For the next few days, the Breaking Brews Short Pours, your near-daily quick shot of libations news and fun in 250 words or less, will be a quick review of where my Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week travels landed me the day before. Pittsburgh is in full-blown Beer Mode and it’s hard to get everywhere…as hard as we may try. That said, I encourage you to share your experiences in the comments section below. Let everyone know how your event(s) unfolded and what beers you enjoyed.
Untapping the Untappd Shenanigans
If you’ve listened to our podcast, Over a Couple of Beers, in the past, or caught a couple of my posts on Breaking Brews talking about the subject, you know I’ve never really been a big fan of beer reviews. For one, some of them come off as snobby and pretentious and, ultimately, scare away a novice drinker who’s putting too much stock into said review. Secondly, beer is subjective. The beer you absolutely despise may be something I absolutely love and vice versa. But how would I ever know if I just relied on your review instead of drinking the beer myself? Mind…blown.
One of the most popular beer tracking and beer reviewing apps is Untappd. It allows you to find thousands of beers and give your opinions. Just like any social network, it gives you a voice to speak about your subject matter however you desire. Personally, I like to provide some quick notes about the beverage I have. Nothing demeaning, just my takes. Still, my hopes are you’ll try it yourself and perhaps the notes will act as a simple guide.
But…some folks have decided to go a different direction with Untappd. And that was on full display Thursday night.
The night started out with a quick stop at 99 Bottles for Happy Hour with Rock Bottom. As you’ve most likely noticed through the coverage I’ve been giving them through Breaking Brews and PCBN, Meg Evans and her crew at Rock Bottom have made some serious strides to redefine what their brewery and restaurant is all about. Years of being known as nothing more than a corporate chain restaurant are rapidly being washed away by their involvement in the local craft beer community, hosting events all over town, and the beginning phases of Rock Bottom beers being tapped at destinations throughout Pittsburgh.
Hats off to the entire team at Rock Bottom for flipping the script and putting some high-quality, kick-ass beers in our glasses! Oh, and Meg tapped a firkin of the infamous Pink Boots Gose for the crowd to enjoy at the next event we’re about to talk about, too. Rock Bottom everywhere.
The night’s drink of choice switched to mead as Apis Mead & Winery hosted a brand new event in the PCBW portfolio: Beatnik Brewers. This unique evening showcased an ensemble of local brewers presenting their worst Untappd, RateBeer, and Yelp reviews. Many of these reviews were hilarious in their existing online forms alone. But factor in a few glasses of mead, seven days of Craft Beer Week celebration/hangover, and an entertaining group of brewers reading these reviews aloud…in true beatnik, poetry-reading-esque form, and we all stood witness as a hilarious sight unfolded. Think Comedy Central roast…with beer reviews like “this beer will make you wish Prohibition came back” as the roastee.
It was all in good fun and proved our local brewers know full well they can’t please everybody…no matter how hard they try. But reviews of “meh” and beer tasting like “the taint sweat on a bicycle seat (how anyone has knowledge of this for a frame of reference is just gross)” be damned, these guys and girls are going to keep on churning out the good stuff with the hopes that, one day, they’ll brew that magic liquid that wins you over!
All in all, Beatnik Brewers was an absolute blast and, like many events throughout PCBW, showed the camaraderie among those who make this city’s beer scene tick. They were able to come together in a self-deprecating manner and share a laugh at their own expense. I guess it’s like anything in life. Without a bad beer review, the good ones wouldn’t be as satisfying.
Oh, and to satisfy the rest of this feature’s title, there was lots of hugging. It was as if Danny Tanner from Full House had sent a proxy to the event. But that’s OK. The brother/sisterhood is strong, and hugging it out only makes it stronger.
A huge thank you goes out to Dave Cerminera, his entire team at Apis, and everyone else involved for pulling off one killer event.