Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First Evening in Pittsburgh

After a couple of uneventful flights, I arrived in Pittsburgh.  I changed planes in Minneapolis and managed to have a Summit Oktoberfest while waiting for my flight. Not as malty as I like them but very drinkable.

My hotel in PIT had a shuttle bus, which took about 15 minutes to arrive. After I got in, the driver said he had to wait a bit for another pickup. No problem, I didn't have a schedule, other than to drink beer. It turns out the other pickup was the crew from my flight. They were staying a fancier hotel than I and the shuttle went there first. As he was pulling up to their Hyatt Place Hotel, I recognized the name of the mall across the street from my beer research. I asked the driver if he knew a place called "Mad Mex" and he said, sure it's over behind Ditka's (Stuff you learn while traveling -- I didn't know Mike Ditka was from the Pittsburgh area). I asked if he wouldn't mind dropping me off there instead of my hotel. You could tell he thought this a strange request but he did. I was thinking of taking a taxi from the hotel so it saved both time and money.

I sorted of expected a "Post Apocalyptic El Torrito's" and that is not too far off, but in a good way.  I headed for the bar were it looked like they had about 30 or so taps. When I got the beer menu there was an insert "Southern Tier Week -- all draft Southern beers $5." That got my attention but the promo had started the previous Sunday and all the kegs were gone. Oh well.

Since I had started with an Oktoberfest, I went with that theme and had a Fat Head's Oktoberfest. Fat Head's is in Cleveland -- not exactly local but "local-ish" enough. It was a decent beer, very drinkable but nothing to knock your socks off.  But then again, that probably wasn't the brewer's intent.

Next up was Victory Brewing Donneybrook Stout, served on nitro. At 3.7% this really is a session beer. The lower alcohol was very well hidden -- this was a very tasty and satisfying beer.

Victory is at least from the same state, but I wanted a local, local beer. The waitress asked if I like hoppy beers. I guess from my first two choices that could be in doubt. I told her the hoppier the better and she recommended East End Brewing's Big Hop IPA. It is a little on the light side compared to a West Coast IPA (5.8% and 70 IBUs) but it had a very big hop flavor and was extremely tasty. So I had a second.

By now I figure the hotel was wondering what happened to me, so I asked if they would call me a cab. I guess that is not a common occurrence because it took a while for the cab to show up. But what the hey, I wasn't on a schedule.

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