Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beercation: Stop #2 Pittsburgh, PA

I was in Pittsburgh for business the week after our great Pacific Northwest adventure. While there I thought I would do my best to explore what the city had to offer.
My first side trip started with a trail run through McConnell's Mill State Park (had to earn my beer that night). This place is gorgeous with a nice path along the river in a dense forest. I didn't look at the map very closely and ended up running a lot further than I was planning. I was shooting for 30-45 min and was out for over an hour. But the scenery was a nice distraction. I wish I had my climbing gear because this place is just amazing for rock climbing.
Afterward I headed up the 76 a little bit further into the town of Slippery Rock. I went to check out the North Country Brewing Co. From the outside it has a nice woodsy, country look to the place. And inside is similar but it well put together and was pretty packed for a Wednesday Night. They had about 10 beers on draft and even one on cask. I order the 6 beer sampler and was very impressed with their beer. The beer that really stood out to me was the Slippery Rock Dew which from what I understand is basically a braggot. It had a great wild honey smell and a nice but subtle sweetness. And I happened to hit the place on Wing night (2lbs for $6).
The next big side-trip was my journey into downtown Pittsburgh. The stadiums are amazing, built right next to one another (I'm keeping me fingers crossed that San Diego soon follows suit). I did a bit of exploring through Washington Park (which is the Pittsburgh equivalent of Balboa Park in San Diego). I also got lost driving around but it was a neat way to see the city. I eventually found what I was looking for ...Church Brew Works.
I read about this place and knew I had to go. This is hands down the most amazing Brewpub I have been to. I arrived near twilight which was perfect to see the light coming through the stain glass windows. The church was built in the early 1900s and has high ceilings and a great courtyard with hop vines. All the brewing equipment is out for display on the altar and the bright tanks are located behind the giant bar. This is a must-go. Now onto the beer, had their sampler with 5 regulars and 3 seasonals. The regulars were all good but "Brewpub Safe" (meaning nothing that really impresses the beer fan). But their seasonals were interesting and the Imperial Irish Red was a fantastic beer. I found most of their beers too sweet for me but it worked for the Irish Red. To make this experience complete, I had one of the best pizzas I've ever had. It was a Pierogi Pizza (Pittsburgh is semi famous for their Pierogis, which are traditionally dumplings with potatoes and cheese)

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