Day Drinking: Keeping Tabs On Pittsburgh’s Craft Beer Scene

By February 11, 2020 No Comments

Feb 7, 930p: I’m at Apis because the wifey got a hankering for mead and good conversation. You can find both here. Sara Marie, manager of this fine establishment, pours some Banana Nut Bread mead. It’s nutty and wild with honey, vanilla, and a hint of banana. I’m usually not a fan of banana-flavored anything, but this is more of a Nut Bread Banana than a Banana Nut Bread. It’s like Banana set you up on a blind date with Nut Bread, but isn’t actually with you on the date. In fact, you may not see Banana again until the wedding, but you’ll be eternally grateful for the introduction. Banana prefers an open bar situation and will bring a great gift to help offset the costs.

Feb 7, 945p: There’s a Greek food truck outside. I haven’t had a good gyro in a while!

Feb 7, 10p: I guess it’ll be a while longer before I get that good gyro. Not all lamb meat is created equally. And who owns a food truck with no hot sauce?! Luckily, Sara keeps some Sriracha in her purse. I don’t know how much she’s making, but this woman deserves a raise!

Feb 7, 1030p: We’re at Thunderbird Cafe for a free event hosted by DJ Big Phil, featuring a stacked lineup including Mars Jackson, Bill Henry, & Benji. They’re taking canned good donations at the door. I haven’t been to Thunderbird since the remodel; it’s unrecognizable. So much space. Two floors. Stone and exposed brick walls. A huge stage and dance floor. Long bar with monitors displaying the craft beer menu. Easily one of the best mixed-use venues in the city. My production gears get to turning. The place is packed with Pittsburgh’s youthful notables: DJ Femi, Joel Carter of BBGuns, Cody Baker of Creatives Drink. I feel like the old creep at a frat party. I order a barrel aged stout to complete the look.

Feb 8, 730p: I’m at Spirit for the third annual Rhapsody in Brew, a home brew competition event to benefit the Edgewood Symphony. “Local brewers compete for home brew superiority while attendees get to sample the many beers and enjoy live music by the Bartlett Street Quartet, and Dennis Cline.” Many of the TRASH & TRUB faithful are in attendance. I’ve only got 90 minutes left to take this flavor ride, with Pete Paredes as my guide. So, let’s get to it!

First up is a Dunkel, brewed by Rich Romanko. It’s bready and malty and delicious, and indicative of a man known as one of the best brewers in Western PA.

Next up is the Door Top/Bash Brew collab, “Thicc Flair.” It’s a strawberry milkshake IPA with hella starbursts thrown into the mix. Have I expressed to you my love for lactose?

“You’ve gotta try this hazy on the other side of the room!” Ok. “Here Comes Sunshine” is a 7.2% NEIPA from New Minglewoods Brew and also how folks typically describe my entrance into rooms. Citra, Mosaic, & Pacific Gem are the tri-hop combo that give this ale the rave inducing complexity.

Just then, I bump into the other Black people in the room. They seem pretty cool. We discuss Fresh Fest while sipping “Schminty Mint Stout” from Long Shot Brewing Co. It’s easily one of the best stouts I’ve had this season. Just the right amount of mint to entertain yet not offend. At 6.7%, I can have a couple and not lose my shit.

“Fall Wildflower” is a “barrel aged blended mixed fermentation golden ale,” via Matt Firetto. “CNC Vienna malt biere de garde & rye saison base beers. Bottle conditioned with fall wildflower honey, lemon, figs, and cinnamon.” Long story short, this shit fire! It gets ya here, and it gets ya right here! Pow! Right in the kisser!

I’m not into ciders all like that. However, I’m into Scott Miller Brewing ciders. They’re soft and non-carbonated. Warm with subtle cinnamon to cuddle your taste buds next to a fireplace. Don’t tell anybody this, but apparently you can make a +20% abv version of this same drink if you freeze then extract the liquid portion of it. You ever have an “ice” beer? Same process, but less trash and far more inebriation. “I say +20% because that’s as high as my instrument can measure.” In this purely hypothetical situation, I would greatly enjoy a sip of this fine elixir. In theory, it’d be the best thing I partake in at this event.

Feb 8, 930p: I’m at The Abbey for the Late Night Drag Brunch fundraiser, a pj party organized by Ali Wyrostek of Rhinegheist Brewing for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Ali was the first beer rep to appear on the Drinking Partners podcast and sponsor our Night of EPIC Comedy. I can honestly say that our journey in craft beer would be drastically altered without her support. I can honestly say this event would be drastically altered without the fab drag in attendance. Speaking of which, Penguin Nitro is the drink la nuit. A creamy blonde stout with coffee & cocoa nibs. It’s essentially a dark beer masquerading as a light ale. Well played, Ali. Well played.

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