Sunday, August 17, 2008

Brewing and Baseball

So as the summer winds down and I prepare for another school year, I try to squeeze in a bit more fun before getting back into a rigid schedule.

On Tuesday night, we had our August homebrew club meeting at the Coney. It was a nice meeting, and we had 12 people in attendance along with four homebrewed beers to sample. I even managed to come away with a quart bag full of some home-grown Cascade hops for some dry-hopping. If possible, I'm going to try to test the alpha-acid level. I had to call it an early night on Tuesday, however ...

The alarm went off at 4:30 on Wednesday morning, and I was out the door by 5:00 - all in the name of good beer. I was fortunate to be able to 'help' Bill Kroft brew a batch of Patchway Pale Ale at Marzoni's in Duncansville. Bill starts early, however, so when I knocked on the door at 6am, he already had the water heated.

I've toured many breweries and brewpubs over the years - from high tech monstrosities like an Anheuser-Busch plant to more traditional and tiny operations like Cantillon. But never until last week was I able to be there for the whole brewing process. The steps in brewing were the same as all-grain homebrewing, but what was terrific and humbling to see was both the scale of materials and the automation of the process. It was actually easier to brew 10 bbls of beer than for me to make 5 gallons - of course it helps to have such great equipment. And, of course, the clean-up was a bit more involved because of the scale.

Bill was kind enough to let me and another homebrewer, Mike Jackson, watch the entire process from milling grain to pitching yeast and ask tons of questions. Mainly, we stayed out of his way but did try to help by shoveling spent grain and hosing out tanks. We started at 6:10am and finished by 1:30pm. Afterwards, we chatted over a few pints out front. I enjoyed some Saison and some Chocolate Wheat. I even got a sneak preview of the 5th Anniversary Barley Wine coming out in November ... keep your eyes open for this one!

Fast forward to today. We got in our one Pirates game today, with a beer theme. Today was the second of three special beer tasting events at PNC Park in the club level (Club 3000). For two hours before the game, East End Brewing, Church Brew Works, and John Harvard's Monroeville were pouring two beers each. This "Beer Passport Club" offer will happen one more time this year, on Friday Sep 12. The game starts at 7:05.

How good a deal? The normally-priced $58 ticket was priced at $40, plus free beer for 90 minutes before the game. In addition, your ticket could be used to get up to $10 in food/beverage on the club level. Considering the cost of a large beer at PNC is now $7, this ticket almost could pay for itself. During the game, the club bar has about 15 taps, including Sam Adams, Penn, SNPA, Dogfish Head, and several other crafts.

If interested, contact Jason Marovick at (412) 325-4964 no later than week before that game.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

I actually did something really similar about a month ago. I spent a week in July working in the brewhouse at 5 Seasons North. Not only did I get to observe the brewing process, I actually did everything but measure out ingredients. It was a ton of work, but really fun.