My PCBW – Days 8 & 9: Mail Forwarded to Caliente, Home Brews and Bashes!

We are officially in the home stretch of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week and, as I put together this installment of My PCBW, there are thousands of people running the Pittsburgh Marathon. I’d like to extend my congratulations to all the runners hitting new benchmarks and accomplishing personal goals this morning. And a special tip of the cap to those whose training regimen included stops along the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week scene. Truly, a good beer is all the fuel you need, right? Yeah, you can clearly tell why I don’t run marathons…

Pittsburgh was alive and well this weekend, with countless events on tap for the final days of Craft Beer Week 2014. As we wind things down, I hope you’ve gotten the opportunity to get out there and be part of what’s becoming a great tradition in our city.

My adventures through Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week continued Friday. So without further adieu, here’s Days 8 & 9 of My PCBW 2014:

Day 8: Caliente (again)

I guess I’m a little smitten with this place. But for good reason. Ever since Craft Beer Week started, these guys have had one big event after another. Without question, they are putting together a blueprint for how an establishment can get themselves on the map during festivals such as this.

Friday night featured a firkin tapping of the Church Brew Works and Apis Mead and Winery collaboration beer called ‘Honey I Spiced the Wit.’ It’s a Witbier infused with braggot and spiced with lavender and cardamon. It was also featured on draught as well. I had the opportunity to try them from both, and I preferred the draught over the firkin. It’s a light, very drinkable beer and yet another great contribution to the collaborations for 2014.

Cigar City Hopped on the High SeaI also did some live tweeting for Craft Beer Week while trying some new beers and watching the Penguins drop the puck for their Round 2 matchup with the Rangers. Of the new beers added to my list were Voodoo’s Hail to Pitt, Brash Brewing’s The Bollocks (insanely good), Free Will’s Techno IPA, and, my first ever Cigar City beer, Hopped on the High Sea (pictured right). I have friends that live near Cigar City’s brewery in Florida and they rave about these guys. Their accolades are well-deserved.

One of the big draws of Caliente is that they offer craft beers you normally won’t find in our market. If you’re looking to partake in beers from different corners of the country, there’s a good chance you’ll find something new on tap or in the cooler at Caliente.

Day 9, Stop 1: Commonwealth Press Warehouse for the Real Ale BBQ

Home Brew VotingAs most of you know, the scheduled Real Ale Festival held by Piper’s Pub was postponed until the Fall due to a shortage in ticket sales. However, I’d like to commend the whole Pipers crew for being very forthright about the postponement and giving us all a great alternative in yesterday’s BBQ at the Commonwealth Press Warehouse in the South Side. They had tshirts for sale, food, and the opportunity to try five different home brews and vote for the best. The winning brewer will get to brew a batch of their offering with Helltown Brewing!

The voting was tight, as seen in the photo to the left. I left a little before the event concluded, so I’m not sure who ended up being crowned the winner. I will be sure to mention the winner on Twitter when I hear. I will say it was a challenge to narrow it down to just one for voting purposes. It always fascinates me how people create their own beers in the comfort of their own homes. I’m looking forward to getting my own home brewing escapades off the ground in the next few months. Stay tuned…

Look for updates in the upcoming months about the rescheduled Real Ale Festival.

Day 9, Stop 2: The Furnace Bash!

Who doesn’t love a good outdoor party?! This unique event took place behind the Carrie Steel Furnace in Braddock and had samplings from dozens of different breweries, as well as food trucks and live music. Personally, I thought the backdrop could not be any cooler for this event, as evidenced by this picture below. I’d like to thank Brooke Franus for inadvertently providing the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week branding to this snapshot.

Furnace Bash, PCBW 2014The rain made a short appearance, but the skies soon parted and enthusiasts were treated to a great time. The smell of Spring and freshly-poured brews were definitely in the air!

Day 9, Stop 3: Yep, you guessed it…Caliente

Jai Ali dry hopped w/ peachesLike I said, it would probably behoove me to have my mail forwarded here so I don’t miss anything. I returned to the familiar haunts of Caliente to partake in the first-ever Cigar City firkin in Pittsburgh. They sent their firkin out, and it came back with a batch of Jai Alai dry hopped with peaches.

The brew was definitely unique, almost reminding me of peach iced tea. It had a clean finish and ended up being very drinkable. It wasn’t in my wheelhouse, but it had some standout qualities that made it good.

I finished my night at Caliente talking with a couple at the bar about craft beer, food, and lots of other things. Until last night, we had never met. Again, this illustrates how powerful the social element behind craft beer truly is. Everyone goes to a bar to unwind and have a drink, but there’s always that added opportunity to meet new people. Never forget how people can impact your world, even if for a short moment or quick conversation.

 

Well kids, it all comes down to Day 10. It’s been a helluva Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week and I hope you feel the same. Tonight I’ll be wrapping things up with one more trip to Caliente for their Stone Brewing Tap Takeover and the Penguins game. Hope you’ll come out and enjoy the Unofficial Sendoff to Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week 2014!

 

 

 

Jason Cercone

 

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