Monthly Archives: June 2010

BYOB: TDY @ The Fajita Grill

TDY enjoyed a nice BYOB night at a great local restaurant, The Fajita Grill

From left to right:  Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale, Breckenridge Summer Bright Ale, O’Fallon Hemp Hop Rye, Dogfish Head Pangaea, Widmer Drifter Pale Ale, Ithaca Partly Sunny Belgian Wit and Yards Pale Ale.

While selecting the beers for dinner we kept a few things in mind.  What’s for dinner?  What’s the weather?  and What haven’t I had before?  IPAs are not best suited for spicy foods.  Hops will accentuate the spice.  Mostly we wanted a light, crisp, refreshing beer to keep us cool but provide some taste while not overwhelming our wonderful mexican dinner.

Dinners with beer pairings:

  1. Grilled Enchilada w/ Caribbean Chicken and Mole sauce.  Paired with Breckenridge Summer Bright Ale and Yards Pale Ale.  The Breckenridge was perfect with this meal.  It was crisp and clean tasting, with just enough flavor/bitterness to cut the mole sauce’s sweetness.  The Yards Pale Ale was a good beer, but was slightly too hoppy for this meal.  The hop flavor overwhelmed the meal. – Jake
  2. Grilled Enchilada w/ Caribbean Chicken and Mole sauce.  Paired with O’Fallon Hemp Hop Rye and Widmer Drifter Pale Ale. I hadn’t tried either of these beers prior to this dinner. While I can’t say one was the clear winner when paired with the food, I can say that both did a nice job of accentuating the overly sweet mole sauce. With the sauce’s prominent cocoa taste and lack of any heat, each beer took on a pairing role we couldn’t have predicted with Mexican food, yet proved versatile and complemented the warm summer night nicely. No complaints from me. – Mark
  3. Grilled Enchilada w/ Chicken and Red sauce.  Paired with Flying Dog Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale and Ithaca Partly Sunny Belgian Wit.
  4. Salmon and Shrimp in Salsa DeMango.  Paired with Dogfish Head Pangaea.  I brought the Pangea with me, but was a bit skeptical about finding some mexican dishes to pair with it.  Knowing that the Pangaea is brewed with crystallized ginger I was looking for something sweet to complement the spicy/sweetness of the ginger.  This paired perfectly with the fruity citrus notes of the mango salsa and citrus glaze.  The ginger really exploded off of the tongue.  The meal itself was excellent and the side patio at fajita grill is an excellent place to spend a summer evening – Tim

Pennsylvania Microbrewers Fest 2010 (hosted by Penn Brewery)

Date : June 5, 2010

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Since today Jake and I are going to the Sharp Edge European Beer Festival, I thought it would be a good idea to finally post about the Penn Microbrewers Fest that took place earlier this month.  As you might be able to tell, there was a lot of rain during the first session and a good portion of the area flooded but we still managed to have a great time.  The attendance was still very good with beer lovers near and far flocking to the North Side’s Penn Brewery to sample some delicious beer.  Most brewers featured a special release beer in the last 45 minutes of the session such as East End’s Black Strap Stout on cask, Smuttynose Wheat Wine, Green Flash Palete Wrecker and Victory’s Wild Devil.  Jake and I were surprised to be handed tasting glasses made out of actual glass  (a lot of brewfests tend to get rowdy and lead to breakage….).  Overall I was very pleased with the variety available.  It was just so hard to get to them all in 3 hours!

Brew fest 2010 014

Scott’s getting the Black Strap Stout ready on cask.  I just happened to be first in line!  I was very excited to see some of my favorite breweries (in addition to East End), in attendance.  Ommegang 3 Philosophers was available which is still one of my top 10 favorite beers of all time.  Green Flash brought some great brews including a special IPA, the Palate Wrecker, which was a wonderfully complex imperial IPA.  Brooklyn Brewery also brought their Local 1 and Local 2 beers which are liquid testaments to what good American brewers can accomplish.  We had lots of good conversations with Pittsburgh brewers and beer lovers which only confirmed our belief that Yinzers are ready for better beer!   For $40, the TDY guys got a glass, lunch, live music, and 3 hours of great beer: a pretty good value in my book.

An Intrepid Beer Drinker Braves the Flood to get to Sly Fox

 Since 2/3 of TDY was at the early session, we grabbed an Allegheny Pale at the Penn Brewery then made the trip downtown to the Three Rivers Arts Festival.  We arrived just in time to catch Guster live on stage.  What a weekend!

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What TDY Drank at the Penn Brewfest…

Jake is just happy to be at Penn

My favorite is probably still Ommegang’s 3 Philosophers.  I think the nice surprises here were East End Black Strap on cask, Smuttynose Wheat Wine, Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker IPA and the beers from Southern Tier.  The rest are listed in order of tasting with a few comments about the flavor.
  1. Brooklyn Local 1 – nice Belgian Ale some interesting flowery notes that you won’t find in a lot of belgians.
  2. Boulder Flashback India Brown Ale – Hoppy with a lot of Cascade hop flavor but not much maltiness as per a normal brown.
  3. Ommegang 3 Philosophers – Simply amazing.  Always in my top 10 favorite beers.
  4. Green Flash Hop Head Red – lots of cascade aroma.  nicely balanced.
  5. East End Big Hop – Always good!  Got to see Scott and talk to some East End employees.
  6. Main St. Brewing Black Watch Ale – a wonderful sweetness.  aroma similar to Magic Hat #9.
  7. Philadelphia Fleur de Lehigh – very similar to a Kolsch beer with a touch of honey.  interesting palette…
  8. Rust Belt Old Man Hopper IPA – not too hoppy. good hop and malt balance.
  9. Appalachian Brewing Espresso Stout – all about the coffee here.  Very strong taste but nicely balanced by the malts.  Lacks some body…
  10. Appalachian Scothish Ale – very very malty taste, red in color with little to no hop presence
  11. August Schell Firebrick – tastes much like a traditional lager/ lighter beer with just a tad more flavor.
  12. August Schell Hopfenmalz – a lightly hopped German style lager
  13. Smuttynose IPA – lot of cascade aroma with a nice bitter aftertaste.  All about the cascade!
  14. Victory Helios – A belgian farmhouse ale.  A nice flowery smell and a nice blend of spice.  Really quite good.
  15. North Country Stout – nice roastiness to the aroma and taste.  Smooth and Silky!  very drinkable…
  16. Main St. Porter – Roasted and creamy tastes with a slight touch of caramel.  Well balanced but with a kind of interestingly sweet aftertaste.
  17. Lancaster Rumspringa – A golden bock.  Has a spicy aroma similar to a real pilsner but is actually a semi-sweet and very drinkable, thirst quenching beer.
  18. Sly Fox Pale Ale – lots of cascade aroma.  Light and crisp, skips any real malty character.
  19. East End Black Strap Stout (on Cask) – very smooth with some nice roasted character.  the cask really brings out some oak tones.  I got the first glass (except for Scott!)
  20. Green Flash Palate Wrecker IPA – this is a really wonderful IPA.  Lots of cascade with a crisp taste and that wonderful aftertaste in the back of your jaw.
  21. Green Flash IPA – a great summer IPA, crisp, clean, perfect about of hop/bitterness
  22. Southern Tier Unearthly Imperial IPA – nice hop balance that’s not overwhelming.  Crisp and clean.
  23. Southern Tier Iniquity Black Ale – very drinkable for a black ale.
  24. Flying Dog Garde Dog
  25. Smuttynose Wheat Wine – sweet with a touch of that traditional wheat flavor.  Complex flavor profile that is reminiscent of a Trippel but not quite as sweet.
  26. Victory Wild Devil – beautiful flowery smell, strong with a slightly acidic aftertaste.
  27. Troegs Hopback Amber – dryhopped.  Smooth and well balanced between the hops and malt.
  28. Rust Belt Furnace Blast – solid, smooth beer with a light malty taste
  29. Full Pint Chinookie IPA – it’s a gateway IPA

Cheers to Black Strap Stout on Cask!

Weekend Preview 6/25/2009

Lots of great stuff going on in Pittsburgh this weekend…

Tonight the TDY guys will be enjoying dinner at a local Mexican BYOB restaurant (The Fajita Grill http://www.thefajitagrill.com/) so look for our food/beer pairings in a future post.  Afterwards we might take in some live music : There’s two great options tonight…

The Pittsburgh Blues Festival kicks off at Hartwood acres  http://www.pghblues.com/ and the 13th Annual WYEP Summer Music Festival at Schenley Park

http://www.wyep.org/events/event.php?event_id=1539

Saturday : Soccer and Beer

We’re looking forward to taking in the U.S./Ghana game (2:30 PM) at a fine local establishment.  On to any good places?  Let us know.  Wherever you decide to go make sure to get there early! 

Saturday is the Sharp Edge Brewfest which is one of the largest all European beer festivals in the country!  The beer festival is located in the parking lot of the East Liberty location (302 S. St. Clair St.)  There are two sessions (3 and 7 PM) and tickets are $50 if they aren’t already sold out.   http://www.sharpedgebeer.com/beerfest.htm

Sunday

If you haven’t had your fill of soccer yet, Germany plays England  at 10 AM.  This game should be awesome!  Maybe you can get up early enough to score a spot at Piper’s or Harp and Fiddle.

Terrapin Tasting at Bocktown

 

The TDY guys rode out the thunderstorms tonight at Bocktown in Robinson Township.  We tasted three beers from Terrapin Brewing Co. : Sunray Wheat, Indian Brown Ale, and Captain Krunkles black IPA.  The Sunray Wheat is a lighter wheat beer but most likely brewed with German wheat yeast that gives it notes of banana and clove.  The Indian Brown was overall the TDY favorite with a nice hoppy aroma with hints of cascade and something a bit stronger.  The light bitterness is complimented well by the slightly biscuity malt ending with a touch of sweetness.  A very smooth beer with complex flavors and a healthy body.  The Captain Krunkles Dark IPA was a surprise as the darker malts hide all of the bitterness of this 90 IBU brew.  Terrapin uses about 6 different hops in this one : Warrior, Columbus, Nugget, Centennial, Simcoe, and Ahtanum.

http://www.terrapinbeer.com/

After tasting the Terrapin offering, we settled down to do some real drinking and have some grub.  Jake enjoyed the Bluepoint Toasted Lager which is Yuengling-esque and is pretty refreshing on a hot summer day.  Mark had the New Holland Mole Ocho which was rich and malty with some of the traditional smokiness of a Mexican Mole’ sauce, but lacked some of the characteristic spiciness.  He followed this one up with the Oskar Blues 10-Fidy though which is a wonderfully complex imperial stout.  Its thick and creamy with a great head and overflowing with delicious roasted malts!  A real winner, the 10-Fidy may have been the highlight of the night.

For those who have never been to Bocktown before, they have great fries that you can order with any of about 40 different toppings ranging from Kalamata Olives to cheese and all many of other sauces.  The largest size is called “The Yinzer” and being the Drunk Yinzers decided we had to try it at least once.  Warning!!!  This is not for the faint of heart or appetite!  The picture above shows Mark taking in all the glory of our cheese and jalapeno yinzer fries.  This comes with a freaking pizza stand, people!  Those BoI rounded out the night with the Terrapin Hop Karma IPA which is pretty dark for an IPA  and with a malty sweetness that is uncharacteristic for an IPA, but the bitterness complements these flavors even if its somewhat underwhelming.  The He’brew Rejewvenator is a Belgian style Dubbel and represents this style faithfully.

Note that Bocktown has tastings every Wednesday featuring different breweries.  Next week is Boulder Beer.  Check out the website to see who else is coming.  We always have a great time at Bocktown on any night of the week!

http://www.bocktown.com/artman2/publish/events/Beer_Tastings_13.shtml

BOCKTOWN BONUS!!!!  We spotted a young lady wearing a Polygamy Porter tshirt.  This is one of our favorite brews from UINTA brewing in Salt Lake City, UT.  Their slogan is “Why Have Just One?”.

The 9th Annual Ohiopyle Beer and Gear Festival

This past weekend the TDY guys enjoyed some outdoor time at Ohiopyle.  It’s always nice to get out of the city once in a while.  The weekend was capped with a nice little trip to the 9th Annual Beer and Gear fest hosted by the Wilderness Voyagers.  This is the first time any of the TDY guys have attended and we were all pretty impressed with the atmosphere.  This is just a good old fashioned simple beer festival: a bunch of good local brews, live music, and a beautiful summer day.  Among the best surprises were small brewers Mountain State Brewing Co. (Thomas, WV) and Voodoo Brewing (Meadville, PA)  that brought several very solid brews.

http://www.voodoobrewery.com/       http://www.mountainstatebrewing.com/

Voodoo brought a great sort of Imperial Pilsner (Pilzilla 7% ABV), an IPA, and a very wild Love Child (brewed with raspberries, cherries, passionfruit).  The Pilzilla was a great surprise with an excellent dryness most likely from Czech Saaz hops.   A favorite for those of us that like a touch of sweetness in a summer brew, the Love Child is a very complex and fruity beer with a nice malt balance.  I can’t find enough good things to say about the Love Child but it is definitely polarizing in tastes as people seem to either love it or hate it.  Mountain State brought the Cold Trail Ale (think summer Kolsch style), Amber, and Seneca IPA.  All of Mountain State’s offerings were very solid and refreshing.  I especially liked the Seneca IPA which featured some Cascade hop aroma and provided a crisp flavor with a nice bitter aftertaste.  Directly across from the beer festival, we refueled at the Falls City Restaurant and Pub with some great sandwiches and a pint of Thirsty Dog’s Old Leghumper.

 

A great value at $15, the Beer and Gear fest comes with an actual pint glass and live entertainment. Overall, I think the festival may have been a little bit light on the gear (although a representative from Thule rack systems was in attendance), but a good smattering of local brews was available.  The TDY guys look forward to future visits to the Beer and Gear festival and hope to see some growth in the coming years.

Other Breweries/Beer  in attendance: Otto’s Brewpub, North Country Brewing, Victory, Great Lakes Blackout Stout, Rivertowne Pour House, Rock Bottom, Penn Brewery, Leinenkugel’s, Oskar Blues, Erie Brewing Co., and Full Pint Brewing.

Best Beer Tshirt

We saw Big Sky Moose Drool and Alaskan Pale Ale tshirts but the fellow in the picture below wins handily…..

What We Drank at Beer and Gear…..

We tasted a lot of beers at the Beer and Gear festival.  Here’s what we thought about a few of them…

  1. Voodoo Pilzilla (Tim) – really is a pilsner on steroids.  Crisp and refreshing lager with a wonderfully dry finish.
  2. Voodoo Brown (Jake) – little roast/coffee flavor, dry and a touch of bitterness but still smooth.  a great fall beer!
  3. North Country Pale Ale (Tim) – nice coppery/caramel color. a bit light on hops but an interesting aftertaste which is an interesting mixture of the malt bill and a touch of the hop aftertaste.
  4. Erie Railbender  (Tim) – light on the aroma but with a complex oaky flavor.  a nice hop/malt balance.
  5. Voodoo IPA (Jake) – most likely dry hopped with several hop varietals as the aroma is complex but the IPA is not overly bitter making this a very smooth beer.  (Tim) – complex hop pallet with a dry aftertaste. 
  6. Mtn. State Cold Trail (Tim) – clean and crisp golden brew (think kolsch)
  7. Mtn. State Amber (Jake) – a very solid amber entry.  a smooth brew that has a well balanced malt bill.  does not end with an overly malty taste like so many ambers do.
  8. Mtn. State Seneca IPA (Tim) – great aroma with some cascade and other varietals.  very good bitterness profile at the end.  a nice complete IPA. 
  9. Otto’s Apricot Wheat (Tim) –  lots and lots of apricot flavor. reminiscent of a pyramid apricot ale but a bit light on the wheat/malt flavor.
  10. Great Lakes Blackout Stout (Tim) – smooth as velvet with a hint of roast malt and a nice thickness ending in a creamy aftertaste.  great stout!
  11. Voodoo Love Child (Tim) – a complex summer fruit beer.  people seem to either love it or hate it due to the residual sweetness. 
  12. Erie Misery Bay IPA (Tim) – crisp but not too hoppy.  a dry aftertaste with lingering hop residue (on the tongue not the back of the jaw)
  13. Victory Sunrise Weissbeer (Tim) – nice belgian style white beer.  a spiciness reminiscent of coriander comes through.    a good beer but perhaps not all that aptly named.
  14. Fatheads Coffee Stout (Tim) – all about the coffee flavor which is really overpowering.  not much body or head retention.
  15. Voodoo White Magic (Tim) – spicy aftertaste reminiscent of black pepper which makes this a very interesting take on the Belgian White style.
  16. North Country Breakfast Mild (Tim) – similar malt bill to the NC Pale Ale but with a less obtrusive hop profile.