It’s the most wonderful time of the year again, and before you start thinking that Christmas is creeping even further back into the year, we’re talking about that OTHER most wonderful time of the year: Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week. So what exactly is Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week? Well, simply put it’s a celebration of all things craft beer in and around Pittsburgh. The ten days of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week include more than 350 events, making it the biggest collection of craft beer all year.
This year, Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week runs from April 17th – 26th. 2015 marks the fourth year for PCBW, and as such it’s the biggest, busiest year yet. The events run the gamut from simple beer samplings to a Brewer’s Olympics, which means there’s a beer and an event for everyone somewhere in the week.
Before Getting Started
So why do I know so much about Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week? Well, this is my third year serving on the board for the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Alliance as the treasurer and web designer, and I run a few sites on craft beer including Craft Beer Academy and Pgh Craft Beers. To say I do a lot with beer would be an understatement.
I do what I do mostly so I can share the amazing craft beer scene in Pittsburgh with as many people as possible. Have a question about an event or just beer in general? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook. I’ll be glad to help.
Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week is held every year by the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Alliance, whose board is made up of a variety of folks in the beer industry including brewery reps, professional brewers, home brewers, and other beer professionals.
Craft Beer Week is possible because of the generous sponsors that not only give their money, but their time and effort into making some pretty amazing events. Each event during PCBW is thrown by the sponsors, which should go to show how much these businesses love their craft beer. To see all the sponsors for 2015, click here.
Speaking of amazing events, PCBW 2015 has some of the best we’ve ever seen. The most notable events include a beer festival on the Gateway Clipper that sold out in less than one minute and a beer and oyster festival held under the Homestead Grays Bridge. While oysters under a bridge may seem a little weird to you, it’s a perfect place for a festival, and one of the best held all year.
The 350 events for this year are spread across more than 60 categories ranging from craft beer cupcakes to rare firkin tappings to a beer running event with Pittsburgh’s chapter of the Hash Hound Harriers! If there’s a better pairing than beer and running, I don’t know what it is.
What would Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week be without beer? Not fun, that’s what! The beers you’ll find during PCBW this year are some of the best you’ll see all year. With a heavy focus on keeping things local, there will be a mix of local and not-so-local beers throughout the city as well as outside the city, too.
The real belles of the ball however are the Collaboration Beers. Each year, the brewers of Pittsburgh get together and make a lineup of beers you’ll only find during PCBW. This year we have some of the most interesting pairings of brewers yet, and they’ve come up with some pretty interesting beers. How interesting you ask? Well, here’s what’s in store for the collaboration beers this year:
Note: The first brewery listed in each beer is the brewery at which the beer was brewed.
- Brewed By: Brewed by Church Brew Works w/ Draai Laag & 11th hour
- Style: Hoppy Brett Red
- Ingredients: Avangard Pilsner, Castle Biscuit, Weyerman CaraRed & Crisp C45. El Dorado, Galaxy, & Cascade Hops. 2 Types of yeast & 2 Types Brettanomyces
- ABV: 7%
- Brewed By: Penn Brewery W/ Roundabout & Voodoo Brewing
- Style: India Pale Lager
- Ingredients: 2 Row & Carahell Malts. Wakatu, Rakau, Spalt Salect & Mosaic hops. German Lager yeast
Shu Full of Bees
- Brewed By: Full Pint W/ Apis Meadery & Shu Brew
- Style: Imperial IPA
- Ingredients: 2Row, C45, C65 & Carapils malts featuring Classic American hops & Finished with Orange Blossom Honey
- ABV: 9%
Seasons of Hell
- Brewed By: Helltown W/ Four Seasons
- Style: Saison
- Ingredients: Dingemans Pilsner, Vienna, Weyerman Wheat Malts. Galaxy & Citra Hops. Orange zest @ flame out & French Saison yeast
- ABV: 6%
- Brewed By: Rivertowne W/ All Saints Brewing
- Style: German Pale Lager
- Ingredients: All German base grains. Nugget, El Dorado, Galaxy & Mandarina Bavaria hops. Amber in color, filtered & A Bohemian yeast strain
- ABV: 6%
50 Shades of Grain
- Brewed By: East End Brewing W/ Spoonwood Brewing & Costar Brewing
- Style: Roggenbier or Rye Ale
- Ingredients: Pilsner, Rye, CaraRye & Melanoidin Malts, plus a pinch of every other in house grain as a nod to the name. Ahtanum & Saaz Hops. Weizen yeast
- ABV: 6.3%
For Wheat’s Sake!
- Brewed By: Grist House W/ Hop Farm & Hitchhiker
- Style: Wheat IPA
- Ingredients: Pilsner, White Wheat & Munich Malts. Columbus, Mosaic, Simcoe & El Dorado Hops. Vermont Ale yeast
- ABV: 6.5%
Ghoul Branch Burritos
- Brewed By: Rock Bottom W/ Milkman & Bloom Brew
- Style: Light American ale
- Ingredients: 2Row, light crystal malts & Tortilla chips in the mash – Brewed with a popular brand of tortilla chips you can probably guess by the name. San Diego Super yeast
- ABV: 5%
As you can see, there’s a pretty big variety of beers, and while I’m not too sure how a popular tortilla chip-flavored beer will taste, you better believe I’m going to try one.
Keeping Things Local
The biggest idea behind Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week is keeping things local. This means a focus not only on local Pittsburgh breweries and beer, but venues like restaurants, beer distributors, and even chocolate shops and bakers as well. This is the same idea that got Your Beaver County started, a want to focus on all things local and show the world how great our little corner of Western Pennsylvania really is.
PCBW even stretches out to us in Beaver County. While we’re less than an hour away from all of these amazing events, there are a few that are happening right in our own back yard, too.
There are a few simple events like a Rivertowne Brewing Happy Hour at the Front Door Tavern and a Finch’s one at the Monaca Draft House, but what seems like the best events to make it our way are happening at Bocktown Beer and Grill at the Beaver Valley Mall.
While you can see all of their events over on the PCBW Calendar, the most exciting one is definitely the annual Kegs ‘n Eggs event. The premise is simple: Bocktown opens their doors at 8 AM sharp on Saturday, April 18th with not only their full menu available, but some early morning food goodness to pair with some pretty amazing beers. That’s right, a perfectly good reason to drink at 8 in the morning.
The other notable event at Bocktown Monaca is the Beaver County Homebrewer Showcase on Sunday the 26th. You can come out and meet some local homebrewers, try their beer, and who knows, maybe even get into brewing yourself!
Find Out More
So, ready for PCBW 2015 to get off and rolling? You can find out all you need to know about this (more than a) week of events by checking out PittsburghCraftBeerWeeek.com and clicking around. You can follow the action on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for the Craft Beer Alliance to get all the news that’s fit to drink.
While this may not be fully in Beaver County, it’s as good a time as any to venture out and have some of the best beer all year. As for me, I’ll be out and about checking out as many events as possible. While I won’t get to even a fraction of the 350+ events, I’ll do my best to try.