By Day Bracey
Pittsburgh Current Craft Beer Writer
Oct 13, 9 a.m.: Pittsburgh Craft Beer Society has invited me to their second annual charity golf scramble at Moon Golf Club to benefit the Hollow Oak Land Trust and Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania. I’ve never golfed before, nor have my teammates Ed Bailey and Dr. Hawkins. Luckily, a scramble only counts the best shot from the team and we have been given a ringer, Steve Fernald of Bold Pittsburgh. He has his own gloves, clubs, balls, tees, and knows where the holes are located on the golf course. I brought a rusty, dusty bag of clubs I found in the shed, but abandon them as soon as I realize you should have more than four putters. Luckily, the club has clubs to rent. I’m told the purpose of this outing is not so much about getting the ball in the hole as it is getting the Fury Brewing Berliner Weiss into your belly. It was brewed especially for this event, has been conditioned on strawberries and lemons, and is called “Not Our Days,” a play on the cult classic “Naturdays” via Natural Light.
While I have you here, has anyone ever had Natural beer? I’ve had plenty of Natty Light and Natty Ice, but has anyone ever had Natural? Feels like a notch is missing on the drunken dial. If you have any information regarding its whereabouts, the people (me) at Pittsburgh Current are eager to hear your story!
Oct 13, 4 p.m.: I’m looking like a young Tiger Woods, they say! Very young. Toddler Tiger. I’m able to connect with the ball a little over once the entire game, and my furthest drive happens in the passenger seat of a golf cart. We’re given handfuls of beer to start, drink stations are set up all along the course, and there are roaming crews of beer bringers for anyone who may accidentally sober up between holes. You may be surprised to hear this, but much like everything else in life, golf gets harder the drunker you become. Despite my lack of skills, our team manages to come in first place! Maybe last place? Again, I’m not entirely sure how this game is structured. My Lyft arrives before I can figure it out.
Oct 15, 6 p.m.: Beer School is a long running monthly program hosted by Gene Ribnicki, held at the Cabaret Theater and funded by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Vecenie’s, one of Pittsburgh’s largest and oldest craft beer distributors, brings in brewers, owners, reps, and other industry folk to talk about beer. Each table of four is given food and about eight beers to sample while the interview takes place. Tonight we get to know the owner of Spring House Brewing in Lancaster, Dr. Nikki Keasey, and how her love of murdering yeast helps develop the strains we taste in our beers. Not the worst way to spend a Tuesday night, if you can get tickets, which are typically sold out.
Oct 19, 6 p.m.: Three Rivers Underground Brewers (TRUB) holds an annual beer festival to combat cystic fibrosis called Brewing Up A Cure. Dozens of award winning home brewers compete for bragging rights while people get shitfaced and try to remember which one they liked best. Hint: It’s either the first or the last one. The styles and flavors here are broad and well done. The difference between commercial and homebrew is the lack of a customer base demanding your menu be 98% hazy and 2% stout. There is so much more room for experimentation here than other festivals. I love all of the beers equally and could never decide on a favorite, but my plus one, Bay Dracey, said his was the Drunken Cobbler via Quattro Angeli Brewing, a golden sour brewed with peaches, apricots, brown sugar, vanilla, lactose, and baking spices. He said it tasted like his mother’s womb felt, and that’s when the convo got awkward and I decided to move onto the next entry.
Oct 27, 1 p.m.: I’m meeting with an old friend to catch up and throw down in Sharpsburg. The first stop is Dancing Gnome. It’s stout season, so Dead Sleep is the move, an 8% chocolate with a beautiful mouth feel and fluffy head. The vibe in here is extremely clean and fairly cult-like. I leave before they offer me any Fla-Vor-Aid.
Oct 27, 4 p.m.: Hitchhiker brewing just tapped Mashmallow, an 8.5% breakfast cereal stout made in collaboration with Leona’s Ice Cream. It tastes like the milk at the end of a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles. Worth mentioning is the purple, blueberry infused coffee sour, Next To Normal. It’s fruity, sour, coffee-ey, and nothing close to normal. Then again, what is normal in a world where Natural beer doesn’t exist?