End of summer, 2013. Here in Pittsburgh, a fever was sweeping the city that hadn’t been contagious in over two decades: Bucco Fever.
The Pirates were on the fast track to their first playoff berth in 21 seasons. That meant a person born on the day the last time the Pirates appeared in the postseason could now be sitting next me at the bar drinking legally. You know…to put it in perspective.
As a craft beer consumer, perhaps the greatest addition to the North Shore over the past couple of years is The Beer Market. Why? Not only because of the ridiculous selection of craft beers as far as the eye can see, but because they refuse to compromise. They have an unspoken rule of “good beer only” and stick to it to an incredible degree. That’s a stance that makes a craft beer lover smile and one that makes someone who hasn’t transitioned to craft beer try something that may make them do just that.
So it goes without saying, before heading to any Pirates game, a stop at The Beer Market is a necessity. So that’s where I found myself on this warm, summer evening and, while sitting at the bar sipping on an East End Big Hop, one of my personal favorites, a guy bellied up to the bar and attempted to order a Bud Light.
No such luck.
Next on the pecking order…a Miller Lite.
Wrong again. Under this roof, no such brewopoly beer will be found.
He wound up with a Yeungling, but his next comment led to the creation of this very blog you’re reading today:
“How is this place going to survive without Miller and Bud products?!”
The short-winded answer is ‘Just fine, chief.’ But let’s dissect that statement, as it bears dissecting.
First off, let me state for the record, I’m not against personal choice. If you prefer a brewopoly beer, so be it. But can you honestly say it’s for the taste? Can you put a Miller Lite, Bud Light, and Coors Light in three unmarked glasses and tell the difference between them? Have you ever tried a beer brewed with natural ingredients vs. beer brewed in mass quantities with adjuncts that dilute the flavor? Have you drank a Miller Lite warm and praised its deliciousness? Be honest…
Personal preference aside, mass advertising has a TON to do with your mindset on beer choice. Whether you dig the flavor or not, the billions of dollars the brewopoly pours into brainwashing you into believing their product is grand with big horses, bottle and can gimmicks, animals playing football, and other stabs at entertainment is downright insane. Practically insulting. But, as the above statement proves, it works. This dude believed a bar that doesn’t sell what’s advertised as a staple in the beer world is apparently one off night away from going under, so there you go.
There was a part of me who wanted to tell this guy to look around. The Beer Market was packed. And obviously, the crowd wasn’t drinking brewopoly beer since it’s nowhere in the house. Then, I wanted him to look at the abundant tap lineup and the coolers filled with an enormous offering of craft beer…and honestly ask him if he believed survival was something keeping the owners awake at night.
Instead, I simply pointed out to him that the place was packed and they don’t serve food…so they must be doing something right. But his comment never left my head. Instead, it brewed, to use the parlance of this blog, until it dawned on me: the guy at The Beer Market isn’t the only one operating on this level of thought. There are millions and millions of people who haven’t taken the leap into craft beer because they simply don’t know what it offers. There needs to be more voices advocating for craft beer and helping people transition into a better adult beverage. The more people voicing their thoughts and opinions on craft beer, the better!
From that, Breaking Brews was born. With a mission to aid you, a beer lover, in your transition into a craft beer lover! While the evolution of your palate won’t happen overnight, trust me…it’s extremely difficult to go back to something bland and fizzy once you enter a world of incredible taste, unique ingenuity, and unbridled creativity.
Welcome to Breaking Brews. Let’s talk about craft beer!
A SPECIAL THANKS to my friends at The Beer Market in the North Shore for providing the setting for this idea to be born. I guess you can say I got lucky at your bar one night!