My PCBW – Days 6 & 7: Full Pints, Good Friends, Tested Taste Buds 2, Helltown Takeover

Well, it happened. I knew it was gonna, it was just a matter of when.

As I sat down to write this next installment of My PCBW, I realized I’d packed so much fun into my Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week experience, I had to seriously think for a minute what I did on Wednesday and Thursday.

After putting it all back together again, I reflected. The reality of the fact that the greatest week of the year is reaching its climax hit me, but I also breathed easy knowing I’ve carved out a lot of memories and made some new friends along the way.

And as I’ve said over and over, THAT’s what Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week is all about.

Here we go…a recap of Days 6 & 7 of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week:

Day 6, Stop 1: Full Pint Special at Smokin’ Joes

I kinda felt like a goof after this one. I walked into Smokin’ Joes just before 8:00 and pulled up a stool at the end of the bar. In true Norm Peterson fashion, I always seem to find myself at the same stool when I visit this craft beer haunt, one of my favorites in the city. I ordered myself a Full Pint Chinookie IPA and some Hot Honey French wings and relaxed a bit, scrolling through Twitter under the hashtag #PCBW2014 to see what everyone else was up to.

As I looked around, I didn’t see anyone from Full Pint, which I found puzzling. I felt a little miffed only because I was hoping to chat with these guys and get to know more about Full Pint Brewing.

After I polished off my wings, I looked around again…still no one. I took down a second Chinookie, I texted my friend Brooke, who is on the PCBW Board, and asked what was going on. Her reply informed me she was unsure why no one was there.

So I packed up shop and headed out. Later on, I got a text from Brooke with this picture attached:

The Full Pint Crew at Smokin' JoesYeeeeah. So, hashtag “look harder next time.” Totally missed these guys. So, since I didn’t get to do it in person, I’ll use this platform to thank you all for putting on a fun event and please, please keep making the Tri-PA. I’m smitten with it.

Day 6, Stop 2: Caliente

Keeping up with the theme of missing people, I went to Caliente in Bloomfield to meet up with some friends. They told me they’d probably be leaving around 9:00. I arrived at 9:10 to realize how literal this group was. All were gone.

But, being that Caliente has quickly risen towards the top of my list of favorite places to go in Pittsburgh, I pulled up a stool at the newly-opened downstairs bar and had an incredible conversation with Nick and Angie Bogacz, owners of Caliente.

They’ve been mentioned on Breaking Brews a few times for how they’ve turned their pizza and draft house into one of the top hot spots in the city, and the accolades are well-deserved. They both understand what it takes to build loyalty behind their product. They’re in a tremendous position where they have unbelievable food (some of the best pizza I’ve ever had), a tremendous craft beer selection, and a staff who is fully bought in to their mission as well. It’s the ultimate recipe for success.

Each day of Craft Beer Week, Caliente has put on a great event. As we start to hit the home stretch, they are going out with a bang and I joked on Twitter that Nick and Angie will probably start charging me rent + utilities since I’ll be there the rest of the weekend. If you guys want to check out some fun events to put the icing on your Craft Beer Week cake, look here:

PCBW Events at Caliente

Day 7, Stop 1: Test Your Taste Buds Round 2 at Bocktown in Monaca

Breaking Brews Chalkboard at BocktownAfter a successful blind tasting where we pitted craft beer vs. non-craft beer of the same style this past Sunday at Bocktown in Robinson, it was time for Round 2 in Monaca! And the response was just as great.

First off, I’d like to thank Bocktown, Chris Dilla, and their entire team for giving me the opportunity to hold these tastings at their locations. It means a lot that Chris has shown such great support since I launched this Breaking Brews project. I’d also like to thank her for helping me build this idea into something that ended up being pretty damn cool.

Second, a big thank you goes out to EVERYONE who attended these tastings during Craft Beer Week. I hope to see all of you again at some point in the near future.

And finally, I’d like to congratulate those who went 4 for 4 in the second round of Test Your Taste Buds! Only one person was able to accomplish that at Sunday’s tasting, but four pulled it off in Monaca.

A special thanks to Dave Hammer, manager at Bocktown Monaca, for helping me pull off the event last night. Had a great time pouring with you, man! “That’s 1 and that’s 2.” — inside joke

Day 7, Stop 2: #AsIsTradition at Piper’s Pub, Craft Beer Week Style!

Helltown Cask Offerings at Pipers PubOne thing you can say about a visit to Piper’s is you’ll always find a familiar face. And when it’s Craft Beer Week, ALL the familiar faces are in the house!

This Thursday was no different as an enormous crowd came together for the Helltown Cask Takeover. Although I arrived late and the overwhelming popularity of Helltown Brewing led to the casks getting kicked, it was still a great time catching up with friends and enjoying another Thursday at one of my favorite places.

Last month, Piper’s was my Craft Beer Spotlight and its for reasons like I saw last night. A tremendous gathering and the staff running like hell to keep it all on track makes you realize how special this place is. A big high five goes to Hart Johnson behind the bar, who was back and forth all night making sure pints were full.

I spent all of April telling you guys why you need to go to Piper’s. If you haven’t yet…c’mon, man!


As I mentioned, I’ll be at Caliente a lot over the next three days, with a few other stops in between. I’m going to attempt to do some live tweeting over the course of the weekend from the events I’m at, so tune into @breaking_brews on the Twitters for all the fun!




Jason Cercone

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

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