By Day Bracey
Pittsburgh Current Craft Beer Writer
Nov. 14, 7 p.m.: I’m at Couch Brewery in Larimer for the semi-monthly meeting of the Three Rivers Underground Brewers. I don’t brew beer and have zero interest in ever doing so, but I am here to recruit a few good men to pour their art at our comedy shows. I order the only stout they have on tap since Couch is gearing up for their Blackout event on Saturday that will feature an exclusive lineup of stouts. I make myself comfortable while I wait for the meeting to begin, which is the easiest thing to do in this brewery. Let me state this for the record, Couch is the most comfortable brewery in America. It lives up to the name. The place is decked out with vintage couches and board games that make it feel like a gay man’s ultra lounge or a well-curated hippie van. There is a group of elderly ladies at a table sharing a beer, no doubt reminiscing on days when these surroundings brought more adventures, illicit drugs, and pregnancy scares.
Nov. 16, 4 p.m.: I’m at the Galleria of Mt. Lebanon for Farm to Table’s Harvest Tasting. There are dozens of booths representing small businesses from across the state. Elias Khouri, one of the area’s most talented guitarists, is casually playing light tunes while people peruse produce. My first stop is KingView Mead. They have a selection of ciders, meads, and wines that range from 5-12%. If I stand here long enough, I may catch a buzz. I’m most impressed by the spiced red wine. It’s dark, dry, and has hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. I imagine this would pair well with the racist uncle you’re trying to ignore at Thanksgiving this year.
Nov. 16, 5 p.m.: Uncle Jammy’s is here. If you recall, he paired with Recon Brewing at Fresh Fest for a 6%, dry-hopped, cranberry smoked ale called Smoke Ring & Mirrors. He has some of the best sauces and rubs in the city. I purchase a bottle of his famous “Burgh Seasoning,” then head over to the table next to him to purchase dry-aged beef from a local farmer to use it on because that’s the beauty of these Farm to Table events. You can plan a whole dinner and your dollar never has to leave the state. Better food for you, better roads and schools for our children.
Nov. 16, 6 p.m.: I run into a mom & pop cider shop called Tattiebogle Ciderworks. Now, I’m not the biggest cider fan, but good lord. The flavors and mouthfeel you get with this booze are noteworthy. Which is why I’m noting it. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and finishes dry, which leaves you wanting more. While here, I sample the dry-hopped, classic, and blackberry/cranberry versions of his ciders. They aren’t quite open yet, but they will soon be in business in the Laurel Highlands area as part of the Laurel Highlands Pour Tour. Well worth the trip!
Nov. 16, 7 p.m.: Before I go, I’m treated to a flavor adventure like none I’ve experienced before. Salsa Aguilar and Liberty Pole Spirits collaborated to make La Libertad, a spicy (like brown people spicy, not that gringo shit you get at Mad Mex), bourbon salsa with hella smoke and heritage. There are so many Mexican flavors on my tongue that ICE officials may confiscate my toothbrush later tonight.
Nov 22, 8 p.m.: I’m at City Theatre with Ed Bailey. We’ve been invited to watch “One Night in Miami,” a play about a night in Miami shared by Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown that led to the song “A Change is Gonna Come.” The bar has Penn Brew in bottles and some overly priced North Side whiskey that I can’t be bothered to waste money on. The Penn Dark is perfect for this all-Black production. First off, who knew these Black icons were pals?! It’s like they formed a supergroup after the Justice League told them they had filled their diversity quota. The set is beautiful and the entire play takes place in one room. There are only six cast members, and they are more than enough to keep my attention for 90 minutes. The dialogue is poignant, funny, thought-provoking, and reflective of the times both then and now. At times, I find myself challenged as a Black man who operates in predominantly white spaces. “Why are the light-skinned negroes always the most militant? Are you proving something to them or us?” So many questions raised with so few answers given. Written, directed, and starring Black men, this play certainly pairs well with that racist uncle you’re trying to educate this Thanksgiving. You can catch it now through Dec 1.