This Weekend at the Independent

It's been a long two weeks.  The initial thrill of making deflated-balls jokes dies quickly once you come to the grim realization that you'll need an additional week of material to fill the second off-week before the Super Bowl.  And, apparently, there have been no breaks in finding the wealthy super-villain who blotted out the sun.*  

But this is no time for self pity.  We've got three more days of ball jokes ahead and there's no choice but to fill them with our B and maybe even our C material.  And, as any comedian** worth her salt knows, if you're going to make bad ball jokes, you'll need booze and lots of it.  The Independent has you covered. 

The Benefits of Deflation:  Sunday Super Bowl Crowler Sale!

Whether you actually care about the Seahawks or their Boyles-Law***-weilding opponents or you're just in it for the sexist macro beer commercials, you'll need some craft beer to get you through the night.  At the Independent, we may not have televisions, but we do sell craft beer itto go in 32 ounce cans called "crowlers."  We'll be open from 4 to 6 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, selling crowlers for you to take ti your neighbor Karl's party for the game.  And, in the spirit of deflation, we'll be selling our crowlers at 25% off of our normal price.  Come feel like you're making purchases in the Japanese economy, but with better beer than Sapporo!****

Saturday:  Rum Nite with Adam

If there's a downside to the modern whiskey craze (and you'll have to look hard to find one), it's that Rum remains, largely, an overlooked spirit.  With so many types and forms of sugar to use as the base ingredient, with so many strains of yeast to act upon that sugar, and with so many different "cuts" that the distiller can choose to distill, rum is almost certainly the most interesting and diverse unaged spirit on the market.  Look, for instance, at Maggie's Farm, right here in Pittsburgh.  Their unaged rum -- which will immediately make even the uninitiated swear off Bacardi -- is full of character, which stems both from their choice of yeast as well as the turbinado sugar that they use as fuel for fermentation.  Similarly, Wigle Whiskey's "Landlocked" uses honey as the base ingredient, which creates a totally different taste for the consumer to enjoy.  Then, consider the effect of aging on rum.  Rums are routinely aged more than ten years (and sell at a mere fraction of the price of a 10-year scotch).  More importantly, they are aged, generally, in warm-temperature climates.  Aging a spirit in temperatures that routinely surpass 90 degrees will yield considerably more character, more quickly, than a spirit aged in, say, Scotland.  At the Independent, we firmly believe that it is Rum's time.  

In that spirit, Adam is throwing Rum Nite on Saturday night.  Six cocktails:  three classics and three tiki drinks, lots, and lots of different rum.  I'm most intrigued by the Indian-Spiced Dark and Stormy.  But that's not to say that you won't catch me batting the cycle of Tiki drinks.

Hitchhiker-IBC Collaboration Beer

Last Friday, a few of us from the Independent made the quick drive out to Mount Lebanon to brew a batch of beer at Hitchhiker Brewing with Gary, its owner, Andy, its head brewer, and assistant brewer, Tiff.  We had a great time at the brew session, which was covered by Chris Togneri in today's Tribune Review, as part of a larger piece on the wonderful, collaborative environment in the Western PA craft beer scene.  The brew was a joint effort that began with our recipe for a Smoked Stout (the same home-brewed stout we gave away this past Monday) and was tweaked and scaled up by the folks at Hitchhiker.  In addition to the smoked barley, Andy added some smoked wheat to the recipe, that, along with the oatmeal, should give this beer a fantastic head and mouthfeel [insert your own deflated ball joke here].  We were honored to brew with the good folks at Hitchhiker and we can't wait to release the beer, which, we intend to do at our Anniversary party on Saturday, February 21.  In homage to the good doctor of journalism, Hunter S. Thompson, after whom our party will be themed, we're calling this beer "Broadside in a Cloud of Smoke," a reference to this quote from the Gonzo Papers (published in 2007):

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”

See you at the Independent! 

Pete K.

*  It was the Koch Brothers.  The Ball Brothers were initially suspects, but the investigators' interest has since deflated.*****

** Lisa Lampanelli

*** PV=k

****  It's a macro-economics joke!  Clearly into the C material here.

***** D-