Annual BIG HOPPY IPA Roundup! Where to Find February IPAs in Pittsburgh

Hop Cone

Every year, hopheads in Pittsburgh hold grit their teeth through winter’s chill in anticipation of one thing: February’s crop of big, amazingly hoppy IPAs. Read on for this year’s annual roundup of where to find these winter gems. This page will be continuously updated as we find more beer. Did you see one of these beers at your local shop or bar? Or are you carrying it at your bar or shop? Drop me a line and I’ll add yours!

I’d also recommended CALLING before you drive somewhere far to make sure they still have it! Some of this stuff is selling super fast.

We’ve also added a following of Full Pint’s HOPism this year, as requested by popular demand.

Bell’s Hopslam

Brentwood Distributing, W. Mifflin – in cans

The Saloon of Mt. Lebanon – on tap

Bellevue Beer, Bellevue – cans

Save On Beer, McKnight Rd. – cans

Mad Mex, McKnight Rd. – on tap

Save-Mor Beer, Browns Hill Rd. – cans releasing on Sat. Feb. 6 at 12 noon

Carson St. Deli, South Side – on tap (tapped 2/12)

Packs and Dogs, Mt. Washington – on tap (tapped 2/12)

Doublewide Grill, Seven Fields – on tap (tapped 2/19)

3 Rivers 6 Pack, Delmont – bottles

 

Troeg’s Nugget Nectar

Allegheny 6 Pack, Cheswick – on tap

Brentwood Distributing, W. Mifflin – in bottles

The Saloon of Mt. Lebanon – on tap

Carson St. Deli, Southside – on tap

House of Brews, Robinson – bottles

Atlas Bottle Works, Lawrenceville – bottles

Giant Eagle, multiple locations (New Kensington, Shadyside) – bottles

Mellinger Beer, Oakland – bottles

Caliente Pizza, Hampton – on tap

Fat Head’s, Southside (ON FEB. 19) – firkin

Save On Beer, McKnight Rd. – bottles

The Modern Cafe, North Shore – on tap

Giant Eagle Shadyside – bottles

 

Fat Head’s Hop Juju

Giant Eagle Shadyside – 4 packs

Mellinger’s, Oakland – Cases

Lohmans’s Beer, Wexford – Cases

Babcock Beer, North Hills – Cases

Fat Head’s, Southside – bottles

3 Rivers 6 Pack, Delmont – bottles

 

Full Pint’s HOPism

House of Brews, Robinson – bottles

Beer Express, Crafton – bottles

Save-Mor Beer, East Side – bottles

The Saloon of Mt. Lebanon – bottles

Lohman’s Beer, Wexford – 12- or 24-pack bottles

Giant Eagle Shadyside – bottles

Industry Public House, N. Fayette – on tap

2015 Bourbon County Release Events around Pittsburgh

Each year on Black Friday, Goose Island releases their Bourbon County series. At their Chicago locations, it’s a huge event. Now, around the country, lots of bars and bottle shops are picking up on the idea, making Black Friday the time to figure out where to stop and get your Bourbon County!

Here’s a listing of what we’ve heard about around Pittsburgh. If you’re a bar/shop owner and don’t see your Bourbon County release posted – email us!

Caliente Pizza in Bloomfield is having a bottle pour event on Black Friday (Nov. 27). All 4oz. pours. Ticket sales for the event start at 10:30am and the pouring starts at 12noon. Here’s what they have:

2015 BOURBON COUNTY BRAND STOUT
2014 BOURBON COUNTY BRAND STOUT
2014 BOURBON COUNTY BRAND BARLEYWINE
2015 BOURBON COUNTY BRAND BARLEYWINE
2015 BOURBON COUNTY BRAND COFFEE STOUT
2015 BOURBON COUNTY BRAND REGAL RYE STOUT

Hough’s in Greenfield is tapping their Bourbon County on Black Friday (Nov. 27) at 6pm.

House of 1000 Beers in New Kensington is taking the pressure off the whole Black Friday thing by having an entire Goose Island week, next week! The main Bourbon County stuff is on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4 & 5. Here’s the info:

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Atlas Bottle Works in Lawrenceville is having a Bourbon County Release Party on Black Friday (Nov. 27)! They are also having the Pittsburgh Film Premiere of “Grit & Grain”. They will have all four styles of Bourbon County. Here are the details:

-At 6:30pm we will be tapping a barrel of 2015 Bourbon County Stout. We will also be serving bottle pours of 2014 Bourbon County Barleywine. 5oz pours of each style will be $5, limit one pour per style per person. Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

-Food Truck (announced soon)

-Grit & Grain- The Story of Bourbon County Stout has two showtimes, 7:00pm & 9:00pm. This film details the whole story behind what it actually takes to produce one of the most sought after beers in the world. Tickets purchased to this show include a 5oz bottle pour of 2014 Bourbon County Stout, as well as 4 tickets to enter the Bourbon County bottle lottery (see below).

Hal’s Bottle Shop in the North Hills is having a Goose Island Tap Takeover and Bourbon County bottle release party on Thursday, Dec. 3, 7pm – 9pm.

SPOTTED: Alpine Brewing’s Nelson at House of 1000 Beers, New Kensington

Alpine Brewing is renowned for their hoppy, hoppy beers. They’re a small brewery out of California. It used to be crazy-hard to get your hands on one of their beers – until they were bought be Green Flash a few months ago. Now, we’re starting to see some Alpine showing up in Pittsburgh.

This was all well and good until today, when it just got awesome. Reason: Nelson was spotted at House of 1000 Beers in New Kensington! If you’ve been waiting for a reason to make the trek out to New Ken, here you go. If you’re friends with me on Untappd you saw how much I liked this beer. The hoppiness was so fresh it was almost raw. Grab one of these if you can.

Spotted: Alpine Beer Company Hoppy Birthday

Alpine Beer Company beers have made their way to Pittsburgh!

Alpine is out of California and for a long time, had a super-small distribution. They were very sought after for their hard-to-get hoppy beers. Alpine has now been purchased by Green Flash, which means their distribution just went up.

A week ago on Untappd, I checked in their Nelson beer. They consider this a Rye-IPA but I can tell you, it was just as hoppy as most Double or Imperial IPAs. The hops had a great flavor and were balanced really well by the malt.

Here in the Burgh I’ve had two reports of bottles for sale of their Session IPA, Hoppy Birthday. They were stocked yesterday at House of 1000 Beers in New Kensington and Hal’s Bottle Shop on Babcock Blvd.

 

hoppy-birthday

Where the Story Is – GABF 2015/Denver-Bound

I could write from the sidelines. People do it all the time. So much of the web content that we read is from researchers who read articles about said topic, then just regurgitate the information in a different way. These sites just want your attention. They want your clicks. You have read a travel article about Nashville written by a guy who’s never left Bangladesh. (Yes you have). But if you really want to write – meaning, that’s where your passion is – living it, breathing it, failing and succeeding with it, and then trying to communicate it to other people using just these words – you can’t write from the sidelines. If you’re a writer, you need to go where the story is.

I’m a craft beer writer. The story is in Denver.

Cue the suitcase bumping down the attic stairs.

This year, GABF is the largest it’s ever been. They’ve added 90,000 square feet of festival space to their already overwhelmingly humongous hall in the Colorado Convention Center. I am shocked that there is another 90,000 square feet of space somewhere in that building. They are expecting to have over 3500 different beers served. That is the largest selection of American beers ever served in one place. Ever. And I intend on trying every single one of them. Every. Single. One. [Author’s Note: I do not intend on this at all.]

There is also a new section of the festival this year called Meet the Brewer. Here’s why this is important: when you walk around the hall at GABF, you notice straight away about a jillion people [may have overstated that number] wearing bright yellow shirts. These are the volunteers, the brave, hard-working beer lovers of Denver who have the unfortunate task of attending the largest beer festival in the country (for free). Ah, let’s take a minute and give thanks for their sacrifice. These volunteers staff many of the booths at GABF. They are the ones who actually pour the beer. This might be because the brewery employees are out sampling or perhaps the brewery couldn’t even afford to send staff to the event (they can just ship beer). So it’s a bit of a treat to stop at a booth that is staffed by an actual brewer or brewery staff. They are obviously much more passionate about their beer and can answer questions (important to beer journalists!). Mad props to the brewer who stood right in the aisle at the beginning of the event last year and literally flagged us down to taste his beer. Guess what? We did. And otherwise we probably would have just cruised right by. Here’s to you, Mr. In-the-Aisle-Flagger-Downer-Brewer.

Back to the new Meet the Brewer feature. This area will house about 100 or so booths that are completely staffed by brewery team members or the brewers themselves. No volunteer pourers. Some of my favorite local Denver breweries will be in Meet the Brewer (I know, it’s easy for them, they’re right there!). But I was excited to see some of our kinda-localish breweries on the list as well: Great Lakes, Southern Tier, and Weyerbacher staff will all be standing ready to meet attendees (and craft beer journalists who came all the way from Pittsburgh).

So myself and 60,000 other attendees (who sold the event out in an impressive 1 hour, 17 minutes this year) are headed a mile high to where the story is. Because I could read about it and try to regurgitate it, but it would be a disservice to us both. I need to be there. I need to hear the endless din of the massive hall. I need at least 20,000 people to scream “OH!!” when I drop my taster glass and the plastic bounces off the concrete floor and echos like a yodel in a cave. I need to sit in the auditorium when they announce the 2015 medal winners and scream like a nut job when they announce a Pittsburgh brewery. Then, I need to somehow take the intangibles of being there, the feeling of being surrounded by “my people,” and turn it into words, enough carefully selected words that, if only for a moment, I can transport you there too. Because I fancy myself a writer. And I’m going to where the story is.

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Pittsburgh Real Ale Festival – Saturday, October 3, 2015

Ok, do yinz remember the thing with the Real Ale Fest? They were gonna do it, it’s an awesome idea, then it got cancelled, all that? No? Ok, me neither. Let’s just go get some real ale already cuz it’s on like Donkey Kong.

 

2015 REAL ALE FESTIVAL by Piper’s Pub

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2015

6PM – 10PM

HIGHMARK STADIUM, STATION SQUARE

 

Price will include 35 real ales (with a nice brewery list), food from Piper’s Pub (who fought long & hard to bring us this fest!), soccer matches with the Pub’s soccer team, shirt screening from Commonwealth Press, and local DJ spinning.

Oh wait, did someone ask what real ale is? OK, let’s do this. Have you ever had cask ale or a beer that was on cask? That was real ale. Technically, the final fermentation is done in the cask. So the beer kinda finishes up in the cask and also naturally carbonates (so no pumped-in carbonation here). The beer is served from that same cask in which it fermented and carbonated. It was also never filtered and never refrigerated like many beers are. Because of this, real ale can have many unique flavor and texture nuances that can’t be found in other commercial beers. (How totally Wikipedia did that sound?!)

$50 General Admission

Tickets available for purchase at Piper’s Pub (1828 East Carson St.)

or via Ticketmaster

 

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