Tannebaum!  A Celebration of European Ales for Winter
Nov
21
to Dec 31

Tannebaum! A Celebration of European Ales for Winter

It's our pleasure to bring you "Tannenbaum: a Celebration of Old World Strong Ales," an event that will run from November 21 through December 31.  During that period of time, we'll be dedicating five or six of our 14 taps to rare (and delicious) European strong ales from Belgium, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, France, and Italy, and decking out our tavern to resemble a European winter wonderland.  

Here is the current Tannenbaum tap list:

1.  SCHNEIDER & SOHN AVENTINUS (Germany)

This beer will be our house beer during the course of Tannenbaum.  It's one of my favorite winter beers, a beer that warms your whole body, with a hefty dose of malt, yeast and (of course) alcohol.   A perfect combination of the the caramel and dark fruit characteristics of the malts and the banana and clove flavors imparted by the yeast, Schneider’s Aventinus is one of the gold standards of the Weizenbock style.  We chose this as our house beer because its a versatile beer for food pairings, a beer that drinks as well with sausage or beef stew as it does with something sweet (or as a stand alone dessert).

2.  LA TRAPPE TRAPPIST WITTE (Netherlands)

La Trappe is a Dutch brewery that is certified as a Trappist brewery.  What's a Trappist brewery?  It means that the beer is made within a Trappist Monastery, under the supervision of Trappist monks, and the brewery is a non-profit, covering only the costs of the monastery itself.  There are 11 Trappist breweries, and La Trappe is the only one in the Netherlands.  La Trappe Witte is the only witte made by any Trappist brewery, and it is generally rare among other Belgian witt beers because it contains no spices, fruits, etc., just a zippy, Belgian strain of yeast and a herbal/spicy hop profile.  Delicious stuff - please try some.

3.  DE GLAZEN TOREN SAISON D'EPRE MERE (Belgium)

Interpreted differently everywhere it is brewed, there is just one rule with saison: make it refreshing.  This classic Wallonian interpretation contains no spices or herbs, just a spicy and refreshing hop and yeast profile.  It drinks dry, crisp and refreshing, and at 7.5%, it's not your grandma's saison.

4.  PROFESSOR FRITZ BRIEM 13TH CENTURY GRUT BIER (Germany)

He's baaacckkk...that is the mad Professor of beer, Fritz Briem, a professor at veritable Weihenstephan school of brewing, who makes the 1809 Berliner that we enjoyed during the IBCs Oktoberfest.  This beer is an interpretation of German-Style Gruit, an archaic beer style that used herbs, flowers, and spices to flavor beer (as opposed to hops, which became widely accepted in Europe only after the Reformation.  Professor Briem spiced this beer with lorbeer (bay leaves), ingwer (ginger), kummel (caraway), anis (anise), rosemarin (rosemary), and enzian (gentian). It is brewed with water, wheat & barley malt, hopped with “pollinated wild hops,” and fermented using top-fermenting yeast. 

5.  ALVINNE CUVEE DE MORTAGNE (Belgium)

During the lead-up to Tannenbuam, we tapped Alvinne's Cuvee Sofie -- Kweeper, a quince-fruited version of their Barrel-Aged blonde.  It was one of the finest beers that I've ever consumed.  To show the breadth of this brewery, we've gotten three more Alvinne beers to last us for Tannenbaum, and Mortagne made the most sense to tap first.  It starts as a complex, dark barleywine fermented with Alvinne's famous "Morpheus" yeast blend from the Cote de Rhone.  That beer is then barrel aged, picking up more funk and barrel notes from wine barrels of the prestigious Pomerol commune in Bordeaux.  It is a whopping 13% bruiser that somehow drinks like a sleeping kitten, an animal which you may resemble after one or two of these beers.

On Deck?

*DE GLAZEN SAISON D’ERPE-MERE (Belgium)*

*B.O.M. (BELGIAN ORIGINAL MALTBAKERY) TRIPORTEUR FULL MOON 12 BELGIAN OAK ALE (Belgium)*

 

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Dec
4
5:00 PM17:00

A Dinner for Puerto Rico with Chef Jamilka Borges

"Service can have no meaning unless one takes pleasure in it. ... Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served.”   - M.K. Gandhi

When Puerto Rico was devastated by the landfall of two hurricanes in September, Jenny Muniz, the owner of Plato Bohemia restaurant in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, found a way to help those who had lost everything in the same way that she has known for her whole life: by cooking.  Preparing and serving over a thousand lunches since the hurricanes, Jenny has made and continues to make a big difference in the lives of countless individuals in the hard-struck communities of San Lorenzo, Utaudo, and Manati, where access to food and water remains limited and where people continue to live without shelter and without power.  

And despite the destruction and great sadness around her, Jenny has somehow continued to cook and to serve with joy, a commodity perhaps as valuable as the food that she brings.

Jenny, despite all that she has already done, wants to do more.  She wants to cook for an additional 15 communities that continue to struggle.  She wants to bring water and blankets with her meals.  She wants to bring toys for the children.  To that end, she has formed a nonprofit organization, El Buen Samaritano (the Good Samaritan) to take contributions to help her help more people.  

There could be no organization that we are more inspired to help.

We have not met Jenny.  But we have had the privilege to know her incredibly talented and gracious daughter, Chef Jamilka Borges, for years now.  And, on Monday night, we will be humbled to host both Jamilka and Jenny in our kitchen at the Independent, as they prepare a homestyle Puerto Rican dinner for the evening.  Every dime of the food sold that night will be donated back to El Buen Samaritano.  $1 for every drink sold that night will similarly go to the organization. And, for the remainder of the month, with our sibling bar, Hidden Harbor, we are going to continue to donate. Hidden Harbor will donate $1 from every cocktail sold from December 5th through December 31 to El Buen Samaritano and The Independent will donate the proceeds of sales of empanadillas, which Jamilka will prepare and we will sell on our daily menu beginning on Tuesday, December 5.

We hope to see you on Monday and throughout the month of December.  We promise to serve you with joy, just as Jenny continues to do.

With Love,

Pete

Dinner Details:  Open from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m.; no tickets; no cover; no reservations.  Delicious Puerto Rican cuisine prepared and served with love.

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Ghoul Train: A Funkadelic Halloween
Oct
30
to Oct 31

Ghoul Train: A Funkadelic Halloween

Join us on Monday for Ghoul Train, our our Halloween-Eve funky dance party. Come in costume and express your Ghoul soul on the dancefloor as Matthew Buchholz plays funky tracks for the night. The kitchen will be open with burgers, fries, and seitan bites to fuel your ghoul, and we'll be running some spooky drink specials too. 15% discount for all of our service industry friends who have the night off.

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Sep
19
to Sep 30

Oktoberfest at the Independent

As American craft beer continues its march to fulfill its manifest destiny of acquiring the entire world's hop supply for production of One Last IPA to Rule Them All*, we here at the Independent could use a short break from the hops, and a little bit of time to enjoy beers that focus on malt, clean flavors, and precision engineering.  In short, after a hoppy summer draft list, we need some German beers (you know, the type actually brewed in Germany) in our life.  As such, we bring you the first annual Independent "Oktoberfest" starting next Tuesday, September 19 and running through Saturday, September 30th (or whenever we run out of beer).  

Oktoberfest isn't really a German thing; it's a Bavarian thing that has become somewhat of a worldwide thing.  A number of local breweries and restaurants do Bavarian-styled Oktoberfests well, complete with oompah bands, lederhosen, and beer tents.  We love those celebrations, and you'll likely see us at many of them (wearing lederhosen commando of course).  But that's not what we're going for at the IBC.  In fact, other than the name, we're going to drop most of the German stereotypes and focus on the beer and the food.

That means taking a brief departure from our "all-local beer" concept, and importing to Pittsburgh (in several cases for the first time ever) the best eight German beers that we could get our hands on.  To wit:

  • 1809 Berliner: a tough-to-find, traditional, dual-culture Berliner weisse brewed by legendary Bavarian brewmeister Dr. Fritz Breim at Weihenstephaner brewery

  • Einbecker Mai-Ur-Bock: a traditional Maibock brewed in the original home of bock beer

  • Uerige Doppelsticke: a stronger take on the classic Dusseldorf altbier

  • Schlenkerla Märzen: a big, bad smoked märzen from Bamburg that transports you immediately to a campfire on a crisp autumn evening

  • Weihenstephaner Krystalweiss: very similar to Weihenstephaner's acclaimed Hefeweizen, but filtered for startling clarity

  • Schneider Weisse: a unique, amber-hued hefeweizen that lends caramel from its middle malts to add to the traditional clove and banana tastes and aromas from the yeast. (We purchased this one at the special request of Roundabout owner/brewer Steve Sloan, who brews a beautiful take on this beer called "Ferdl Weiss").

  • Ayinger Oktoberfest: a perfectly-executed traditional Märzen
  • Reissdorf Kölsch: the gold standard of Kölsch, the cold-fermented ale that defines a night out in Cologne

Far from being a tap list of all Munich lagers, this list features a diverse array of beer, featuring a diverse array of styles brewed in geographically disparate parts of Germany.

Fan of hops and local beer?** Fear not, friends. We're going to devote the rest of our taps to hop-forward local offerings, so you won't be left out in the metaphorical cold of a Bavarian Höhle packed with Eisblöcke cut out of the Isar-Fluss in mid-März!***

On the food side, our kitchen team has been working on a fall menu that will include some updated German classics with an eye towards being a bit more contemporary than the caricature of Oktoberfest (e.g. currywurst and seitan currywurst, pork schnitzel sandwiches with apple-bacon chutney, shaved brussels sprouts and red-cabbage salad). And, Max has been working to overhaul the wine list to bring you some great (and diverse) examples of German Riesling and pinot noir.

Alright folks, that's all for now. In the meantime, we're going to be working hard this week and weekend to draw down our inventory to make room for these kegs of ... um ... "bier." Check out our Instagram (@independentpgh) for specials and remember to hit our happy hour ($2 off all draft beers until 6 p.m. every day) to help out the cause.

See you at the Independent,

Pete K.

* It'll be canned, with a white label with a gold ring that simply says "Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul."  $50/four pack.  Limit two per customer.  Bring a lawn chair, because line space is ... [wait for it] ... preeeeccccciouussss

**  Oh that's great!  We should talk!

***  Richtig!?!?

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Fear & Loathing at the Independent (Our third Anniversary Party)
Feb
10
to Feb 12

Fear & Loathing at the Independent (Our third Anniversary Party)

"But our trip was different.  It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true and decent in the national character. It was a gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country-but only for those with true grit. And we were chock full of that.”

The Independent turns three this weekend.  And, you know what that means...time to rent a fast car (with no top), load up on heinous chemicals, and drive (like a bastard) to Vegas for a weekend of atavistic searching for the main nerve of the American dream.

On Friday and Saturday night, we'll turn the Independent into a trashed vegas hotel room and celebrate the fact that, somehow, three years later, we still haven't burned the place down.

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Broadside in a Cloud of Smoke (Collaboration with Hitchhiker Brewing) Release
Jan
8
5:00 PM17:00

Broadside in a Cloud of Smoke (Collaboration with Hitchhiker Brewing) Release

This Sunday, we're releasing our annual collaboration beer, "Broadside in a Cloud of Smoke," a bold and brazen smoked porter we brew with Hitchhiker in honor of Hunter S. Thompson.  We'll tap it on Sunday when we open at 5 p.m.  It will be available in pints for $6 and available to go for $10 in special, limited-edition crowler cans (with a label of which the good doctor of journalism would approve).

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Nov
20
7:00 PM19:00

Sunday Funday Fundraiser: Beyond 21

On Sunday, we help raise money for Beyond 21, a non-profit organization working to provide educational and residential services for adults with autism.  We welcome Jen Primack, the event's host, as she raffles off hand bags with all proceeds benefiting Beyond 21 and spreads the good word for the organization.   For our part, we'll donate $1 for every alcoholic beverage that we sell all night (we're open from 5-10) to Beyond 21.

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Boogie Nights!  New Year's Eve at the Independent
Dec
31
to Jan 1

Boogie Nights! New Year's Eve at the Independent

Join us this New Year's Eve for Boogie Nights at the Independent.

No Tickets!  No Cover Charges!  No Fuss! Just a bar playing disco music and serving great local craft beers and craft cocktails to celebrate the new year (Goodbye 1979! Hello 1980!)

Dinner service 5-10 p.m. (please call in advance for reservations -- 412-422-5040).  Bar open from 5-1 a.m.  

Rollerskates not included.

#WhatWouldDirkDigglerDo

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Night of the Living Dead 60s Soul and Pop Dance Party
Oct
31
to Nov 29

Night of the Living Dead 60s Soul and Pop Dance Party

This Halloween, shutter yourselves inside the Independent, and hide from the scores of undead emerging from the Homewood Cemetery.  Ignore the heinous reality of a new world in which the recently deceased reanimate as flesh-hungry murderers.  Stay safe with good beer, tacos, Zombies (of the cocktail variety), and dance your ass off to the sounds of 60s soul, pop and surf music.

What:  Night of the Living Dead 60s Soul, Pop and Surf Dance Party

When:  Saturday, October 31, Open at 3 p.m.; Soul Dance Party from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Where:  The Independent

Cost:  FREE ADMISSION; $3 Tacos starting at 9 p.m. to Midnight

On Saturday, October 31, we celebrate the Pittsburgh-made, Romero classic, with an all-vinyl musical tribute to the decade of its first, black-and-white release.  I'll make my first appearance at the Independent in the role of "DJ," not only in that I will literally disk jockey the music, but also in that I will legally change my name to "DJ" for the night.  From 3-9 p.m., it's business as usual at the Independent, with normal hours and dinner service.  Then, at 9 p.m., we'll clear out the dining room a bit to make room for you to do the watusi, the mashed-potato, the shake, the hitchhike, the Madison, or whatever 60s novelty dance is your move of choice.  I'll be joined behind the decks by local vinyl legend Paul Rosenblatt, and together we will put together a set of vintage pop and soul on 45s and LPs that is guaranteed to make you move, with songs from young, hip whippersnappers like Otis Redding, James Brown, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, the Surfaris, the Beach Boys (Capital), and many, many more.  

So, yeah, to, like, recap and stuff: Music, Motown, retro dance moves, tacos, cocktails, beer, fun, 60s, zombies, other stuff.

See you at the Independent.

Pete K.

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Sunday Food Truck Series:  Berlin Street Foods
Sep
20
5:00 PM17:00

Sunday Food Truck Series: Berlin Street Foods

Welcome our good friends from Berlin Street Foods, as our Sunday Food Truck Series continues.  Our kitchen is closed, but we're serving beers and cocktails, and handing dinner over to Berlin Street foods for the evening.

Enjoy Bratwurst, Currywurst, and other German street food favorites, including vegetarian options.  This isn't your Oma's German food -- it's even better!

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Waikiki Wednesday
Mar
4
5:00 PM17:00

Waikiki Wednesday

Aloooooohha!

Sick of the cold weather?  Gray skies left you blue?  There's no cure for weather-related depression quite like a bearded man in a grass skirt.  And friends, when it comes to bearded men in grass skirts, we are chock-full of that.  

Wednesdays are Waikiki Wednesdays at the Independent.  That means Tiki cocktails, Hawaiian food specials (tonight just happens to be a pork belly crostini, on Kings Hawaiian rolls, with manchego cheese), exotica music, and, yes, at least one bearded man in a grass skirt.  That bearded man happens to be Lucky the Painproof Man.  He's a pain-performer, a reality television show star, and in selected (and highly-specialized) publications, he's a part-time model.  But, most importantly, he's the master of Tiki in the City of Pittsburgh.  And, in your time of most-desperate tiki need, he's the only man to guide you out of the cold and onto the warm, sandy beaches of Waikiki -- not of course by airplane, but by cocktail.*

Make no mistake, these cocktails are no premixed, over-sweetened, syrupy disasters.  These are well-balanced creations that make even the most entrenched modern-day mixologist cry for mercy.  This is no hokey faux-tiki experience at a place that sells more-flavored vodkas that we carry beers.  This is the real deal.This is no event; this is an experience. It warms the soul and leaves you feeling happy now that your week is half over.  

Ameliorate your condition. Join us this evening.

Pete K.

*  And also perhaps by small boat, provided that the boat is a skiff, and that the skiff is a metaphor (for a larger boat).  

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Fat Tuesdays
Mar
3
5:00 PM17:00

Fat Tuesdays

Every Tuesday at the Independent is Fat Tuesday, our food and cocktail salute to the city of New Orleans.  

New Orleans culture encompasses what we try to do at the IBC:  good music, good food, good booze are all great standing alone, but, what's really special is when you can bring them together in harmony, in a no-frills, unpretentious environment where you can enjoy them, without distraction and without reservation.  Turn off the televisions and the pop-40 music jukeboxes.  Banish bland pre-programmed radio stations intended not to offend customers. Eradicate bland, tasteless macro brews.  Get rid of the synthetically flavored vodkas.  Celebrate beautiful horn sections.  Imbibe simple but perfect cocktails that rely on quality spirits and complex flavors.  Drink beers with big flavors.  Embrace the fact that it's not a sin to have a drink on weeknights.  Be bold.  Laissez les bons temps rouler.

What would be a sin, however, is to celebrate New Orleans without a barman shaking and stirring the classic cocktails that New Orleans made famous.  And for that purpose, Lucky Munro (the painproof man) will be behind that bar every Tuesday turning out classics with the same big personality, lack of pretense, and esoteric knowledge of the trade that makes NOLA the most enjoyable place on earth to have a cocktail.  

And for your dining pleasure, we offer Chef Monique's (now famous) Gumbo for $5 a bowl.  

And, finally, yours truly will faithfully spend his day at Jerry's Records selecting only the best pieces of vinyl showcasing only the best New Orleans musicians for your listening pleasure.  We're going to give you that 'bone,* so be ready to swing and bop.

Put down your work week for a few hours and join us tonight to reclaim your soul with music, booze, beer, and food.  

Pete K.

*  Trombone, that is -- settle down.   

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Mar
1
3:00 PM15:00

Sunday Crowler Hours

Friends and regulars:

As you may have noticed, we were a bit busy at the IBC the last two weeks, which is great of course -- and goodness knows we've been having a lot of fun -- but sometimes it's just nice to be able to enjoy a pint in peace and listen to some records.  

Accordingly, in our effort to meet the snowed-in needs of our wonderful friends and neighbors, we're going to open today for "Crowler Hours," from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m.  All to-go Crowlers will be 25% off.  And, if you want to enjoy a pint, a cocktail, and some vinyl, in-house, Matt W. and Kell D. will be there to keep you company.

Our kitchen will be closed, but any left-over lunch options will be on sale for 50% off.  And you're more than welcome to bring in some food from our friends at How Lee or elsewhere!

Whether you need some fresh, draft beer for movie night or to help you discharge your weekend parenting duties, our Crowlers will do the trick.  And if you feel like listening to original (emphasis: NOT re-released) presses of Electric Mud and Howling Wolf's album, well, I just happen to own those albums and they just happen to be at the bar.  

See you at the Indie!

Pete K.

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Feb
21
to Feb 22

Fear and Loathing at the Independent: A Gonzo Salute to Our First Year in Business

"But our trip was different.  It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true and decent in the national character.  It was a gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country -- but only those with true grit.  And we were chock full of that."

-- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

A year and a week ago, Matt and I received confirmation via facsimile from the good folks at the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board informing us that we were the latest recipients of a valid license to sell alcoholic beverages in this fine Commonwealth.  After a year of discussions regarding our plan to have a bar that would serve strictly local, craft beer, and after nearly four months of our complaining about the slow process in which the license transferred, there we were, legal authority to open in hand, with virtually no idea what to do with it.  

Most people in that situation would have waited, learned, planned, constructed, and, only then, opened.  Not us.  And, for that matter, not YOU either.  There was too much excitement to wait.  And so, with the help of our good friends (there are too many of you to name everyone, but I couldn't live with myself if I didn't at least name Eric Goldberg, Jeff Shook, Jeff and Courtney Myers, Jon Akins, Chadd Simpson, Will Hopkins, Brian Van Luik, Matt Chinman, Ken Fisher, George Herrity, Bobby Fry, and our parents Lutz and Carol Kurzweg, as I'm not sure if those folks ever really left our space from the day we walked into Fanattics to the day we opened the Independent**), with the still-to-this-day-unending help and dedication of our business partner and Presidente Cocktologisto, Adam, with the help of our friends-turned-bartenders Amie, Tina, Tiffany, Brian, Maddy, James, Nico and Alicia, who are more responsible than anyone in shepherding us through the first several months of business, and with the help of Chef Monique, who we had met (for the first time) the day prior, we pulled off a soft opening five days after receiving our license, a Grand opening the week thereafter, and opened our doors for regular business on Friday, February 21, 2014.*

Here we are, a year later, still serving exclusively local craft beer, still playing exclusively vinyl records, still serving only high-quality cocktails and spirits, still weird as hell, still not serving coors light, still not serving flavored vodkas, still not throwing frozen food into fryers.  Along the way, we've picked up a great staff, started a badass tiki night, and managed to have quite a bit of fun.  It's time to celebrate.  In that vein, I proudly introduce our Anniversary Party "Fear and Loathing at the Independent:  A gonzo Salute to our First Year in Business."

Why Hunter S. Thompson Themed?  

"I want you to have all the background ... because this is a very ominous assignment -- with overtones of extreme personal danger... Hell, I forgot all about this beer; you want one?"

Hunter S. Thompson made his name with his particular form of "Gonzo" journalism, in which he was participatory in the story that he was supposed to cover.  The participatory nature of Thompson's writing finds common ground with the culture that we've created at the Independent.  Every person at our bar, whether staff, friend, customer, brewer, or owner (the lines between whom have long since blurred), has participated in our story.  The Independent has been our joint adventure.  We want to celebrate that adventure together, in the way that the Doctor of Journalism himself would want to celebrate it:  with another adventure.  

On Saturday February 21, a year after we first opened our doors for good, we'll open at 4 p.m. as a Hotel Room in the Mint Hotel, artfully trashed by the Good Doctor of Journalism and his Attorney.  Cocktails and food will, of course, be in theme.  And, we will release a special pin firkin of the Smoked Oatmeal Stout that we brewed with Hitchhiker a few weeks ago, which we have called "Broadside and in a Cloud of Smoke," in yet another HST reference.  

This party is going to be one to make the Good Doctor proud. 

See you at the Independent.

Pete K. 

*  A very long sentence.    

** It's unclear if they left much after that too?

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Feb
16
5:00 PM17:00

Maddy and Emily Triumphantly Return to the Independent: Drink Beer; Do Good.

Friends:

Anyone who has been a regular at the IBC for its first year of service will know Emily Peduto and Maddy Kelley, two great bartenders and two great people who left our humble employ after moving into corporate America.  But corporate America hasn't stolen their souls.  And so, tonight, we bring them back to you as they help raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

On Saturday the 21st, before our Fear & Loathing Anniversary Party, Maddy and Emily are participating in the Race to Anyplace, a six hour stationary bike race, held at Heinz Field and benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.  They have pledged to raise $500 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in exchange for their participation, and we're going to help them get there. We're donating $1 from every beer sold this evening.  Maddy and Emily will be around if you'd like to give on an individual basis.  For the right donation, they've even promised to recreate this video for you, but exclusively on stationary bikes, of course. 

See you at the independent!

Pete K.

*  They haven't promised this.  But, if you want, I will.  #FiftyShadesofPete

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Feb
14
to Feb 15

Holding My Own: Valentine's Day for Independent Spirits

Tomorrow evening, the Independent proudly presents, "Holding My Own: Valentine's Day for Independent Spirits."

No -- this isn't some sort of singles-only party.  Nor is this some sort of jaded "down with love" theme.  It's simply a recognition of what we believe to be true:  Valentine's day, whether you're in a relationship or not, is, well, just kind of another day -- unless you're the USPS, a hotel that charges by the hour, a paper manufacturer, or Kleenex.  And we don't really want to play along with the commercial hype, or at least not in any conventional sense.

No price gouging awkward couples on awkward dinner dates.  No silly decorations.  No silly flowers for your date, once again reminding her that YOU didn't get her flowers.  No silly elevator music making the place "romantic."  

But, silly cocktails?  Yes!   For Lovers, we'll offer the "Casa Blanca:" A champagne and Boyd & Blair Balsam Vermouth cocktail that will transport you to the African coast with a Moroccan fog.  For the ... um ... recently liberated, Lucky presents the "Saint Valentines' Day Massacre:"  An Irish Whiskey Cocktail with spherified blood-red liqueur.

Food Specials:  In addition to our regular dinner menu, Mo is making a few specials that can be assembled for one or for two.   But, if you're alone, I recommend getting the special for two anyways.  Because, I mean, seriously, f&%k Karl.  That guy was a dick.  You're better off.  He probably would have asked you to pay, so you might as well take a serving to go this time! 

Staying in for the night?  Nothing says "let's make love until dawn" like a couple of 32 ounce crowlers of fresh beer, except for maybe a couple of 32 mg VIAGRA.  Conversely, nothing pairs better with 32 ounces of ice cream than 32 ounces of Four Season's Belgian Tripel (which at 9.5% abv, also pairs well with falling asleep fully clothed on the couch with a box of Triscuits and a pile of Kleenex ... KAAARRRRRLLL!!!).

Enough of this Hallmark crap!  You'll celebrate Valentine's Day however you damn well please.  

See you at the Independent!

Pete K.  

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Jan
25
6:00 PM18:00

Moos and Brews with Wheel & Wedge: Beer and Cheese Tasting Lesson

The Independent hosts their good friends and cheese mongers from Wheel & Wedge, a regional, artisanal-purveyor for a Sunday evening cheese and beer pairing lesson.  Alix Wiggins, Head Cheesemonger at Wheel and Wedge, and Pete Kurzweg, Head Beer Monger of the IBC, will lead the class on a tasty and educational adventure into the world of beer and cheese. In addition to delighting in six different beers paired with six different cheeses, guests will also receive in depth information about the beers, cheese, why they pair well together and how to recreate a beer and cheese tasting at home. The class will run about an hour and will make for the perfect end to your weekend. Tickets are $25 and include gratuity.

Tickets sold in advance, here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/moos-and-brews-pairing-class-tickets-15200506123

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Dec
18
4:30 PM16:30

Festivus! With, um, Festivus!

The War On Festivus and What You Can Do.

At the Independent, we have taken up arms in the cultural war that modern society has waged against our most sacred holiday tradition.  We are fighting back against the war on Festivus.    

Did you know that most modern households have forsaken the traditional Festivus pole for a Christmas Tree or Menorah?  Even Kwanzaa candles have a significantly higher market share than our humble pole.  And those stores that are brave enough to carry Festivus poles only do so under the guise of euphemisms like "ski" poles or "flag" poles or "tad"poles.  

Fortunately, one other brave commercial institution is willing to fight back against our anti-Festivus society.  Even more fortunately, they brew beer.  So, on Tuesday, December 23, join the Independent and Full Pint Brewing Company, as we put family back in Festivus, by offering you temporary refuge from your family during this Holiday season.  

We'll offer all of your most cherished Festivus traditions.  You can celebrate around our Festivus pole*!  Test your mettle by trying Chef Monique's "Feats of Strength," a dish so spicy, that you'd rather be wrestling your father!  Air your grievances by leaving a nasty yelp review about Mo's "Feats of Strength."  Drink some sort of cocktail or something.  Most importantly, drink Festivus, Full Pint's winter ale, and the only beer in town that has the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the institutional war on Festivus.

What:  Festivus

Why:  Because Festivus

When:  Tuesday, December 23, 5 p.m. until you pin your father.

More What:  The "Feats of Strength"  It's so spicy, we'll be you a beer you can't finish it.**  Details available upon request.

See you at the IBC.

Pete K.

*  There probably won't be a pole.  

**  Feats of Strength is real, though.  We'll give you a free beer of your choosing if you finish it.  

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Dec
10
5:00 PM17:00

Human Rights Day and Waikiki Wednesday

Friends:

Tomorrow is Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the United Nations Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on December 10, 1948. 

At the Independent, that day will not go unrecognized.  Recent events should be a reminder that our the world, our country, and our city all have a considerable way to go to ensure that the values of equality, fair treatment, and mutual respect are universally held and enjoyed.  

Tomorrow we'll host our good friends Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance after they release their Human Rights City Action plan and present the same to City Council.  And, we'll help raise money for another great organization, New Voices Pittsburgh, by donating one dollar from every beer and cocktail that we sell tomorrow night to that organization.  

And, what better way to celebrate cultural equality, fair treatment, and mutual respect than some beautiful and delicious Tiki Drinks.  Tomorrow, we proudly announce the inaugaral Waikiki Wednesday, with Lucky the Painproof Man shaking Tiki drinks from 5 to 11.  Aloooooohhhhaaaa!  

Let's have some fun tomorrow, raise some money, and re-resolve ourselves to treating people better and asking that others do as well.

See you at the Independent!

Pete K.

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Whiskey Loves Beer!  Whiskey, Beer and Food Pairing with Wigle Whiskey
Nov
20
6:30 PM18:30

Whiskey Loves Beer! Whiskey, Beer and Food Pairing with Wigle Whiskey

  • The Independent Brewing Company (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

For too long the "shot and beer" order has been the exclusive province of the dive bar, matching tasteless american adjunct-lagers with certain, um, "Tennessee Sipping Whiskeys."

No longer will we stand for this aggression against the palate!  On November 20, 2014, at 6:30 p.m., the Independent Brewing Company and Wigle Whiskey restore the dignity of a spirit-beer combination, serving four courses of a finely-crafted spirits paired with a finely-crafted beers, all enjoyed over a four-course meal presented by Independent Brewing Company's executive chef, Monique Ruvolo.  This four-course pairing menu is ticketed and costs $65, including gratuity.  Each course will include a taster of Wigle's "Whim" series of experimental whiskey paired with a local craft beer curated by the Independent, a course by Chef Monique, and, the Pièce de résistance, a side of a record from the IBC's  vinyl collection (how do you pair music with great whiskey, beer, and food?  We're going to find out).  

Tickets (which are limited) are available here:  https://www.wiglewhiskey.com/wigle-ibc-dinner

 

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Pennsylvania Game Dinner with Marc Vetri at Bar Marco  -- A charity dinner for Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club
Nov
12
1:00 PM13:00

Pennsylvania Game Dinner with Marc Vetri at Bar Marco -- A charity dinner for Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club

Friends:

 

It's with great pleasure that I formally announce that the Independent has joined our friends at Bar Marco to fight the Food Revolution.  Our revolution has a clear and achievable goal.  We got off the sidelines to help Bar Marco reach that goal, and now we're calling on you to join us.

What is the Food Revolution and What is Food Revolution Day?

Food Revolution is part of a broader, international movement to return the world, and specifically our children, back to real food cooked by real people.  The emphasis is on teaching people in our schools and in our communities-at-large fundamental cooking skills and providing them access to cooking resources and ingredients, with the aim of getting people to cook good, healthy food for themselves.  Food Revolution Day is a day-long, global call to action, held on May 16th.  In Pittsburgh, it will be held at Obama Academy.  The day is a celebration of good food as well as an informational session.  The best chefs in the city were there last year and will be there again this year, along with numerous exhibitors.  

What is Pittsburgh Cooking Club?

During the One Young World event held here in Pittsburgh in 2012, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and the spearhead of Food Revolution, called on Pittsburgh to improve its eating habits.  Bar Marco, and one if its owners Bobby Fry, among others, took that call seriously.  They raised over $9,000 at a charity dinner and founded the Pittsburgh Cooking Club at Obama Academy.  The club meets on a weekly basis and is joined, each week, by any number of Pittsburgh's best chefs, who teach a cooking lesson to the kids in the club.  Kids learn about technique, ingredients, health and nutrition.  In essence, the kids learn to cook for themselves, and, in the process are equipped with the skills to take their own nutrition into their own hands.  

What is the future of Pittsburgh Cooking Club?

This is where we need your help.  It's time to take this revolution on the road, and that means two things:  (1) expanded Pittsburgh Cooking Club locations at additional Pittsburgh Public Schools (including goals of bringing the club the IBC's home schools, Colfax, Minadeo, and Allderdice); and (2) broadening the kids ability to interact with the community and share the food that they cook.  We can meet those goals with one achievement:  A state of the art Food Truck for Pittsburgh Cooking Club.  Our vision is no more complex, but less ambitious, than the following:  we want a not-for-profit food truck, that is overseen by local chefs, that employs Pittsburgh Public kids, that sells inexpensive but nutritious food anywhere it goes, that informs the community that good food is possible anywhere, and that roams from school to school, and involves as much of the community as it can.  

How you can be a part of that future:

It ain't cheap to buy a good food truck that is responsibly powered (we're talking as little carbon emissions as practically possible) and that is large enough and equipped well enough to become a mobile learning and cooking center.  We need to raise money if Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club is going to go to the next level.  You can help us do that in two ways.

(1)  We have put together a charity dinner that is nothing short of extraordinary.  It's called the Pennsylvania Game Dinner, and, as you probably put together, it will serve the best of Pennsylvania's countryside.  What's more?  Well, Pittsburgh chef Justin Severino of Cure Restaurant, who is perhaps the best qualified human to take you on a tour of Pennsylvania game will be cooking that night.  And yes, that Marc Vetri (you know him from, well, everywhere, as he's one of the best Chefs in the world) is joining us from Philadelphia to cook for you that night too, along with Justin and Jamilka from Bar Marco, Stephen Felder from Stagioni, Sam DiBatista from Vivo and Michele Savoia from Dish.  It will be held at Bar Marco on Sunday, November 23rd.  I have attached the informational flyer.  If you don't want to be transported to another, happier dimension by the food on your plate, by all means, don't join us that evening.  But, if you like food, you want to help the kids, and you always wanted to try Marc Vetri's award-winning restaurant, then you should come.  The dinner is a fixed price of $150 per person.  Cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m.; dinner at 7:30.  No tickets required, simply make your reservation by calling Bar Marco at 412-613-1420 or emailing info@barmarcopgh.com

(2)  The next time you get your check at the Independent or Bar Marco, you'll notice a donation card.  If you are so generous as to simply give to the Pittsburgh Cooking Club, then both establishments will be able to process your donation with your check, if you are so inclined to give.

Thank you all so much for your consideration of this project.  We are very excited to join Bar Marco in this cause and we hope that you are as well.  

See you at the Independent,

Pete K.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Independent and Brew Gentlemen Present:  Hitchock!: A Halloween Party at the Carrie Furnace
Nov
1
to Nov 2

The Independent and Brew Gentlemen Present: Hitchock!: A Halloween Party at the Carrie Furnace

TICKETS ON SALE NOW

Good evening:

The Carrie Furnace, once a mighty steel mill, now stands alone in a no-man’s land, by the Monongahela river, on the border of Rankin and Swissvale. This long-abandoned monument of industry looms over a wide-open expanse of empty terrain, an Ozymandias-like monument of Pittsburgh’s once-great steel industry.

The mill reached the height of its production in the 1950s and 1960s, producing 1000 to 1250 tons of iron each day. Before falling into collapse with the rest of Pittsburgh’s steel industry in the 1970s.

On Saturday, November 1st, for one night only, The Independent and The Brew Gentlemen will restore the Carrie Furnace to its 50s and 60s era of greatness. We will be throwing a Halloween party in homage to that era’s most prolific director: Alfred Hitchcock. Together with Rivers of Steel, the non-profit steward of this beautiful historic monument, we present: Hitchcock! – A Halloween Party at the Carrie Furnace.

This little party will have all of the components of a great Hitchcock film: suspense, romance, psychological thrills, and murderously good craft beers and cocktails. DJs throughout the evening will keep you dancing the night away on our dance floor centered in an old hangar bay of the mill.

Tickets go on sale this Wednesday. General Admission tickets will be sold for $35 each and will include three drink tickets (beer or cocktail) at the bar.  On site parking will be sold for $15 per parking spot.  Additionally, a free shuttle will run between the Pump House in the Waterfront and the venue, with parking available in the Waterfront.  Finally, tickets for bus fare between the Independent in Squirrel Hill and the venue will be on sale for $5.

Food will be available for purchase from our food truck corral, which will be located around a large bonfire in the courtyard of the mill, back-cast by the moonlit shadow of the old blast furnace. Participating food trucks include PGH Taco TruckBlowfish BBQ,Street FoodsGyros N’at, and Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches, along with a food tent from The Independent.

500 parking spots will be available at the venue and will be sold on a first-come-first-serve basis for $10 each in advance. Free shuttle services will be available from the Pump House at the Waterfront in Homestead. Shuttles will run to and from the venue throughout the evening, beginning at 7:30pm.

This Hitchcockian Halloween lasts from 8:00pm to 1:00am. The event is rain or shine (well, shine of the moon, that is…)

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"Beyond the Surf: Summer's Over":  A Secret Vinyl Vault with Paul Rosenblatt
Oct
15
6:00 PM18:00

"Beyond the Surf: Summer's Over": A Secret Vinyl Vault with Paul Rosenblatt

At the Indy, we pride ourselves on our turntable and an in-house record collection of over five hundred vinyl records.  However, that number pales in comparison to the personal collection of local architect, artist, and design enthusiast, Springboard Design Principal Paul Rosenblatt. This coming Wednesday, October 15, (and approximately once a month every month hereafter), Paul is going to be curating another installment of  the Independent’s Secret Vault music series from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

This is the second time Paul will be hosting a Secret Vault event at the Independent– the first time was a blast. Come join us for another great party.

Paul will be bringing selections from his home collection, which, by the way, exceeds 15,000 pieces of vinyl.  He’s bringing selections that you might not have heard before but that you definitely need to hear now.  These are the deep cuts.  

For more on Paul, check him out here:  www.springboarddesign.net  and also check out his current exhibition in 707 Gallery, “Well-Played: Paul’s Vinyl Records,” part of the Pittsburgh Biennial 2014. http://culturaldistrict.org/exhibit/7730/well-played-pauls-vinyl-records

On Wednesday, Paul will be pulling plenty of surprises from the Surf, Exotica, Hawaiian, and Garage Rock sections of his collection.  The theme of the evening is: ‘Beyond the Surf: Summer’s Over.’

While we listen to music, the Independent is going to curate an equally interesting tap list on Wednesday evening, and may even bring out a few surprises of their own.  

So swing on by.  Enjoy the music.  Enjoy looking at album covers.  Enjoy making and hearing esoteric statements regarding the guitar players on certain tracks.  And enjoy a good beer or spirit at the place with the best music playing in Pittsburgh on a Wednesday night.  We are sure you will feel right at home at the Indy with their record collection – and Paul’s!

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Sep
14
6:00 PM18:00

MoLOCALar Cocktail Night

As part of Pittsburgh Craft Cocktail Week, Adam is hosting a special cocktail event at the IBC this Sunday, from 6 p.m to 9 p.m.  

We're calling this event "MoLOCALar for two reasons:  1.  we've got bad taste and love word play; 2.  it encompasses the event perfectly:  Adam is taking molecular riffs on cocktails using only local spirits.  Think foams, spherification, dry-ice fogs, etc. and then think Maggie's Farm, Wigle, Stay Tuned and Boyd & Blair.  These tasty drinks will please your palate and inner-science geek alike.

Adam will be joined behind the bar by the heir apparent to the hardest working man in show business, Lucky the Painproof Man, who will help pull off this madness.  I will also be behind the bar, spinning some of the most "scientific" records ever recorded (think innovative recording techniques like backward guitar loops, the Spector* "wall of sound," etc.) and being generally useless and slightly (read: moderately) inebriated.  

If you're interested in making a reservation for what promises to be an awesome event and the best damned way to spend your Sunday since Conan O'Brien wrote for the Simpsons, please email me at pete@independentpgh.com 

Pete K.  

 

*  Too soon?

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Sep
10
5:00 PM17:00

Taylor Allderdice Basketball Team Funraiser

 

Wednesday (tonight!) at the IBC:  Taylor Allderdice (a/k/a "the Dice") Basketball Team Fundraiser

 

We're raising money for the Allderdice Dragons Men's hoops team tonight:  We'll donate $1 to the team for every alcoholic drink that we sell.  

Oh, and -- I'm sorry -- who won the City League Championship last season, guys?  Ooooohhhh -- that's right -- it was the Allderdice F#@King* Dragons.  

We'll always remember that game for the high-caliber play, one-point score differential and dramatic upset (the 'Dice beat the previously undefeated Obama Academy).  But we'll also remember it as most well announced game in Pittsburgh Community Television history. Check out that video here.    Please note that "Smokin' Jim Frazier" correctly called the upset before the game began.  Please also note the high-level graphics used throughout the broadcast.

Go 'Dice! (and also ... San Dimas High School Football Rules!)

See you tonight!

Pete K.  

*  Not "technically" in the "official" title.

 

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Aug
24
6:00 PM18:00

Sunday Secret Vault

“Is it wrong, wanting to be at home with your record collection?  It’s not like collecting records is like collecting stamps, or beermats, or antique thimbles.  There’s a whole world in here, a nicer, dirtier, more violent, more peaceful, more colorful, sleazier, more danger, more loving world than the world I live in; there is history, and geography, and poetry, and countless other things I should have studied at school, including music.”

    — Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

At the Independent, our record collection now has over five hundred pieces of vinyl, which is awesome.  But that number pales in comparison to the home collection of local architect, artist, design enthusiast, Indy regular, and our dear neighbor, Paul Rosenblatt.  This coming Sunday (and approximately once a month every month hereafter), Paul is going to be curating the Sunday Secret Vault from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  He’s bringing selections from his home collection, which, by the way, exceeds 15,000 pieces of vinyl.  He’s bringing selections that you might not have heard before but that you definitely need to hear now.  These are the deep cuts.  For more on Paul, check him out here:  www.springboarddesign.net  

On Sunday, Paul will be pulling plenty of surprises from the soul, funk, and groove sections of his collection.  

While we listen to music, we at the Independent are going to do our best to curate an equally interesting tap list on Sunday evening, and may even bring out a few surprises of our own.  Moreover, in honor of the "Deep Cut" feel of the night,  we're going to have a happy hour special on Wigle Whiskey's Deep Cut Rye, selling it for $8 for a 2 oz. pour.  If you haven't tried this very special, 117 proof rye, I assure you it pairs well either neat or over one of our chain-sawed rock, while you relax and listen to Paul blow your mind. 

So swing on by.  Enjoy the music.  Enjoy looking at album covers.  Enjoyt making and hearing esoteric statements regarding the horn players on certain tracks.  And enjoy a good beer or spirit at the place with the best music playing in Pittsburgh on a Sunday night.  We hope you feel right at home at the Indy and our record collection.

Thanks, 
Pete K. 

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