February 2, Noon: I’m meeting up with Aadam Soorma, a man of many hustles. Today’s venture is Porter Tours, a school bus that takes you to fun places like breweries and other breweries. The tour lasts four hours, includes three stops, three free samples at each and a worldly tour guide to edutain and avoid DUIs. They play music, provide snacks to keep you based and hydrated, and meet at Nova Place. So, don’t worry about parking, plenty of cheap space in the garage. I would suggest bringing a growler, something I neglected to do. Something I often neglect to do. Someday, I’m going to research how many growlers are sold to people who have 37 empties in their dining room. I know the number is greater than zero.
I’m joined by two older couples from Ohio, and a younger couple on their third Porter Tour. Everyone is friendly and eager to imbibe. It feels like we’re doing something wrong. Like the cool kids stole a bus and took it for a joyride. Fugees are playing through the speakers, so it definitely feels like high school again. And much like high school, I’m fairly stoned and ready for whatever.
February 2, 12:15 p.m.: First stop is Bier’s Pub on Western Ave. The place is packed, but fortunately we called ahead. The owner/brewer Jake Bier serves us samples, gives us a tour and even lights a fireplace for us. Still not sure if Bier is his real last name, or a stage name. Thinking of changing mine to Day Poordrunk.
February 2, 1:27 p.m.: We’re at Full Pint Wild Side. I sip Swedish Designed Furniture, a 4.5 percent lingonberry Berliner Weisse. It’s tart, but not crazy sour. If I haven’t mentioned it before, let me say it now. Full Pint WIld Side has two of the most shittable bathrooms in the beer industry. They’re unisex, clean, the toilet seats are of adequate size, and they’ve got candles and deodorizer. I didn’t actually shit while there, so no review of the ply count. But I would be surprised to see less than two in such a well-thought-out inhouse.
February 2, 3:01 p.m.: We have arrived at our final stop. Spring Hill is located in the cut, at the top of a murderhorn in the Northside. You know that street off of route 28 that was built as a one way path for welterweight horses carrying small loads, but now somehow acts as a two street for Semis and Hummers? Yeah, that one. Hats off to Aadam for managing to drive a bus on the street equivalent of a tightrope, at a 90 degree angle.
Like most difficult journeys, what awaited us at the end was well worth it. The India Pale Vortex is like a saison IPA, brewed with Kveik yeast. I first encountered this yeast at Hitchhiker and have been a fan of it everywhere and in every iteration I find it. Get you some, son.
February 2, 5:05 p.m.: The tour is over and I get a chance to sit with Aadam for a quick interview. I order a goat cheese mushroom pizza from Michigan & Trumbull, and something dark and barreled from the bar.
Me: You do a lot. How did you get into this gig trade? Did you get out of college thinking you were going to have one job that paid all of your bills and raised your family until you died?
AS: It all started in Ohio. I grew up in Canton, & went to OSU and studied journalism thinking I was going to be a writer. When I finished in 2010, I couldn’t find a job. So, I ended up taking a position as a French translator for a company in Montreal.
Me: So, you speak French?
AS: And Hindi. And I can read and write Arabic. English is my second language.
Me: Small flex.
AS: Tiny language flex. Do you speak any other languages?
Me: English and bad English.
AS: After that translating job, I randomly applied to grad school and got into CMU, which brought me to Pittsburgh. I got a Master’s degree in Public Policy, then got a job with the United Nations in DC managing their social media. Afterwards, I went to an ad agency in Philly servicing NASA. Then in 2012, I came back to Pittsburgh to help my buddies start a co-working space called Beauty Shop. And in 2017 I started my own hospitality based media company, WHOM Creative.
This interview went on for another 30 minutes. But this struggling college dropout needs to go reevaluate his poor life decisions and work ethic. Preferably under the influence…