PCBW 2015 at Ho1KB: Halftime Report


It’s that time of year again – what are you doing with your tax refund?  Wrong!  The answer I was looking for was “Blowing it all during Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week”!  Because it’s all going down now - ten days of craft beer fun all through the ‘Burgh & beyond.  Breweries, bars, restaurants, distributors, & other small businesses are upping their game once again, & once again, we’re stoked to be part of the action.  This is the House’s fourth year as a PCBW sponsor & participant, & we’re more than ever this year, throwing six events & dipping our toes into uncharted (for us, anyway) waters.

We had a good warm-up last Friday with a night of flights from Great Divide, featuring four high gravity beers from this high altitude brewery.  Hercules & Yeti are reliable standbys, & the flights poured were augmented by the rarer Peach Grand Cru & Barrel-Aged Old Ruffian.  And each flight came with a sweet Great Divide glass.

Saturday saw the welcome mull of puckerheads with the fourth annual Sour & the Funky, our festival of sour & bretted beers.  This year’s was more labor-intensive than usual: we hoarded bottles for months to make this year special, & John was up bright & early on Saturday tapping 20 – yes, 20! – kegs of wild  & funky beer, including more local offerings than in years prior, a sign that local breweries are stepping it up, too.  It felt good to offer a majority of beers not seen in past years, with Gose showing up in a big way, & the first appearance of sours in cans!  The crowd is always good & game for this fest, & many found some new favorites (personal highlights were Pizza Boy’s Pinot Grigio Abascio-Cell & Brew Gentlemen’s Loose Seal).  And each ticket came with a sweet glass.

As I write this, we’re pouring flights of Ballast Point Sculpin & its variants.  We’re lucky enough to have Grapefruit Sculpin & Habanero Sculpin on tap right now, next to the original, for a hoppy experience to be remembered.

We’re really proud of our monthly beer-pairing dinners, showcasing some great breweries supported by a truly talented culinary artist, Brian.  We’re especially psyched to welcome a unique voice in the Pittsburgh beer scene: Draai Laag Brewing.  Using spontaneous fermentation to cultivate a singular, signature flavor profile, Draai Laag’s carved their own niche – one that presents some really intriguing food-pairing possibilities.  Chef Brian’s created an equally innovative menu for this dinner, & we can’t wait to see how these two creative entities mesh.

PCBW at The House has traditionally been book-ended by The Sour & the Funky & a fantastic tap takeover from Voodoo Brewing, & we’re happy to stick with tradition this year once again.  Friday night, we tap a dozen-ish beers from a brewery that’s killing it these days, including six from their Barrel Room Collection.  Voodoo’s been a good friend to The House, & though they’re focusing their local efforts on their own taproom in Homestead, they’ve been awesome enough to roll with us for another year during PCBW.  This is always one of our busiest days of the calendar, & this time no exception.  And there will be sweet glasses.

And we’ll be wrapping up an exciting long-week by breaking some new ground for The House, partnering with another super-popular local business for a unique event: our donut-beer pairing with pastry prodigies Oakmont Bakery!  It’ll be a packed House on the final Saturday of PCBW, as we match some of Founders Brewing’s finest strong ales with some custom donuts from Oakmont Bakery.  The response to this has event has exceeded our expectations so far, but we promise an amazing time to all! 

Even more impressive than the craft beer scene’s efforts during this year’s PCBW, is the demand from the beer-drinking public.  Far from being spread too thin by hundreds of happenings, the crowds have come out in droves across the region, making each event a success.  We’re thrilled at the feedback we’ve gotten, selling out events, & bringing in even more adventurous drinkers looking for new, delicious suds.  So here’s to a continually rising tide, & to the Pittsburgh scene riding this beautiful wave into the sunset!  And dammit, we’ve got a keg of that Cool Ranch Doritos beer sitting into the cooler just begging to be tapped…
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