{Guest Post} Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week

Our friend James was in town this past weekend for Pittsburgh's first Craft Beer Week.  How advantageous that our most knowledgable beer buddy would visit PGH while this craft beer celebration was going on! It must have been fate. Either way, since I don't know much about beer {other than it tastes good!}, I've asked him to write a short guest post on the subject. Without him by our side, we would have been full of questions about the beer menus.  Thanks for accompanying us, James, on a week we hope to replicate many times over!  

I was lucky enough to visit Pittsburgh on their inaugural craft beer week. While we didn't do too many of the events, we still had fun. We got a sneak peak of the Dogfish Dinner at Shiloh Grill and went to Hofbrauhaus for their party/trivia event. I also got to try a ton of new beer {he can't get in the South}, so it was a successful trip.

Here is a little Q&A from Ashley.
1. What is the difference between craft beer and regular beer? How is the process different?
Craft beer is brewed on a smaller scale with more thought and stories behind the beer. The process of brewing doesn't change materially but the ingredients and the style varies. I would compare it to the local restaurant vs the mega-chain.

2. What are some of the most 'known' craft beers? Or are there any?
Sam Adams' Boston Lager, New Belgium's Fat Tire and Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale are probably the top 3 most recognized craft beers. The more well-known craft breweries are Sam Adams, Dogfish Head, New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, Rogue, Avery, and Stone among others. (Shiner for the people in Texas.)

3. What are the types of craft beer {i.e. hoppy, stout, etc.} What do they taste like?
There are way too many styles of beer. There are also people like Sam Caligione at Dogfish Head that pretty much invents a style each time he brews a new beer. You have your popular styles like Pale Ale (semi-hoppy), IPA-India Pale Ale (very hoppy), Stout (dark and thick), Lager (clear and crisp). I maintain that there is a beer/style for every palette.
4. What are some of your favorite craft beer makers?
My favorite brewery right now is Great Divide out of Denver. They make an incredible stout (Yeti) and even a good fruit beer (Wild Raspberry Ale), among other solid beers. Dogfish Head is another favorite. They brew from the tiny state of Delaware and they are known for stretching the boundaries of beer. Of note is their line of Ancient Ales, recipes researched by historians to get close to historic as possible. Also their Music line, with ales brewed for greats such as Miles Davis, Pearl Jam and Robert Johnson.
James in the background texting his Beer Buds about Hellhound.
5. What are some of your favorite local/PA/PGH craft beers?
Yuengling is a great representation of what a macro pale lager (Bud/Miller/Coors) should be. The Troegs bros also make some great brew.

6. Can you give some recommendations for those of us novices on ordering craft beers we'd like? (ex. if we like red stripe/dos equis/stouts, what should we order?)
My first piece of advice is to try a lot of beer. You will most likely find you don't like before you find the one you love, don't give up so early. If you are used to the lighter macro brews then try a lager/pilsner/golden ale from a craft brewery. If you are a Guiness Fan then go for the stouts/porters/barleywines. If you are a Shiner fan then gravitate towards the bocks/swarzbiers/ambers. If you are a Blue Moon person then try the hefeweizens and fruit beers. The only beers that I suggest new craft beer drinkers avoid are sours and IPAs. They have very strong tastes and can be quite a shock to the palette. Brooklyn Brewery and New Belgium are both great breweries for you to try as they aren't too crazy with their normal selection.
7. How many craft breweries have you been to, and where would you like to visit next time you're in town?
I've been to way too many craft breweries to count. {I see a trend here!} Next time I visit Pittsburgh I want to hit up their version of a flying saucer. I want to see a bar with a diverse selection of east coast brews.

If you aren't a beer fan then maybe craft sodas are your take? If so, then check out Maine Root or Jones (Nationally). For the Texans, hit up Dublin Bottling Works(former maker of Dublin DP) or Armadillo Ale Works.

Thanks, James! 
Readers, if you have questions about craft beer you'd like answered, leave them in the comments!


  1. Thanks for the love, James and Ashley. Sounds like a great visit!

    1. You're welcome! Keep making awesome beer, and the love will never end! :)


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