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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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Beer me! Raising a glass with @PaBrewTours North Country Brewing @VoodooBrewery @PipersPub Rivertowne & @FullPintBrewing

I hardly consider myself a beer connoisseur, but I do enjoy a good brew from time to time. I wish I could be all hops crazy like the cool kids, but hops are too bitter for me. I lean towards wheat and fruity beers. And, again, to prove how uncool I am, I don’t like dark beers either. I probably sound picky, but I do like a wide enough range of beers that I can reliably find something pretty much anywhere I go that I really enjoy.

Due to some uninentional timing, I ended up having a lot of beers in the first two months of this year. Mr. Beez and I went on the Yinz Going Up North? Tour with PA Brew Tours in January, and then I again toured with PA Brew Tours on their East Pittsburgh Brew Tour N’At with my friends in the Allegheny County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.  I threw a visit to Pipers Pub in this post because we had good beer there too, so why not?

Item of Interest Number 1: The Yinz Going Up North? Tour

All of PA Brew Tours’ outings begin at a restaurant/six pack shop, so you can pick up provisions for the road. Yes, you can drink beer on the bus. It’s even encouraged. The tour involves visiting multiple breweries, with samples and behind the scenes tours at each, and a dynamic tour guide who leads trivia and generally coordinates fun.

I’ve been on brewery tours before that just involve a little sample at the end. This is not that kind of tour. PA Brew Tours is a day drinking party. Having alternate transportation home afterward is a wise idea. Maybe this is just because I’m old, but once we got back to the ‘burgh from our tour, I was exhausted. A post-beer-tour-bar-crawl was not going to happen. But on to the tour!

The tour kicked off at Carson Street Deli, which I only had some vague idea existed. I was really impressed by the nice selection of sandwiches and extremely impressive beer selection, both on tap and for mix-and-match six packs. They also deliver! Mr. Beez and I bought some brews and made a mental note to visit again later.

Beers at Carson St DeliOur first stop was at North Country Brewing in Slippery Rock. Mr. Beez and I have visited there before, and really like the place. During our first visit, we were camping near Moraine State Park. Our friendly server was chatting with us about our visit, and as we dined the weather got terrible. A TORNADO even touched down in the park as we ate. We finished our meal and were getting ready to pay, and the server told us to please stay as long as we could possibly want, because it just wasn’t safe to go back out right yet. It wasn’t a ply to get us to buy more beer, the North Country staff was genuinely concerned about our safety. It was so genuinely sweet. Also, the food was genuinely goo, and the beer was great.

North Country Brewing

North Country Brewing Taps

They put out sampler platters for the tour and we all had the opportunity to try whatever beers we wanted. All of the beers are brewed right there. The Firehouse Red was our favorite, and the beer is unbelievably cheap, like $3 a pint.

North Country is about an hour’s drive north of Pittsburgh. It’s a destination definitely worth the time in the car, maybe not all the time, but at least once or twice to check the place out.

North Country Brewing beers

Our next stop was Voodoo Brewery in Meadville, PA. I didn’t know much about this brewery before our visit there, but it is for sure a gem.

Voodoo Brewery

Voodoo’s selection is broad. Mr. Beez and I agreed that our favorite was the Gran Met. They offer it as a cocktail mixed with juice. I had it mixed with grapefruit juice, and it was fantastic. The Voodoo Love Child and White Magick also sound awesome, but we got distracted by how much we loved Gran Met and never made it around to trying them.

Voodoo Beer List

Voodoo Brewing Samples

Most breweries on PA Brew Tours’ itineraries offer food, and in particular spent grain pizza (gotta do something with all that grain!) We had a pizza and salad, and they were just great. The salad was so fresh, and the pizza was rustic and tasty.

Voodoo Brewing FoodWe (obviously) toured the brewery. The coolest thing about Voodoo is that these folks are true believers in their craft. They have a philosophy that the beer needs love and encouragement to properly develop, so they play music for their beer 24 hours a day!

Voodoo Brewing TourTheir menu also includes something a little different– beer milkshakes. I tried the pistachio beer milkshake. It tasted exactly how it sounds…which basically means that no thank you, I won’t order that again, but it was a good learning experience.

Voodoo Brewing Beer Milkshake

Item of Interest No. 2: Piper’s Pub

The Beez family has gotten into the habit of going out to dinner every Friday night, mostly because by the time it’s Friday, I don’t have the energy to think about dinner, much less cook it. One of our absolute favorites is Piper’s Pub. Why? Check out those pics. Love it.  My brew picks for the night: An Arsenal Cider House Fighting Elleck and a Full Pint White Lightning.

Onion Soup and Arsenal Cider at Piper's Pub

Burger and a Full Pint White Lighening at Piper's Pub

Item of Interest No. 3: East Pittsburgh Breweries

This tour kicked off at D’s Dogs and Six Packs, which is great. If you haven’t been there yet– GO THERE. Our first stop on the tour was Rivertowne Brewing. I had been to their restaurant over by the stadiums, but actually did not realize that they are a real brewery. Rivertowne is actually a large brewery, and they are unique beause they have a canning line.

Rivertowne Pour House TapRivertowne has a pineapple beer that is just great.

The Rivertowne Brewing Tanks

We were only at Rivertowne for a short bit, and then we move on to Full Pint. I didn’t realize it when I first got there, but I can now confidently say that Full Pint’s White Lightning is my favorite local beer of the moment.

The Full Pint Tap

Beers

For whatever ridiculous reason, I did not manage to take a snap of my food there. We ordered a spent grain mashed potato pizza that was fantastic, and I also got a growler to take home. It was only $5 for the growler bottle and $10 to fill it, which was a deal I could NOT pass up.

I like beer, but I would never otherwise go out of my way to seek out local breweries to visit. PA Brew Tours fills that gap and makes it incredibly easy for the casual beer fan to check out our local beer hotspots. As I sat here writing this post, Mr. Beez kept looking over my shoulder, remarking “I want to do another beer tour!”

So that is the recap of my beer exploits in Western PA, and I can now cross this item off my 32 before 32 list!

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Bites and Brews at South Street Brewery (Charlottesville, VA)

Tomorrow it’s back to real life. Trial college certainly wasn’t a vacation, but since I didn’t have the extra responsibilities of feeding the parrots, packing lunches and getting a small person dressed and out the door, I at least got to sleep in til 7am. Tomorrow, the alarm goes off at 6 again. So on this last evening before I’m back to business, I’m taking a couple moments to think back on the good eats we had on our last night in Charlottesville. South Street Brewery came highly recommended, and it did not disappoint. It’s a standard microbrewery/pub, but the food is tasty, the ambiance welcoming, and the brews carefully crafted.

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South street is known for its giant soft pretzels.  They are salty and fresh, and come with a trio of dipping sauces.  I’m a mustard fan, and was happy they offered 2 varieties.  The dijon mustard had a lot of kick, but not too much for this wimpy eater.  I especially loved the honey mustard (but I pretty much always love honey mustard).

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I was in the mood for pub food (they also have pasta, steaks and other such entrees) and picked the pulled pork.  Great choice, great choice!  The pulled pork was tender, flavorful and not oversauced. The house salad was huge, and high quality.  This wasn’t some sad wilty iceberg thing.  It was piled high and full of veggies.  It was awesome.

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I really loved the feel of the restaurant.  There was a big bar area where you could sit and sample the brews.  There was also ample table seating for families and groups.  On top of that, there was also even a lounge-type area with coffee shop type chairs.  Even though I hesitate to go to bars or restaurants solo, I would not be shy of wandering in here myself, cozying up in a chair and having myself a drink.  It’s relaxed and the staff was friendly.  It’s too bad that it’s so darn far away.  But I’m sure that the next time I find myself in Charlottesville, I’ll find my way to South Street Brewery.

South Street Brewery on Urbanspoon

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Friday Miscellany

1. I am loving Of Monsters and Men’s “Little Talks” video, especially when the monsters go “HEY!”

 

2. Going to see Jersey Boys, and going to the Jersey Boys cast party tonight!

 

I very rarely see a show twice, but when I saw Jersey Boys the first time, I absolutely loved it, and couldn’t resist going again once I heard it’s back in town!

3. Steel City Big Pour tomorrow!

4. If you’re a Pittsburgh blogger, please join me at BlogMob 2012 at Greater Pittsburgh Area Food Bank next Thursday!

5. Who is going to Propelle’s Happy Hour next Wednesday?  I’m not an entrepeneur in the traditional sense, but this sounds like a great opportunity to meet a lot of motivated and awesome people.

6.  Rosh Hashanah is coming up fast. So is New Years Eve 5773 at the Carnegie Museum, hosted by J’Burgh and Temple Sinai! I love that we’re celebrating outside the shul with something a little different, a little new.

Ok, now I’m off to find me some breakfast.