April 23rd through May 3

Howdy folks:

As many of you know, Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week begins this Saturday.  At the Independent, by our chosen "theme," we celebrate "Pittsburgh Craft Beer Perpetual Existence." If we merely served local beer next week, we would only meet the status quo we've already chosen for our tavern.  Bold moves are required.  And we're just the men and women to make them.  The next two weeks are chock-full of beer events and a Kentucky Derby Party.

First, a few notes:  (1) you may notice that we have "stuff" on our "walls" now (insert collective "finally..." sigh)..  That stuff, is awesome art from Alternate Histories, http://alternatehistories.com/ .  Check it out.  We're really proud to have it on our walls.  (2)  International Fries Night now occurs on Tuesday.  Wednesdays now have full dinner service.

Onto our events:

Saturday, April 26:  Four Seasons/Full Pint Roggenweizen (Pron.: Rogue N Vizen) Release Party.  

Four Seasons and Full Pint put their collective brewing minds together and brewed one hell of a collaboration beer for Craft Beer week.  It's a Roggenweizen (which, when said in a faux-German accent, quickly, and with the authority of an old, German braumeister, is the greatest word in the history of human language).  Roggen means "rye;" "weizen" means wheat.  This is a beer that in taste and appearance looks very similar to a traditional German Hefeweizen.  The yeast is doing the heavy lifting in this beer, lending banana and clove tastes into the pale and easy drinking beer.  But, in addition to simply wheat and barley malts, this beer also has a good dose of rye in its grain bill, which gives is a bit of spice (and a fantastic head).  This is a beautiful beer on its own, but what's more?  Our Vice President and Member in Charge of Advanced Cocktology, Adam, will be using it to make a delicious beer cocktail.  This beer deserves a party, so we're throwing one.  DJ Helmet is spinning tracks (and keeping it all vinyl) all night.  We might not be a bar with dancing...yet....

Tuesday, April 29:  Introducing the Brew Gentlemen Beer Company

I don't think there has been a more anticipated beer experience in the craft beer community of Pittsburgh than the opening of the Brew Gentlemen Beer Company.  That anticipation has been based on three things:  (1) Matt and Asa are smart young guys with great marketing and great beer taste (they are both cicerone recipients, which is the beer equivalent of having a sommelier license); (2)  They, and their head-brewer Brendan, have goals that are no less ambitious than revolutionizing beer; and (3)  those of us who have been lucky enough to sneak a taste of their test batches over the last year, know that they have the goods.  

We are honored to pour four of their first batches of beer on Tuesday, April 29th.  That happens to be International Fries night, and, as we are dealing with cicerones, we'd be remiss if we didn't pair their beer with the amazing food of Chef Mo'.  We met last night, and we're rolling out four international "fries" (potato croquettes count as fries, right?) to pair with their four beers.  Come see what the hype is about.  Don't miss this event.

Thursday, May 1:  East End Brewing and Lavery Brewing Company Collaboration Beers Celebration

Anyone who know us, knows that East End was our first love in Craft Beer.  They were early to the Pittsburgh scene, and inspired us to start drinking craft beer and to start home brewing.  We owe them a lot.  Lavery is newer to the scene, but is a fantastic brewery in Erie, PA, making carefully crafted beers, that are quickly becoming known as some of the region's best. These two breweries collaborated for two brews: one, a Chili-smoked amber ale, brewed in East End's Larimer brewery and the other, a farmhouse saison, brewed at Lavery's Erie Brewery. '  We're honored to have both breweries and their brewers in the house next Thursday to celebrate these beers in the best possible way:  by drinking them!  Come meet the brewers, taste the beer, and talk to the brewers about the beer.  I'm sure more than a few of you want to know more about smoked-chili amber beer, and what it took to make it.

Friday, May 2:  West vs. East:  Full Pint (Pittsburgh) vs. Free Will (Outside Philly), 9 p.m. to Midnight

At the Independent, we only serve beer brewed right here in Western, PA.  We're Pens fans and Pirates fans, and while we may have good friends in Eastern, PA, it doesn't mean we don't hate the Flyers and the Phillies.  Full Pint is a great Pittsburgh Brewery.  Free Will is a great Eastern, PA brewery that shares a great friendship with Full Pint (they share hops, swap other brew ingredients, and generally cavort together).  But that friendship ends at the door of the Independent on Friday, May 2.  In the spirit of Eastern and Western PA's ongoing competition, the Independent will put on tap its first beers from Eastern, PA, but only so we can pit them against our Western, PA favorites.  We'll have four beers on tap from each brewery -- four styles and one from each brewery.  Your incredibly difficult and unpleasant job (it's tough for you here at the Independent) is to drink those beers and compare them.  We'll make life even more difficult for you by serving late night snacks with your beer.  In the spirit of East vs West, Mo's putting together a Philly Fries and a Pittsburgh Fries for your enjoyment.   

Saturday, May 3:  The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved  12 p.m. to 1 a.m

"What I was trying to find in Churchill Downs that weekend was a 

symbol, in my own mind, of the whole doomed atavistic culture that 

makes the Kentucky Derby what it is."

-- Hunter S. Thompson, The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, http://brianb.freeshell.org/a/kddd.pdf

Bourbon.  Big hats.  Seersucker.  Bourbon.  Mint Juleps.  Decadence.  Southern Cuisine.  Bourbon.  We'll be celebrating (and simultaneously loathing) all of these things at the Derby.  Day drinker?  We kick it off with Lunch/Brunch beginning at noon, with a special Derby day menu to form the proper base for your day drinking.  Your attire should either be "infield" or "grandstand," a celebration of Kentucky casual attire or the attire of the Kentucky Gentry.  Either way, it should be spring-appropriate. Your choice. We don't have televisions, but fear not, we'll play the Derby in the most exciting medium to experience it (other than live), with a live radio feed of "the call."  Our vinyl will play everything from standards to "southern" rock. Dinner will begin service at 5 p.m., and will also be a celebration of Southern cuisine.  We'll be serving the Brew Gentlemen Beer Company's "White Sky," a Chai-Spiced wheat beer to wash down your food. This is going to be a blow out.  This is going to be an experience.  This is going to be an annual party.

"For a confused instant I thought that Ralph had brought 

somebody with him--a model for that one special face we'd been looking 

for. There he was, by God--a puffy, drink-ravaged, disease-ridden 

caricature...like an awful cartoon version of an old snapshot in some 

once-proud mother's family photo album. It was the face we'd been 

looking for--and it was, of course, my own. Horrible, horrible..."

With that, I'll leave you, dear reader.  See you soon.  

Pete K.