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

By October 11, 2019 No Comments

By Day Bracey
Pittsburgh Current Craft Beer Writer

Sept. 9, 8 p.m.: I’m at Tony Luke’s, a sandwich shop in Philly. For over a decade I’ve been an avid fan of cheesesteaks and rabid hunter of the best in the city. What I was not aware of was the secret lovechild sandwich Philly kept on tuck called roast pork. It’s basically shaved pork loin on a roll with sharp cheddar and broccoli rabe, a weird baby broccoli that they cook up like spinach and spread onto the sandwich. The two most popular spots – Dinic’s and John’s – are closed. So, I’m at the bronze winner. It’s not a bad sandwich. Sharp, juicy, cheesy, doughy, and sour. It’s weird as hell. Not something I’d eat daily, but would definitely recommend it to a friend. You’re my friend, right?

Sept. 10, Noon: I’m back at The Other Half Brewing in Brooklyn. I’m in town for the Wine Enthusiast 40 under 40 party, but check in at the AirBnB isn’t until three. I kill time with the most expensive pounder I’ve ever drank in my life. They don’t do flights, but you can purchase 4oz pours for $4 each. A 4 for $4 for Forbes. Your choices are 38 NEIPAs, four heavy stouts, a pils, and a heffe. I go with a crispy boi, two hazies, and a stout. I would not recommend this. For the same money, I could have had two 12-ounce pours of heavy ale and not felt like a used condom afterwards. Instead, I’m gauging the clarity of this 4%, $4 4oz pilsner while admiring the malt build or whatever bullshit people say when drinking well-crafted lawnmower beers. I leave with a four pack of Triple Cream, a 10.5% oatmeal hazy. My drunk doesn’t match my tab, but you win some and you lose some, mostly the latter in this city.

 Sept. 10, 4 p.m.: They failed to mention that the on-site parking at this AirBnB is an additional $75/day.

Sept 10, 7 p.m.: We arrive at the Wine Enthusiast party and are greeted with pastrami sandwiches and merlot. I brought a can of pickled peppers to the affair. It’s the only thing I make with my hands that is worth ingesting. Lauren Buzzeo, Managing Editor, is appreciative of the gesture. Everyone is in his or her finest threads. I’m rocking a Fury Brewing x Knotzland Fresh Fest collab bowtie. The room is filled with successful people looking to become more successful through connections they’ll drunkenly make and likely forget once the booze wears off. But it’s fun to pretend that this is the most impactful conversation you’ll have this year, hour, fourth minute. One person of note was author Em Sauter, a mousy white woman with a librarian demeanor who draws comics about craft beer, Pints And Panels. Her knowledge is only out-matched by her intrigue and interest in beer, and the stories surrounding it. In a sea of personalities vying for attention, she stood out as an island of tranquility and reality.

Sept. 10, 10 p.m.: I don’t know if this is the best jerk chicken I’ve ever had in my life, or it’s just the booze talking. What I can tell you is that it came from an Arab dude in a cart on a corner in Greenwich Village and is better than anything you’ll pay three times as much for in Pittsburgh. Have I mentioned that diversity is a strength?

Sept. 11, 11 a.m.: My fiancé accidently pokes a hole in one of the cans of Triple Cream. My choices include getting drunk at 11 a.m. or letting the beer go or  getting drunk at 11am.

Sept. 11, Noon: What better way to soak up a triple IPA than with chicken and waffles from Brooklyn? If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend Sweet Chick. The staff was entirely female, mostly black, and the patrons were so diverse I thought they were filming an after-school special. They even have vegetarian fried chicken for the people who have trouble fully committing to vegetables or healthy dieting.

Sept. 11, 2 p.m.: Garrett Oliver needs no intro, but for those who don’t know he’s maybe the most famous and well dressed brewer in the world, and happens to be black. He’s the Master Brewer at Brooklyn Brewing, which today I learned created the concept of collaborations in brewing. We’re given a private tour and history lesson of the brewery and sample a few of their wares, my favorite being the Key  Lime Gose. He gives us some tips on finding success in the industry, which includes persistent emailing, before leaving us to cook a five-course quail dinner for 35 lucky New Yorkers. There are some Swedes in the building for some kind of corporate outing. Did you know Sweden was the largest consumer of Brooklyn Brewing outside of Brooklyn? One of them comes over and points to the colorful six pack of Berliner Weisse he just acquired from the gift shop. “Super cool, yah?”

Super cool, indeed, Sven.

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