Hops & The City is an exploration of beer in Pittsburgh by our resident craft beer enthusiast, Angelica Ross. Angelica is pitting beers against each other and honing her taste skills simultaneously while providing you with her unique opinions on the brews in front of her. It’s like Carrie dishing about men and learning about which guy suits her best…except for Angelica, it’s beer. Follow Angelica on Twitter @syntaxxerrorrr
There are times when it’s okay to pick up a hitchhiker. Now that I think about it, the only time that is coming to mind is when you’re at Hitchhiker Brewing Company.
You may have heard the news that Hitchhiker is expanding beyond their cozy taproom in Mt. Lebanon and preparing to bring the first brewery and taproom to Pittsburgh’s South Side. Their popularity has outgrown their present brewing capacity and Pittsburgh eagerly waits for more opportunities to pick up Hitchhikers at destinations throughout the city. Their new space will feature a larger brewhouse and taproom for on-site consumption, as well as growler and crowler fills. Stay tuned for more information on the opening of Hitchhiker’s facility in the near future
I wasn’t the only one who had the bright idea of beating cabin fever one snowy Saturday and sampling some beers. My line-up for the afternoon included The Shakes Coffee Porter, The Barbarian IPA, and A Different Animal Dry Hopped Sour.
I like my coffee how I like my men: strong and dark. Well, actually I prefer a little cream in there to cut the bitterness. Where was I? Right. Beer. This beer is a beautiful, dark brew. The scent of cold-brew coffee hits you before you even get the glass to your nose. It tastes like a cold-brew coffee, too. There’s also a little milk chocolate action that makes it feel very creamy and smooth. And boy does this go down easy. Insert your own joke about how I like my men easy here – hey, why should I do all the work?
According to Hitchhiker’s Instagram, this coffee porter is a collaboration with 19 Coffee Company and made with organic, free trade Mexican Oaxaca and Ethopian Sidamo. I’m not quite sure what that translates to other than “one of the best coffee beers I have ever tried.”
I like my IPAs how I like my men. Wait, that doesn’t apply here.
This cloudy, caramel-amber brew has all the elements of a good IPA. It has a citrusy-floral scent, a bright taste, and a bitter finish. Sadly, I didn’t spend enough time with this Barbarian to really get to know it. Perhaps I would have picked up on the individual hop flavors and been able to pinpoint the source of the slight floral-ness. It’s a good beer, but it wasn’t anything groundbreaking. The Barbarian is a solid, craft beer IPA. Perhaps my palate is too barbaric to notice this beer’s subtle qualities.
A Different Animal
This beer is certainly different. It’s a cloudy golden concoction that definitely isn’t hiding the fact that it’s a sour beer, but it feels like a training-sour because of the hops that balance some of the sourness. Don’t let that fool you, though. It smells sour and slightly farmy and definitely tastes sour. Tart fruit also comes along for a ride. The hops add enough bitterness to cut what might otherwise be an overwhelmingly sour experience.
The thing about sour beer is that it always reminds me of biting into cranberry sauce leftover too long from Thanksgiving and leaves me with a fuzzy feeling. A Different Animal is an interesting take on a sour beer where that sour, tangy element is toned down.
Well forget what your parents tell you, it’s okay to pick up a hitchhiker. In fact, it’s encouraged. After a trip to Hitchhiker Brewing Company, I have to rethink my stance on allowing strange beers into my car.