Sunday, April 27, 2008

Monkey Boy, Smokin' Joe's, and Another Batch Bottled

Yesterday, Dana and I went to Pittsburgh for the day. After having breakfast at Cafe 701 (isn't there a Cafe ### in just about every town?) with our friend Erick (also now a homebrewer), we got ready and hit the road. Well, I should say, first we did some stuff around the house and left around 11:30.

We decided the main visit of the day would be Phipps Conservatory. Dana wanted to see the spring flowers and also the newly opened butterfly forest exhibit. But first, I had an errand to run since we'd be on the right side of town - that is, get a growler of East End Monkey Boy, a really nice German Hefeweizen that Scott debuted last month. I was hoping to get some before it was gone (like the fate of the Cherry Grisette!), since I don't make it down as often as I would like. We strolled in at 12:45 or so .. absolutely empty, unlike every other Saturday visit I've had.

By this time, we were hungry, so we drove over to Shadyside for lunch at Girasole, a nice little Italian bistro on Copeland Street. Luckily, we got a table inside and not the patio, because half way through our meal the skies opened up for a nice shower.

After lunch, we hit Phipps and walked around for over an hour and a half. Nice place. While inside, a big booming thunderstorm passed - amazing how much water really comes down when the whole ceiling is made of glass! Dana picked up a neat little garden decoration - a tiny solar-powered 'lamp' with a hand-blown glass flower top. We put it out today, and as I write this I see it glowing in the dark out in the back yard. Kinda cool.

From Phipps, we took a slightly scenic drive through Schenley Park and over to Homestead, where we drove around the Waterworks 'mall' area. There's a Rock Bottom there, but we skipped that this time. I visited one in Seattle last summer, but wasn't hugely impressed - especially compared to our local scene. We killed some time, instead, in Barnes & Noble, where I read through a few beer magazines.

Next, it was on to the South Side. We tried to get a table at Fat Heads, but the wait was an hour! So we ambled down a block or so to Smokin' Joe's. We found no wait, and a nice tap selection. Between us, we had a Stoudt's Abbey Tripel, a Magic Hat Odd Notion Irish Red Ale, a Boulder Beer Obovoid Empirical Stout, and a Dogfish Head Burton Baton.

Slightly happy now, we decided not to eat there, but rather head across the street to Primanti Bros. Again, if you've not been to Pittsburgh or have been but not eaten here - do yourself a favor! The best place to have one is the original 18th Street location in the Strip District, but you can find them several places now, including PNC Park for a Pirates game.

After dinner, we were tuckered out form the day and drove back home.

Today, I bottled the Coffee Porter I made back in January. I'm a little slow this year! Anyway, it finished at 1.011 and tasted pretty fine. I hope it will be ready for the grand tasting during our Homebrew Club meeting on May 13!

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