My friend Ruby pointed out a very cool event happening Sunday:
A Bagpipes and Brews Walk.
Venture Outdoors organized this adventure from noon to 3 p.m. March 10. The leader will be naturalist and bagpiper Ryan Stauffer, above, who, as you can see on his website, also is a blacksmith and a brewer.
"As the leader, it is my job to offer the participants a nature-themed walk in the forest, but usually it degenerates into a beer discussion," he says in an email (from "crazypyper"). "I have been a brewer for many years and I LOVE to talk beer."
But he can relate that to nature, whether it's pointing out different kinds of maple trees (he loves to brew with local maple syrup) or natural springs (that might be just right for brewing British-style ales) or wild hops vines ("more common than you might think in Western PA," he notes, "to try when the flowers bloom in August. In early spring the young hop shoots taste like asparagus; delicious sauteed with a little butter and sea salt").
He will narrate the natural and human history of the area while walking 4 miles through Moraine State Park to Snyder Cemetery and back. Afterwards, everyone will head to Slippery Rock’s North Country Brewing Co., where Mr. Stauffer will play Irish-themed bagpipe music while participants taste a variety of brews. Cost is $40 for VO members and $52 for others, and you get a growler of draft to take home. Get more info and register at 412-255-0564 or ventureoutdoors.org.
Another Irish-themed brew gathering is the St. Patrick’s Day Beer Tasting, from 6 to 9 p.m. a few days before the holiday on March 15, at Soergel Orchards. The Franklin Park farm and store complex will be pouring local beers from Full Pint, Copper Kettle and Hop Yard Brewing (an up-and-comer) as well as Arrowhead wines, Arsenal ciders and Wigle whiskey.
Soergel executive chef Norm Domek will lay out a spread including Irish boxty, corned beef and cabbage, chilled minted lamb, reuben bites and Jameson-glazed pork.
Cost is $40 at the door or $35 online, where you can register at soergels.com (or call 724-935-1743)
Ryan Stauffer photo