To everyone reading this that isn’t in the Pittsburgh, PA area NOT interested in Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week, you can skip this post, and the others like it this week. Since I live in the Pittsburgh area, this week holds a special place in my heart and liver so I’ll be talking about it for the next couple of days.
For everyone still reading, I’m going to give a rundown of each day of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week 2014 as I’m experiencing them, giving insight and information when I can. If you’re reading these posts and went to some events, I’d love to hear about them in the comments for each day. Thanks, and on to the first day.
PCBW – Day 1
While many in Pittsburgh started PCBW 2014 off with a bang on the 2nd annual Beer Barge, hosted by Commonwealth Press on the Gateway Clipper, the majority of us headed out to local bars, restaurants and breweries to kick off this week of all things craft beer.
I started the week off at Caliente Pizza and Draft House to get some amazing pizza and experience every collaboration beer for PCBW 2014. So far Caliente is the only place I’ve found that has every one of the collaboration beers on tap, so how could I not make them my first official PCBW visit?
RELATED: Get Your Own CBA T-Shirt made by Commonwealth Press
Caliente – The Beer
The first beer I had for this year’s craft beer week was a special beer made by Southern Tier Brewing for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week, aptly called Pittsburgh Left. First brewed last year for the second PCBW as a pale ale, this year STBC stepped up their game and brewed a Belgian brown ale with mission figs. The beer is a solid representation of the style and overall a great beer.
Next, I moved on to a beer brewed by Hop Farm brewing named Margot. While this isn’t technically a collaboration beer either, it’s a small release that deserved a try. The beer is a Berliner Weisse coming in at 7.5%. While this is higher than your common Berliner, the beer holds together well and had more of a sour note than the common Berliner as well. Overall a great beer that sour beer fans should love.
The last beer I had at Caliente was Burton Upon Brett, an English IPA with Brettanomyces. Just as an English IPA should be, the beer has an up-front malt profile followed up by balanced hops. The brett gives a the beer an earthy, horse-blankety taste and aroma that really showcases the brett used in the beer. This beer may very well be a great example of what English IPAs tasted like in a time where sanitation wasn’t the best and rogue yeast was common. That being said, it’s an excellent beer that I recommend trying.
Church Brew Works – The Beer
My second and last stop for the first night of PCBW 2014 was the beautiful Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville. Here, I tried the collaboration beers that CBW made for the week. First was Honey, I Spiced the Wit, which was a Wit infused with Braggot. Coming in at 8%, this wasn’t your common lower ABV Witbier, but instead a very unique and heavily spiced beer that had nearly overpowering notes of cinnamon. I saw nearly, because the amount of spice holds up well against the honey that’s present in the braggot. This beer is truly unique and should be tried at least once while you can still get it.
Overall, the first day of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week was great. Good beer and friends made the day outstanding and was a perfect kick-off for the rest of the week. The Beer Barge looked like fun, but getting to support some local establishments while trying these extra special beers, to me, was just as fun and I can’t wait for the rest of the week.