We're just over a week from "Hogo & Hops," (Tuesday, April 21) a rum and beer dinner with Maggie's Farm Rum and Four Seasons Brewing. There are still tickets available. Whether you already have your ticket or not, you've got questions and I've got answers.
I know what hops are, but what and/or who is "hogo."
Hogo is the term for a scent -- specifically, the "funky" scent of a good, pot-still distilled rum. At some point in the mainstream culture surrounding the consumption of alcohol, it apparently became a "good" thing for spirits to be so highly distilled in column stills that they were entirely devoid of any scent or flavor at all, save for the sweetness of alcohol. Vodka lead the charge towards tastelessness, but many mass-produced rums soon followed suit (for instance, modern day, un-aged Bacardi is virtually tasteless).
The craft movement is fighting back against this war on taste, and you need look no further than the strip district to find one of the leaders in that charge: Maggie's Farm Rum. Maggie's is making pot-distilled rum right here in Pittsburgh, using turbinado sugar, as opposed to processed molasses. Raw turbinado sugar gives Maggie's un-aged rum a ton of taste, ranging from vanilla to floral notes, similar to those that you would find in agricultural rums of the French West Indies. And all of that flavor is winning awards. Maggie's Farm Queen's Share (Double Barrel) rum just won "best in class (rum)" at the 2015 American Craft Spirits Association awards and a silver medal at the 2014 New York International Spirits Competition. Yes, rum made right here in Pittsburgh is considered some of the best currently manufactured on the earth.
And, over the span of a four course, full entree meal, you'll get the opportunity to try three of these wonderful spirits, a punch made with them, and you'll hear from head-distiller and owner Tim Russell about each spirit and what went into making it.
Just one award-winning craft alcoholic-beverage producer at this gig?
Sorry, I'm having trouble hearing you over the clanging of all these medals. No -- we're not animals -- we'd never throw a dinner of this magnitude with just one award-winning alcohol producer. Providing the beer for this dinner are our good friends at Four Seasons Brewing Company in Latrobe, and don't worry, they're no strangers to medals themselves. Four Seasons, in it's first year-and-a-half of business went ahead and oh-so-casually won a Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the stout category for their "Dark Side of the Pint" Oatmeal Stout, which is, um, you know, pretty impressive and stuff. When he's not busy winning awards, head brewer and owner Mark Pavlik is quickly building a reputation for consistent beers that get the most flavor out of every malt, hop, and yeast strain that goes into them.
Along with the rum you'll be tasting each course, you'll also receive a 7 ounce pour of a Four Season's Beer, to pair with the course and you'll get to hear from Mark about each beer we serve.
The logo for this event is a street sign for the intersection between Hogo and Hops. Is that street sign a metaphor?
This is a fair point -- we're not throwing the event at the literal intersection of Hogo & Hops (a street corner which almost certainly doesn't exist...yet...). Yes. The logo is indeed a metaphor. The main event for this affair will be a Russian Imperial Stout brewed by Four Seasons and barrel aged in a Maggie's Farm rum barrel. This beer will be available one place and one place only: the Independent that evening. Hops, meet Hogo. Hogo, meet Hops.
Damn ... I'm so close to buying this ticket, but what about food?
We thought you'd never ask. This is no four course "tasting," this is a four course meal, with an appetizer, a salad course, an entree and a dessert (if a cheese and chocolate plate paired with a rum-barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout constitutes a "dessert" as opposed to "a Freakin' Fairy Tale," that is). No "small plates" here. And, we're staying as close to home as we can on the food front. Chef Monique will be sourcing as much as she can for the season from Churchview Farms. The cheese will come from our favorite cheese mongers in town at Wheel & Wedge, and the chocolate from Mon Aimee Chocolate, which is also in the strip district. Look, we're showing off a bit at the Independent that night.
Sold! This is going to be...
Wait! We're not done selling this thing yet. Did we mention you're also leaving with a 32 ounce Crowler of Four Season's beer? Moreover, tax, tip, and ticket fees are all included in the $100 price. All you'll need to bring that evening is photo ID, an appetite, a thirst for good booze, and your eventbrite ticket.
...awesome...Where can I buy my tickets?
Here on eventbrite. Please note that we are selling tickets for the bar and tickets for tables at the same price. If you're coming with a group, try to buy together or email me at email@example.com so that we can seat you together at a table. If you're a single, or you just like sitting at bars (much as I do), feel free to purchase either bar or table seats.
Thanks folks! We look forward to serving you on Tuesday the 21st.