We're deep into Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week, the calendar of which is packed for the next four days with events.
Tonight I'm planning to pop into the Helltown Cask Takeover at Piper's Pub for some local real ale with two ol' mates. If I can get in the door.
I've heard from some people who are a bit intimidated by Craft Beer Week events, especially ones that involve buying an advance ticket or having to squeeze into crowded venues.
If that's you, or the planned events don't fit your schedule, think of this: You can plan your own Pittsburgh craft beer event. Here's how you do it:
1. Pick a bar or a restaurant or a brewpub that serves craft beer -- preferably a place that you've never been to before and want to try.
2. Go there. Invite a friend or two if you like.
3. Order a craft beer.
I pulled one these this past Sunday, when I made an hour for myself in the early evening after another day packed with family and work activities. I drove to Mt. Lebanon's Korner Pub, whose new young owners have transformed it into a cozy craft-beer corner -- at the corner of Bower Hill and Washington roads. Several of my friends and neighbors have told me how much they liked the place. I just hadn't had time to get in there.
I pushed in through the open screen door -- like -- and perused the coolers before eyeing the 10 taps and the chalkboard draft list. It was a great lineup, but most of the crafts were really high-alcohol. I ordered a pint of an IPA from a brewery I'd never heard of: Free Will.
That in itself was fun. And the beer was very good. I settled into a table in the glow of the pub's great neon signs and savored it, while getting a kick out of the conversations of what seemed like a bunch of regulars around me. One group of young guys wanted to leave but couldn't, because a couple they hadn't known bought everyone at the bar a round.
I bought myself another Free Will. It was like my own personal tap-takeover, at least until I had to take off and go home for dinner.
I later found out that Free Will is an Eastern Pennsylvania brewery that's new to this market. I look forward to trying more of its brews.
And I look forward to going back to the Korner Pub, which from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight, in fact, is having its official #PCBW2014 event: A "Weyerbacher Tap Takeover and Tarte Nouveau Release," at which attendees can get first tastes of that Eastern Pennsylvania brewery's newest sour ale, as well as Heresy, Double Simcoe, 2012 Insanity and Merry Monks.
Bob Batz Jr. photo