Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Super Tuesday (for beer, not voting)

Yesterday was my Spring Break beer-related day, starting with a road trip and finishing with a homebrew club meeting. It wasn't quite the journey from last year, but it was a great day.

I picked up Justin (aka Naka) at 10am, and after grabbing some caffeinated sustenance at The Commonplace Coffeehouse, we headed west on Rt 422 towards Kittanning ,Butler, and New Castle. At New Castle, we hung a left toward Boardman, Ohio, our first destination.

Why Boardman? Well, because of an absolutely wonderful beer & wine store named Vintage Estate Wine & Beer. First, we had lunch up the road at a place called Rocknes Pub & Restaurant ... a run-of-the-mill pub like TGI's or Chili's or "Chotchkies". The food was fine but uninspiring. In fact, the whole strip of businesses and restaurants all along Rt 224 in Boardman was the most bland yet eclectic collection of businesses I'd seen in a long time: Home Depot next to a mall next to Olive Garden next to a mattress store next to an adult store called "Ambiance". The whole area kinda sucked the spirit out of you. But I digress....

Vintage Estate!! Man, worth the two-hour drive from Indiana. The beer selection was phenomenal and the prices, compared to Pittsburgh beer stores and the asinine Allegheny Co. Onorato tax, were very, very reasonable. I had a wish list and some cash from Eli, whose order I filled first. Justin was busy gathering his stuff.

After getting Eli's stuff, I picked up the following:
  • Ølfabrikken Porter

  • Haandbryggeriet Norwegian Wood

  • Nils Oscar Imperial Stout

  • Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout

  • Mikkeller Big Worse Barley Wine

  • Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel

  • Mad River Steelhead Scotch Porter

  • Tripel Karmeliet

  • Allagash Curieux

  • Bottleworks Van den Vern Grand Cru

  • De Dolle Arabier

  • De Dolle Dulle Teve

  • Left Hand Milk Stout

  • 't Smisje Grande Reserva

  • Weihenstephaner Korbinian

  • Weihenstephaner Vitus

After making the purchases and loading the car, Naka and I headed to the back of the store for a sampling of some of the beers that Ron Bush (the proprietor) had on tap. He rotates six different ones and yesterday there was:
  1. Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot

  2. Flying Dog Double Dog Double Pale Ale

  3. Founders Pale Ale

  4. New Holland Night Tripper

  5. Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock

  6. Lagunitas The Hairy Eyeball

I'd had the Lagunitas and Weyerbacher before, so I tried the other four.

After a great time at Vintage Estates, we hit the road and drove straight to East End Brewing in Pittsburgh - making it just in time for growler hours at 5pm. There weren't many people to show up between 5-6, so we hung out and chatted with Scott and Richard, tried a few samples (including the soon-to-be-released Monkey Boy, a German Hefeweizen). I left with a growler each of the Best Bitter and the Dubbel Trubbel.

We left Pittsburgh and headed home. After dropping Justin off and stopping home for a bit, it was time to head uptown to The Coney for the March meeting of the Indiana Homebrewers Club. The article about our club, published in the local paper last month, helped get us six new members last night! We talked about the hop shortage, tried some great homebrews and the two East End beers, and I ended up staying until midnight.

In all, a great beer day!


Justin said...

Nate, I think it is best that we keep our beer adventure as a sort of low key trip. I don't really want to make Juart jealous. He hits me when he is angry.

Jon (aka santoslhalper) said...

Nice haul you lucky bastard..

Rob Young said...

I wish I could take an entire day off while basking in beer, ingredients and all it's glory! Sounds like a great day, do you do it often?

Nate said...

Thanks for reading! I don't get to do this type of thing nearly enough, but try to get in a day or three a year like this.