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
Posted in Brewfests, Out and About in the Burgh
Tagged Allegro Hearth Bakery, anderson valley brewing, Artspace and Coffeehouse, beer and food parings, beer festival, beer nutz, Big Pour, Big Pour Four, Bocktown, craft beer, Craft PGH, Dogfish, east end brewing, erie brewing, Fat Head's, Founders, Founders Brewing, Full Pint, futhermore, Great Lakes, Heavy Seas, Mountain State, New Holland Brewing, Ommegang, Penn, Pipers, pittsburgh, Point Brugge Cafe, Roy Pitz, should i drink that, Sidney Crosby, Southern Tier, Southern Tier Brewing, Sprague Farm, Stone, Stoudt's, TDY, Terrapin, TRASH, Troegs, Victory, voodoo, Voodoo Brewing, Weyerbacher Brewing, Yard's brewing
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.
Date : June 5, 2010
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!
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!
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.
- Brooklyn Local 1 – nice Belgian Ale some interesting flowery notes that you won’t find in a lot of belgians.
- Boulder Flashback India Brown Ale – Hoppy with a lot of Cascade hop flavor but not much maltiness as per a normal brown.
- Ommegang 3 Philosophers – Simply amazing. Always in my top 10 favorite beers.
- Green Flash Hop Head Red – lots of cascade aroma. nicely balanced.
- East End Big Hop – Always good! Got to see Scott and talk to some East End employees.
- Main St. Brewing Black Watch Ale – a wonderful sweetness. aroma similar to Magic Hat #9.
- Philadelphia Fleur de Lehigh – very similar to a Kolsch beer with a touch of honey. interesting palette…
- Rust Belt Old Man Hopper IPA – not too hoppy. good hop and malt balance.
- Appalachian Brewing Espresso Stout – all about the coffee here. Very strong taste but nicely balanced by the malts. Lacks some body…
- Appalachian Scothish Ale – very very malty taste, red in color with little to no hop presence
- August Schell Firebrick – tastes much like a traditional lager/ lighter beer with just a tad more flavor.
- August Schell Hopfenmalz – a lightly hopped German style lager
- Smuttynose IPA – lot of cascade aroma with a nice bitter aftertaste. All about the cascade!
- Victory Helios – A belgian farmhouse ale. A nice flowery smell and a nice blend of spice. Really quite good.
- North Country Stout – nice roastiness to the aroma and taste. Smooth and Silky! very drinkable…
- Main St. Porter – Roasted and creamy tastes with a slight touch of caramel. Well balanced but with a kind of interestingly sweet aftertaste.
- 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.
- Sly Fox Pale Ale – lots of cascade aroma. Light and crisp, skips any real malty character.
- 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!)
- 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.
- Green Flash IPA – a great summer IPA, crisp, clean, perfect about of hop/bitterness
- Southern Tier Unearthly Imperial IPA – nice hop balance that’s not overwhelming. Crisp and clean.
- Southern Tier Iniquity Black Ale – very drinkable for a black ale.
- Flying Dog Garde Dog
- 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.
- Victory Wild Devil – beautiful flowery smell, strong with a slightly acidic aftertaste.
- Troegs Hopback Amber – dryhopped. Smooth and well balanced between the hops and malt.
- Rust Belt Furnace Blast – solid, smooth beer with a light malty taste
- Full Pint Chinookie IPA – it’s a gateway IPA
Cheers to Black Strap Stout on Cask!