Cleveland, OH (Progressive Field and Masthead Brewing Company)

Progressive Field

Team: Cleveland Guardians

Affiliate: N/A

Ballpark Basics: A classic ballpark that has seen lots of change.

Key Stats:

Parking: In a highly walkable part of downtown, also has multiple pay lots of varying price around the ballpark. 

Seats in Shade: Behind Home Plate – Shaded during afternoon and evening games; 3rd Base Line – Receives shade in the late afternoon and evening; 500-level: Shaded in seats covered by the roof

Progressive Field has seen its fair share of changes. Originally opened in 1994 as Jacobs Field, the stadium has not only seen the name of the ballpark change, but also the name of the team that plays there. After 106 years playing as the Cleveland Indians (1915-2021), the team started 2022 as The Guardians. The new team name came from the Guardians of Traffic, 43-foot-tall art deco statues located on the Hope Memorial Bridge. They are visible from the upper deck concourse behind home plate.

Opening at the beginning of the retro-ballpark craze, Progressive Field does a great job of incorporating classic aspects of a downtown ballpark without seeming formulaic. The concourse is open to the field so you won’t miss the action while you get up for food or a drink. However, there are some points where it can get a bit cramped during more crowded games. The concourse opens up in the outfield with plenty of room to walk around and still see the game (although without any shade). The ballpark went through numerous renovations before the 2024 season including a new group area, the Pennant District, in the upper deck of right field and the Terrace Garden, a new beer garden in the upper deck in left field. 

Given the amount of change that has happened the team also does a great job of showcasing its history, starting with the statues of former Cleveland greats that greet you at the entrance. Once inside, the concourses are lined with photos of former players and moments in team history, and retired numbers and pennants ring the upper deck. Head over to the center field area to check out Heritage Park, an area dedicated to the history and past highlights of the team. Here you’ll also find a veritable ring of honor, with statues dedicated to former players who have since been inducted into Cooperstown.

Best Spot for Beer: The Guardians do an amazing job highlighting local and craft beers. There are multiple stand alone carts dedicated to local brews (Fat Heads, Brew Kettle, Butcher and the Brewer just to name a few). Great Lakes Brewing Company is the official craft beer partner and they have a beer garden down the third base side. If you are looking for variety your best option is The Hop Shop down the first base side. Here you will find options from multiple options from all of the above.  

Beer is not the only local aspect of the ballpark. Many local food vendors can be found throughout the concourse including Melt, Happy Dog, and Ohio City Burrito. It is great so see a team incorporate so much local fare (food and beverage) into their ballpark offerings. It gives people traveling to games more options than just hots dogs and popcorn and gives some insight into the local flavor.

Progressive Field (The Jake) opened right after Camden Yards and the retro-ballpark craze. It could have easily just copied many of these aspects and gotten lost among the new version of a cookie-cutter stadium. Thankfully the Guardians put their own print on it. With the recent renovations it looks like the team continues to transform the park to keep it one of the best in the majors.   

Masthead Brewing

Rating: Triple

Basic: Right downtown and within a mile of the ballpark, making this a great pre-game spot.

Key Stats:

Dogs: dog friendly patio

Good for Groups: absolutely

Food: Full menu with a focus on woodfired pizza and shareables.

Masthead is large, wide open and easy going. The look is stainless steel and aluminum, from the visible tanks, to the bar back and tap handles and the wall of unlabeled beer cans that divides the dining and bar areas from the brew works. As they instruct, just “grab a menu and a seat and head to the bar when ready”. Inside and out, there are lots of seating options to choose from including many massive wood tables to accommodate you and 20 of your closest friends. 

The building itself is mostly exposed brick, with garage bay doors that would open up the entire front, but on the gorgeous 80° day we were there, they stayed closed. Inside, there is exposed brick and reclaimed barn wood. Combined with concrete and tile floors, exposed ductwork and high ceilings, all serve to give the vibe of a classic downtown bank or office. The area is spacious and wide open, with two marked entrances to the painted stone gray bar. There’s a large wood fired oven as well, and while they employ the team serving method, just as you seat yourself, you also pick up your own food in the kitchen which is toward the back.

Beer Breakdown:

Flights of four beers are an option, and they have a full cocktail menu in case someone in your group is looking for alternatives. We had time for a pizza (worth it), a few beers in house, and took some home with us as well. We had:

Masthead Paradise (6.8% ABV) – Very visible carbonation on a bright, summery yellow beer with white head and lacing. Traditional single IPA style but with grapefruit which is most notable toward the end as the beer finishes with a hop bite and grapefruit tang. Bright and juicy but with a full hop bouquet.

Witness Me (8% ABV) – This double IPA is dry with a punch of hops that hit mid sip and stay with you after. Golden yellow with lots of white lacing that hangs around and a slightly sweet, hoppy aroma. The taste is somewhat thin but the hops build as you drink and drier and drier, getting slightly bready by the end.  

Colony Collapse (9.6% ABV) – A double dry hopped New England Triple IPA. Smells fruity and of strong hops. Taste at first is very hazy but 3x hops means it quickly becomes chewy. Dank orangey gold color that looks thick in the glass. Juicy tropic front ends in honeyed sweetness that blends with the hop backbone throughout.

Drifting Everywhere (8%) A sour IPA built with Citra, Mosaic and Idaho 7. Another bright but light yellow color with visible carbonation. The smell is the lightest of those listed so far, just kind of fruit and floral without any one note speaking loudest. Taste is light but builds and is a little more sour each sip, but it dissipates quickly and ends with a bit of an apple juice finish. 

Masthead Brewing Co. 

1261 Superior Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44114