I’ve been a fan of craft beer for over a decade. I had my first brush with this magical liquid when I was 16 when my late uncle shared with me one of his favorites: Breckenridge Avalanche. It was hit or miss for several years after that…until I made my way to Pittsburgh and discovered beer options I’d never fathomed growing up in a small town with limited brands available. At that point, the craft beer renaissance we are experiencing today wasn’t even close to its current full swingin’ status, but many companies had staked their claim to the pie and a revolution in the beer world was starting to build serious momentum.
I’ve been connected to the libations world even more intimately since launching Breaking Brews in February of 2014. This led to the birth of the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network and the establishment of personal and business relationships I can’t even begin to imagine living without. Being part of this epic rise of craft beer excellence in Pittsburgh and across the country, even if on a smaller scale than those who work tirelessly every day to deliver that quality, second-to-none product we adore, has been as fulfilling as anything I could hope for.
But through it all, one thing I’ve never done with my own two hands is brew a beer. Not in my house, not with my friends, not in a school, not by the pool. I have not, have not brewed a beer, I’ll bet. I have not, have not brewed a beer, just yet.
Can you tell my 6-year old has been on a Dr. Seuss kick?
Well, I’m happy to say: that’s all about to change. I am proud to announce that I will be teaming up with Rock Bottom’s incredibly talented Head Brewer Meg Evans to brew the first of what I hope is many collaboration beers between local breweries and the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network. This idea has been a long time coming and I’m glad Meg is willing to let me join her in the creation of this brand new brew.
I’m a realistic guy, so I know my contribution to this project is going to be photos, videos, asking lots of questions, and probably janitorial duties. I’m hoping I’ll get to add the hops and pitch the yeast, but the true work and credit goes to the professional behind the beer. Ultimately, as a writer first, I’m hoping to capture the hard-working spirit of Meg and brewers worldwide and give you a first-hand account of what it’s like to dive into the full creation of the craft beers we all know and love.
Meg and I’s collaboration beer came together, fittingly, over a couple of beers. I’ve had the name picked out for a while, but as we were talking about many beer-related things, a thought hit me that I inexplicably said out loud: “Has anyone ever done an Oreo Milk Stout?”
My research concludes: yes, they have. However, I’ve never had one in my travels nor seen one done here in Pittsburgh. So, Meg took the idea and ran with it. And on Tuesday, August 16th, it shall come to pass.
Here’s a little info about our collaboration:
Beer Name: Irresistible Force
Beer Style: Oreo Cookie Milk Stout (Cookie’s Favorite Beer, if you will)
Anticipated ABV: 5%
Description: This stout is being brewed with chocolate and vanilla, giving it that “irresistible” Oreo profile
Food Pairing: Oreos, duh
Brew Date: 8/16/16
Location: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery – The Waterfront
I’ll be shooting some live videos that you’ll be able to watch on the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network’s Facebook Page on Tuesday throughout the brewing process. Meg and I have also scheduled a launch party for Irresistible Force on Wednesday, September 7th at Rock Bottom. It will be pouring from Rock Bottom’s nitro tap and we’ll have a platter of different flavored Oreos available for you to pair with your pint.
I’m looking forward to this experience and helping bring the world Irresistible Force. And, of course, a million thank yous in advance to Meg and her crew at Rock Bottom for helping me get off the brewing schnide.