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My Picks for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week #pcbw

My Picks for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week #pcbw

This year, I am making a concerted effort to go to Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week events. I’d heard of PCBW in the past, I just never made an effort to go to anything. Mr. Beez and I love beer, and I at least have developed enough familiarity with bills to be able to navigate descriptions of unfamiliar beers to pick those I will likely enjoy. I like light-to-medium beers, that are sweet or citrusy. I’m a big fan of Belgian style beers, wheat beers, red ales, and all kinds of fruity beers. I do not like porters, stouts, generally any kind of dark beer, and I do not like beers that are heavy on the hops (no thank you on the IPA’s).

Voodoo Beer List

Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week starts on Friday, and I spent too much time today picking through the calendar and now…YOU GUYS I CANNOT WAIT. Craft Beer Week is a time to explore, and I’m not going to limit myself to the usual types I like.   I wish I could make it to every single event, but since I (1) have to work, (2) need to avoid developing a beer belly, and (3) do not have Hermione’s time turner, I will not be able to be at everything. I’ve gone through the event listing to pick my favorites. This is my PCBW Wish List, but I will likely only make it to a few (and even the ones compatible with my schedule are subject to me possibly bailing due to work obligations, general exhaustion, etc.).

Are you going to any PCBW events? Which ones are on your wish list?

Grist House/East End/Roundabout PCBW Collaboration Beer Release

Come try this year’s Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week Collaboration Beer from Grist House, East End, and Roundabout. We put our collaboration caps on and brewed up a Hoppy Fruited Saison for your enjoyment. First 30 guests receive a custom Grist House Craft Beer Week shirt.


The Unofficial Kickoff of PCBW with All the Collaboration Beers

Start your Beer Week at Your PCBW Headquarters. Find all the unique and cool offerings from all your favorite local brewery’s. Find all the collaboration beers under one roof. First 48 Customers will receive a FREE Collectors Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week Pint Glass. Starts at Happy Hour


Firkin Alternatives

Join us as we release some of our rare Casks & Firkins – Our industry friends from Arsenal Cider House & Kaliber Brewing will be joining us and pouring samples of some of the regions best craft beer alternatives. Our offerings will include a firkin of our PCBW collaboration, an “Extra Funky/Sour” Lemon Bourbon, A Hopped Tangerine Ginger + others…Evil Swine BBQ will be out front all night & JDA band playing live tunes starting around 8ish…


Greenfield Bridge is Falling Down Collaboration Beer Debut

Spoonwood Brewing, Helltown Brewing, Helicon Brewing, and Dancing Gnome Brewing joined forces to bring you Greenfield Bridge Is Falling Down, a very juicy IPA that’s certain to add to your Craft Beer Week drinking experience. Join all four breweries at Spoonwood’s taproom for the initial tapping for this killer collaboration! The beer will be on tap throughout PCBW.


Yards Coffee Mug Brunch

Yards is our April brewery of the month and we’re featuring a brunch and beer pairing on Sunday 4/17. When you order a feature you’ll receive a Yards Brewing coffee mug to take home. 10am- while supplies last. Happy brunching!


Crush the Pin: Cask Beer Extravaganza

12 or more Pins will be tossed up on the bar for your enjoyment. Some Collaborations Beers along with offerings from Brewery’s all over the country. Enjoy beer in its purest form cask conditioned!! Rare and Exciting beers to be offered!!


Shower beer Day Drinking!

Celebrate the art of the shower beer @ Hough’s! Your favorite Long Trail/Otter Creek/Flying Dog/Ballast Point’s beers in a can (for shower safety), fog mirror art, shower beer koozies, beer soap,shower songs on the jukebox, & big ‘ol shower beers to go!


Ward off Evil with Stone Brewing Company

FOR CENTURIES, GARGOYLES HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO WARD OFF EVIL SPIRITS. SINCE 1996, STONE’S GARGOYLE HAS HELPED WARD OFF CHEAP INGREDIENTS, PASTEURIZATION AND CHEMICAL ADDITIVES… THE MODERN-DAY EVIL SPIRITS OF BEER! JOIN US IN THIS PROCESS BY DRINKING SOME OF STONE’S MOST RARE OFFERING’S, FLOWN IN SPECIAL FOR THIS EVENT.


Craft 2 Ways: Beer & Art

  1. Create the best “CAN-vas” for your 32oz can to go. Decorate your blank space label and Hough’s will put it on a can for you to fill with featured Brooklyn beers and take home. Submit your cans using #MyCanvas @HoughsPGH and you can win a Brooklyn / Hough’s prize pack!
  2. Hough’s & Pop Craft have teamed up to bring you a 2 hour craft beginning at 7pm – a wood mounted rustic bottle opener on reclaimed wood. Perfect for your bar area at home, the man cave, tailgating and more! You must register for this event, see PopCraftArt.com

Decorate Yo Donut with Lagunitas

Celebrate 4/20 at Hough’s with Lagunitas! It’s a decorate yo donut bar. All types of goodies for you to top your donut PLUS Waldo, Cappuccino Stout and Brown Shugga will be pouring.

Pies & Pints & Pints at Roundabout Brewery with Pgh Craft Beers

Who doesn’t love a good pie? Come check out Roundabout Brewery on Wednesday April 20th for a very special Pie and Pints event. For $9 you get a savory pie from the Pub Chip Shop as well as a pint of amazing Roundabout Brewery beer. Since it’s PCBW this week, the first 25 people to order a pie and a pint will receive a 5th anniversary Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week pint glass to keep. See, pies and pints and pints!

Vintage Night

It’s true what they say some things are better with age!! Come out and try some get beers from the Caliente Cellar. We are blowing off the dust and bringing out some beers that get better with age. Including 2012 Dogfish Head Bitches Brew, 2009 Allagash Victor, 2011 Allagash Fluxus, 2014 Goose Island Bourbon County Barley Wine and more!


Fear & Loathing in Barrel Aged Gonzo

To celebrate the artwork of Ralph Steadman and the life of Hunter S. Thompson we’ll be pouring Rum Barrel Aged Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery in the Bierport Tap Room, followed by a screening of the film Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.

Keg will be tapped at 6:00pm, with the screening of the film taking place at 7:30pm. There will be a special ticket price for the film that includes a glass of the B.A. Gonzo.

Beatnik Brewers

A 90’s style Poetry jam where Professional brewers will read their Worst Untapped, Yelp & Brewers Advocate reviews in the jazziest way possible…Gyros N’at will be out front all night and we will stick an awesome light jazz band in between the goofiness to complete the vibe…


CWP Beer Barge

3 hours on all 3 rivers with a bunch of breweries 2 bands a DJ and hopefully you.


Unofficial Sendoff of Beer Week 2016–The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Total Tap Takeover

Time to say goodbye to beer week 2016. What a better way to say goodbye then with 24 Taps dedicated to an outstanding selection of The Lost Abbey & Port Brewing. Ever Since Tomme Arthur Kicked Off their Pittsburgh Debut at Caliente We have Been Gearing up for this Event. It will be truly Spectacular. Our lineup includes: 3 years of Angels Share, Cuvee de Tomme, Agave Marie, Deliverance, Track 8, Track 10, Older Viscosity, Bourbon Barrel Santa’s Helper and many many More!!!

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My Erie Preview with @WholeFoodsErie Presque Isle State Park and Sara’s

My Erie Preview with @WholeFoodsErie Presque Isle State Park and Sara’s

I call my week in Erie an “Erie Preview” because I really did not do a whole lot of visiting or sightseeing. I was there for a trial in federal court, and until the jury went out for deliberations, I was (rightfully) all work-focus-work-focus-work-focus. I have to take a moment to be thankful for modern technology. I left bright and early Sunday morning, and did not return until Thursday evening. I missed my family. I was so thankful to be able to FaceTime with them for a few minutes in the evening, to talk about how much we missed each other and to wish each other sweet dreams.

FaceTime


I’m not going to talk about the trial itself, because frankly that would be inappropriate. But the jury went out on Wednesday afternoon and I had all the way through their return on Thursday afternoon to do a little exploring.

On the drive up. Game face on.

On the drive up. Game face on.


My first order of business once the jury went out was to go for a RUN. I hadn’t been for a run in at least two weeks. There was flat-out no time, and I was so stressed that I did not have the energy for running.But once that work was done, that energy flowed back! For my visit, I was staying at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront, with a room overlooking the little marina.

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I was able to run right out the hotel door onto the Erie SeaWay trail. The weather was absolutely perfect for a run. The sky was clear, the temperature warm, and the lake was a beauty to look at.

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After my run was done, I realized it was only about 6pm, and I still had the whole evening open and to myself. I have heard that Presque Isle State Park is very nice, so I decided to go for a drive through there. After getting there and seeing all the gorgeous trails, I realized it would have been an even more lovely place for my evening run. But I was not in a state to do 2 runs for the evening, so instead I went for a drive. And really, with gas prices being what they are, and with the rush rush rush of modern life, who goes for a leisurely drive anymore? I popped open the sunroof and wound my way through the park. It was just delightful.

I pulled over and stopped to take this selfie. No pictures while driving. Obvs.

I pulled over and stopped to take this selfie. No pictures while driving. Obvs.


The park is huge and full of trails, and there are beaches and lighthouses. The lake doesn’t have the waves of the ocean, but my kid cares more about the sand than the waves. I think it would be an ideal spot, and only 2 hours drive away, to take her for a little beach outing this summer.

After my drive, I stopped at local legend Sara’s for some summertime comfort food. Yummmmmmmm

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Afterward, I retired back to my room, to enjoy one last evening of watching whatever I wanted on TV  (read: Teen Mom) and sleeping basically sideways across the bed because OMG IT WAS A KING SIZE BED AND I HAD IT ALL TO MYSELF.

The next day while the jury continued its deliberations, I made my way over to the Whole Foods Co-Op. I picked up some necessaries (a mud mask for later, and a couple of bags of Food Should Taste Good multigrain tortilla chips, because they are the best). I also got lunch of a small wrap, a kale and beet salad and a chocolate chip cookie sandwich.

Whole Foods Co-op

All the food was extremely fresh and delicious. I must say, there is something special about the friendliness of a Co-Op. Since we are members of Pittsburgh’s East End Food Co-Op, the Whole Foods Co-Op extended their member discount to me. Also, I got to sign their guest book 🙂

Before this visit, I probably would have never considered doing a little family trip to Erie, but this trip introduced me to a lot of things my family would enjoy. Erie is now on my short list of destinations, when we are getting restless and just need to get ahhhhta tahhn. On a future visit, I’d like to take Baby Beez to the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum. Also, the Erie area has quite the local brewing community, including Lavery Brewing Company, Erie Brewing Company and The Blue Canoe Brewery.  Mr. Beez and I would very much like to check out their offerings.

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What else- beer and bites (shoutout to @LaPalapaPgh @Gristhouse @DraaiLaag @WigleWhiskey )

What else- beer and bites (shoutout to @LaPalapaPgh @Gristhouse @DraaiLaag @WigleWhiskey )

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Things I’m Doing When I’m Not Blogging with @2ndBreakfastPgh @EastEndBrewing @The_Steel_Trap @theCommonerPgh

Things I’m Doing When I’m Not Blogging with @2ndBreakfastPgh @EastEndBrewing @The_Steel_Trap @theCommonerPgh

The last two weeks have involved after-work meetings nearly every day of the week, the kid having to stay home from school for three days because she was sick, Mr. Beez going out of town for three days on a business trip, me falling and busting my face on the ice (nothing broken, just ugly bruises), and just lots and lots of stuff in general.

This means there’s been little-to-no time for running, blogging, watching tv, or maintaining sanity in general. I’m much more hopeful this week. I’ve got plenty to do, but my calendar is not nearly as cluttered, so I’m hopeful about having the time to actually get stuff DONE.

In lieu of timely updates on the wild and wonderful world of Pittsburgh in the last two weeks, I bring you this list of our first week + in March.

Winter

This is what our world looked like for most of last week. The temp was in the 40s and 50s this weekend, and the forecast CLAIMS it will continue to be mild, but I’ll believe it when I see it. As much as I whine about the weather, I can remain hopeful that we’ll get through to spring with a little patience. This past week totally broke me. WE’RE IN MARCH NOW FOR GOODNESS SAKES. There was a lot of despairing in glasses of beer because I just can’t take this weather anymore.

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Contributing to the despair was my nosedive into the icy driveway on Monday (I’m fine). But the only way to make myself feel better was to buy a cartful of icy things I like.

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Lately I’ve been stopping by the Pgh Public Market as often as possible after Baby Beez’ Saturday ballet class. It’s so quiet and lovely then, and the hash browns with eggs and bacon from Second Breakfast is the perfect size for Baby Beez and me to share.

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I also picked up a growler of Monkey Boy from East End Brewery, and that stuff is GOOD. It hasn’t displaced VooDoo Love Child as my favorite beer, but it’s a good one, and I really look forward to more Saturday morning growler fills at the Public Market.

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Mr. Beez and I joined The Steel Trap at the CLO Wine Tasting and Silent Auction on Friday. We had such a lovely time, and I may have drank all the cava in Western Pennsylvania. This was one of the nicest fundraiser events I’ve been to. I especially loved the variety of wines, and allllll the sparkling options. Kudos to the CLO for an extremely successful event!!

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After the wine tasting, Mr. Beez and I stopped over at The Commoner for a snack. I had the BBQ Oysters and they were amazing and all I’ve been thinking about for the rest of the weekend. It’s not a regular menu item, but next time you are there, see if they have them. Because they are amazing.

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This week was also Purim. I stopped by Allegro Hearth for some hamentaschen. I offered them to Baby Beez, but she is obnoxious and 4 and did not want any. So I had them all to myself. This was my first time trying a poppyseed hamentaschen, and it’s not really my style. Apricot or Raspberry, please.

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Our spoiled child got to go to Disney on Ice this weekend, too. I bought the tickets back in November when I was ALL EXCITED about our trip to Disney World. Then it came down to this event and I was totally burned out on Disney, but wasn’t going to disappoint Baby Beez. So we all went. She did enjoy the show, so that was really nice. And in general, the kids at the show were pretty well behaved. THE PARENTS THOUGH. This was some of the worst, pushiest, rudest parent behavior I’ve seen in recent memory. I talked to other folks who went to other showings and said that they dealt with the same thing. I don’t know what it is about Disney on Ice that brings out the worst behavior in grown ups, but I think we’ll pass the next time it comes to town.

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After Disney on Ice, we stopped by the new VooDoo Brewery shop in Homestead for more growlers. This place is my happy place. Hearts stars smiles xoxoxoxox. That is all.

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And finally, yesterday we went to a bowling fundraiser to raise money for Attorneys Against Hunger. Not many bar association events are family friendly, so it was fun to be able to get together with our families, do a little bowling, and eat a lot of nachos. I also won a sweeeet prize basket at the raffle auction, including a cute little Coach crossover purse. Win!

So that’s what’s been going on in my neck of the woods. Also, I’ve been really into peanut butter & jelly waffles for breakfast. And I really need to get the kid out of bed and get us to school/work. I’m trying to cut her a break because of daylight savings buuuuut I gotta bill some hours today!

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Food for the Eatin’ in Pgh Part 4: @VooDooBrewery @TheCommonplace @PennBrewery @HarrisGrill Speakeasy

Food for the Eatin’ in Pgh Part 4: @VooDooBrewery @TheCommonplace @PennBrewery @HarrisGrill Speakeasy

So post no. 4 is all about beverages, or should I say, vices? Caffeine and alcohol all the way, it seems. I’m not much of a soda drinker and despite the juice craze, I just don’t like juice. I’m all about water, coffee and alcohol. So what can I say, the beverage post is all about those things. Because they’re great.

1. Coffee from Commonplace Coffee. Drip coffee, pour-over coffee, latte, whatever. Commonplace is the b-e-s-t. I don’t care whether it’s the Commonplace in Squirrel Hill or Commonplace Voluto in Garfield, this coffee is the caffeinated nectar of the gods. Yes, many think that one must drink it black to show proper appreciation for the bitter bean. I’ve tried that. Drinking black coffee is a great way to get me to throw up on the table. I just can’t do it. Ultra-hipster coffee shops have a rep for having an attitude, but Commonplace’s baristas have always been crazy friendly to me. One time, I sheepishly asked for cream, and the barista told me “Lady, you’re paying $4 for a cup of coffee. You can put whatever you want in it.” And that’s when they had me for life. (Note to the owners: before the renovation, there were very detailed descriptions of all the coffees posted in the Squirrel Hill shop…after the renovation, they’re gone. Hopefully you’ll bring them back, so I can select my coffee without having to interrogate the barista and hold up the line).


2. Voodoo Love Child beer from Voodoo Brewery.

I’ll admit it, sometimes you have something so divine, so blissful, so amazing that it ruins you to everything else, ever. Voodoo Love Child is that thing. It’s a Belgian Style trippel aged on cherries and passion fruit. Oh, and it’s 10.5% alcohol Oh, and the brewers play music to their beer 24 hours a day, because they want it to be happy. AND IT MAKES ME HAPPY. I mean, I can drink other beers sometimes still, but none of them even come even remotely close to Voodoo Love Child. Voodoo is opening a new brewery site in Homestead in just DAYS, and you don’t know how excited I am about this.

VooDoo Brewery

Voodoo Brewing Samples

3.  Fancy Cocktails at Speakeasy.  I don’t even have a fancy cocktail in particular. Craft cocktails are all the rage right now, and I can list off a whole bunch of places with very skilled bartenders that can whip up something potent and creative for you. Speakeasy, however, has Dawn. And she is caring and careful and friendly and awesome. Even Mr. Beez, who is quiet and antisocial, loves to sit at the bar and chat with Dawn about her creations. She really is amazing, and can make quite a drink.

4.  Mr. Beez’s pick is up for No. 4– best beer out of a milk jug: Penn Brewery. I admit, Penn Brewery has reliably decent beer, particularly their Oktoberfest. And Oktoberfest is what puts the big hearts and stars in Mr. Beez’ eyes. He loves Penn Brewery’s Oktoberfest. There’s plenty of drinking beer out of milk jugs, and oompah bands and pretzels. It gets too crowded for my taste, but he always loves going, and gets excited for the event as we head into the fall each year.

penn brewery


5. Best bad decision drink goes, hands down, to the frozen cosmos at Harris Grill and Shiloh Grill. It is nice to have one, but these are sweet and syrupy and hard to resist. They should be remained “Bad Decisions.” Let’s leave it at that. Also, go try one. And make sure to have a designated driver.