Monthly Archives: September 2010

Ja! Das Ist Gut! Oktoberfest at Penn Brewing

Last night TDY was present at the Penn Oktoberfest.  What a perfectly run event.  The party was very very packed, yet all lines moved quickly.  There  were several beer lines and they all moved tons of people through very quickly.  The food line worked like clockwork.  The men’s line was non-existant, all thanks to the porta-john trough.  This was the best porta-john system of all the beer/festivals of the year!!!  I think Mayor Luke should hire the Penn staff to organize the bus lines for the city.

So much to talk about in such little time.  Let’s start with the beer.  Penn was serving all the hits.  We personally drank the Oktoberfest all night.  Pitchers were 1/2 gallon plastic jugs.  Beer and food were cash only.  After a few pitchers it was time to find an ATM.  En route to the ATM we spoke with a salesman from Penn about the bottling line.  It was an interesting tour while waiting for the ATM.  Did you know they still handle bottles coming off the line by hand?!?!  Yep so every bottle of Penn is truly hand crafted and cared for.

The food was great.  We each had the sausage platter.  Wunderbar!  A brat and kilbasa with hot potato salad and kraut.  As beer and food pairings go, the Oktoberfest brew with dinner was a perfect match.  Those Germans really perfected the art of beer with food over the past centuries.

And of course there was entertainment.  The band wasn’t holding anything back.  We heard the Steelers’ Polka with orginial German lyrics and several more times with the lyrics we all know by heart.  “We’re from the town with that great football team, We cheer the Pittsburgh Steelers. Winning’s a habit, not only a dream, Go out and get them Steelers!”  The Pirates even added to the fun.  From Penn we had an excellent view of the Skyblast fireworks with the city skyline as the backdrop.

No worries, if you missed the fun this weekend, you can still head over to Penn for a liter, brat w/ kraut and lederhosen next weekend.  The fun starts on Friday 9/24 at 5pm.  Check Penn’s website for all the details.  http://www.pennbrew.com/data/english/oktoberfest.htm

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Last Call

Have you ever listened to the lyrics of “Last Call” by The Clarks?  If you drink in Pittsburgh check it out.  Tonight TDY took it easy.  After a wonderful dinner at The 17th Street Cafe we stopped at Piper’s.  The first round was Voodoo More Cowbell Imperial Stout, Founder’s Breakfast Stout and Smuttynose Porter.  I am so fired up to see Voodoo on tap in Pittsburgh.  Round two was Anchor Hummer Ale, Full Pint Brown and Troegs Hopback.  This was about the time the Pirates did something to win…..or so I think the Pirates won.  The scene on TV looked like they just won the World Series, haha.  Gotta love the bar staff at Piper’s.  Great excitement about beer, wicked friendly and very, very knowledgeable about the beer they serve.

After Piper’s it was time for half priced food/drinks.  Rogue Shakespeare Stout, Michigan Pumpkin and Treoges Porter were spread around the table.  What great beer to go with the magic pretzel and chicken tenders.

PS….Voodoo Oatmeal Stout and Michigan Pumpkin were the best of the night.

Of Brewfests and Big Pour, and Sunny in Philly.

Bitter Beer Face : Take the Bad with the Good

Someone asked TDY the other day, “If you’ve already tried most of the beer, why do you go to brewfests?”.  I thought that this was a pretty intriguing question.  Why do we love brewfests so much?  The Steel City Big Pour provided a lot of answers…  There weren’t too many beers that were new to TDY, but the atmosphere was fantastic with great food (not necessary for a good brewfest, but doesn’t hurt), art and music, and of course a great selection of brews.  Once you have been to a really great brewfest, you no longer ask that question. 

I suppose the short answer for us is three-fold.  Brewfests provide the opportunity to try many different beers in succession and thus comparisons are much easier.  The second reason is the ability to drink some rare offerings like East End’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Black Strap Stout or New Holland’s Imperial Mad Hatter.  Finally, we get to meet and hangout with the brewers and lots of like-minded beer lovers.  There’s really nothing like a great beer festival and the Steel City Big Pour does not disappoint.

Tonight is the season premiere of Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  TDY can safely say that Always Sunny is the best export to come out of Philadelphia.  In honor of the premiere, we will be putting a few Burgh beers up against Philly brews.  Look for our future post on the Always Sunny premiere.  If you enjoy fantasy football, The League is a great comedy which will be playing after Always Sunny.  Stay tuned…this one is definitely worth it.

Finally, we had a chance to meet with Tim of Craft Pittsburgh at the Big Pour last weekend.  He is starting a quarterly craft beer publication to keep Pittsburghers abreast of the city’s beer news and events.  TDY is on board as a contributor so look for this publication in your favorite watering hole in the coming months.

That was AWESOME! Big Pour 4 Review

Wow!  What a great time!  The Big Pour Four knocked it out of the ballpark further then Sidney Crosby ever could.  This was TDY’s first trip to the Big Pour since moving back to town.  Mixed emotions confronted us leading up to Saturday.  All the hype surrounding the event got us excited, and it seemed liked the rest of Pittsburgh was along for the ride.  At the same time we hoped it wouldn’t be overly hyped, feature wicked long lines, or be too unorganized.

From the very start on August 2nd I had a good feeling about the Big Pour, even if it didn’t start out so smoothly.  After failing to get through, on-line or on any of my thousands of phone calls, I almost caved.  I had almost given up, but decided to try one more time……..ring ring ring ring “Hi This is ShowClicks can I help you?”  Oh YEAH!!!  My name was placed on a waiting list as it was received and waited to hear back all evening.  While dinner was on the grill and I was drinking a Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA the phone rang.  Yep we got tickets!!!

Let’s fast forward now to the fun part, follow TDY’s path through the big pour.  You really couldn’t have asked for much better weather.  The line to get in was long, but the doors opened around 11:30am and things moved really well.  The first room had a nice mix of food and beer.  This trend followed suit throughout the festival.  Among our first beers were:

  • New Holland Poet Oatmeal Stout, Mad Hatter IPA
  • Furthermore Knot Stock – a wonderful pale ale that is light and crisp but really gives a kick in the teeth with black pepper flavor, Fatty Boombalatty
  • Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA
  • Erie FallenBock, excellent fall beer!, Heritage Alt Beer.
  • North Country Red, try it on Cask next time you are out

One of the highlights out of this group was talking to Joel from New Holland while pairing the Poet with brownies from Artspace and Coffeehouse.  We also caught up with the Should I Drink That guys.  They were serving brews from Erie Brewing including a dark German Alt Bier, Heritage.  In addition to serving for Erie and giving away occasional prizes, they came prepared for a podcast direct from Big Pour 4.  Allegro Hearth Bakery also had amazing baked goods there.  All of this was just in the first room: an excellent start to the festival!

The Belgian Beer Cafe was our next stop where the Beer Nutz fellas were pouring Unibroue’s Maudite and Ephemere. Ephemere is certainly an interesting beer brewed withe the juices from green apples.  It’s not too fruity but light and drinkable with a nice balance of sweet and tart flavors.  The Belgian Cafe was also serving New Holland Golden Cap Saison, Furthermore Make Weight, and Victory Golden Monkey Trippel. We also stopped to check out the kegerator art.  I really liked the one with the beer cans trying to break out of jail.  I will never look at the Allegheny County Jail the same.  Weyerbacher Brewing brought an awesome Double Simcoe IPA at 9%.  This beer was hoppy without the overly sweet malty or high alcohol taste that usually accompanies this style.  The Point Brugge fries were perfectly salted for beer consumption and served with flavored mayonnaise!  The band was also situated in this area.  They sounded great without being over powering, allowing for great conversation with friends and other beer lovers!  Next to the band we sampled:

  • Southern Tier 2XIPA, PumKING one of my new and only favorite Pumpkin beers.  Southern Tier is one of my favorite breweries of 2010, great showing again at the Pour!
  • Stone Levitation
  • Bell’s…..they really didn’t bring their A game at all…
  • Yard’s IPA and Brawler

After some wonderful Bocktown sausage meatballs, we had an amazing bowl of stew from Piper’s!  I could eat at Piper’s every meal of every day for a long long time.  Now that we got a little food in, time for more beer.  Voodoo Brewing was excellent again!  They stole the show for us at the Ohiopyle Beer and Gear Fest and had another strong showing at the Big Pour.  The Love Child is a very complex fruit beer but not too sweet, and it was on tap this time too.  Their Wynona’s Big Brown Ale is one of the top 3 brown ale’s I’ve ever had (No, New Castle is not in the top 3).  They are a great group of guys too.  Other beers back in this corner of the warehouse:

  • Thirsty Dog Old Leghumper – – I just can never pass this one up.  Smooth and drinkable with nice hints of chocolate and roast malts.
  • Sprague Farm; best dressed award goes to Sprague Farm for the kilt, and kick ass mustache…….he is also in charge of the hop farm
  • Mountain State Brewing; another fine showing with the solid Amber and IPA
  • Penn;  Penn Octoberfest coming very very very soon

TDY hit the two hour mark and nature called quickly.  On the way out we stopped at East End Brewing.  On cask we had the Homewood Reserve.  We can’t say enough about East End.  They always have a great showing at beer festivals and are really pushing Pittsburgh’s craft beer movement forward.  The Homewood Reserve reminded us of the cask Blackstrap stout at the Penn beer fest, but with a more bourbon taste.  Very smooth and strong with a complex flavor profile of alcohol and roasted malts.

The last few beers were:

  • Founders Backstage Series Double Barrel Bourbon IPA; awesome mix, great taste, hoppy with a little bourbon after taste, one of the top beers of the festival
  • Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale
  • Troegs Porter
  • Roy Pitz Hefe
  • New Holland Brother Jacob Dunkel, Imperial Mad Hatter.

Time ran out before we could try all the amazing food, but it all smelled great!  Hats off to everyone involved with the Big Pour 4.  And we were glad to meet a lot of great people.  Tim from Craft Pittsburgh was there and it was great to hear about his big plans for spreading the passion and excitement about the craft beer movement in PGH.  We have been to tons beer festivals all over the country and this one was AWESOME.  Someone asked this weekend why we still go and if we get the same energy at every festival.  The answer is, oh yeah!  The atmosphere is excellent, you get to try rare/festival only beers and can shoot the breeze with other beer lovers.  We leave you with our top beers in no particular order.  What were your top beers?  Have any good pics?  What was your favorite kegerator?  Did you win a kegerator?  Keep checking YouTube for our videos from the Big Pour.

  • Founders Backstage Series Double Barrel Bourbon IPA
  • Voodoo Wynona’s Big Brown Ale
  • Voodoo Love Child
  • East End Homewood Reserve
  • Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA
  • New Holland Poet
  • Southern Tier PumKing
  • Furthermore Knot Stock

Big Pour and Irish Festival : A Weekend Full of Beer!

First of all, this weekend is the 4th annual Big Pour, the most highly touted beer festival in the Pittsburgh area.  Chances are good that you probably didn’t get a ticket.  Have no fear, TDY will be in attendance for the 12-3 PM session tomorrow and will give yinz the scoop on the Big Pour.  We are definitely a little bit worried about the number of people that might be in attendance (see long lines as in Brew at the Zoo).  However, we are absolutely excited about the brewers and some of their offerings.

Joel Armato from New Holland gave TDY the scoop on a couple of rare brews that they are bringing: Oak Aged Mad Hatter and Brother Jacob Belgian Dubbel.  East End is also making a special brew, a tart Berliner Weisse, just for the Big Pour.  Mountain State Brewing Co. was a nice surprise at the Ohiopyle Beer and Gear festival earlier this summer.  Try their Seneca IPA.  Voodoo was also at Beer and Gear and really stole the show.  We are excited to see if they bring either the Pilzilla (Imperial Pilsner) or the wild and fruity Love Child.  Unibroue, Stone, and Bell’s are three other breweries that don’t make many Pittsburgh area appearances but will be at the Big Pour.  I’m specifically looking for Bell’s to bring one of their great IPAs, and I will be pretty thrilled with anything that Stone and Unibroue bring to the event.  Want to plan out your strategy? See the layout for Big Pour!

If you can’t wait for Big Pour or can’t get tickets, there are several pre big pour events going on tonight!  Sarah and I will be at the Harris Grill enjoying samplings of Furthermore, Erie, Troegs, and Oskar Blues from 5-7 PM.  Blue Dust in Homestead will have a huge collection including Stone, East End, and Dogfishhead tonight starting at 7 PM.  The Sharp Edge Emporium will have the same basic lineup as the Harris Grill from 8-10 PM tonight.

After Big Pour, TDY will be heading out to Homestead for the 20th Annual Pittsburgh Irish Festival.  In addition to great food and beer, there will be traditional Irish music, dancing, and some contemporary Irish bands including Gaelic Storm at 10 PM.  We challenge you to listen to their version of Nancy Whiskey and Johnny Jump-Up and not quaff a pint of Guinness.  Big Pour + Irish Festival = Amazing Beer-Fueled Saturday

Check back early next week for lots of videos, pictures, and our thoughts on all the beer.

Steel City Big Pour Ticket – Evening Session

TDY has an extra ticket to the evening session that we can’t use. Email Mark if you’d like to buy it. He’ll even autograph it for you.

Mark.Wanczak at Gmail dot com

Wooo A Kegerator is Born!

Over the next couple months we will be turning a full size fridge into a 4 tap kegerator.  Don’t worry we will keep you on top of the situation.  Thanks to CL for making the purchase a possibility and now reality.  Last night during the storm Mark and I moved the fridge into the house.  And of course it couldn’t be simple.

8:43pm We show up to view the fridge.

8:48pm Realize the fridge is perfect and start taking doors off hinges to get it out of the basement.

9pm  Fridge is loaded into the back of the truck.  First flash of lighting is spotted.  Also, low fuel light comes on in truck.

9:10pm  Stop to get gas.  Mark checks iphone for weather…….big red spot approaching downtown.

9:19pm  First sprinkles of rain appear when we are about 3mins from house.

9:23pm  Park truck and start to get fridge out of the bed.  It starts to pour!  Did I mention the lighting yet?

9:30pm  With the use of headlamps, plywood (that will evenly be used for a cornhole set) and a little muscle we get the 24″ wide fridge past the 24.1″ gap between the house and the neighboor’s cinder block retaining wall.

9:40pm  Using the plywood we push the fridge up over the basement threshold and into place in the basement.

9:41pm  Rain stops…………

So if you have experience with kegerator construction and maybe fridge painting drop us an email.