Mark Brewer’s Brewology Pittsburgh Pickle Company Craft Cocktails cooking with beer • home brewing • upcoming beer events • have you tried...
CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
table of contents
6. 7. 8. 10. 11. 12. 16. 17. 18. 20. 22. 24. 26. 28. 30. 31.
One-of-a-kind treats from ”Brewser” the Infuser every Thursday
editor’s letter the hoppy couple - hough’s
16 ever-changing American craft beers on tap rotation
style profile - sours
Weekly beer samplings
@craftpittsburgh - we love instagram
Beeried Treasures every Monday
the locals - mark brewer
Aletails and craft cocktails Fresh and local homemade food ‘til midnight
hand crafted - pittsburgh pickle co. beer geer - moosehead pottery road trip - columbus craft cocktails - layla ghayoumi, maggie’s farm cooking with beer - chocolate bourbon torte
Robinson Across from Target | 412-788-2333 | @BT_Robinson Monaca Next to Macy’s | 724-728-7200 | @BT_Monaca | bocktown.com
brewer sit-down - james & meg evans have you tried... home brewing - amber ale brew science - ales vs. science
illustrated breweries of pa - elk creek ale works
PUBLISHER P•Scout Media, LLC
EXECUTIVE EDITOR Rob Soltis firstname.lastname@example.org
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HOP FRO pale ale in stores & on tap late august.
Brian Meyer, Beth Kurtz Taylor, Joe Tammariello, Amanda Stein, Mike Weiss, Mindy Heisler-Johnson, Hart Johnson, Gregor Bender, Alyssa Mizer, Frank Cunniff, Nils Balls, Jack Smith
PHOTOGRAPHERS Tim Burns, Malcolm Frazer, Brian Meyer, Jeff Zoet
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Soltis Design soltisdesign.com
imperial pumpkin ale in stores and on tap Late August.
award-winning beer, handcrafted for you! ™ CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
® ALPENGLOW • GOLD MEDAL • GERMAN-STYLE WHEAT ALE • GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL 2014 ® BONE HEAD • SILVER AWARD • IMPERIAL RED ALE • WORLD BEER CUP 2014 ® HEAD HUNTER • SILVER AWARD • AMERICAN STYLE IPA • WORLD BEER CUP 2012 & 2014 ® • • 2010 SILVER MEDAL & 2011 BRONZE MEDAL AMERICAN STYLE IPA GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL ® HOP JUJU • GOLD MEDAL • IMPERIAL INDIA PALE ALE • GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL 2013 ® TRAIL HEAD • SILVER MEDAL • FRESH HOP ALE • GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL 2013 • • BLACK KNIGHT SILVER MEDAL GERMAN STYLE SCHWARZBIER ® GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL 2013
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n i A e l ugust! b a l i a v A
22oz Bottles â€˘ Draught & New this year: 12oz bottles in 4 packs!
For a full list of upcoming events visit CraftPittsburgh.com and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. July • 6 Craft Beer Industry Night @ Caliente • 10 Deutschtown Music Fest Pre-party @ James Street Pub • 11 D eutschtown Music Fest @ Deutschtown (Northside) • 11 Beer & Music Festival @ Foggy Mountain Lodge, Stahlstown • 11 Art Brew Fundraiser @ Sweetwater Center for the Arts • 11 Voodoo Summer Block Party @ Voodoo Homestead • 17 Office Space Party/Gold Rum Release @ Maggie’s Farm • 17-18 Pittsburgh Summer Beerfest @ Stage AE • 18 Pittsburgh Brewery Tour @ PA Brew Tours • 19 Beer + Yoga w/ Brunch @ The Brew Gentlemen • 25 Beers on the Bay @ Lawrence Pier, Erie
August • 3 Craft Beer Industry Night @ Caliente • 8 Millvale Brew Festical @ Riverfront Park, Millvale • 21-23 BrewersFest @ Cooper’s Lake Campground • 22 Pittsburgh Wine Tour @ PA Brew Tours • 22-23 C orks & Kegs Craft Beer Festival @ The Meadows Casino
CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
• 7 Craft Beer Industry Night @ Caliente • 11 ZooBrew Oktoberfest @ PGH Zoo & PPG Aquarium • 12 9th Annual Steel City Big Pour @ Construction Junction • 12 The Pittsburgh Wine Tour @ PA Brew Tours • 26 The Brews & the Bees Tour @ PA Brew Tours
October • 3 Pittsburgh Real Ale Festival @ Highmark Stadium • 5 Craft Beer Industry Night @ Caliente • 10 Pumpkin Fest IV @ Blue Dust • 17 Brewing up a Cure @ PPG Winter Garden • 17 The Pittsburgh Brewery Tour @ PA Brew Tours
Clickbait & Cocktails
ikipedia defines Clickbait as “a pejorative term describing web content that is aimed at generating online advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy, relying on sensationalist headlines to attract click-throughs and to encourage forwarding of the material over online social networks. Clickbait headlines typically aim to exploit the “curiosity gap”, providing just enough information to make the reader curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked content.” About two months ago I was approached by a New York-based company that runs websites in multiple major cities. They wanted me to be part of a judging panel that would rank “Pittsburgh’s Top 10 Breweries.” I was told they would not disclose my actual list and the numbers I provided would just be tallied along with four other judges’. There was no criteria given as to what rankings should be based on or how far geographically is still considered Pittsburgh. Having just finished our last issue entitled “Craft Camaraderie” I declined the offer. I explained that ranking the best of anything really isn’t what CraftPittsburgh is about and I don’t believe it does anything for the local beer scene as a whole. Because honestly, I feel like who am I to say which of Western Pennsylvania’s 30+ breweries are the best? And what should I base that very subjective decision on? The beer? The atmosphere? The chalkboard art? How well I know the owner or brewer? Don’t get me wrong, and I can’t stress this enough, I’m happy for all of the breweries that made that final list. I’m sure they all benefited from the exposure and hopefully it leads to some new customers. Everyone on the list does an awesome job and does it in their own unique way. But so do a lot of places that didn’t make that list. Last issue I wrote that none of the local breweries seem to be in competition with one other. Instead, they are like teammates in the craft beer movement, pushing each other to be their best, while always being there to lend a hand. I guess what I’m really trying to say is a website designed solely to get as many clicks as possible doesn’t care about that team the way I do. On a lighter note, we’ve added more new content this issue I hope everyone enjoys.We’re starting to regularly feature local distilleries along with a little brewing science.
Have fun, drink good beer, and be safe,
the hoppy couple
Hough’s Taproom & Brewpub 563 Greenfield Ave, PGH 15207 • houghspgh.com
The Hoppy Couple is one part Joe Tammariello and one part Amanda Stein. Amanda is the charitable creative type, while Joe is the nerdy eccentric type. Together we make a perfect brew, har har. We don’t consider ourselves beer experts but we spend a good bit of our free time exploring the city and sampling all of the food and drink it has to offer. We also try our hand at brewing beer from time to time at our home in Swissvale. We hope that our points of view will pour a well-rounded pint of our experiences with Pittsburgh’s local craft beer scene. Say “Cheers!” if you see us out!
Hough’s is located in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Greenfield. For those who don’t know, Greenfield is conveniently located between the Southside and Squirrel Hill. Parking is limited to on-street only.We were there for brunch, which is only offered on Sundays, so finding a place to park was not a problem. The Pittsburgh “old school” might remember that Hough’s used to be a bar called Pickles but has since changed quite a bit.
I know I normally write in these articles about beer, but I have to take a minute to talk about Hough’s Bloody Mary Bar which they offer with brunch. This experience converted me into a bloody mary fan. They offer all the trimmings you need to create your own unique blend, including infused vodkas, olives, hot sauces, glass rim spices, cheeses, and more. If you are there for brunch, definitely try a bloody mary. In addition to the bloody mary bar, they also have an incredible selection of drafts as well as an extensive variety of bottles from which to choose.
CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
The atmosphere was generally laid back. Mostly quiet, possibly because people were nursing hangovers from Saturday night partying (ya know, that whole hair of the dog thing). We sat at the bar and had great service. Hough’s is a rather large bar with two main seating areas and two bars, each offering different draft beers. There were plenty of TVs within sight, so I can imagine it’s a great place to watch your favorite sporting event. Namely, I hear it’s a popular
Pittsburgh Penguins bar, so keep that in mind this fall if you’re into hockey.
even fill a 32 oz. to-go can, which is something I haven’t seen anywhere else.
For eats, I went with the ‘Hough’s Big Breakfast’ which is a biscuit topped with your choice of meat (I chose the veggie sausage), eggs your way, and cheese, all slathered with veggie sausage gravy. It came with hash browns on the side as well. I had been to Hough’s before, and want to also recommend the Chicken and Waffle Sandwich which consists of fried chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese, and sweet & spicy syrup sauce, all sandwiched between a Belgian waffle. Whoa, right? It was absurdly delicious and would make for a good brunch or dinner option.
Down the street from Hough’s you can find other cool spots such as Szmidt’s Old World Deli and The Escape Room. Also attached to Hough’s is their brewery, Copper Kettle Brewing. Copper Kettle is a unique place where you can actually brew your own beer (with the staff’s help) and bring home a few tasty cases to enjoy. Definitely a one-of-a-kind, hands-on learning experience.
I, too, indulged in a bloody mary during our visit – it was just too good to pass up. But we also sampled the Copper Kettle beers on tap which were very unique and flavorful. Copper Kettle usually has a few new beers on tap every time we visit so you’re likely to try something different each time. Not only do they have an incredible tap selection as Joe said, but you can also enjoy flights of any of their drafts and
Hough’s usually has a good amount of customers, but we’ve always been able to find seating. They seem to have some kind of event going on all of the time which makes every visit even more exciting. They have tap takeovers from big craft breweries seemingly every month. They also have trivia (my fav!), pairings, tastings, yoga, and more random pop-up events each week. I also have to add that their graphic designer is fantastic - their menu and poster art is so eye-catching.
We were at Hough’s for their Sunday brunch to celebrate Joe’s birthday. They were doing a Great Lakes takeover that morning with food specials and beer pairings. I opted for the Breakfast Bowl off of their main brunch menu, which is basically a smaller version of Joe’s breakfast minus the biscuit and meat option. I’ve also had the Reuben sandwich before probably one of the best I’ve ever had.They also have some ‘Totchos’ on the menu, which looked incredible – tater tots served nacho style? Sign me up!
Hough’s is one of those places you fall in love with and end up visiting time and time again. It never gets old because they have so many beers and menu items from which to choose. The Copper Kettle brews and tap room events are always rotating to keep you on your toes. Hough’s Tap Room and Brewpub is definitely the kind of place you want to keep at the top of your list of local watering holes to visit on the regs.
ENJOY R E D, WHITE & BR E W CELEBRATION SELECTIONS
LOW PRIC ES
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HUNDREDS OF DOMESTIC, IMPORT & CRAFT BEERS NOW AVAILABLE in over 30 Giant Eagle & Market District CafĂŠs in western PA For store locations or more information, please visit: www.GiantEagle.com/Beer. Not all items available in all locations. Restrictions apply. See store for details.
style profile Written by Brian Meyer
remember my first sour beer. I was with a group of friends that were sharing beers, and a bottle of Duchesse de Bourgogne came around. I took my pour and smelled it, and while I’m not sure what exactly it was that I was expecting from it, the tart vinegar smell that came back was definitely not it. I soldiered on and tasted it, only to get a strong kick of malty vinegar and some tart fruitiness, but all I really tasted that first time was the sour.
The History Of Sour Beers
There are a few key sour styles today, although just about any style of beer can be turned funky: just ask East End Brewing about their Brett Hop sour IPA. The currently accepted styles of sour beers include: • American Wild Ale – USA • Berliner Weisse - Germany • Flanders Red Ale - Belgium • Gose (pronounced go-suh) - Germany • Lambics – Belgium and Brussels • Oud Bruin – Belgium
Sour beers are one of the few categories that have been around since the start of making beer. Hundreds of years ago, nearly every beer made was sour. Were they sour because beer drinkers throughout history were discerning beer experts who loved their beer sour? Not so much.
While all sour, these styles vary pretty dramatically from each other in color, taste, and alcohol content. While it’s completely normal to have an American Wild Ale be 8% ABV or higher, a traditional Gose or Lambic can be as low as 2% ABV at times.
Beers throughout history tended to be sour due to lack of refrigeration and lack of understanding of bacteria. Until Louis Pasteur discovered yeast, and in turn the fermentation process in 1857, the existence of these single-celled organisms was not known. This means that along with brewer’s yeast, other bacteria like Pediococcus, Lactobacillus, and Brettanomyces were allowed to run wild in the beer, unabated. Since the existence of these bacteria wasn’t known, the need for proper sanitation to avoid them wasn’t known, either.
Making a good sour beer is neither easy nor cheap. There’s an enormous amount of risk involved when brewing sour beers, starting with the difficulty in getting them right. Along with this, sour beers can take years instead of weeks to finish.This investment in time, ingredients, and space at the brewery make sour beers not a very good investment idea on the surface.
CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
Since then I’ve had more than my share of sour beers, and I love them for their complexity and unpredictability. Overall, sour beers are a very unusual style of beer, but before getting into what makes a beer sour and what styles of beer fit into this category, let’s take a minute and look at the history of sour beers so we can know where we’ve been.
beers today are brewed the same as their non-sour counterparts, but are then put through a secondary fermentation in which the funky bacteria are added, often while the beer sits in wooden barrels.
This existence of wild bacteria in beer made many beers taste odd and downright bad, while others, like those brewed in the Flanders region of Belgium and certain parts of Germany, were actually made better by their inclusion - the results of which are still mimicked today.
Sour Beer Today Today sour beers are brewed purposefully, and while some still use the openair spontaneous fermentation that the original sour beers started with, their fermentation is generally closely watched and is helped along in a variety of ways, the beer is brewed with very careful and deliberate focus. Many sour
Finally, sour beers, if not brewed correctly and carefully, can wreck an entire brewery. The bacteria involved with sour beers, which are: • Lactobacillus • Brettanomyces • Pediococcus …tend to be extremely persistent and can often not be fully cleaned out of a system. Breweries like East End Brewing Co. that brew both sour and nonsour beers have dedicated equipment for the sour brewing process, from special fermentation vessels down to specially-marked flashlights. Crossing the streams on this process could ruin a brewery, making the brewing of sour beers even more difficult.
What to Expect From a Sour Beer Just like my first experience with sour beers, the first aroma and taste of a sour beer tend to be reminiscent of a very good malt vinegar.The intensity of this flavor can vary from one style of sour beer to another, but this tends to be pervasive throughout the styles. Along with this vinegar tartness, a clean and dry sourness should be present. Think of the lip-puckering sour candy you’ve most likely enjoyed and subtract out the sweet. The brewers at Millvale’s Draai Laag Brewing make some of the most interesting sour beers in Pittsburgh, ranging from extra sour to funky and unique. They tend to experiment with different flavors and additions like fruit to give the sour beers a little more than just a sour kick. Quite a few Lambic beers will include fruits with their sourness, giving unique flavors that pair nicely with the beer’s tartness, like cherries and raspberries. This doesn’t mean a Lambic has to include fruit, but it is common. The finish of most sour beers is dry, with not a lot of sweetness hanging around. Along with the tartness of sour beers, there’s a funky aspect to them as well. This funk can be described as earthy, grassy, hay, and even the not-sogreat sounding “horse blanket.” Trust me, it tastes far better than it sounds. Overall, sour beers are an amazing style with hundreds, if not thousands of years of history behind them. When you’re ready to start exploring new flavors in beer that aren’t necessarily malt or hop driven, sour beers are definitely the answer.
Sour beer is all about the experience. I probably won’t have a sour beer with dinner, or crack one open after a day of cutting grass, but what I will do is save them until I have a few friends over, open a big bottle of sour, and share it. Sour beers are tart, funky, and unlike any beer you’ve ever had. Give them a try and see which one you love the most.
Brian founded and writes for pghcraftbeers.com and craftbeeracademy.com.
Here are just a few of the commercial examples of sour beers available in the Pittsburgh area: • East End Brewing Co. – Sketchy • Anderson Valley – The Kimmie, The Yink, & The Holy Gose • Bell’s Brewery – Oarsman Ale • Weyerbacher Brewing Co. – Riserva • Draai Laag Brewing Co. – Black Briar • Victory Brewing Co. – Sour Monkey • Hoppin’ Frog – King Gose Home • Monk’s Cafe – Flemish Sour Ale
CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
Written by Beth Kurtz Taylor
he Pittsburgh craft beer scene, I am assuming, has many enthusiasts like myself who love craft beer and have some understanding of the brewing process & different styles of beer, but would like to learn more. Wouldn’t it be ideal if the learning process could be undertaken at your leisure, perhaps with your favorite craft brew in hand AND with an instructor who is artistically creative and witty? Enter Mark Brewer, an author/ illustrator with a most fortuitous last name. A native of Connecticut who has been in the Pittsburgh area for about 14 years, Mark’s illustrations have appeared in national publications as well as locally in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. He recently launched his first book of illustrations geared toward the edification of beer lovers: Brewology, An Illustrated Dictionary for Beer Lovers (Skyhorse Publishing, $16.99). Mark has been employed as an illustrator since the age of 15. Persistence and tenacity landed him an apprenticeship at that time with Guy Gilchrist, the cartoonist who brought us the Nancy comic strip. Mark earned a small salary and art lessons in exchange for running errands and cleaning the studio. In no time he was working on children’s books and projects for Disney and the Muppet Babies. Mr. Gilchrist describes Mark as being “driven, hardworking and a force of nature.” That is evident when one surveys his accomplishments. His work has appeared in a variety of national publications including the Wall Street Journal, Food and Wine and Newsweek, and locally in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
A lot of research went into the creation of this amusing and informative guide of over 200 beer-and brewing-related terms. The illustrations will make you chuckle, but the definitions are educational without being overly technical. For example, he gives a detailed description of the history, ingredients,
A love of craft beer led Mark to home brewing a few years back. As many creative people do, he keeps a journal of future projects. He described it as a “notebook of ideas that I’d like to get to, but I don’t have time for”. While dabbling in the brewing process, he came across words that were unfamiliar to him. “Hop” reminded Mark of a bunny, “malt”, well, that was something in a milkshake. He began to record these words, which he thought were funny, in the notebook and of course created humorous illustrations alongside them. The end result, many years later, is this work that encompasses beer terms from “Abby Ale” to “Zymurgy” (which, by the way, is “the branch of science dealing with brewing and the fermentation process, more specifically”).
and flavor profile of porter. On the opposite page is a drunken hotel porter riding a luggage cart and holding a frosty mug of, you guessed it, porter. With over 200 definitions, it is sure to be a resource the craft beer aficionado will refer to again and again. You can find Brewology on Amazon, as well as in Barnes and Noble Booksellers and Penguin Bookshops locally. But why not purchase your copy at a book signing event, many of which will be held at local establishments that sell quality beers? In working to schedule this book signing tour, Mark has found the local producers of craft beer to be extremely supportive, and by the photos on his website so far, he appears to enjoy supporting their business in return. Mr. Brewer claims to favor IPAs, but it looks like he is open to adventures in sampling as he shares his book around the area. Come out and meet him at the following events listed below. You can find our more about Brewology at markbrewer.com. 7/2 - Spoonwood Brewery, PA 7/3 - Hop Farm Brewing Company, PA 7/8 - Penguin Bookshop, PA 7/9 - Barnes & Noble (South Hills Village), PA 7/10 - Voodoo Brewery, PA 7/11 - Barnes & Noble (Settler’s Ridge), PA 7/15 - Hitchhiker Brewing Company, PA 7/16 - Grist House Brewing, PA 7/17 - Pittsburgh Summer Beerfest (Stage AE) 7/18 - Pittsburgh Summer Beerfest (Stage AE) 7/22 - Revolution Brewing, IL 7/23 – Two Brothers Brewing, IL 7/24 – Warren’s Ale House, IL 7/25 – Flossmoor Station, IL 7/25 – Pollyanna Brewing, IL 7/29 – Book Launch at Penn Brewery (open to the public) 8/1 - Thirsty Dog’s Blues & Brews Fest, OH 8/2 - Morgantown Brewing Company, WV 8/7 - Bocktown Beer and Grill (Monaca), PA 8/8 - Rust Belt Brewing Company, OH CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
8/13 - Rivertowne Pour House, PA
8/14 - Rivertowne Brewing Company, PA 8/20 - R.J. Julia Booksellers, CT 8/20 – Overshores Brewing, CT 8/21 – Stony Creek, CT 8/22 - Shakesbeer Festival, CT 9/2 - Beerhive, PA
9/9 - North Country Brewing Company, PA
9/29 - Wheeling Brewing Company, WV
9/10 - The Church Brew Works, PA
10/3 – Independent Brewery, PA
9/11 – Latitude 360, PA
10/8 – Hough’s Taproom & Brewpub, PA
9/12 - Barnes & Noble (Cranberry), PA
10/10 – Full Pint Brewing Company, PA
9/17 - ShuBrew, PA
10/14 – Hoppin’ Frog Brewery, OH
9/24 - East End Brewing Company, PA
10/17 – Thirsty Dog Brewing Company, OH
We love Instagram.
And ladies love craft beer. Here are some of our favorite enthusiasts. Check them out and follow us @CraftPittsburgh.
An amazing local photographer and urban explorer that just so happens to enjoy a good beer. Honestly, her account isn’t very beer heavy. We follow for views of the city we otherwise would never get to see.
@gimmethehops A Duquesne grad student originally from Long Island documenting her adventures in craft beer. If you couldn’t already tell by her name, she’s a bit of a hophead.
An animal loving craft beer fan hailing from Warsaw, Poland. Her account is an artistic and interesting look at the Polish beer scene.
Meg is the General Manager at OTB North Park, a craft beer enthusiast, and a survivor of open heart surgery. Her account is full of awesome looking food, beer, and the great outdoors. She hopes her Instagram and blog will encourage people to get outside and be active.
Laura Lee is our local Bell’s sales representative and truly loves what she does. Her account is a good mix of beer and outdoor adventures.
@kimsbaybrews With over 32,000 followers, Kim has to be one of the most popular craft beer accounts on Instagram. Fun, casual pics of beer, food, and cocktails from the San Francisco Bay area. She has even been known to dress up to recreate beer labels.
High heels and a lot of amazing beer. This camera shy, craft beer pin-up used her instagram account to raise over $4,400 in the past year for Autism Speaks.
@missalicedonut Alice provides us and her nearly 10,000 other followers with a daily dose of severe beer envy. Her account is just picture after picture of incredible brews with the occasional beer-selfie.
Pittsburgh Pickle Company Written by Beth Kurtz Taylor
We know Pittsburgh is full of creative and independent craftsmen. As it turns out, not all of them brew beer. Drink and shop local.
CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
he deep fried pickle. Maybe not found on as many a Pittsburgh appetizer menu as deep fried zucchini, but it appears here and there. Could it have gained as much traction in the ‘Burgh because it just was not done well around here in the past? Did John and Will Patterson and Joe Robl, owners of the Beer Hive, stumble upon the magic formula for creating this crispy, tangy bar food that they serve with a side of house made spicy ranch? It appears so, and the secret ingredients are pickles brined right on the premises!
When the brothers opened their Strip District restaurant and beer haven in 2011 they wanted to have deep fried pickles on the menu but just could not settle on prepared and frozen versions from a food service company. Nor did they want to attempt deep frying the commercially-prepared pickles, which are often overly salty and lacking a crisp texture. It took the three siblings two years to develop a recipe with the right balance of garlic, dill, celery and mustard seeds, sugar and black pepper. The pickles, in their pure form, are also served with sandwiches in-house. Customers loved the result and encouraged them to jar the pickles and sell them. John recalled, “The idea of starting a pickle company just seemed insane.” Nonetheless,
he began to research other small companies, then went through the FDA process of becoming a certified acidified food processor. To get their creation to market, they had to take the logistical steps of refining the recipe, developing labeling and bar codes, and putting the product through shelf life testing. The jarred version is now available at the Beer Hive, 52nd Street Market in Lawrenceville, and Giant Eagle Market District stores. Also, on July 17-18, 2015, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is producing the first ever Picklesburgh event. Look for the brothers on the Rachel Carson Bridge along with a number of other local purveyors of pickled products. Thinking about pickles and beer together is not a new concept; after all they are both fermented foods. Several artisan pickle producers in New York City are already exploring the idea. At Jacob’s Pickles in the city’s Upper West Side, the chef works with the beer manager to create pickle and beer pairing options. Brooklyn Brine collaborates with Dogfish Head to produce their HopPickle, brined with the brewery’s 60 Minute IPA. Passionate artisan food producers often collaborate and brainstorm. John found this to be true when Shamus Jones, owner of Brooklyn Brine, showed up at the Beer Hive. He was driving through Western Pennsylvania
and detoured through the Strip District to scout out Pittsburgh Pickle Company. The two entrepreneurs traded jars of brined goodness and keep in touch via email to this day. At “The Hive” they also pickle red onions and banana peppers to compliment some of their menu items. The quick-brined products are packed in five-gallon buckets and distributed through Jordan Banana Company. Locally, look for them at Bill’s Bar and Burger, Back Draft Bar and Grille, and possibly other popular burger-centric restaurants in the near future. Happily, there are more varieties in the works. Soon they are hoping to offer super garlicky dill and chipotle pepper pickles. The recipes are currently undergoing testing at Cornell University; keep an eye out for them at the Beer Hive or on the company’s website. Find out about the company at pittsburghpickle.com Read more about pairing pickles and beer craftbeer.com/beer-and-food/gonzo-for-gherkinscraft-beer-and-pickles foodrepublic.com/2014/03/28/weekend-drinkingassignment-pairing-pickles-with-beer/ And, don’t miss Picklesburgh picklesburgh.com
Moose Head Pottery
Handmade just south of Erie, these one of a kind 64-ounce growlers are true works of art. Individually made from a very durable ceramic called Stoneware, these growlers are kiln fired at over 2200 degrees. Not only do they look incredible, they keep your brew safe, cold, and unexposed to any light. Plus, theyâ€™re fitted with a color matched swing top lid that provides an airtight seal to keep your beer fresh for up to two weeks!
They also regularly work with local charities, including our friends at Brewing Up A Cure, on customized growlers for events and fundraisers. You can purchase these items directly from their website and all proceeds go straight to the organization. Itâ€™s a great way to be generous and help support these fantastic groups! To order your very own custom growler or for information on having growlers made for a charitable event, visit mooseheadpottery.com, or call 814-796-6635.
Individually decorated with pottery glazes, each growler is unique. Several stock designs are available or you can go totally custom, choosing your handle, face plate design, and color scheme.
road trip Story and photos by Alyssa Mizer
Columbus the good-hearted city C
olumbus, Ohio: a growing city with a bright future, where the stereotypical Midwest warmth and work ethic are a way of life. Combine that with a love of art and community, and you have yourself a recipe for a thriving craft beer culture. Within the last five years its hardworking citizens have created a city now known as the epicenter for craft beer in the state of Ohio. Those who know the craft scene here have probably heard of Columbus Brewing Company and other bigger breweries, but what about the younger, smaller guys? When visiting this city, there are a plethora of places for quenching thirst and satisfying hunger. It’s important to know where to begin. For those solely concerned with sampling some of the local brews, there are certain breweries equipped with taprooms, patios and a rotating food truck schedule (in case there is a need to satisfy some late-night beer munchies). For example: Seventh Son Brewing: Located on 1101 N. 4th St. This minimalist/industrial taproom features large community tables that offer a view into the brewery as well as two fenced-in patios. The brewers here not only produce an eclectic list of true-to-style beers, but also take pleasure in experimentation. The Scientist, one of the signature brews, varies from batch to batch, experimenting with different hop and malt ratios to find the perfect balance between citrus & floral.
CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
Land Grant Brewing: 424 W. Town St. This brewery is equipped with a taproom that features community table seating, a window into the brewery, and a brand new patio - perfect for watching a game or meeting up with friends. Thanks to the hard work and determination of two Ohio State graduates, in only nine months this brewery has become a staple for a once neglected part of the city. Planning on hitting up the Great American Beer Festival this year? Then keep your eyes peeled for the Son of a Mudder exemplary American brown ale that boasts roasted flavor rounded out by a punch of hops.
For those looking for a local brewery with a more laid back, gourmet vibe to enjoy a nice dinner, check out: North High Brewing: 1288 N. High St. Located on a former Ford dealership site, this chic rustic brewpub offers a wide range of small batch and signature beers as well as a simple food menu. Walk in on any given day and enjoy anything from a Belgian Blonde to a Honey California Common. Can’t make it into the taproom? Don’t fret; the city’s bars are riddled with North High tap handles. But what makes North High stand out is that it is Columbus’ first and only brew-on-site brewery: this is the only place in the
city where customers are able to brew, bottle, and take home their very own 15-gallon batch of beer. Wolf’s Ridge: 215 N 4th St. A family-owned brewery that has both a restaurant and separate taproom, making it a great place for date night or just enjoying a pint & some pretzels. Sticking with the minimalist/industrial vibe, this elegant little brewpub is a little further south on the cusp of the downtown area. Like most brewers, these guys love to experiment by brewing everything from a Roggenbier to a true-to-style American IPA. The same is true for the kitchen which features an equally adventuresome menu served by a caring & knowledgeable staff, making this brewpub a great representative of the Columbus craft culture. For those looking to do a bit of bar hopping, the possibilities are endless. Big or small, club or dive, here is a list of some of the best spots in the city: The Short North Pint House & Beer Garden: 780 N. High St. This is the mac daddy of craft beer bars in the city that embodies the essence of Short North. Complete with retractable roof & open-air façade, this bar is both a destination and a local watering hole. With over 75 draft and bottled beers, this bar also features a scratch kitchen and menu complete with everything from short rib nachos to blackened Mahi sliders to flatbread pizza. Looking for great beer, great food, and a grandiose experience? This is where to go. Little Rock Bar: 944 N. 4th St. The place where everyone knows your name, this bar is a reincarnation of “Cheers” here in the Short North. This quintessential neighborhood bar is a cozy
oasis where people from all walks of life come to enjoy a cold pint, great company, and great food. Of the 30 different craft beers on tap, over half of them are brewed locally, and the Jail House Kitchen is the base for the local Paddy Wagon food truck.This bar is an ambassador of a proud and sustainable city. 16 Bit Bar+Arcade: 254 S. 4th St. A place where the games are free and the beer is cold, featuring over 40 classic arcade games and extensive draft list. Here customers can feel free to play half as good for twice as long. One of three locations in the state of Ohio, 16 Bit Columbus does its part to support local brewers, and even though there is no food in-house, there are five other restaurants just steps away (literally steps, twenty paces or less). Located in the heart of the downtown area, this place is worth the cab fare. Need to grab a six-pack on the way back to the hotel? Forget the grocery store and stop by one of these amazing bottle shops:
The Corner Stone Craft Beer & Wine: 61 Parsons Ave. Owned by a beer-loving husband & wife team, Columbusâ€™ first hybrid carryout bar features three rotating taps and over 200 different bottled & canned craft beers. Nestled in the heart of Old Towne East, this quaint little shop is a quiet mecca for all things craft.
e’re about more than just beer. Along with great Western Pennsylvania breweries, small and independent distilleries are opening and growing across the state. In celebration of them and Pittsburgh’s burgeoning craft cocktail scene, we thought it was time to start featuring unique cocktails created by local mixologists— and using only premier local spirits. First up is Layla Ghayoumi, brand representative and bartender at Maggie’s Farm Rum. The Tahlah Rose (Tahlah meaning gold in Farsi) is inspired by her newfound appreciation of flavors from her childhood, mainly pure mango juice and rose water.
the cocktail Tahlah Rose
the creator Layla Ghayoumi
the spirit Maggie’s Farm Gold Rum
the bar Maggie’s Farm Rum Distillery 3212A Smallman St, PGH 15222 412.709.6480 maggiesfarmrum.com
the recipe Tahlah Rose
1½ oz Maggie’s Farm Gold Rum 1 oz mango juice (100% pure, unsweetened) 1 oz almond milk ½ oz lime juice ½ oz simple syrup ½ teaspoon rose water 2 dashes cardamom bitters Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Serve in a rocks glass.
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cooking with beer Written by Mindy Heisler-Johnson
Bourbon Chocolate Torte ‘Any chance you want to cook with a local liquor instead of beer next issue?’ Would I?!? Hell, yes! And then I found out that Wigle was releasing a Bourbon and, well, here we are. Bourbon plays well with chocolate, especially the darker, bittersweet chocolates. There is an inherent fruitiness in bitter chocolates that whiskey and bourbon find and amplify, making the chocolate richer and, in cases like this cream pie, lets it keep that fruity bitter-sweetness even after it has been melted into creamy torte filling. I do NOT denature the bourbon in this recipe, it goes in raw and is never heated enough to get rid of the alcohol, a grown-up dessert.Though, to be honest, my nephews like it as much as they like any dessert that isn’t birthday cake...so 5/10? All that whiskey-spiked chocolate awesomeness needs a delivery device. In this case, a salted pretzel and graham crust is perfect. The sweet & salty of the pre-baked crust along with the creamy and rich chocolate whiskey crème are only improved with fresh whipped cream and maybe, if you’re feeling fancy, some fresh berries or toasted nuts to garnish. This is perfect in its simplicity. I make this in a 9” spring form pan with a ½” crust and about 1 ½” of filling, that is what this recipe yields, it can be adjusted for your vessel of choice. This translates well into pies and squares, too. I only ever use fresh whipped cream, sometimes spiked with more bourbon, and whip it by hand right before I serve. The hardest part about preparing this show-stopper of a dessert is waiting for it to set up and chill. Did I mention the only ‘baking’ you’re going to have to do is 12 minutes for the crust?? No? Oh...well, now I did. The rest is a very simple pot de crème-style custard made on the stove top. It takes longer to heat my oven than it does to put this recipe together. And they will think you slaved!
CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
1½ cups crushed pretzels 3 graham crackers, crushed 4 Tbsp. brown sugar 6 Tbsp. butter, melted Get everything but the butter into the bowl of the food processor and pulse until crackers are powdered and pretzels are down to small chunks. Add butter and pulse until it is all evenly mixed. Press the crust into the bottom of a 9” spring form pan to make an even, compressed layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes and set aside until the custard is ready.
Wigle Bourbon Chocolate Crème 2 cups heavy cream 1½ cups milk, preferably whole 6 egg yolks ½ cup sugar 1 Tbsp. vanilla pinch Kosher salt 1 lb. b ittersweet chocolate, such as Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips 2 Tbsp. butter, softened ½ cup Wigle Bourbon Heat the heavy cream and milk in a pot over medium high heat. While the cream heats, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla & salt in a mixing bowl. When the cream comes to a boil remove from heat and slowly pour half of the hot cream into the egg mixture while steadily whisking, using the hot cream to warm up the egg yolks. Return the remaining cream to the stove and bring to a simmer. When it starts to simmer, temper the egg cream into the simmering cream and leave over medium heat to thicken. Stir constantly until the cream starts to hold the lines from the whisk. Get the chocolate chips and butter into a bowl. When the crème anglaise is thickened, pour over the chocolate and stir until completely melted. Stir in the bourbon. Pour it all into the spring form pan on top of the crust. Refrigerate 6 hours or until set. Best if left overnight. Cut with a hot knife for clean cuts.Top it with fresh whipped cream and a strawberry. Eat the most decadent dessert you will ever have spent only 30 minutes actually making. Accept the worship of your dining companions. Save me a piece!
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Burgers, Brats and Shrimp Boil. Local Band: Switch
James & Meg Evans Rock Bottom Brewing & Spoonwood Brewing
Each issue we sit down with a local professional brewer and ask them the same eleven questions. Our goal is to have an interesting mix of characters with varying backgrounds and experience. This issue we did something a little different and talked to the husband and wife brew team of Meg and James Evans. They answered all the standard questions for themselves and also each other, it’s our version of The Newlywed Game. Photos by Jeff Zoet FAVORITE MUSIC TO BREW TO? James’ guess: Taylor Swift, Shake It Off, Actual answer: Mostly punk and heavier stuff I’m really into folk too. FAVORITE PITTSBURGH BAR? James’ guess: Carson Street Deli or Hough’s.
Actual answer: Hough’s, good variety and we love their brunch. IF YOU WEREN’T BREWING? James’ guess: Playing with legos, listening to Creed, playing with puppies.
Actual answer: I’m not sure, but it would definitely have something to do with animals.
James Meg AGE? 27
HOMETOWN? Jamestown, New York
CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BREWING? I’ve been in the industry for five years and starting professionally brewing about three years ago.
BACKGROUND? In 2010 I started at the ground level of Southern Tier Brewing Company. I was doing anything from gluing boxes to labeling bottles, and eventually working on the bottling line. In the fall 2011, I began the Fermentation Science program at Oregon State University. While home for winter break after my first semester, I interned in the Southern Tier Brew House. During that time, a job in the
cellar became available and I decided to take it. In 2012 James and I moved down here and I started working at Rivertowne, where I stayed for a year and a half. I then came to Rock Bottom and have been here for a year now. FIRST CRAFT BEER YOU DRANK? James’ guess: Southern Tier IPA
Actual answer: Southern Tier IPA IF YOU WERE TO BUY A CASE OF BEER RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE? James’ guess: Dogfish Head, Festina Peche.
Actual answer: We like to drink seasonally, so right now Festina Peche and Anderson Valley, Gose are my go-to. GUILTY BEER PLEASURE?
HOMETOWN? Randolph, New York HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BREWING? Professionally brewing for two years, been in the industry for about five. BACKGROUND? Started at Southern Tier as a Racking Technician, which is like bottling line, kegging, assorted odds and ends. Moved down here, met Brandon and he gave me this opportunity. I’m here at Rock Bottom two days a week and at Spoonwood the other three days. FIRST CRAFT BEER YOU DRANK? Meg’s guess: Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest
James’ guess: Any kind of fruity shandy and
Actual answer: Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest
she’s been known to drink a Colt .45.
IF YOU WERE TO BUY A CASE OF BEER RIGHT NOW,
Actual answer: Miller Lite
WHAT WOULD IT BE? Meg’s guess: Prima Pils
Actual answer: I mash-in pretty much every
Actual answer: Victory Prima Pils, all day, everyday. GUILTY BEER PLEASURE? Meg’s guess: Old English. I can’t tell you how many times we go to the store and he says “I just want a 40 of Old English”
Actual answer: Old English and I’m not ashamed of it at all. FAVORITE MUSIC TO BREW TO? Meg’s guess: He likes to mash-in to K-Logg’s, Danger Zone. I had to play it for him four times in a row once.
brew, if not every other one to Danger Zone. After that it’s mostly metal. FAVORITE PITTSBURGH BAR? Meg’s guess: Hough’s or Winghart’s
Actual answer: Winghart’s on the South Side and Hough’s. Oh and the Smiling Moose. IF YOU WEREN’T BREWING? Meg’s guess: Probably drunk in high heels falling in cat liter after playing video games. True story.
Actual answer: Focusing on music, I love playing the guitar.
WHAT’S YOUR DAILY CARRY?
have you tried... Written by Hart Johnson, photo by Tim Burns
1. Monk’s Cafe | Flemish Sour Ale
CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
5.5% - Flemish Sour Ale - vansteenberge.com
Remember way back up there when I casually mentioned Flemish Sour Ale? Well, here we are. Brewed by mixing fresh young beer and beer that has been aged in oak vats. The aged beer, which can be anywhere from six months to two years old, takes on a sour oaky note that can border on vinegar. Fresh beer tames the sourness by providing a sweet balance. What you end up with is just plain delicious. The Monk’s Cafe was commissioned by a world famous Belgian Beer Bar in Philadelphia (go on, boo away) and brewed in the far away land of Ertvelde, Belgium. Deep red color, bordering on brown, thin ring of stark white foam. Aromas of overripe cherries, waterlogged oak and sherry. Each sip is like biting into a ripe, sweet cherry. Slightly tart, vinous, full, and juicy. There’s some oaky tannins on the finish to keep things from getting too cloyingly sweet. This is the beer to sway your red wine drinking friends into good beer, everything every fucking merlot wishes it could be. Recommended if you like: Rodenbach Red Ale,Timmerman’s Bourgogne Des Flandres, Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme, East End Crystal Schip
2. SweetWater | IPA 6.3% - India Pale Ale - sweetwaterbrew.com Even ten years ago when you’d talk about regional breweries, you’d be talking about remnants of the Old Guard. Yuengling, Lone Star, August Schell, F.X. Matt. Now? Regional powerhouses are the small breweries of ten years ago. Lagunitas, Founders, Southern Tier, Yards, Great Lakes. What does any of this mean? Accessibility. Good beer isn’t a search for a white whale anymore. Walk into any place with passing interest in beer and you can find fresh, good beer. Which brings us to the reigning king of southern beer. Sweetwater Brewing from Atlanta, GA. I double-dog dare you to find a Georgia gas station that doesn’t have a six-pack of 420 on the shelf. Go on, I’ll be over here drinking this nice little IPA. Deep golden amber, some off-white foam, bright zesty hop aroma. Really citrus forward, almost smells like those Lemonhead candies, little bit of caramelized sugar. On the tongue the citrus keeps coming, grapefruit rind, lemon candy, and a sweet note of sugar cookies with a clean grapefruity finish. Reinventing the style? Hell no. But they stamp a best by date right on the label, and I like fresh beer. Recommended if you like: Stone IPA, Founder’s Centennial IPA, 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA, Green Flash Soul Style IPA, Grist House Fire On The Hill IPA, He’Brew Hop Manna IPA
3. Uinta | Birthday Suit 22nd Anniversary
6. Hoppin’ Frog | King Gose Home
You know who deserves a cookie and a high five? Uinta Brewing. They’re out there in the middle of Utah, surrounded by people who fear alcohol almost as much as they fear the inevitable sister wife joke I could have written here. And yet there they are, cranking out tasty beers in a beer hellscape for the past 22 years. This 22nd Anniversary Ale blends a soured Belgian style brown ale with plums, and hey, plummy goodness is always welcome in a good Belgian brown. Leathery brown in color, some fizzy foam that fades quickly. Deep earthy aroma, leathery and rich with plum stone, cognac, and red wine vinegar. Sweetish up front on the palate, a quick burst of toffee and bananas before tart lemons, tart plums, and oak wash away the sweetness. Nice chewy finish with trailing cocoa and toffee.
This right here is the Forgot About Dre of beer. Oh, you thought Gose was dead in 1988? Please. Gose is back, and it’s bigger, fruitier, and badder than the Reinheitsgebot could imagine. And yes, I know Reinheitsgebot doesn’t apply to Gose. Forget about Dre, this right here is American Brewing.We can’t get fresh Gose because the only brewery left on the planet has some shady distribution? Fine! We’ll make our own Gose! And make it strong! USA! USA! USA! Hazy pale yellow pour, some fizzy white foam that sticks around a bit longer than Ma$e’s musical career. Fresh, fresh, fresh on the nose. Fresh squeezed lemons, fresh cracked coriander seed, rising bread dough, briny sea water, and a touch of white balsamic vinegar on the palate. Crackery wheat malt, fresh cut cedar, chewy sourdough bread, salt sticks, and a clean wisp of lemon curd to clean up on the finish.
7.6% - Sour Plum Abbey Ale - uintabrewing.com
Recommended if you like: Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre, Ommegang Three Philosophers, Founders Rübæus, Sly Fox Raspberry Reserve, Kasteel Rouge
6% - Imperial Gose - hoppinfrog.com
Recommended if you like: Sunshine, Rainbows, the Musical Stylings of Doctor Dre.
7% - Saison - brewgentlemen.com
I know Gose is the feel-good beer hit of the summer, but I see the words “Brett Saison” on a label and I get a little giddy. A dry, fruity saison spiked with lemony, leathery Brettanomyces yeast is my kind of thing. So, there I am at Brew Gentlemen for their big First Anniversary Bottle Release, surrounded by all manner of barrel aged stout and barleywine, and I’m just fitting as much Loose Seal in my liver as I functionally can. Which, by the way, go to Brew Gentlemen, awesome space and killer beer. So back to beer, poured hazy golden yellow with thick meringue-like head. Big whiff of Juicy Fruit gum, love that in a saison, with white pepper and papaya in the background. Juicy fruity, not just Juicy Fruit, reminders of Meyer lemon, mango, banana, and nice leathery bitterness cleaning things up on the finish. Despite all those fruity things I mentioned up there, this is a dry beer, not cloying and damn near the perfect beer for a summer evening sunset. Recommended if you you like: Orval, Goose Island Matilda, Stone Enjoy After, Green Flash Rayon Vert, Lavery Liopard Oir, Draai Laag R2 Koelschip
5. L eft Hand | Great Juju
7.2% - Imperial Ginger Pale Ale - lefthandbrewing.com For years I dismissed ginger beer because of a few weak examples I had that tasted like murky candied ginger in blandish beer. Why call it a ginger beer if the ginger is barely there? I want GINGER, damn it! Left Hand’s Good Juju was an awakening moment, sharp ginger bite with a little hint of spiciness in a citrusy blonde ale. And then there’s this monstrosity. An imperialized version that takes all that ginger, wraps a sweet warm blanket of malt around it, and sends it outside to make s’mores by the campfire. Deep amber colored, waves of ginger float out of the glass. Sharp, fresh grated ginger and light candied ginger jump out first, then settle into fresh baked gingersnap cookies. Slightly sweet with a touch of molasses, but there’s just enough hop bitterness there to balance that out.The bitterness plays nicely with the ginger, adding a complexity to the earthiness of the ginger. Grab a bottle of this, grill off some pineapple, and invite me over. Recommended if you like: Bells Oberon, Elysian Superfuzz, Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, Roundabout Motueka Wheat
7. Victory | Kirsch Gose 4.7% - Cherry Gose - victorybeer.com
This year in weird beer style that almost died, but now is the hottest thing since adding cinnamon to an Imperial Stout, Gose! What is it, you ask? Well, it’s a salty wheat beer spiced with coriander, originally brewed in one tiny town in Northern Germany. Like Wheeling, WV tiny. I’m not saying East End was the first modern US brewery to brew a Gose with Marzoni’s way back in 2008, but damn, were they ahead of the curve. Anyway, Gose is catching on because it’s a sour beer that can be turned around in weeks, as opposed to the months and years it takes to produce a Gueuze, Flemish Sour, or any other Wild Sour Unicorn style. So, time is money, short brew time, reasonably priced sour ale? I like reasonably priced beer. This Gose has the added bonus of cherry juice.Which is why it is bright pink. Smells like a freshly baked cherry pie, bright tart cherries, dry hay and a slight hint of herbal hops. Tart and salty on the palate, cherry pie theme keeps on rolling, even hint of doughy pie crust right before the salty briny finish wipes down the palate. Recommended if you like: Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose, Church Brew Works Berliner Weisse, Full Pint Wild Side Series, Hop Farm Cherry Bomb,Thirsty Dog Berliner Weisse Follow Hart on Twitter, not Twiiter. @MoarHops
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4. Th e Brew Gentlemen | Loose Seal
home brewing Written by Jack Smith, photo by Malcolm Frazer
AN AMERICAN CLASSIC FOR TODAY
CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
t’s 1996 in Anytown, USA. You stop into the local brewpub for a buffalo chicken wrap and a pint of microbrew. Let’s see… what’s on draft? They have an Irish Red Ale, a Blonde Ale (and a Strawberry Blonde Ale), a Pale Ale, an Amber Ale, and an IPA. You choose the amber. Always the amber. Amber is loyal, trusty. Predictable? Maybe. Boring? Possibly. But it never lets you down. You just can’t trust those IPAs. You never know if they’re gonna be too bitter, too sweet, or have too much caramel. It’s a risk not worth taking. “I’ll have an amber ale.”
It’s 2015. Beer culture is seemingly centuries removed from those pre-burst bubble days of the mid-late ‘90s. Anytown, USA Brewpub is making interesting, unique beer. Gone are the days where they all carried a Blonde, a Pale, an Amber, maybe a Porter - and not much else. They’ve grown as brewers and you’ve grown as a beer drinker. It’s been years since you’ve said “I’ll have an amber ale.” Maybe that needs to change. And that change should start in your own home brewery. Often overlooked as the boring, intro-to-craftbeer offering, amber ale is due for a resurgence. What once was an easy-drinking, all-cascadehopped, malty alternative to those over-hoppy pale ales has evolved among homebrewers
into a complex, malty, hoppy, balanced, delicious beer style. I have spent the past five years perfecting an American amber ale recipe that has proven itself both at competitions and, more importantly, via requests for another round at Ye Olde Basement Pub. This is that recipe. The key to a great amber ale is balance, but much like putting weights on a scale, balance can be achieved even if both sides are holding a lot of weight - or in our case, a lot of malt and a lot of hops. Historically amber ale was similar to pale ale, but with the malt turned up via a judicious application of mid-level crystal malt and the hops turned down, with slightly less bitterness and a lower overall level of American hop aroma and flavor. I find it much more interesting to layer several specialty malts atop a foundation of a flavorful base malt and maintain that in-your-face hop presence associated with many pale ales. Brew the recipe as-is the first time, then think about tweaks you might add to make it your own for the next batch: use different hops, adjust the amounts or types of specialty malts, or alter the mash temperature I’ve done all that, but keep coming back to this recipe as the beer I love having on draft at home.
provider as it will have more flavor and provide a fuller mouthfeel than US 2-row-based DME. Steep the remaining grains in 1.5 gallons of water at 150F for 30 minutes, drain, then add your DME and additional water and boil as you typically do.
Hops 10 grams Bravo (15.5% AA) @ First Wort Hop for roughly 22 IBUs 7 grams each Amarillo (8% AA), Cascade (5% AA), and Centennial (9% AA) @ 30 minutes for roughly 10 IBUs 7 grams each Amarillo (8% AA), Cascade (5% AA), and Centennial (9% AA) @ 10 minutes for roughly 4 IBUs 7 grams each Amarillo (8% AA), Cascade (5% AA), and Centennial (9% AA) @ 0 minutes for roughly 3 IBUs. Allow to steep for 20 minutes before chilling the wort. 14 grams each Amarillo, Cascade, and Simcoe dry hop
Mash 60 minutes at 154F. Mashout at 168 if you have the ability and enjoy that sort of thing. Lauter and sparge. Dead simple.
Yeast/Fermentation Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale @ 64F until done, about 2-3 weeks. You could use any clean yeast. Chico (WLP001, Wyeast 1056, Safale US-05) is typical. I prefer the hint-of-ester character provided by the Scottish yeast as compared to Chico’s almost lager-like cleanliness.
Suggested Pairings This is one of the original American craft brewpub styles, so have it with brewpub food. The up-the-ante level of malt and hop character in this version allows it to hold its own against heavy hitters such as buffalo chicken anything (sandwich, salad, wrap, mac & cheese) or - my favorite pairing - fish tacos: panko-breaded, panfried tilapia loin on flour tortillas with avocado, queso-fresco, raw cabbage slaw, cilantro, a squirt of fresh lime, and a mock spicy crema sauce made from blending adobo into sour cream or yogurt to taste. A homebrewer since 2002, Jack Smith is a Certified BJCP Judge, president of TRASH, and an active member of TRUB. Follow him on Twitter @whenyeastattack
“Not From the ’90s” American Amber Ale Batch Size: 5.25 gal. Boil Time: 60 minutes OG: 1.054 FG: 1.013 ABV: 5.4% IBU: 37 Difficulty: Easy *Assuming 70% brew house efficiency
Grainbill 4 lbs US 6-row pale malt 7.5 lbs Golden Promise malt 1 lb Munich malt (10L) 1 lb F laked rye (for a pillowy mouthfeel and improved head) 8 oz Crystal 120L 6 oz B iscuit malt (to balance all the body-building malt with a bit of dry crispness) 1.5 oz Carafa II (for a touch of red color) *Extract Brewers: Replace the Golden Promise with 4.5 lbs light DME, preferably from a British
8 oz Crystal 60L
brew science by Gregor Bender Actively fermenting lagers smell a lot like rotten eggs because they produce sulfur compounds in the early stages of fermentation. For this reason, lagers require a secondary fermentation and aging process called lagering, where the sulfur compounds can be broken down.The word lager comes from the German word “lagern” which means “to store.” This lengthy process poses a challenge to most craft breweries who are limited by their total capacity for fermentation. This is perhaps the biggest reason why the majority of craft breweries specialize in ales. Pittsburgh is lucky to have Penn Brewery, where they specialize in award-winning German lagers. There you can witness a lagering cellar first-hand.
the Science of
ALES VS. LAGERS A
s a brew guide for PA Brew Tours, one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is, What is the difference between ales and lagers? Most people have a perception that lagers are pale, yellow, and easy drinking, whereas ales are far more colorful, full-bodied, and flavorful. While this is generally correct among the most popular styles of beer in the US today, the reality is that the difference between the two broadest families of beer all comes down to the yeast. In truly ancient times, ale yeast - Saccharomyces cerevisiae - was everywhere. Ale yeast has been traced back into prehistory through analysis of pottery fermentation vessel fragments found by archeologists. Varieties of this yeast were and are important in the fermentation of many foods such as bread, cocoa, beer, wine, cider, mead, kombucha, kefir, pulque, and chicha. Before modern knowledge of microbiology, people often attributed this magical transformation of a sweet sugary liquid into an even more delicious and intoxicating one to the Gods. Ninkasi, Bacchus, Dionysus, Tezcatzontecati, and many others are all personified deifications of this mighty microorganism.
CraftPittsburgh | Issue 19
In stark contrast to ale yeast, lager yeast requires human intervention to propagate, and does not exist in nature. So, where did it come from? Modern genetic analysis performed in 2011 revealed the answer. Europeans began transatlantic travel around 500 years ago. On a return voyage from the Southern tip of cold South America (now called Patagonia), a stowaway, Saccharomyces eubayanus, was aboard. This cold-loving stowaway had lived on beechwood there, but when it arrived in Europe it hybridized with its cousin, the ale yeast, S. cerevisiae, in breweries around Europe. The result of this intermarriage was especially well-adapted to cold. It is our modern lager yeast, Saccharomyces pastorianus.
With a basic understanding of the evolutionary etiology of ale and lager yeast concluded, our attention turns to some of the more practical differences between the yeast families. One of the biggest differences is that ale yeast are described as top fermenting, while lager yeast are bottom fermenting. All yeast reproduce by budding, but as they bud, most ale yeast tend to form chains, while lager yeast tend to separate. The long chains of ale yeast actively trap the carbon dioxide bubbles they produce, causing them to float and form a thick raft-like layer above actively fermenting beer that German brewers term “krausen.” The more solitary lager yeast are less able to trap this gas, and tend to spend more of their lives in suspension or on the bottom of the fermentation vessel.
Perhaps the biggest perceptible difference between ales and lagers to the beer drinker lies in a facet of the flavor caused by esters. Esters are very aromatic and flavorful compounds that are produced by yeast fermenting at higher temperatures. The flavor contribution of yeast esters with many ales is a major factor in the final flavor of the beer. A good example of this is a Hefeweizen where a noticeable banana aroma due to the ester isoamyl acetate is an important part of the flavor. Other important ale esters can present like the produce aisle of your local supermarket (red apple, green apple, apricot, cherry, grapefruit, kiwi, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, raspberry and strawberry). Because lager yeast prefer living in much colder environments (think of the old beechwood forests of Patagonia) they can be fermented at lower temperatures to minimize the production of these compounds. This allows the clean, crisp flavors of the malt and hops to come through. What is the difference between ales and lagers? It all comes down to yeast. The ancient ale yeast ferment on top, prefer it warmer, and produce more flavor compounds that make it into the finished beer. Their more recent offspring, lager yeast, ferment on the bottom, prefer it colder, require a lagering period, and contribute less flavor to the beer. Differences in color and malt or hop flavors all come down to other aspects of the recipe and are not inherent differences between ales and lagers. Although American ales have traditionally been brewed as having much more color and flavor than their lager cousins, keep an eye out for an emerging trend of more colorful and flavorful lagers to join their ranks. Gregor Bender is a brew guide for PA Brew tours, home brewer, BJCP certified beer judge, and former pharmaceutical research scientist.