By Day Bracey
Pittsburgh Current Craft Beer Writer
April 7, 2 p.m.: The fucking world is burning!
March 7, 6 p.m.: I’m at Stick City Brewing in Mars, PA. As the name suggests, mostly sticks, not a lot of city. The weather is fairly decent and there is a fire out back for the folks. The place is packed and very few seats are available. No flights, so I grab a 10oz glass of “Dark Wilderness,” a 6.8% stout with “roasty scents and flavors of dried fig, dark chocolate, and a touch of silked espresso.” Sometimes, I take pictures of the menus like a real journalist. I grab a seat at a high table next to one of the local regulars and fire up a conversation that doesn’t involve awkward silence after inevitably veering into political beliefs, as is ought to happen after prolonged drunken discussions with older white burbans. He gives me a background of the craft scene in the area, the folks he likes and dislikes, and some recommendations on booze. I order a “4WD” hazy IPA. No description necessary, it’s hazy and IPA. Very well done. We exchange a couple of “Fuck Trumps” and I’m off to the next boozery.
March 7, 8 p.m.: I’m at On The Point Brewing. They have a lot of TVs and they also serve beer here.
March 7, 9 p.m.: Missing Links is also packed. We made it just in time to catch the end of the live band’s set. I order a flight from the diverse menu and chat it up with co-owner Dan Kos who gives me a fine education of the various styles I’m enjoying. “We only use four ingredients here.” My favorite combination of those four comes in the form of “Bigfoot ESB,” a 5.8% English Ale that is “evenly balanced between malt and hops with a slightly spicy and sweet profile.” Sometimes, I take pictures of the menus like a real journalist.
March 11, 9 p.m.: We just wrapped up our first in-person staff meeting for Fresh Fest, only to find out Tom Hanks has the Rona, and the NBA just canceled the rest of the season. Looks like this will be our last in-person meeting for a while. I should probably go grab some beer and maybe some toilet paper. Shit just got… reel.
March 17, 2 p.m.: I stop by the local beer distributor to panic shop. The place is decimated. Luckily, I’ve been recently exposed to a couple of overlooked gems. Namely Troegs “Haze Charmer,” a 5.5% dry-hopped pale ale, and Sly Fox “Softly Falling Darkness,” a 5.9% oatmeal stout and by far one of my favorite new beers this season. Have I mentioned how much I’m loving these lower ABV options with full body and flavor? Don’t get me wrong; my heart will always belong to 9% imperial breakfast pastry beasts with everything thrown into the mash except a few fucks to offer the style guidelines, but there is a time and place for everything. And sometimes, I want all the roasty, toasty goodness with a stout core and a light hammer. Bang the drum slowly.
March 21, 2 p.m.: You might be sick of hearing about Apis Meadery but there are other columns to read. It’s one of the few vices the lady and I can both enjoy. They have pick-up bottle service to combat the spread of the Rona. We call in advance, place the order and pay over the phone, and are greeted at the car by a gloved & masked employee. WHO approved service.
March 21, 3 p.m.: I get a call from a friend. “You want to grab some Birdfish?” I don’t not want to grab some Birdfish.
March 21, 4 p.m.: We arrive at Birdfish and there is a food truck outside. I just ate, but order a grilled cheese anyway, because I may be the last customer they see for the foreseeable future. We head inside and grab some four-packs of “The Dude” imperial white Russian stout (I prefer the term “coffee blonde”), a growler of “Dope,” a beautiful specimen of hazy IPA, and some other things that slip my mind. I don’t always take pictures of the menu like real journalists. The grilled cheese is perfectly crisp with buttery edges. A solid base for the pounding about to take place.
March 21, 4:30 p.m.: Fuel is $1.85 here. The world may be burning, but at least we have cheap gasoline to pour on the flames.