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
- Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot
- Flying Dog Double Dog Double Pale Ale
- Founders Pale Ale
- New Holland Night Tripper
- Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock
- Lagunitas The Hairy Eyeball
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!