Editor’s Note: Day Bracey is a stand-up comedian and host of the Drinking Partners Podcast on the Epicast Network. He chronicles Pittsburgh’s craft-beer scene for the Pittsburgh Current.
Oct. 13, 10 a.m.: I’m cleaning up trash at the Millvale Riverfront Park with Allegheny CleanWays as part of the Follow These Rivers Festival. Its aim is to save the ocean from humans and their plastic addiction. I come across a whole hubcap and at first I’m confounded as to how it got there. Then it turns into dread as I imagine the rest of the car is somewhere near, and possibly a body or two with it. I’ve seen this “Volunteer Finds Corpse Along Riverbank” story on the news before and I’m not emotionally stable enough for it. Maybe I should find another patch of trail to clean up.
Oct. 13, 12 p.m.: Did I mention I was also hosting this festival? It’s being held at a place on the North Side that makes expensive, mediocre alcohol. After paying $10 for a cocktail that barely raises my inebriation, I decide this isn’t a viable choice for all day festival drinking. I grab a flask of whiskey and the cashier wants $24. Guess I’ll have to make a trip to the state store for some pocket liquor. But before I do, let me have one of those Shubrew Jungle Boot IPA pounders.
Oct. 13, 9 p.m.: What a festival! Four stages, 20 artists. A few standout performances included Pierce Dipner and The Shades of Blue, BBGuns, James Drakes and CT3, The Whiskey Hollow and the cashier at the liquor store on East Ohio who told me about the whiskey sale they had going. I saved about $3. I hope someone gives her a raise.
Oct. 18, 7 p.m.: I’m hosting Hurry Up and Say Something Funny. It’s a monthly comedy show at Apis Mead where comedians do crowd work and heckling is strongly encouraged. It’s my favorite show to host because the people are always awesome, the comics are spontaneous, and the mead makes for a debaucherous and raunchy evening. For those who don’t know, mead is a honey wine. For those that do know, Dave makes his taste more like juice than dessert wine, and that can be dangerous when a glass ranges from 8%-14%. It’s like a Capri Sun for adults who feel memory is more of an option than a necessity. Dave Cerminara recently moved locations and built the new place with comedy in mind. It’s the most beautiful stage you’ll see in a brewery, and he just added pinball machines in the back. I start my night with a blackberry-raspberry mead clocking in at 8.5%. It warms the soul on a chilly autumn eve.
Oct. 18, 11 p.m.: I’m with Nathan, a tap tender at Apis, and Sara, a newly promoted manager. Enough people interview Dave. I want to know what the people working there think of the joint.
Me: Why do you work here?
Nathan: There’s this craft beer boom in Pittsburgh, and mead is on the edge of that. Eventually, some breweries will thrive and some will fall off. But I feel like we’ll do well in the long term with the way we’re set up. We don’t have sports on the TV, we have video games, board games, and we encourage people to converse. We’re offering something a little different here.
Sara: I knew Dave since he worked at Penn Brewery. He called me about six months after he opened and asked if I could help. It’s very family-like here. We do fun shit like field trips and Christmas parties. I also love the product. It’s something you can stand behind.
Me: Who was your favorite comic tonight?
My Inner Voice: Of course you were, Day Bracey. The way you get up there and mumble drunken slurs into a microphone is pure genius. Can you sign this picture of you for my grandmother? You’re on her bucket list.
Nathan: I thought Helen Wildy held her own. She kept coming at people. She wasn’t afraid of the blank stares. She did a good job of powering through it and getting some good ribs in. You’ve got to respect perseverance when you’re doing this kind of a show.
Sara: I like Alex Homyak. He was just so funny and went in on everybody immediately.
Cat Bruno (My permanent designated driver): I’m not answering that. Are you ready to go?