Starting this Friday, Pittsburgh will be awash in suds. Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week (April 20-28), sponsored by local brewers, bottle shops, bars and beer distributors, will be packed with over 300 tastings, beer dinners ... even a formal-dress "Brewer's Ball."
The Pittsburgh Craft Beer Alliance organized the week's events — which will take place at bars, restaurants, distributors and grocery stores — to highlight and expand the region's craft-beer culture. Chris Momberger, a member of the executive committee, says the emphasis will be on "education, collaboration, cooperation and, of course, responsible libation."
"Pittsburgh has gone though a renaissance of taste in the last few years," Momberger adds. "We're seeking out the best and demanding more of our beer."
To demonstrate that desire to seek out the best, a cornerstone of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week is the collection of three collaborative beers brewed specifically for the celebration.
Representatives from eight regional breweries (Penn Brewery, Church Brew Works, Rock Bottom, Hofbrauhaus, Mount Pleasant's Helltown, East End Brewing, Milkman and Arsenal Cider House) were split into random teams by drawing straws. The resulting beers, which will be available at select PCBW events, are: "The Cheeky Yinzer," a British-style IPA; "Inaugural Ale," a sour-mash red ale; and, "Home Opener," a Kölsch-style ale.
As for the events ... with so many of them, how to choose which ones to attend? Momberger offers advice to the longtime craft-beer drinker and the novice alike:
Experienced craft-beer drinkers can skip the introductory talks. "You know your palate," he says. "Search through the list and find your favorites, or one you've always wanted to try."
For those who are new to the world of craft beer, Momberger sees the opportunity for a learning experience. "The key is just to go," he says. "The worst that can happen is you find something you don't like, but I'd be willing to bet that you'll find a beer that will be fantastic for you."
More information on events can be found at pittsburghcraftbeerweek.com.