My PCBW – Day 3: A Sunday of Taste Bud Challenges, Dudes Abiding, and More

The term “Sunday Funday” is like fingernails across a chalkboard for yours truly. So, as I attempt to summarize this Sunday’s Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week happenings, I’ll have to award myself minimal points because there’s no other way to explain it: Sunday was a fun day!

As I said in my last My PCBW post, there’s so much going on during Craft Beer Week, it’s hard to summarize it all, especially if I wasn’t there. The following chronicles my adventures across our great city as Craft Beer Week continues to roll on and roll on proudly.

So here we go…a Sunday…sigh…Funday for the ages…

Stop 1: Great Lakes Beer Brunch at Hough’s

Two straight days of beer with my eggs is great for a growing boy such as myself. Unfortunately, at this point of my life, I grow ‘out’ instead of ‘up,’ so my gym membership will be getting some extra mileage in the upcoming days.

Fitness aside, Great Lakes and Hough’s put on a nice event that got the day started right. An Elliot Ness with my Loaded Breakfast Bowl was what I like to call “well-balanced fuel.” ESPECIALLY for a jam-packed day of craft beer enjoyment.

Those at the Great Lakes Brunch were treated to a variety of menu options, mugs from the brewery, and special Great Lakes brew-infused drinks to kick start the taste buds. All in all, both Hough’s and Great Lakes normally do it right…and neither missed with this Beer Brunch.

Great Lakes Beer Brunch

Stop 2: Test Your Taste Buds with Breaking Brews at Bocktown

Test Your Taste Buds at Bocktown RobinsonCall me biased, but this event hits close to home. Mainly because it was mine. But there’s absolutely no way I can take all the credit. A huge nod of appreciation goes to Chris Dilla, as well as Sara and the rest of the staff at Bocktown for helping me put this whole blind taste-testing together.

The premise of the event was simple enough: Chris and I paired craft beer styles vs. similar macro-brew/mass-produced beer and gave participants the opportunity to see if they could blindly determine which beer was craft and which was not.

As event time drew closer, I was a tad concerned how the idea would get over with the crowd. But, there’s no crying during Craft Beer Week, so I forged ahead and am extremely happy to report the event went over incredibly well! Participants truly were stumped with some of the options we poured. I’d reveal which beers we used, but I’m going to hold off…I’ll explain why in a moment.

I’d like to thank Mike Pound aka Beer Guy from the Beaver County Times for stopping by and capturing some of the event on film. I’d also like to thank Chris one more time for assisting me with explanations and pitcher fills (she’s a trooper, you guys. Just a month removed from hip surgery, she was all over the place helping out!).

And, of course, I’d like to thank everyone who came out and played the game! We all learned together that it’s not always easy to distinguish the craft from the non-craft. At the same time, we were able to pick up on ingredients within those beers that truly define their overall characters. It was fun and informative for all!

The reason I’m not revealing the beers we used in this blind tasting is because I’ll be appearing at Bocktown in Monaca this upcoming Thursday, May 1st from 7pm-9pm doing the same taste test and some of those same beers may be in rotation. I hope to see you guys then!

Stop 3: The Big Lebowski/Lagunitas Festival at Arsenal Lanes

“Say what you want about the tenements of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week, Dude…at least it’s an ethos.”

The Dude AbidesSo the second I heard about this event going down, there were supermodels pouring pitchers of free Pliny the Elder at the party in my head! For many years, the untouchable Top 3 movies for me have been The Shawshank Redemption, Braveheart, and The Big Lebowski. Other movies have come along and been great, but these three shall never be trumped.

If you’ve never seen The Big Lebowski, please tweet me a picture of the rock you’ve been living under. It’s one of those movies that’s as quotable as Imperial IPAs are drinkable It inexcusably deserves two hours of your time. It’s grown into the ultimate cult classic, spawning enormous festivals to celebrate its awesomeness. To have that come to Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week is, as Walter Sobchak would say, “not exactly a lightweight.”

I’d like to thank Matt Antram and the great folks at Lagunitas for making this possible. People arrived at Arsenal Lanes dressed as their favorite characters. There was bowling, trivia, The Harlan Twins playing the movie’s soundtrack, White Russians, always-superb Lagunitas brews, and of course, The Big Lebowski on the big screen in every part of the bowling alley.

I learned two irrefutable truths at this event:

  1. Bowling while watching this movie may be the greatest activity ever.
  2. My ability to quote this movie verbatim is borderline certifiable.

So the following picture is myself and Lee Schmidt, President of the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Alliance. I swear, this wasn’t planned…but when I looked at the cover of the movie this morning, it was pretty damn close, other than the bowling balls…

The Big Lebowski FestivalPittsburgh Craft Beer Week abides. Incredible event. I truly hope this one becomes another staple of our Craft Beer Week celebrations.

This entire day had me wishing every day was like Sunday.

I’m taking Monday off to recharge, but will be back with another ‘My PCBW’ installment after attending a Gobbleritos and Pumking event at one of the Mad Mex locations on Tuesday. I’ll be convening with Tim and Devon of Pennies Pints Pittsburgh, so maybe we’ll have a little blog collaboration for you come Wednesday!

Be sure to check out the Craft Beer Week calendar for all the great events happening today!




Jason Cercone

Good Times and Good Blog Features Are Better When They're Shared!

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