If there is one thing I am qualified to teach it is a seminar on how to put on a lot of weight in a short period of time. Not that anyone would be interested in such nonsense. But Mr. Beez and I spent the weekend on a Pa Brew Tour and then a gathering with friends. That means lots of beer, lots of wine, lots of chips, lots of pizza. I think I might need a juice cleanse. (Not really.)
This is the third PA Brew Tour I have participated in. By this point, I have memorized most of the trivia answers. Czech Republic (the country with the highest per-capita beer consumption). Das Reinheitsgebot. (The German “purity” law limiting beer brewing to its 4 core ingredients). Malt/barley, yeast, water, hops. (The ingredients of beer). Now you can win the beer tour trivia too. Also, I’m familiar enough with the brewing process that I’m not as interested in oohing and ahhing over the tanks. But it is fun to check out the personality of each brewery, and learn about what part of brewing they really love and pride themselves on. Of course, there’s the tasting too. That’s a good part.
Our tour commenced at the East End Brewing Company outlet at the Pittsburgh Public Market. I had one thing on my mind: lunch. The Public Market has many options, but La Palapa was right in front of me as I walked in, and I realized that I needed tamales. Post haste.
There are entirely too few tamales in Pittsburgh. When I am motivated, I am capable of making pretty good tamales. However, making them takes more than 3 steps and 30 minutes, so that kind of cooking motivation is rare for me to come by. Whenever I see tamales on a menu, I’m like MINE ALL MINE. Because they really are delicious.
Our first Millvale stop was at Gristhouse Brewing. As its name suggests, it’s in a renovated slaughterhouse. It opened its doors about a year ago, and has been having remarkable success. They don’t offer food here, but there are pizza places that deliver and food trucks visit frequently (or you could, like me, eat a massive platter of tamales before showing up and not have to worry about food). My favorite beer at Gristhouse was their Tripel Grist. I love Belgian style beers, and this tripel was just delightful.
Next, we scooted over to Draai Laag, which specializes in Belgian style brewing. Hooray for me! I’ve had their beers before, but honestly didn’t realize they are local. Their name and branding are so sophisticated that I assumed they really were Belgian brewers. Nope. Right here in Millvale. I love the Goedenacht and the Geestlijke (pronounced geese-licker. Really.) Draai Laag beers are pretty heavy on the ABV, as well as on the taste. I really liked the ambiance of their tasting room. It’s dark and chill. There are chess boards on the table. I would love to take an afternoon there to curl up with a beer and a book.
We then returned by bus to our starting point. Since it was about 5, it was of course happy hour. We couldn’t let that go by without a cocktail, so we stopped over at Wigle for a hot minute. Wigle has about 5 different kinds of cocktails you can order, as well as stock up for your bar (we were out of booze soaked maraschino cherries, so naturally, it was time to attend to that). The cocktail was a nice sweet twist to wrap up the day.
Then of course we went to a nearby sushi place for dinner. I placed my order. And they served it to me with 3 sets of chopsticks. So yeah.