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.
Sept. 4, 11a.m.: I’m meeting with Mike Potter, and he shows up with a four pack of Equilibrium Energy Wave. It’s juicy, delicious, lives up to the hype, well worth the wait. I guess the squeaky wheel gets the juice.
Sept. 7, 8 p.m.: It’s the grand opening of Walter’s Southern BBQ in Larryville. Not many black-owned establishments on Butler Street, or anywhere in Pittsburgh for that matter, so I’m in the building to support. Folks are playing corn hole on the lawn, while the DJ spins hip-hop tunes near the bar. They have a short but impressive draft list. I order an East End Smokestack Heritage Porter and it tastes like sadness. Not because the beer was bad, but because it was a reminder that summer is coming to an end, and The Apumpkalypse nigh. It’s stouts like these that will see us through. I order the ribs, pork belly, greens, and mac. They serve the meat seasoned with no sauce.
Stop. Let me say that again.
They served the meat seasoned with no sauce! Traditional Pittsburgh BBQ, if there is such a thing, is typically a bland serving of meat heavily reliant on toppings and sauces to make it palatable. Something that would get you shut down immediately anywhere below the Mason Dixon, in this region is sold at a premium. There are a few exceptions in the city, and Walter’s is another to add to that short list. The thin-sliced, smoked pork belly isn’t even a thing I knew existed and now my arteries have a new nemesis. Praises be to pork. Yes, there are vegetarian options for the rabbits and, apparently, the lawn will be tented and heated. So, if you’ve been waiting for winter corn hole tournaments, 2018 is your year!
Sept. 7, 10 p.m.: Full Pint Wild Side. The BBGuns are playing tonight and I’m a fan. Tom Poet, the face of Full Pint, is in the building and we have a chat about beer. I order a Night of The Living Stout. Someone at the bar is ordering Uggs and spiced lattes. I just know it.
Me: What’s your biggest gripe in the beer industry?
Tom: Hype over substance. The gotta-have-new mentality. Doesn’t matter what it is. The beer can have weeds in it, but you gotta have it because it’s new. I’d love to go back to the days where people were like, “This brewery makes really solid beer,” not, “I’m at this brewery every couple of weeks, because they’re brewing something crazy.” You can listen to the hits. When you’re at a concert, you’re not screaming, “Play the new stuff!” You’re going to a concert because you want to hear the hits. Breweries gotta get back to playing the hits.
Sept. 8, 1 a.m.: His Royal Dudeness, an imperial white Russian stout brewed with Mindful Brewing, was my last call. It’s a niner. I didn’t know it was a niner. It certainly feels like a niner. I’m sitting with MULU, a young rapper from Uniontown who opened for BBGuns. He has high energy, substantive lyrics, and an old school vibe. He tells me his music is therapeutic, and he wants to help others find their purpose.
Me: How has the passing of Mac Miller affected you?
MULU: He was more of an inspiration than I even realized, simply because he wasn’t afraid to do his own shit. He was very serious about his craft, whether he was Mac, Larry Fisherman, or whatever. It sucks. And to anybody listening, check on your strong friend.
Sept. 8, 1:30 a.m.: I’m sitting with Barz Blackman & Lazy JP, the BBGuns. I’ve had their Thirst album on repeat for the past two days, and they were just as good in person.
Me: What is your sound?
BBGuns: I think it’s mixing hip-hop with more indie-rock, house music. We like sampling, synthetic beats, and more contemporary 808s and stuff, too. We’re fresh, but familiar. We’re trying to find that balance. I don’t think being innovative and catchy are mutually exclusive.
Me: If you had control of all the earth’s satellites and could get out one message before they cut you off, what would it be?
BBGuns: Be unapologetically you, but also be cool.
And with that, I’m out. You folks be cool. RIP Mac Miller.
Go check on your strong friends.