“Work is the curse of the drinking class.” – Oscar Wilde
Truer words have not been spoken, and days 5 and 6 of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week 2014 are my proof.
Tuesday, day 5 of PCBW I sadly had to work so other than enjoying a great local craft beer after work, I did not attend any events. This was more than made up for in day 6, however, with one of the most unique events of the week, the Quintessential Cereal and Craft Beer Pairing.
Cereal and Beer Pairing: Get on Our Level
So, you’ve done beer dinners before and had a great time as the brewer tells you about the beer and how it matches up nicely with the various courses you’re having. You may have even done a beer and cheese pairing, mating fine cheeses up to beers so perfectly that you actually thought about having a cheese beer before discounting the idea completely.
Maybe you’ve even done oyster and beer pairings, trying a variety of fine oysters from around the world with the best beers you’ve ever tried. All of this is great, but you haven’t truly enjoyed a beer pairing until you’ve paired outstanding, hard to get beers as well as one-off cask ales with breakfast cereal. Yep.
What sounded like a crazy idea turned into one of the most fun events for me so far in PCBW 2014. The idea was simple: Head to Piper’s Pub in Pittsburgh’s South Side at 8 AM on a Wednesday morning and drink some amazing beers that people usually line up around the corner to try and pair them with cereals that we all love.
My Morning Beers
I started the morning off nice and early at 8:30 in the AM with a pint of DuClaw Brewing’s Sweet Baby Jesus from a firkin with bananas and chocolate added, with the name updated to Blue Suede Jesus or Sweet Baby Elvis, depending on who you talk to. I paired this as suggested with Banana Nut Cheerios. The banana and chocolate was a little overpowering in this, and overall it was ridiculous, but definitely something to try. The cereal paired perfectly with it.
Next, I moved on to everyone’s favorite breakfast beer: Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout. This one came from the tap and with KBS I very smartly moved to half-pints to make sure I survived the morning. The KBS was paired with Chocolate Lucky Charms, but for this one I jumped off the suggested pairing list and went with Peanut Butter Crunch, so I could get the peanut butter taste with the chocolatey undertones of the KBS. I found this year’s KBS to be not as interesting as it has been in years past. It had much less of a bourbon taste and aroma, which made it strikingly similar to a slightly hotter standard Breakfast Stout from Founders. Not bad, but not as good as years past.
Once I finished my yearly KBS, I tried some of Yards’ Brewing Grapefruit Philadelphia Pale Ale on cask. This was paired with Frosted Mini Wheats, which I went for and oddly liked. Still sticking with the half-pints, this beer had a huge dose of grapefruit in it, giving not only the citrus taste you’d expect from hops, but a full-blown grapefruit experience. This was an outstanding beer that I’d really like to have again, just not for breakfast this time!
The next beer I had this morning was a doozie. Coming in at 9.1% ABV, I went for a half-pint of Troegs Brewing Impending Descent Imperial Stout. This is an amazing beer, but not one I’d recommend drinking for breakfast on a regular basis. At this point we were well into brunch hours, so I think it was a perfect choice! Paired with Dark Chocolate Cheerios, this beer was the perfect way to keep the fun times going. Dark, decently bitter with a nice boozy kick, Impending Descent is one of my favorite stouts out there by far.
Finally, I rounded out my morning with a half pint of DuClaw’s Funk on cask with blueberries. At this point the pairing stopped because it was well past the 11 AM mark when the cereal went away, but it was a decent beer to end on. Funk was intense on the front with blueberries in the aroma and initial taste, but fell short with the middle and finish. Still a great beer and my wasted taste buds may have had something to do with this. Overall, a pretty good beer.
Finishing up the Morning
The rest of this morning (afternoon) was spent recovering and napping. My second stop of the day was to record a new episode of the Craft Beer Showdown Podcast.
Round 2: ShuBrew Podcast
So, what would you do after drinking and eating cereal for an entire morning? Go drink more at a local brewery and record a Podcast seemed like the best idea for me, so I headed out to ShuBrew in Zelienople, PA to talk to Zach, the co-owner and founder all about how the brewery got started, their beers, and plans for the future all while trying out their pretty awesome lineup of beers.
The Podcast will be up in a few days, so look for that. Zach is a great guy who has a pretty interesting story, so it was a pleasure to head out there and talk to him. What better way to celebrate Craft Beer Week than to talk to a small local brewer and teach people all about him and his beer.
Days 5 and 6 were definitely a doozie and overall were pretty awesome. There’s still a lot going on this week, so check back to see what else is going on. Did you head out to an event these days? Let me know what you did in the comments below.