Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week is a 10-day celebration of craft beer excellence in our city and region. No matter where you travel or what event you attend, you’re guaranteed to walk away with a little more knowledge on craft beer, some memories, and hopefully a few new friends. The Pittsburgh craft beer community is comprised of people passionate about brewing, passionate about giving us a better product to consume, and passionate about looking out for one another.
In no bigger way was the camaraderie and solidarity that makes Pittsburgh’s craft beer scene what it is on display more than during Sunday’s Brewer’s Olympics held at Grist House Brewing. This event, co-sponsored by Pgh Craft Beers and The Independent Brewing Company, was the most appropriate way to bring to a close what was the best Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week to date. Brewers from all over the region came together to laugh, to celebrate, to bond, to compete, and to help. Not only did this event showcase the fun these guys and gals can have, it also showed the love they have for their fellow brewer.
Less than two months ago, a damaging fire ripped through the Titusville community and, in its wake, left several businesses in peril with severe damages. One of those businesses was Blue Canoe Brewery. Fortunately, the fire did not total the building, but its damaging affect has left the brewery in need of numerous repairs. The Brewers Olympics was designed to help raise money for the cause and help Blue Canoe get back on their feet sooner rather than later and, of course, get back to brewing kick ass craft beer!
The competitors came to the event in tip-top competitive shape (data unofficial) and, decked out in blue jean cut-offs, speedos, Daisy Dukes, and tye-dye kitty cat t-shirts, prepared to capture the title as the first ever Brewer’s Olympic champion by compiling the most points in a series of beer-themed feats of strength. It was a true battle for the ages, with epic scenes from Gladiator running through the hearts and minds of those fortunate enough to be in attendance as the competitors stretched in preparation for their battle.
Maybe Gladiator is a bit of a stretch.
The teams were represented by brewers from the following breweries:
– All Saints Brewing
– Church Brew Works
– CoStar Brewing
– East End Brewing
– Four Seasons Brewing
– Grist House Brewing
– Hitchhiker Brewing
– Hop Farm Brewing
– Rivertowne Brewing
– Rock Bottom Brewery
– Roundabout Brewery
– Spoonwood Brewing
The games included a keg pull relay race, a sixtel race, an untie the grain bag challenge, and dunk tank trivia. Each team came together to display their best techniques in the spirit of competition and downright fun. Kicking off the grain bag challenge was Rock Bottom brewer Meg Evans absolutely owning the first leg of the race, untying the first grain bag for her team in record time, as seen in the video below:
These feats of beer strength continued during the keg pull relay race as Grist House’s Kyle Mientkiewicz and Sean Biby showed everyone how it was done. I don’t know if home-field advantage came into play or not, but these guys certainly knew how to pull kegged beer around their parking lot with the greatest of ease!
I wish I had more to report on the sixtel race, but I think this went down while I was enjoying a ridiculous cheeseburger from the Steer & Wheel food truck, who was on hand making sure everyone, including spectators, kept themselves in prime day-drinking/day-competing fashion. So you’ll have to use your imagination on this one. Apologies.
The event then turned to dunk tank trivia where Brewers Olympics MC Malcolm Frazer asked a series of beer-centric questions to team representatives on the verge of getting soaked. The rules were simple: Get the question wrong, get dunked. Get the question right…yeah, you’re getting dunked.
The first question wasn’t even out of the bag when Spoonwood Assistant Brewer James Evans took a dive. And on and on it went. Craft beer enthusiasts lined up and donated to the Blue Canoe cause to get an opportunity to soak their favorite brewers. Malcolm did an unbelievable job pumping up the crowd. The true essence of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week and the solidarity we all share in this community was so thick, you could cut it with a Ginsu.
At the end of the day, a lot was accomplished. Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week 2015 reached its climactic conclusion. Brewers from across the region came together to entertain. Craft beer fanatics experienced a day of fun in the sun at one of Pittsburgh’s greatest breweries. And, most importantly, over $1,000 was raised to help Blue Canoe get their operations back on track. The generosity each of you showed in making this event worthwhile is a true testament to how much EVERYONE involved with craft beer in Pittsburgh cares. From the brewers to the bloggers to the bars to the brewery reps to the wholesalers to the enthusiasts and everyone else in between, we all can stand up and applaud for what went down on April 26th, 2015.
Cheers to a tremendous event and a tremendous Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week!
Below are more pics from the Brewers Olympics. Also, check out all the other videos from the event on the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Network YouTube Channel.