Right after my arrival in NY, my friend Jeff and I picked up a rental car to tour craft breweries on the East Coast.
Yes, you heard right: Beer!
This blog has mostly been about wine and dining for now, but in the end it should be about anything that tastes good. And that naturally also comprises beer if it’s made with passion in a craftsmanship way of brewing. The idea behind this trip was of course fun in the first place but also to further explore the whole craft brewing scene that has developped in the US in the last couple of years. Of course, coming from Germany, I was very curious how those high quality American beers would compare to those in Europe. Cheers!
Their tasting flight held a few nice surprises. It is the first time we saw a beer infused with heather in addition to hops, thus it was named Heather Ale. My preferred brew though was the Station 33 Firehouse Red.
Later that night we arrived in Pittsburgh and got our well deserved midnight-snack at Primanti Bros. Those Pennsylvania beers we washed down our meal with aren’t bad, but after sampling some more craft brews, we realized that they’re more or less average in the end.
Sandwich was keeping up with the beer.
By the way, Pittsburgh is of course the home of world famous Heinz Ketchup. I couldn’t leave out this culinary side note of our trip. (seriously, I like ketchup)
Here’s Mr. Heinz as a wallpainting in Primani Bros Deli.
But now back to beer, Hallelujah!
Indeed.. Hallelujah! Church Brew Works is a microbrewery within a church and you smell it from the start since the whole building is perfumed with hops instead of insence.
Neat altar! During our stay the brew system was being operated. Probably that was the source of the nice hop perfume.
Beer Sampler: Stout, Pilsner (albeit with a slightly too bitter finish) and Absolution Ale (with honey notes) were our favorites.
This interior is just epic!
And THIS is the finest Pittsburgh has to offer!
No… not a red door, but East End Brewing. It’s a tiny brewery that only opens a few hours for growler fill-ups.
But serving delicous beers. Their Fat Gary Nut Brown Ale is a winner as well as their Monkey Boy Hefeweizen. Not to forget some of their seasonal beers like Snow Melt Winter Ale which is incredibly luscious: beer for your soul!
So that was Pittsburgh. We also paid a short visit to Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh after our beer matching dinner orgnized by East End Brewing (more later) but on the next morning we headed back to the coast. This is a snapshot from somewhere on the road.
On the next day we took part in a homebrew competion at the Gilded Otter Brewery in New Paltz, Upstate NY. This was a quite interesting experience, especially as you get to taste various styles of homemade beers… and various qualities.
Busy Beer Judges. I was stewarding the specialty beer section comprising creations like Jim Beam infused stouts. My friend Jeff was judging IPA’s.
After that day we drove back to Brooklyn at first and took a well deserved break from beer errh.. judging before hitting the road anew.
My first impressions on craft brews are that of course there are highs and lows, plus quite an amount of average, but the most important is that there is a big interest in drinking craft brews.
And anyone who has ever been to the US and had a Bud light or othe “beer soda” type of brew might understand where that craving for better beers comes from.
Indeed I even have the feeling that the American beer consumer has been so traumatized with tasteless beers, that craft breweries now have a big array of extremely flavoured beers on offer. And this is something I have mixed thoughts about. For example, I like to have an IPA from time to time, but some are so intensily hopped that they burn my throat or at least impregnates my palate for hours. So I couldn’t make them my daily pint. But that said, my general leitmotiv still remains variety is king.
(Part 2 coming soon!)