"Eat a substantial breakfast."
That's Eric Milliron's advice to me for successfully judging the 20 home-brewed beers to be poured during Winterfest in Mt. Lebanon, which runs from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.
Admission is $10 for the home-brew portion of the day's outdoor winter carnival, held at and near Clearview Commons park in the heart of Mt. Lebanon's Washington Road business district.
Mr. Milliron, my municipality's economic development/commercial districts manager, and Daniel Pipitone, local home brewer and graphic designer (including of the cool poster, above), have lined up an impressive roster of local and area homebrewers, who will be sampling a total of 20 different brews for attendees.
Those friends didn't have to twist my arm to much to get me to agree to try Mr. Pipitone's "Straw Bale Brewing" brews -- a farmhouse saison and an IPA. Also pouring will be his neighbor Jeff Bower (Irish Kona Stout?); as well as Keith Kost, a prolific national gold medal-winning homebrewer (hmm, a Schwarzbier); as well as aspiring pro brewer Jeff Bloom of Belle Vernon (Mango Z Tango?); as well as the brewers I wrote about here who call themselves Reclamation Brewing Co. and who bring a little religion into the region's brewing scene (Promised Land Ale).
Admission is an additional $10 ($15 at the door) for the main Winterfest event, a chili-tasting party where you can try the creations from several local restaurants, including my favorite pizza places, A'Pizza Badamo and Il Pizzaiolo.
(Haven't dined out in Mt. Lebanon lately or ever? You might be presently surprised at the options and the quality. A friend of mine who swears that Little Tokyo has some of the best sushi not just in Pittsburgh but also far beyond recently send me a photo of Mario Lemieux lunching there.)
Anyway, the Lebo police and fire departments once again will be pitting their chilis against each other, and there'll be brews to buy to drink with all that food, music, games and other merriment.
Mr. Milliron hopes to announce the People's Choice -- and PG beer writer's choice -- homebrew winners around 2 p.m.
I'm glad the temps look to be out of the single digits.
And I'm glad to be a small part of it, because proceeds benefit Relay for Life of Mt. Lebanon, the annual June race that raises money to run off cancer.
All I have to do now is lay out my long underwear.
And figure out what to eat beforehand for breakfast.