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Pittsburgh Beer : The History Here

“To know your future, you first must understand your past” – George Santayana. As you may know, Pittsburgh has always been a beer drinkers’ town. When Pittsburgh was newly established, several local microbreweries slowly started to emerge. Then in the late 1800′s, all those small scale breweries joined forces to form one massive brewing empire. When the big Pittsburgh beer hit troubled waters, microbreweries seized the opportunity to satisfy thirsty Pittsburghers once again. Pittsburgh’s complex brewing history is chocked full of surprises; we’ve got name changes, location changes, fraudulent owners, and some very passionate brewers that passed on their craft to future generations . Here’s a snippet of Pittsburgh’s brewing history and how our breweries came full circle.

Pittsburgh Beer History

Point Brewery (1765-1835) Let’s start with the very first commercial brewery- Point Brewery at Fort Pitt. The British Army built the first brewery at Fort Pitt to keep the soldiers happy and manageable. After the government decommissioned Fort Pitt in 1792, they sold the land and all the salvageable materials (including bricks) to inquirers Peter Shiras and Robert Smith. Once Peter and Robert obtained the land, Peter took all those bricks and built himself a nice home and a brand spankin’ new brewery. The brewery included three separate buildings; the malt house was especially handsome with two-stories and a belfry. Peter’s 20 year old son, George, was commissioned to be the head brewer. In 1802, Peter Shiras retired and sold his land to O’Hara. George (the brewer and son of Peter) retired as well and his two sons stepped up to be the next brewsters for O’Hara and his heirs. The brewery stayed in operation until 1835, when it was moved closer to town.   Picture Credits

fort pitt_______________________________________________________

pittsburgh beer iron city logo

Pittsburgh Brewing Co.(1844-Present) This Pittsburgh Beer Giant started in 1844, when German immigrant Anton Benitz opened a brewpub named Benitz Brewing on 17th street. Investors for Benitz Brewing, Augustus Hoeveler (Banker and business man) and John Miller (Brewer) partnered together to brew “Iron City Beer” which was served at the Iron City Beer Hall and Restaurant. Then, they were joined by German immigrant and brewer, Edward Frauenheim and his 17 year old apprentice Leopold Vilsack. After combining forces, they legally changed their name from Benitz Brewery to Iron City Brewery. In 1866, Iron City Brewing was such a popular watering hole, it outgrew its original location and moved to Liberty Avenue, where its headquarters remain today.

Picture Credits Pittsburgh Brewing Company Headquarters

By the 1880′s, Iron City Brewing became the largest producer of lagers, ales, and porters in all of Pennsylvania. The copious amount of beer was brewed in one of the most extensive and impressive breweries in the United States. In 1886, the brewery upped its total production from 10,00 barrels to 50,000 barrels per year. It was estimated that the brewery’s worth was over $150,000- an impressive amount for the brewing industry during that era. Toward the end of the century, the 12 local breweries (including Iron City Brewing) merged together to form the Pittsburgh Brewing Co. It became Pennsylvania’s largest brewery and third largest in the nation. Their combined assets weighed in at whopping 11 million dollars and turned out over 1 million barrels a year.              Picture Credits

pittsburghbrewing

When prohibition struck in the 1920′s, the Pittsburgh Brewing Company was able to stay afloat by selling ice cream, soft drinks, and non alcoholic “near-beers”. Once Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Pittsburgh Brewing Company was one of 725 breweries in America that survived.

With the dry prohibition days behind them, the Pittsburgh Brewing Company regained its strength and produced some of the best selling beer in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Brewing Co. was the first ones to utilize the “snap-top” cans. These quickly became the industry standard. Also, they were the first to market the low-carb “light beer” aka I.C. Light.                                                                                                                   Picture Credits

pittsburgh brewing snap top

Unfortunately in 1985, Pittsburgh Brewing Co. started its downfall. Ownership issues caused production to decrease dramatically. In 2007, it could no longer support itself in its Liberty Avenue factory and filed for bankruptcy. Then, the company was purchased out of bankruptcy by Unified Growth Partners. They moved production to the Rolling Rock location in Latrobe, PA. They also reinstated their original name “Iron City Brewing Co.” In 2011, Iron City Brewing was purchased by Uni-World Capital and changed their name back to Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

So if you were having trouble keeping up with all the name changes- here we go  Benitz Brewing –>Iron City Brewery –> Pittsburgh Brewing Company –> Iron City Brewing –> Pittsburgh Brewing Company

Iron City beer continues to be a staple in Pittsburgh. You can’t attend a local sporting event without seeing Pittsburghers sippin’ on their arhns.

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pittsburgh beer fort pittFort Pitt Brewing Co.(1906-1957) Founded in Sharpsburg in 1902 by Dr. Herman Hechelman , a handful of businessmen, and Samuel Grenet (local politician). Although many breweries closed due to Prohibition, Fort Pitt Brewing was able to stay alive by selling non-alcoholic beverages (just like the Pittsburgh Brewing Co.) Once Prohibition was lifted in 1933, Fort Pitt Brewing dominated the local beer market until the 1950s. It opened another plant in Jeanette as it continued to flourish. In 1949, Fort Pitt was not only #1 in total beer sales for Pittsburgh, it was also #1 for the entire state of Pennsylvania.

Fort Pitt’s Brewing Co. demise began with major labor issues. In 1952, all Pittsburgh brewery workers (2,100) went on strike.  This gave national brands an opportunity to infultrate in the local market. Fort Pitt’s production dropped 40% that year. In 1957, Fort Pitt sold out to Gunther Brewing of Baltimore. In 2014, Mark Dudash of Upper St. Clair bought the trademark and revived Fort Pitt. It’s currently being brewed at the former Rolling Rock brewery in Latrobe.  ____________________________________________________

Drink Like You Live Here

Toay, Pittsburgh has come full circle with its brewing. Craft breweries are popping up all over the greater Pittsburgh area. Here’s a list of some of the awesome local breweries here in the “Burgh.

  • Penn Brewery*  (1986-Present)
  • Church Brew Works*  (1996-Present)
  • East End Brewing Co.*  (2004-Present)
  • Full Pint Brewing Co. (2009- Present)
  • Rivertowne Brewing (2012-Present)
  • Draai Laag Brewing Co. (2012- Present)
  • Roundabout Brewery (2013-Present)
  • Hop Farm Brewing Co. (2013- Present)
  • Grist House Brewing Co.(Opened April 2014 )
  • Hitchhiker Brewing Co. (Opened May 2014)
  • The Brew Gentlemen (Opened May 2014)
  • Milkman Brewing Co.(Opened July 2014)
  • Aurochs Brewing C0. (Expected to open in August 2014)

*Pioneers in Pittsburgh Beers (we are lucky to have them for this long)

George Santayana was a wise man for stating, “To know your future, you first must understand your past.” Pittsburgh has an incredibly rich and complex brewing history, no wonder why we’re such a beer drinkers’ town. We do not know exactly what the future holds for Pittsburgh breweries, but one thing I do know is that…I can’t wait.

Cheers N’at
D&T

References

Point Brewery

  • http://www.pittsburghbrewers.com/styled-3/styled-36/index.html
  • http://digital.library.pitt.edu/pittsburgh/beck/

Pittsburgh Brewing Co.

  • http://www.pittsburghbrewing.com/company/a-visual-history/
  • http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/IronCity.html

Fort Pitt Brewing Co.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Pitt_Brewing_Company
  • http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/04/29/Pittsburgh-area-beer-advocate-brews-Fort-Pitt-comeback/stories/201404290014
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Beer Me for Breakfast

pancakes

Pre 1800′s, beer was the breakfast of champions. Say what?! Yes friends, in those days the water was far too contaminated. Plus, tea and coffee were not widely available. So our great ancestors broke their fast by knocking back a few brews with all of those delicious carbs to help them get through their long work days. Today, I’m going out on a limb here and guessing your employer may frown upon the idea of having a beer for breakfast since we have things like filtered water and Crazy Mocha. But…with this beer pancake recipe, you can live like it’s the good ol’ days and incorporate a fine brew into your breakfast once again! The moment we tried Hitchhiker’s Tumbleweed Oatmeal Brown, we knew it was going to taste outstanding nestled inside warm, fluffy pancakes. However, these weren’t going to be just any ol’ pancakes, we topped them with a decadent oatmeal crumble that is downright addicting. Enjoy beering your breakfast.

Oatmeal Brown Beercakes (yields 5 medium sized pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Tumbleweed Oatmeal Brown*
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 TBSP butter, melted

*Don’t have access to Hitchhiker’s Oatmeal Brown? I’m sure you could hitch a ride to Mount Lebanon. If not, use a well-balanced, clean finish Oatmeal Brown Ale

Directions

  1. Preheat griddle to medium heat (I do 375-400). Spray with nonstick cooking spray
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt)
  3. In another bowl, combine all wet ingredients (egg, beer, heavy cream, butter)
  4. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients
  5. Pour batter onto hot surface. Flip when side turns golden brown (when bubbles appear on top of pancakes, that usually means it’s time to flip ‘em and cook other side)

Oatmeal Crumble Topping

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal (Not Instant)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup butter)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the butter
  3. Cut butter into mixture with a pastry blender until mixture looks like bread crumbs. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, use your hands!
  4. Spread crumble on top of a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until slightly browned
  6. Once cooled, crumble on top of your Oatmeal Brown Beercakes and serve with your favorite syrup! It makes a ton, so use the remaining as topping for ice cream, yogurt, or whatever strikes your fancy!

Check out our review of Hitchhiker Brewing Co.

Cheers N’at
D&T

 

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Hitchhiker Brewing Co.

Hitchhiking relies on trusting complete strangers to get you from here to there. Ironically, it’s not all about reaching that final destination- it’s also about enjoying the journey that gets you there.

We felt a little like hitchhikers, looking to take our taste-buds on an epic adventure. We wanted to savor new and unfamilar flavors. We wanted to be taken off the grid to some uncharted place; a place where our understanding and appreciation for well-crafted beer grew even deeper. We trusted Head Brewer Andy Kwiatkowski to get us there, and my goodness did he deliver us to that place. 

hitchhikerbeer

The journey to Hitchhiker Brewing Co. started a few months ago during an event for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week. Andy and his fellow T.R.A.S.H (Three Rivers Alliance of Serious Homebrewers) poured their highly anticipated homebrews at the PGH Tee event. We sampled Andy’s beer offerings and we were completely blown away. Speechless almost. This was not the work of a small time home brewer (we homebrew so we can attest to this). This was work of a full-fledged beer genius. After speaking with Andy for a few minutes, he told us something spectacular. He was going to be Hitchhiker’s Head Brewer, and they were setting up shop in just a few weeks. From that moment on, we knew we were starting an awesome adventure.

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We decided to finally visit Hitchhiker Brewing about a month after its grand opening. We wanted the authentic experience of Hitchhiker when the crowds have died down a bit and the brewing process was functioning like a well-oiled machine. We wanted to see their locals- not just those who are interested in shiny, new things. We are so grateful that we did. The bar was packed with loyal locals, but we had just enough room to squeeze in the corner to grab a few colds ones and some tasty bites to eat.

Now let’s get to the good stuff; shall we? Hitchhiker Brewing Co. is a brewery/brew pub nestled in the bustling town of Mount Lebanon, about five miles south of Downtown Pittsburgh. Owners Gary and Serena Olden opened their doors May 10th, 2014 and have not checked their rear view mirrors since. 

As we walked through their doors, we knew that this is exactly where we were supposed to be. The brew pub was sparsely decorated with only the fundamentals present. Personally, I loved the simplicity. I felt like I could take a long, deep breath in there. It helped that they had the large window and side door open to allow the summer breeze to filter throughout. The large main bar was adorned with reclaimed joists from an old Belle Vernon farmhouse. The walls were dotted with sacks of brewing malt and antique signage. The brew pub’s ambiance was classically comfortable. It’s a place where anyone could sit down, relax, and rest their bones for a little while.

hitchhiker123

Toward the back of the pub, there was a staircase that led down to the basement- where all the beer magic happens. The brewery uses a 3 barrel system run solely on electric power. If you know a thing or two about breweries- you’ll know this is extremely rare to find. The room right next to the brewhouse is the fermentation and conditioning room. A large walk-in refrigerator houses the beer served in the brew pub and all of their glorious hops. I had the feeling that Andy spends a good amount of time down there considering he turns out about 20-30 kegs a week. Discussions about expansion have already happened. But we know that these things tend to happen when you brew beer this good.

hitchbrewing

Speaking of beer; let’s discuss what we sampled on their tap list

  • Alternate Route Altbier (5.5% ABV) Malty, German brown ale
  • Cobblestone Kolsch (4.8% ABV) Crisp with earthy hops
  • Soles Farmhouse Saison (3.9% ABV) Brewed with juniper berries and orange peel
  • Roadie IPA (5.4% ABV) Perfection in a pint glass
  • Rucksack Porter (5.5% ABV) Robust and full-bodied
  • Centerline Black IPA (5.9% ABV)Roasty flavor w/ a hoppy finish
  • Tumbleweed Oatmeal Brown (5.1% ABV) Balanced with a clean finish ** We grabbed a growler of this to cook with**

We worked up quite an appetite from sampling all of that great beer. And we were in luck because it just so happens that Hitchhiker serves some delicious small plates. Everything sounded really tasty, so we decided to just order it all. We started with the beer nuts; they were a perfect symphony of sweet and salty goodness.

beernuts

Next, we devoured the fresh hummus and pita plate. Then, we sampled their local cheese and meat board. Life couldn’t have gotten much better at that moment.  The meats and cheeses paired perfectly with the well-crafted brews resting in our hands.

meatboard

Finally, we concluded our indulgent eating spree with their gourmet hot dogs topped with house-made giardiniera. Hot-Diggity-Dog! that was one mighty fine hot dog.

hotdog

We came to Hitchhiker Brewing for reasons beyond the drawl of awesome Pittsburgh beer. We came to learn more about the genius behind the great beer- Andy Kwiatkowski. 

blackwhiteandy

Andy has been brewing for over four years now. He inherited his passion for brewing delicious beer from his father, who also was a homebrewer. Andy challenged and refined his brewing skills when he became a member of T.R.A.S.H (Three Rivers Alliance of Serious Homebrewers). Also, Andy was a cellarman for East End Brewing Co. where he oversaw sanitization and packaging. Currently, he is an active board member for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week and The Steel City Big Pour. Plus, he’s a certified beer judge. Basically, he’s kicking arse and taking names. But he’s truly an artist. And he’s never completely satisfied with his masterpieces. He’s constantly looking to improve or shake things up. Every batch has been altered slightly in hopes to draw a little bit closer to complete perfection. I begged him to leave the Roadie IPA just the way it was. It was pure perfection in a pint glass. It seems like Andy lives in a constant state of forward progression, steadily evolving the craft beer scene here in Pittsburgh. Stagnation seems like an impossible concept at this point in his beer career. I’m eager and excited to see what the future holds for him and Hitchhiker Brewing Co.

We were travelers, looking to start a new adventure in this craft beer world. Andy was a stranger to us; yet he kindly let us “hop” in for an epic ride. He shared his personal journey which lead him to brew professionally for Hitchhiker Brewing. Through his mouth-watering beers, he reignited the passion we have for well-crafted, small-batch beers. We walked through Hitchhiker’s door thirsty, and we left with much more than our physical thirsts quenched. We now have an even deeper appreciation for one of the oldest (and tastiest) drinks known to mankind. Pittsburgh is so very fortunate to have brewers like Andy to revolutionize the craft beer scene here in our city. Start your own journey and pick up a Hitchhiker today.

hitchhikergrowlers

** A big shout out and thank you to Hitchhiker’s servers Joe and Abbey for such an entertaining afternoon. We can’t wait to visit you guys soon!

 

Cheers N’at
D&T

 

 

 

PGH Pub Pops

pub pops

On July 4th 1776, America declared its independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1992, Fat Head’s declared its independence from lame, tasteless beer when it opened shop in Pittsburgh’s notorious South Side. Since then, our thirsts remain quenched thanks to Fat Head’s creative (and award-winning) brews. As we started getting ready for this summer’s 4th of July celebration, we reminisced about all the barbecued meats, fresh fruit, stocked beer coolers, and popsicles that we indulge in each year. And BOOM- the idea hit us, like fireworks over the Ohio! Why not create a refreshing beer popsicle that the adults can enjoy too. There is no better beer that screams summer quite like Fat Head’s Bumble Berry. It’s brewed with fresh honey and sun-ripened blueberries. Basically, it’s the best tastes of summer captured in bottles of beautifully crafted beer.We stayed true to this brew by incorporating the same ingredients already found in this refreshing beer to ensure popsicle status worthiness. A touch of honey and fresh blueberries makes this the tastiest brew you’ll ever have on a popsicle stick. Please lick responsibly.

Ingredients

  • 1 bumble berry* bottle
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • blueberries

Accessories

  • popsicle molds
  • popsicle sticks

Directions

  1. Open Bumble Berry bottle, pour beer into a large mixing bowl
  2. Squeeze fresh lemon into bowl of beer
  3. Add honey
  4. Stir until well-combined, set aside
  5. Place a few (or lots) of fresh blueberries into popsicle molds
  6. Pour beer mixture into molds
  7. Add popsicle sticks to mold
  8. Place in freezer
  9. Once popsicles are frozen, Enjoy!

*Bumble Berry is a Honey Blueberry Ale brewed year-round. It’s a light,yet flavorful ale with a great blueberry aroma and a hint of sweetness . It was voted “Most Refreshing Beer” in 2010 by Global Warming Open

 

Cheers N’at
D&T

Bam! Beer Basil Chicken

spicy beer basil chicken

Hop Heads and Hot Heads unite with this dish! It’s light, spicy, and wildly complex. It can be served solo as an appetizer or can be paired with rice and veggies for an exotic summer cuisine. The beer marinade gives this dish an incredibly rich dimension of flavor and also keeps the chicken nice and juicy. Once you taste this, you’ll  think twice about paying for that thai food takeout.

Ingredients

  • 1 can Paleo IPA from North Country Brewing Co.*
  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced (or 1/4 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp teriyaki sauce
  • 1  1/4 tsp chile paste with garlic
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/3 cup sliced fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Place cubed chicken in a medium size bowl. Pour can of Paleo IPA over chicken. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours (we did 3)
  2. Drain beer from chicken and set chicken aside. Discard beer
  3. Heat large skillet over medium high heat
  4. Add oil to pan. Swirl to coat
  5. Add shallots and garlic to pan and cook for 30 seconds
  6. Add chicken to pan, season with salt and pepper and cook for 13 minutes or until cooked thoroughly
  7. While chicken in cooking, combine fish sauce, sugar, teriyaki sauce, chile paste, and water in a small bowl. Stir.
  8. Add fish sauce mixture to cooked chicken. Cook for one minute or until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat
  9. Stir in fresh basil
  10. Enjoy!

*Paleo IPA is an American Style IPA (6.4% ABV). This ale is dry hopped to give it an incredible aromatic quality. It is brewed up in Slippery Rock, PA. Don’t have access to this IPA? Use a balanced, aromatic IPA.

Love the sauce? Double the recipe so you can put it over your rice or veggie sides!

**A big thanks to our friend Tracey for grabbing us a six-pack of Paleo IPA from her trip to North Country Brewing Co.

Cheers N’at
D&T

Our Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week

Every year, Pittsburghers come together to celebrate something truly worthy of a weeklong celebration: Pittsburgh beer. Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week (PCBW) was formed by local breweries, distributors, bottle shops, and beer-centric restaurants that wanted to support the growth of craft beer in our region. During PCBW, Pittsburgh beer lovers can indulge in beer tastings, beer pairing dinners, exclusive speciality brews, and meet-and-greets with the men and women behind our incredible hometown breweries. The goal of PCBW is simple: highlight our region’s unique craft beer culture and to expand Pittsburgh’s craft beer reach by education, collaboration, and responsible libation. There were over 250 events to choose from across the city. We wanted to attend every single one, but unfortunately we have not yet mastered being in two…or ten places at once. Scientists need to figure this out stat because when PCBW2015 rolls around, we don’t want to miss a thing.

However, we did make it to as many events as we could possibly fit into our already bustling schedule. Here is a picture recap of all the fun (and of course educational) things we did this week!

Day 1. We kicked off PCBW with a beer and food tasting at Market District Settler’s Ridge. There, we sampled the collaboration brew by Church Brew Works and Apis Meadery called “Honey, I Spiced the Wit”. It’s a Wit style beer that is infused with braggot. What’s braggot you say? Braggot is made by combining beer with mead along with spices and herbs (don’t worry if you’ve never heard of this style, it’s pretty old-school). This brew is specifically made with local wildflower honey, lavender, cardamom, and oh yeah-lots of love… This beer weighs in at a whopping 8.0% ABV. To us, it tasted like a refreshing summer day, light and airy. There was a harmonious balance between the honey character and malt flavor with the hop bitterness taking backstage to the sweetness of the honey.

church brew works collabThen, we sampled four small plates paired with Deschutes Brewery beers. They were all so delicious!

honey, I spiced the Wit

We ended the meal with Southern Tier’s Pittsburgh Left Ale paired with a dark chocolate bark. Southern Tier specifically brewed the Pittsburgh Left for this very special week! It is a Belgian Style Brown Ale brewed with Black Mission Figs. It has lots of fruity esters and spicy phenolics. This beer was named after the famously altruistic Pittsburgh drivers who allow and encourage others to take the“Pittsburgh Left”. This small driving courtesy is just one of the many examples of how awesome Pittsburghers really are. 

Day 2. Our next adventure was the Pedal Pale Ale Keg Ride by East End Brewing Co. Since the brewery’s opening in 2004, East End Brewing Co. (EEBC)  has been passionate about being an environmentally sustainable brewery. EEBC truly cares about Pittsburgh and keeping it a beautiful place to live. A fun way to spread the news about how they operate as a near-zero waste brewery is by delivering the first Pedal Pale Ale kegs of the season by…..bicycle. Participants do not know where they are heading, but they are guaranteed some great sights and a cold beer at the end of the journey.

biking up highland park

bikers and city

The mystery destination was the new Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District. Recently, EEBC started selling their highly coveted wares there. So, it was only appropriate that we would sample the 2014 Pedal Pale Ale there. IT WAS AWESOME. Maybe it tasted so good because we biked 8 miles all around town to finally try it. But I’m pretty sure it’s just that good.

east end pedal pale ale

Also, we got to sample the PCBW collaboration brew by East End Brewing and Lavery Brewery called Rojo Ahumado or Red Smoke. It’s a Chili Smoked Amber Ale made with four different peppers. You can really taste smoky wood flavors with a hint of pepper heat. Definitely a tasty and creative offering for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week.

eastend collab

During the ride, we ran into some pretty awesome Pittsburghers!

happy keg ride poster

beer helmet

The reward of a hard-earned beer was sweet, but the whole experience was even sweeter. We will definitely be biking for beer again in 2015.

Day 3. Moving right along in our PCBW adventures, we dined at a beautiful restaurant in North Park called Over the Bar.We grabbed an awesome burger and a few pints of Sly Fox beers that were featured for PCBW2014.

overthebarburgers

We had a great time with the hosts: Restaurant owner Marty, Sly Fox Ambassador Corey, and Galli Beer Distributors Chris and Jay. And we got to try the “Helles Bock” released to this restaurant specifically for PCBW. Very, very tasty.

overthebarandslyfox

We even got to learn about Sly Fox’s innovative beer can top, the 360.

helleslager

Sly Fox Brewing Company became the first brewery in North America to utilize the 360 Lid beverage can technology developed by Crown Holdings, Inc. The entire lid of the can is completely removable. A little different right? Well this innovative design enhances one’s drinking experience by allowing the full flavor and aroma of the beer to be throughly enjoyed. Also, this new lid eliminates the need for separate glassware, which makes this canned beer an even more appealing beverage choice for outdoor activities.

Day 4. Move over wine, beer makes an even better pairing with cheese. We went to a FREE Victory beer and cheese pairing at Whole Foods Wexford. 

wholefoods

We sampled Victory’s Hop Ticket (Hoppy Wheat) with organic Chevre cheese. Next, we sampled Victoy’s Abbey’s (Belgian IPA) paired with a mild cheddar. Then, we had the Old Horizontal (Barleywine) with a really flavorful gorgonzola. Next, we had Swing (Session Saison) with a super creamy goat cheese. Finally, we concluded our wonderful beer and cheese pairing with Storm King (Imperial Stout) with Stilton cheese. If you want my honest opinion, craft beer brings so much more complexity to a cheese pairing than wine ever could. Plus, it far less stuffier…

Day 5. Our next PCBW adventure lead us to Mad Mex for Pumkings and Gobbleritos!! Yup, all the best offerings of Thanksgiving dinner during one magical day in April. Pumking Ale is by far one of tastiest pumpkin beers on the market. Oh, and it weighs in at a whopping 8.6% ABV. It will get you feelin’ festive in no time! And the Gobblerito- W.O.W. One of those things could feed a small country. Not familiar with a Gobblerito? It’s basically Thanksgiving dinner wrapped up in one big soft tortilla. Words cannot describe how tasty (and filling) it really is. Fortunately, I came prepared and wore my turkey pants.

gobbleritos

We enjoyed the Pumkings so much that we came back later that night to meet fellow Pittsburgh Beer Blogger Jason Cercone from Breakingbrews.com for a few more. We had a really great conversation about our ever growing beer community here in the ‘Burgh. Next time you get a chance, check out his site- it’s excellent.

teeshirtcwp

Day 7. Our next adventure lead us to an awesome Art Show called the PGHTEE. The PGHtee is a free tee-shirt art show housed in Commonwealth Press’s warehouse. Over 20 local artists showcased their best printed tee’s for our viewing pleasure. The tee’s were displayed on clotheslines and tables throughout the warehouse. Best part- free beer. Yes free beer. Not the tasteless, big brand kind- actual craft beer made by local brewers. Local homebrewer’s associations like T.R.A.S.H and T.R.U.B provided the flavorful brews for the night. We sampled just about all they had to offer, and we were completely impressed. Homebrewer turned professional brewer Andy Kwiatkowski  for Hitchhiker’s Pub let us sample his offerings: Pittsburgh Lager, Berlinner Weisse, Robust Porter, and Kolsch. Delicious, delightful, down-right good.

trash

Day 8. Finch Beer dinner at Sharp Edge. We were looking forward to this dinner all week! The Apertif (appetizer) was a glass of Sharp Edge’s Over the Edge Belgian Triple IPA. Next, we had a refreshing salad made with Finch’s Wet Hot American Wheat Ale vinaigrette. Then, we had Pecan Crusted Chicken with Finch’s Secret Stashe cream sauce. Finally, we finished off the meal with a decadent Stout infused chocolate brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. YUM! We did not want this meal to end. Forunately, it doesn’t have to because we had already made stout brownies with Finch’s incredible Secret Stashe!

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Beer enthusiasts from everywhere flocked to Pittsburgh to celebrate its Craft Beer Week. People from all walks of life came together to sample, learn, and enjoy local artisanal libations. Our minds are saddened but our bodies rejoice as this week draws to an end (there’s only so much day-drinking one can successfully manage). Hopefully, this post leaves the reader with notion that there is something for everyone during PCBW. Our experience is just a small window of what PCBW has to offer. What will your PCBW look like in 2015? 

Cheers N’at
D&T

PGHTEE

Commonwealth Press and Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week seem to go together like Pittsburgh and Pierogies. Ironically enough, Commonwealth Press consistently throws some of the most enjoyable and sought after events during this weeklong local beer festival. Kicker is- they aren’t even a brewery! Commonwealth Press is a custom screen printing business, located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s South Side. Notice the ingenious Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week (PCBW) logo? That’s all Commonwealth Press doings.

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Also, they are the ones responsible for hosting the PCBW premier kick-off event, Beer Barge. Rumor has it, the whole boat was rocking to-and-fro because Pittsburghers were having so much fun pop-lock-and-droppin-it to their favorite jams (the free-flowing beer had nothing to do with this, I’m sure). To close out this brew-tastic week, Commonwealth Press threw another incredible event: the PGHtee.

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The PGHtee is a free tee-shirt art show housed in Commonwealth Press’s warehouse. If you are into graphic tees (come on, who isn’t) then this is your event. Over 20 local artists showcased their best printed tee’s for our viewing pleasure. The tee’s were displayed on clotheslines and tables throughout the warehouse. Best part- you’re able to buy these works of art for a few bucks. Waaay cheaper than buying art from those other, stuffier art shows…Plus, they make great gifts!

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It gets even better- free beer. Yes free beer. Not the tasteless, big brand kind- actual craft beer made by local brewers. Local homebrewer’s associations like T.R.A.S.H and T.R.U.B provided the flavorful brews for the night. We sampled just about all they had to offer, and we were completely impressed. Homebrewer turned professional brewer Andy Kwiatkowski  for Hitchhiker’s Pub let us sample his offerings: Pittsburgh Lager, Berlinner Weisse, Robust Porter, and Kolsch. Delicious, delightful, down-right good. Hitchhiker’s opening in May cannot happen soon enough.

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Speaking of beer, did you know that Commonwealth Press made a cold one with Penn Brewery ?! It’s called the Commonwealth Press Ale. It’s a refreshing “lawnmower” beer, a perfect pairing for all those long summer days you’ll be spending ahtside. Check out this awesome documentary they made about the creation of Commonwealth Press Ale here.

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Who came up with this brilliant idea for a Tee-Shirt Art Show? Here’s a hint: he is extremely agile, handsome, has incredible dance moves, and poorly plays the banjo. You totally guessed it, Dan! He’s the founder and leader of Commonwealth Press. He was rocking his daughter’s awesome tee-shirt design tonight. 

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Thank you Dan and the Commonwealth Press team for an amazing night! Supporting talented, local artists is way beyond cool in our book. You guys are such a talented group of designers- Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week would not be nearly as awesome without you. Cheers to you and to many more years of inspired Pittsburgh printing.

Cheers N’at
D&T