Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week has officially begun! To kick it off, we enjoyed a mouth-watering beer and food “Hoppy Hour”. Every Friday in April, Market District Settlers Ridge throws a relaxed beer tasting paired with small plates. You go up to the bar, buy your ticket, head upstairs, and enjoy 6 beers coupled with 6 delicious tasters. This Friday, it was all about celebrating Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week 2014.
To start this savory adventure, eager foodies and hopheads alike sampled the Collaboration Beer named “Honey, I Spiced the Wit” by Church Brew Works and Apis Meadery. 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. This unique brew was paired with a Fresh Vegetable Spicy Thai Salad. This pairing was perfect, and I didn’t want it to end.
Inevitably moving on (since these are small plates and beers), we sampled four brews by Deschutes Brewery*. The Twilight Summer Ale was crispy and clean, with an assertive, yet kind hop profile. It was paired with Chipotle Flank Steak. Next, we sampled the Chainbreaker White IPA paired with Linkuica (cured pork sausage) that rested on top of a fresh baguette. Then, we sampled the Black Butte Porter paired with chicken, pineapple, and poblanos skewers. After that, we sampled the Mirror Pond Pale Ale paired with an open faced mango chicken salad sandwich. It was fun and paradoxical-the beer made me feel like I was at a proper Pittsburgh pub and the sandwich made me feel like I was at a ladies’ tea. Dainty little thing, but nevertheless tasty.
We ended this tasting adventure with Southern Tier’s Pittsburgh Left Ale. This bad boy was brewed specifically for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week! Southern Tier appreciates and understands the importance of this fun-filled beer week in the ‘Burgh (they know what’s good). The Pittsburgh Left is a Belgian Style Brown Ale brewed with Black Mission Figs. It has lots of fruity esters and spicy phenolics. The hops compliment the malt and yeast flavors, yet do not overpower them. 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, wonderful, and unique Pittsburghers really are. Thanks for noticing Southern Tier and for brewing such a fitting beer! And thank you Church Brew Works, Apis Meadery, Deschutes Brewery, and Market District for a tasty night.
*Haven’t tried brews from Deschutes brewery yet? They just started distributing in Western PA through Fuhrer this past week. Go check em aht!