Keeping tabs on Pittsburgh’s Craft Beer scene

By May 14, 2019 No Comments

By Day Bracey
Pittsburgh Current Craft Beer Writer

May 1, 3 p.m.: Piper’s Pub. Taptender and beer curator extraordinaire Hart Johnson serves me a delicious Godzilla Glue DIPA from Brew Gentlemen, my first sip in a month. What did I learn in that month? Nothing. Maybe something. Mostly nothing. But my kidneys enjoyed the break. I’ve delayed failure by at least 30 days. The beer is phenomenal and indicative of the hard work put in at BG to remain in the top tier of Pittsburgh breweries. I hear they’re expanding soon in my hometown of Braddock. 15104 for life! Oh, how I’ve missed this ballet of hops and fruit on my tongue. And what is this? Is that inebriation I feel joining the ensemble? Hello, old friend. Let’s go make adulting feel less adultlike!

May 2, 7 p.m.: Apis Meadery. The semi-monthly, heckling encouraged, comedy crowd work show – Hurry Up Say Something Funny – where comics abandon their routines to berate audience members for the entertainment of other audience members. Typically, I host this show. Tonight, Ray Zawodni is guest hosting before he relocates to Chicago, and comedian Tim Ross has graciously offered to be designated driver, which leaves me with no reason to remain even relatively sober or coherent for very long.

May The Fourth, 12 p.m.: Kerry Diehl, President of Three Rivers Alliance of Serious Homebrewers (TRASH) has invited me to meet with Three Rivers Underground Brewing (TRUB), of which Richard Romanko is President. From my understanding, both clubs share a lot of members with a passion for home brewing. The main difference is TRASH thinks James T. Kirk is the greatest captain of the USS Enterprise, and TRUB is more of a Jean Luc Picard crowd. I lean towards the latter. I pull up to Morebeer in Ambridge, supplier of all things craft, to find a bunch of white dudes making soup in a repurposed medical tub. First of all, gross. Secondly, yes please.

The crew is a lively, kind, and knowledgeable bunch. There are a bevy of home-brewed ales and lagers to be had, some better than others. Everyone’s a critic. If you want to hear the skinny on who’s hot and who’s not in the Pittsburgh brew scene, this is your Mean Girls table. Appropriate, given a fair number of pro brewers have been or are current members of this prestigious club.

May The Fourth, 4 p.m.: Soups done. Everyone lines up for a serving, kegs dripping with a foamy substance called Star San. Apparently, it’s an odorless, flavorless sanitizer that doesn’t taint the brew, so no need to rinse it out. Everyone uses it. Every beer you’ve ever drunk has had Star San in it, bro. Wild. Anywho, after they fill up, they take the kegs home and drop yeast into them, turning the soup into beer. I’m told this is a clever loophole in PA liquor laws. Take that, PLCB!

May The Fourth, 5 p.m.: ODBQ in Ambridge is killing the game! Seriously. Go eat there right now. Brisket and ribs are on point. Red beans and rice are the best I’ve had in this area. You’re welcome.

Cinco De Mayo, 5 p.m.: Work Hard basement for Drinking Partners, with guest host Jared Evans of Radical Trivia and Midknight Rose. Brew Master Nick Rosich of Penn Brew is in the building with some Penn Gold and Refreshin’ session IPA. None of us are wearing sombreros because none of us are Mexicans or assholes.

May 8, 7:30 p.m.: Cinderlands, Butler St. I’m supposed to be meeting with Mikey of Hitchhiker to go over proper etiquette when dealing with brewery staff.  More on that in my next entry. I run into Zack Ruskin of Morebeer, gifted brewer and one of the more knowledgeable fellows in the industry. Did you know diacetyl is the chemical compound in beer that leaves a butter popcorn aftertaste on the back of your tongue? Now we both do. I order a Plums in Retrograde Tartshake IPA, and it makes a strong argument for the best series running this year. Fun fact, there are two Cinderlands, one in Larryville and one in The Strip. Guess which one Mikey is at?

May 8, 8:30 p.m.: I ran into Aadam Soorma of Porter Tours on a Scoobi, before heading into the right Cinderlands. Scoobis like rent-a-scooters. They might be the best thing to happen to Pittsburgh transportation since… Well… Has anything good ever happened to Pittsburgh transportation?

I finally meet up with Mikey, and rock star Byron Nash is behind the taps! You may remember his performance and collaboration with Helltown, BLQ Metal, at Fresh Fest last year. He pours me a Pancake Galaxy – Blueberry Tartshake DIPA, 9.5%. What did I learn on my month off? How to appreciate every sip of this blessed nectar. Cheers!

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