in a traditionally lighter beer style. Pulpo Libre is very pale while still being yellow hued. It gives off a faintly yeasty smell but the palate itself is full flavored with a crisp lager and slightly bready finish.
3941 Erie Street
Willoughby, OH 44094