Well, sadly it’s over. Another Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week is in the books and this, the third yearly week celebrating all things craft beer was easily the best one yet. I didn’t get to as many events as I would have hoped, but I still did something every day, and being the week before I was set to run a marathon, I call that a win. Here’s my wrap-up of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week 2014.
The events this year were far better than in the previous two years and really showed the time and effort that went into planning them. First, the focus on local and Pennsylvania beer was outstanding. From the PA tap takeovers at both Bocktown locations to the local tap takeover held at Rivertowne North Shore, a focus on “Beer from Here” was evident across the entire week.
Personally, one of my favorite events would have to be the PCBW kickoff at Caliente Pizza on Friday night, as they had every collaboration beer on tap (more on those in a minute), making it easy to find them all in one spot. Next, the local tap takeover at Rivertowne North Shore was just about perfect. With almost every local brewery represented by their brewers and staff, along with the first Hitchhiker Brewing beer released into the wild, it was a very good time.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Quintessential Breakfast Cereal and Beer Pairing held on Wednesday morning at Piper’s Pub because, well, how do you not mention drinking and eating breakfast cereal at 8 in the morning?
Thursday’s matchup of the T-Shirt art show and mini-beer fest at Commonwealth Press‘ warehouse was outstanding and a great way to start the night off before heading to Piper’s Pub again to try their Helltown Brewing Firkin takeover. From aged barleywine to cask IPA, it was a good time.
My week ended on Saturday, as I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday, so once again we headed to Commonwealth Press’ warehouse to have the Fall Forward beer festival with the home brewer’s cask beer that should have been at the Real Ale Festival (more on that in a minute, too.). The Beer Barge had quite a bit of beer left over so with the firkins, Dan did what he thought was best and threw a beer festival/party…for free. Excellent beer, great time with friends, it was just about the perfect way to cap off my experience with PCBW 2014.
Ah, the beers. There were quite a few outstanding beers this year, and with the number of collaboration beers jumping from 4 to over 10, there was even more chance to try a one-of-a-kind beer that you won’t get again.
I talked about these beers in my previous posts, so I won’t go into them again, but this year definitely hit the mark like a tap into a keystone.
The Winner of the Week
Oddly enough, I’d have to say the big winner of the week is Drew and the team from Piper’s Pub. The week SHOULD have ended with the 2nd annual Real Ale Festival, but sadly it had to be rescheduled due to poor ticket sales. The ticket sales were poor mostly due to the high cost of the ticket and additional fees thanks to everyone’s least favorite ticketing agent: TicketMaster. The festival has been rescheduled in the fall, and will still support the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Alliance, just not during the week itself.
So why do I could a cancelled festival in my winners list? Well, the festival, held by Drew and the Piper’s Pub gang did indeed get rescheduled, but the way Drew handled it was perfect. Telling everyone the nitty gritty details of why things didn’t work and giving the background of everything helped people to see that it’s an honest mistake and things will get better. I love honesty and stand up folks, so this is the best thing of the week for me. Best of all, the craft beer community supported them 100%.
PCBW All Year
So, with the Real Ale Festival moving to the fall, and other big beer festivals coming up throughout the year, the goal to make PCBW viable all-year is slowing coming to fruition. The PCBA (Pittsburgh Craft Beer Alliance) wants to be a bigger part of Pittsburgh’s craft beer scene and help educate Pittsburghers all year about our amazing beer scene, and what better way than doing it all year.
Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week is about more than just drinking, it’s about teaching people about new styles of beer, new breweries, and most of all, what craft beer means to those of us that love it. It’s about more than the beer, it’s about the community and helping each other out. It’s about being proud of something you craft with your own hands, and supporting others that made something the same way.
Hopefully you got yourself a #BeerGuySelfie during the week, and got a lot of pictures to remember it.
PCBW 2014 ended up being my training plan for the Pittsburgh Marathon, ad surprisingly I finished it fairly well with a time of 4:26:18. I would have liked to drink a little more this week, but overall it was a great way to carb load, and I even got a shiny medal out of the deal.