On November 10, the first forum postings on St. Nick’s Brewer’s Reserve began to appear on Beer Advocate. I tried to pick this up at Penn Brewing on November 9 – my last day in the city – and was told it wasn’t available yet. Missed by one day?!?! I even explained that I was from out of town… It comes in 750 ml bottles that are corked and foiled, a red velvet bag, and described as a barleywine. But, sadly, I don’t have one.
Also missed – Quadzilla (Cherry Quad) at Church Brew Works – but not nearly as disappointing since there is a bottle in our basement. They also said “coming soon.” Not soon enough!
But the trip wasn’t a full disappointment. There was the work side…a professionally fulfilling and extremely educational experience (which I will blog about elsewhere!) and then there was the beer side.
My co-workers were honestly excited about stopping at D’s Six Pax & Dogz in Swissvale, where we explored (and purchased from) the Beer Cave and had a happy hour pint with an appetizer. Around the table, we had Left Hand Milk Stout, Magner’s Irish Cider, Great Divide Fresh Hop, and “I’m sorry, I can’t remember” Pale Ale. I ate a Veggie Dog, and it was delicious in a hot-dog sort of way.
We had dinner one night at Church Brew Works where we drank Ichabod’s Revenge (Pumpkin Stout), ThunderHop IPA (11th Anniversary Ale) and Pious Monk Dunkel. All of the dinners were terrific:
- I had Asian marinated tofu tossed with crispy seared oriental vegetables served atop a bed of bamboo rice, and coworkers had
- grilled center cut pork chop served with an Asiago risotto cake, grilled plum tomatoes and balsamic reduction,
- buffalo and wild mushroom loaf with garlic mashed potatoes, and
- chargrilled salmon with a tahini and fresh dill rub served with chargrilled vegetables and fried leeks.
Pumpkin cheesecake and frozen yogurt (made in conjunction with Dave & Andy’s) made for happy endings! We also enjoyed observing the anticipation of election results for (winner) Patrick Dowd as his supporters gathered at Church Brewing.
A huge surprise was The Library on E. Carson Street.
We went there based on the website (self-promotion), and can say they are right on the mark! The atmosphere was perfect – Golden Book Encyclopedias for our beer menu, a card catalog in the corner – and the tap and bottle list were satisfying (Chris and I had a Mojo Hazed & Infused, one person had Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout on draft, and another had a bottle of Avery Karma.) For dinner,
- the people on either side of me had The Fisherman and His Wife – pretzel crusted salmon served atop fingerling potatoes and a mustard cream sauce;
- I had what they described as striped bass fillet seared and served with crab meat, vanilla cream sauce, and asparagus risotto (but I never saw or tasted the crab and maybe tasted vanilla cream sauce in the risotto – not really obvious);
- also at our table was Tyler Durden –ribeye steak topped with gorgonzola accompanied by rosemary redskin smash and Julius Caesar – a Caesar salad.
Another night we went out to Morton’s Steak House (on the vendor’s dime!) where the wine was served in Riedel stemware, the filet mignon was as bigger than my fist, and the desserts were outstanding. Unfortunately, they have every domestic beer you can imagine, but nothing in the realm of microbrews (to their credit, they do not mention beer on the website or menu.) The staff were so gracious – that had to be my favorite part – but, of course, I didn’t see the bill. I’m sure they got paid well to be so nice!
Other misses on this trip (which I’ve experienced, but wanted to share with the coworkers):
- Jean Bonnet Tavern
- Sharp Edge
- Fat Heads Saloon
- East End Brewing Company
- and many, many wonderful eating establishments such as any big Burrito Restaurant Group restaurant, and Pamela’s.
Between a busy, busy conference and the great beers we found while we were out, there was no need to bring in the cooler (I don’t recall having a break, other than one hour which we used to visit Saks 5th Avenue where they served cookies and cappuccino – ahh, to have a real department store!)