Tonight at the Independent: New Summer Food Menu and Around the World in Four Cocktails

Exciting things are happening these days at the Independent.  You may have noticed the dumpster out front and the building permit in the window next door; or perhaps it was the sounds of the hammer drill* that drew your attention.  Either way, construction has begun on our expansion, and we couldn't be more excited about what we're planning to bring you fine people once it's done.  But in the meantime, we're not letting the promise of great things to come distract us from working hard to do great things behind the bar and in the kitchen that we already have.  


As she does every few months, Chef Mo' has revisited our menu and added and subtracted items to be sure that we're bringing you the most seasonally-appropriate and locally-sourced deliciousness that we can offer.  Our food menu underwent some summer tweaks that debuted last night with great success.  Come in tonight to enjoy the Pickled Pepper Pork Pita, which delights the tongue as much as its name twists it.**  Slow roasted, pulled pork (locally sourced) wrapped in a pita with Mo's house-made whiskey barbecue sauce and pickled sweet and hot peppers, give this saucy little number the bite and balance it needs to earn a fifth "P" -- "Pamazing."  Acting a bit crabby on an empty stomach?  Fight crab with more crab and enjoy our new Crab Cakes.  Jalapeño peppers give these perfectly cooked beauties a bit of heat that is complimented by a lemon sage sauce and roasted peppers.   For a refined take at a classic, try our Chicken Milanese.  Mo' lightly fries local chicken breast, and brightens it with a Mediterranean salad of artichoke, kalamata olive, feta, and greens.  Finally, savory, meet sweet;  sweet, meet savory -- you guys will get along great along side some gin figs on our chocolate and cheese pairing board.  Our Cheese and Chocolate Pairing Board is the perfect dessert or the perfect snack, depending on the mood of you and your sweet and savory partner.  Our selections of chocolates and cheeses vary daily, depending on the whims of Chef Mo' and the offerings of our good friends at Wheel & Wedge and the Chocolate Moose.

Tonight:  Around the World in Four Cocktails

Lucky is your barman tonight, and in Lucky's usual style, he's pulling on a diverse array of ingredients and influences to take you on a journey that will turn your palate into a hot air balloon (and shorten your travel time by 79 days and 20 hours).  Lucky is using Portobello Road Gin, an old-style London gin with a well-honed blend of botanicals and spices, as the common base spirit in four different cocktails, each of which draws on a different set of flavors from a different place on earth.  Tonight, travel from Italy to Egypt, then to India, and finally to Korea, all without leaving your barstool, with Lucky's ambitious set of cocktails.

See you at the Independent!

Pete K.

*  Easily the most erotic of power tools.

** Boom!  Rhetorical hammer drill.

This Weekend of May 29th at the Independent

This weekend at the Independent:  Beer!  Agave!  Pork Chops!  Other Stuff!*


If you follow us on facebook, you may have seen a photo of the glorious beer that I was enjoying at Elk Creek Cafe + Ale House, in little Millheim, PA (about 20 minutes southeast of State College).   Of the breweries whose beer we carry, Elk Creek has the distinction of being the furthest away, but they're still west of the a line drawn down the center of this fine Commonwealth, and we think that makes them fair game to call "local."  Moreover, Tim, their brewer, makes some damn fine beer that you can't get anywhere else in town.  In short, don't worry, we brought you a taste.  Be sure to check out their easy-drinking Winkleblink Ale (an American wheat beer) and the Colyer's Kolsch, both of which are perfect on a hot day.


Monique makes a damn fine pork chop, and fortunately for you one such pork chop happens to be tonight's special:  Pork chop (locally raised) with sauteed greens, grilled peaches, and a sweet BBQ glaze.  $13.  Do it.


For "shock and awe" Saturday cocktails, Lucky loses the grass skirt and dons the Sombrero, as he bombs your palate into submission with tequila and mezcal coctkails.  In time, your taste buds will greet him as a liberator.   #MissionAccomplished.  

See you at the Independent!

Pete K.

*  There wasn't really any other stuff.

This weekend of May 15, 2015 at the Independent

The Worst Kept Secret In Town

It's tough to keep a secret under wraps when you're excited about it.  It's even tougher when a licensing body requires you to post a 3'x2' neon-orange sign in the window to invite public comment on said secret.  And to the extent that you had any chance of sliding under the radar with the neon-orange placard hanging in your window, that chance evaporates when a CMU-Set-Design-Student-cum-IBC-Bartender paints your facade using chartreuse as the accent color. 

Accordingly, it seems that the time has finally come to address the expansion of the Independent Brewing Company in a highly official and absurdly ambiguous press release.



The Independent Brewing Company is happy to announce that it is expanding into the space next door at some point, probably in the fall, but you know how these things go.  Initially, the Independent had considered meeting the unserved needs of the Squirrel Hill community, first contemplating an Asian restaurant, then a bank or a coffee shop.  But, after a hasty and unscientific market study, the Independent decided it best to open just one more of what Squirrel Hill already has in spades:  another cocktail bar (groan).  

Details on the cocktail room, which hasn't been named yet, won't be released until the ownership and management know what they are, but you should expect the same neighborhood bar feel as the Independent currently offers, but with an emphasis on cocktails, comfy lounging, and snacking in the new space.  The current space will remain largely the same and will continue to emphasize (exclusively) local beer and refined, comfort food.  

In the meantime, if you've got the cocktail bug and are in the neighborhood, the Independent will continue to serve not only its everyday cocktail menu, but also a special menu of creative and tasty cocktails on Saturdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, including Adam's Non-Traditional Tiki Night, this Saturday from 5-11 p.m. and our two weekly cocktail nights with Lucky (Whiskey drinks on Wednesday; and Tiki drinks on Thursdays).

Beer.  Remember Beer?

Folks, I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our tap list family, Blue Canoe.  Blue Canoe is hardly "new," in fact they've been making great beer in Titusville (North West, PA) since 2008.  As a small brewery with great in-house sales, they don't distribute much.  But, in a tragic series of events, they were hit with a fire on March 18, 2015, which destroyed their tap room.  While they're in the process of rebuilding, we're honored to do what little we can to help, by buying and serving as much as their beer as we can.  You'll see quite a few Blue Canoe kegs on tap in the coming weeks and months, and were honored to serve as one of their tap rooms until they get back up on their feet.

This Sunday's Hours

This Sunday, we will open at 1 p.m. and close at 5 p.m., as we have a staff BBQ Sunday evening. As always, crowlers will be 25% off, and we'll sell dips, pints, and cocktails.  Our normal Sunday (3pm to 8pm) hours will resume next week.

See you at the Independent folks. 

Pete K.

Kentucky Derby Party this Saturday

"Then comes the zenith of man's pleasure.  Then comes the julep -- the mint julep.  Who has not tasted one has lived in vain."

We agree.  

Which is why on Saturday, we put aside our misgivings about the practical cruelty of horse racing and embrace the considerably more important components of the Kentucky Derby:  the Mint Julep, bourbon generally, absurdly large hats, the arrival of spring, and, of course, seersucker.

Join us Saturday for our now annual installment of, "The Kentucky Derby is decadent and Depraved," a party in which we attempt to strike the weird and delicate balance of both celebration and contempt for derby culture, all while swilling the greatest drink that man has ever concocted:  the mint julep.


Date/Time:  We open at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 2.  The party continues until 1 a.m.  Dinner service will run from 5 p.m to 10 p.m.  We will wheel in a television to televise the race.  Said television will be promptly wheeled out of the bar immediately after the race has ended.

Dress:  Derby attire is highly encouraged (nay, demanded).  Derby attire can include ironic derby attire (e.g. seersucker and big hats),  even more ironic derby attire (e.g. a t-shirt with an airbrushed horse and an American flag), and really, really ironic derby attire (e.g. a horse costume*).

Drinks:  Adam will be behind the bar making mint juleps (using bottled-in-bond bourbon, of course, you animals) and four other tasty bourbon cocktails.  We'll also have beer as well as mint-juleps without the ice, mint, and simple syrup, for the true Kentuckian.

Food:  Chef Mo' is running a derby menu that will contain bourbon shrimp n' grits, fried green tomatoes, a Kentucky hot brown (you should get that, probably), and bbbq** ribs (you should also get those, probably). In addition, we'll have some of our other menu stables*** and food for vegetarians and carnivores alike.  During the duration of the race, a defined "civil liberties area" will be created outside for those who wish to protest the race itself, but not protest it so much that they would give up Bourbon and seersucker for the day (e.g. me)  BYO Protest Sign****

See you at the Independent.

Pete K.

* please note the discounted price and rush delivery options for the horse costume.

**  What's the third "b" stand for?  It's a typo.

***  Menu "staples," really, but, there's a general horse theme here ... and horses live in stables ... so, you know ... and, you see, they sound similar... and are only one letter ... [sigh] ... get it?

[awkward silence] 

****  "What do we want?  No more Horse Racing!  When do we want it?  After this Julep!"


Hogo & Hops Dinner Cancelled (well, reinvented)


Unfortunately, we have to cancel our Hogo & Hops Tasting dinner.  For those of you who purchased tickets, we have already issued refunds through eventbrite, and we will follow up with each of you via email.

A crucial component of our dinner was going to be sourcing as many seasonal ingredients as practically possible through the early spring crops of local farms.  Those crops aren't ready in the volume that we needed.  We refuse to charge $100 for an event that is compromised from a sourcing perspective, so, as opposed to proceeding as planned, we are reinventing the night.

The event will be open to the public.  We will offer la carte pairings with Maggie's Farm and Four Season's beer, that will be available as specials that evening, in addition to our regular menu.  We will also sell a rum and beer pairing and, of course, you will still be able to order the Four Season's Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout that was aged in a Maggie's barrel.

Finally, we intend to offer a proper farm-to-table blowout with both Maggie's and Four Seasons later in the summer or early in the fall, when we can do things 100% locally.  

Thank you for your understanding.  We apologize for any inconvenience, and we will be in touch with those of you who purchased tickets on an individual basis to offer you the first crack at reservations that evening.


Pete K.

This Weekend (April 17th) at the Independent

Hi there folks:

It's Friday and time to plan your weekend.  Fortunately the Independent makes it easy for you this weekend, with back-to-back beer and cocktail events on Friday and Saturday respectively. 


Food Network Reality-TV Styled Promo: [Awful Timpani-heavy, militaristic music plays in background.] "Three Western PA breweries arrive for battle at the Independent, each armed with a pin firkin of a beer of their choosing, cask conditioned with a SECRET ingredient.  One of these honorable competitors will leave victorious, and you, fair drinker, shall decide their fate by casting your vote." [Oddly athletic Japanese man bites bell pepper, does back flip, reinforces stereotypes]

Less dramatic, pragmatic promo:  We're thrilled to have Full Pint, Lavery, and Rivertowne join us for a night.  We'll have three pin firkins on the bar, one from each brewery, each using the not-so-secret ingredient, mango,* as an additive when the beers were conditioning.  You can buy by the glass, or you can buy a $12, 7 ounce (each) flight of all three, and cast your vote for the winner.  At the end of the night, we'll drunkenly and corruptly tally the votes, and announce a winner.**  Or we'll get drunk, forget to do all that, and give every brewer a Tiki umbrella as a trophy, as each brewer tells the other two brewers that their beer is way better than his (but secretly maintains that his beer is better).  

All ties will be settled by determining which brewer can drink three IC Light Mangoes the fastest WITHOUT*** vomiting for 10 minutes thereafter.


On Saturday, Adam goes English all over your ass with a night of gin-forward cocktails paired with my favorite selections of British rock and new wave records.

In Adam's typical style, he's not resting on the many gin classics he could pull for this evening.  Instead, he'll be using vacuum siphons and reinventing his own off-menu drink, "The Sex Panther" --  60% of the time, it works every time.  

If you're a gin drinker, and you ought to be, this night is right up your alley.  If you're not a gin drinker, then I believe that Adam can correct this highly offensive flaw in your personality, if you'll only give him a chance.  If you still don't like gin after trying these drinks, I'll be sure to play some extra whiny Morrissey records for you.


Yes, yes -- I know that we only JUST started regularly opening on Sundays, but spring weather, a really busy winter (thanks for that, by the way), and the siren's call of cold beer in an outdoor setting is just too tempting for us to resist.  Sunday we're closed for a Staff Pirates game.  Don't worry, though -- we'll be back open next Sunday from 3-8 p.m.

Ok, guys.  Good talk -- I'll see you out there.

Pete K.  

* "M[a]ngo only pawn in game of life"

** True Story:  Tim from our welding department (did you know that we have a welding department), is going to weld a trophy.****

*** Critical caveat.

**** Story not actually 100% true, but it does contain kernels of truthiness.  

Hogo & Hops: Frequently Asked Questions

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 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.  

Pete K.  





This Weekend at the Independent


Spring has officially sprung here at the Independent, and, coming soon, we'll be celebrating spring in all the usual ways: a new food menu featuring spring produce from local farms (next Wednesday), beer lists with spring-appropriate beers (already happening), Saturday spring-themed cocktails with Lucky (this Saturday), and, of course, streaking naked through the quad (nightly).  


The change in seasons is going to mean menu changes, and that means that it's time to say goodbye to some of your old winter friends, like gumbo, mushroom risotto, the sammich (which will be replaced by another, more spring-appropriate sammich) and the lamb bake.  If you, like me, have developed a deep and passionate relationship with Monique's gumbo,* then you have until Wednesday to say goodbye.  It's sad, yes, but think of all the summer trysts you can have with other, fresher soups.  And, when summer camp is over, you can always reunite in the fall.  

We'll be announcing our new menu next Wednesday, but, in the meantime, enjoy these great menu items while we still have them.


Our beer list is also turning spring-y.  One new spring-y beer that is a must try is the Brew Gentlemen's "Table Beer," a session Saison.  Table beer is inspired by the Belgian "tafelbier," which (and this might shock you) is Flemish for "Table beer" (mind...blown...).  Light, citrusy, saison which at 4.5% is just the type of thing that you need to be drinking at 3 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday afternoon.

New Hours:

It's another two week period and we've got another set of hours to confuse you.  We now open at 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (as opposed to 11:30 a.m.).  And, we're now open from 3-8 p.m. on Sundays.  We'll be serving pre-made snacks and wraps from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 3-8 p.m. (our kitchen will be closed for dinner on Sunday).  In essence, lunches are working for us, but they start they work for us as early happy hours with some great snacks, better than as folks sitting down for lunch.  As I'm fond of saying, we're not the Bush administration here, at the IBC.  We pride ourselves on our ability to flip-flop in the face of clear and convincing evidence.  The evidence is clear that you want food and drinks at 3, but not at noon.  As you wish, my friends.

Saturday Spring Cocktails

This Saturday, celebrate spring with Lucky, who is putting together a set of light and refreshing cocktails.  He's calling it "Drink Spring 2:  Electric Booze-aloo," and promises cocktails that are "light, floral, pleasing to the palate and reminiscent of a warm spring day."  I've been speaking Lucky now for the better part of a year, and I'm pretty sure that means that he's still working on his cocktail list.  But, I also know that I'm intrigued to see what he whips up.


Upcoming Events


Craft Beer Week is on the horizon, and we are kicking it off next Friday with an event with Full Pint, Lavery, and Rivertowne that we are calling "Iron Brewer."  Three breweries enter with a pin firkin each, all using one secret ingredient somehow in that pin firkin.  You drink a three beer flight, then vote.  At the end of the night, we tally up the votes and declare the Iron Brewer.  If you think this theme and name bears a resemblance to a Food Network show of similar name and concept, then you're right (and hopefully not corporate counsel for the Food Network).

On Tuesday, the 21st, we are hosting our big time Hogo & Hops dinner with Maggie's Farm and Four Seasons.  Tickets are limited for this very special event.  They can be purchased here:  I've received a number of inquiries about this event, which I'll address separately in an FAQ dedicated to it.

Alright folks, looking forward to a great weekend ahead.

See you at the Independent!

Pete K.  

*  "Gumbo's not like you!  Gumbo understands me!  She thinks I should quit my job so I can write my novel!"


This Weekend of March 6th at the Independent

Dear Friends,

If my pen has fallen silent, rest assured in your knowing that it is not because I have lost any affection for you; it is only that, in my old age, it now takes me a bit longer to recover from hangovers of the type that I suffered following our one-year anniversary party.  But, I'm back, well-rested, and ready to inform you of our weekend's going-ons. 

"In the topsy-turvey world of heavy rock, having a good solid piece of wood in your hand is often useful."

We agree, Ian Faith, manager of Spinal Pap!*  And that's why we're upgrading our cheese plates into cheese boards.  These walnut beauties are hand-made by our friends at Perry & Company and should be ready to go on Saturday.  Our cheese and meats are fancy pants products** -- it was time to give them the respect they deserved.  

It's normally indicative of a slow news week when you're reporting on upgrades to your plating inventory, but that's not the case here.  Because at the IBC, when we give you a good solid piece of wood in your hand, we go to eleven.  And as such, tomorrow, we present "Impromptu Spinal Tap Theme Night," to celebrate our new cheese boards.

Lucky the Painproof man will be behind the bar tomorrow, dressed something like a bearded version of Nigel Tuffnel, slinging world-whiskey cocktails with a fake English accent.  Be sure to try the "Goes to Eleven," however, be advised that with a drink one louder than all of its competitors, there is a limit of two per customer.    

Beyond pairing cheeses with Lucky's cocktails, Monique's Saturday special is "Falafel Scottish Eggs," an Egyptian-Scottish*** merger of culinary concepts that is mind blowing.

And of course, the vinyl will be in theme.  We'll be playing your favorite records from British rock bands all night, with a particular emphasis on Deep Purple.  

Beer Nerds Rejoice:  Elk Creek Comes Back On Tap

Two kegs from Elk Creek Cafe and Ale House (the furthest-away member of our family of breweries, which is located in Millheim, PA) are landing in our coolers this evening sometime around 9 p.m.  Expect to see Elton's ESB on nitro and the Po Daddy Porter come on tap sometime over the course of tomorrow -- two great beers from a deep-cut brewery that I wish we could carry more often.  

Have You Joined Us for Lunch Yet?

After a few weeks, lunch times at the IBC are starting to taking shape.  Monique and her catering partner are making healthy and really tasty options that are ready to go when you get here, and ready to take with you if you're on the move that day.  Whether you have ten minutes for lunch or you're playing hooky and having beers, the IBC is a great lunch option to keep in mind.  Additionally, on the Thursdays through Saturdays that we're open for lunch, we're running happy hour specials from 3 to 5 p.m., during which all beers are $2 off.  And, from 11-5 on those same days, we're offering "Crowler Hours" -- that is 25% off all Crowlers.  As always, we have good tunes playing on vinyl and friendly and we offer friendly and spirited conversation. 

See you at the Independent! 

Pete K.

* One of England's loudest bands.  Typo intentional.

**  Disclaimer:  None of the cheeses nor the meats wear with pants.   

***  Scottish-Egyptian, actually.  

This Weekend at the Independent

Not Your Average Burger

It took us a year, but we're excited to announce that we have a burger on the menu. Last night we released three new additions to the daily dinner menu, one of which is our Lamb Kafta Burger.  The Burger itself is a Middle-Eastern spiced lamb patty, which is grilled to perfection.  It's topped with asiago cheese, pickled onions and cucumbers, arugula, and a harissa lebneh, which is a chili spiced yogurt sauce.  It's wonderful.  And, if you're a vegetarian, you'll love our falafel burger, topped with the same toppings.  Both burgers pair well with any IPA or hoppy beer on our menu.  We know that people love burgers with their beer, but it was important to us to find something unique that fit both Mo's signature style and also our aspiration to provide an experience that is different and unique, and not just another addition to an already very crowded burger-and-beer-bar field.  

Another dream beer pairing opportunity on this new menu is the pork chop.  This 8 ounce beauty, served on a yukon-potato and goat-cheese mash with a mustard cream sauce and fried Brussel Sprouts, just begs to pair with any stout or porter on the menu.  

Friday (TONIGHT) Impromptu Happy Hour:  Crowded Beer Coolers and Anticipation of New Beers =  $2 Off All Beers from 5-7 p.m.*  

If I seem happier than you are, it's only because I happen to know about all of the great beer in our coolers waiting to be tapped.  This weekend promises to be particularly fun.  We have Hitchhiker's Kolsch, Roundabout's Maui Wit and Winter Warmer, a Tripel from Four Seasons, Full Pint's Gus and Perc-E-Bust, Costar's Maple Oatmeal Stout, the Brew Gentlemen's Mammoth Weizenbock, a Maibock from Lavery and much, much more, just waiting in the wings.  Now, it's not that you folks haven't been drinking enough beer (January boasted our highest beer sales yet -- yes -- January).  It's that (and, you might have already put this together from the size of my vinyl collection) I have a bit of a problem passing up a quality product that might be gone the next day (and that's even worse when I really like the guys selling it to me).  So, you know, I buy it.  And, right now, I need to move it -- unchecked-compulsive-shopping-problem in your favor.  $2 off all beers from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  And while we're at it, let's keep it on the one tonight.  Officially, we're calling this the "Funkin' on Friday Night in February Happy Hour."

Ok folks, See you at the Independent!

Pete K.

* I buried the lede.  

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-

Surviving Sunday Evening: Moos and Brews with Wheel and Wedge


Sunday evening:  the nadir of the weekend, when you can not longer ignore the reality that you are returning to work the next morning and that the stuff that you didn't do on Friday (or when you were supposed to go in over the weekend) almost certain remains unfinished.  

It's ok.  We can (and we will) get through Sunday evening together in the only way that we can:  with cheese and beer.  This Sunday at 6 p.m., join the Independent as we partner with Wheel and Wedge, a local and regional cheese purveyor, to dole out tastes of cheese and tastes of beer.  If we're doing our jobs right, that cheese and that beer may even go well together.  

We're excited to be the next stop on Wheel and Wedge's cheese and beer series called "Moos and Brews."  I will work with Alix, head-cheese monger of Wheel and Wedge, to pair six beers with six cheeses.  In addition to introducing each cheese and each beer offered, Alix and I will explain why we made the pairing and explain some basics of beer and cheese pairing generally, allowing you to repeat your experience at home.  There's no better way to impress your friend than by serving them good beer, unless, of course, you serve them good beer AND good cheese, with a side of knowledge.

The class costs $25 and tickets are available on eventbrite, here.  Tickets also include gratuity.  If you can't make it, we hope that you'll check out our friends Wheel & Wedge some other time at their store in the Public Market, in the Strip District.  

The class should last about an hour, and afterwards, the Independent will remain open to sell you beers, crowlers, spirits, cocktails to take the edge off of your Sunday evening.

The end of the weekend sucks, but beer and cheese heal all wounds.

See you at the Independent!

Pete K.

This Weekend at the Independent (January 16th)

Your weekend is upon you, folks. Here at the Independent, much like that creepy coworker who keeps texting you, we'd like to be a part of that weekend.  Here's what's going on this weekend, along with a major announcement regarding an upcoming event [suspense builds].

A Steak Sandwich ... and a Steak Sandwich

Monique has some pretty mean specials this weekend, beginning tonight with her grilled-steak sandwich*:  3.5 ounces of NY strip steak topped with Havarti cheese, wilted spinach, roasted mushrooms and Madeira sauce.  It's a sandwich so good that you'll order "a steak sandwich and ... a steak sandwich."  Just put it on the Underhill tab. 

Saturday Night Live (Cocktails)

Adam is back behind the bar on Saturday, and, per his usual custom, he has a number of tricks of his sleeve.  Cathcing my interest are two new drinks:  (1) the "Tropic Thunder" is a new Tiki drink featuring 5 rums and 14 total ingredients, upon the initial trial creation of which, Adam texted me "just made the best tiki drink I've ever made.  Going on next Sat as the Tropic Thunder." Indeed.  I'm sure there's a movie reference in there somewhere, but you'll have to drink it to find out.  (2) the "Nom de Plume," a new molecular cocktail featuring fig-infused cognac, slivovitz (yes, that slivovitz), and a vanilla-orange dry ice aromatic fog.  Dry ice is no parlor act as used in this drink -- it's the vehicle by which Adam delivers aroma to the cocktail by pouring a flavorful liquid over dry ice, to create instantaneous sublimation.  Consider my interest piqued.

Big Bottom Beers

It's that time of year again, when our beer list has turned ... [chooses word carefully] ... nasty.  See Four Seasons, Barleywine, Grist House, Master of the Galaxy Double IPA, and (one of my winter favorites) Full Pint', Tri-PA.  But, if big beers aren't your thing, we still have a few tasty beers that you can consume without turning into Barney Gumble. Hitchhiker's Roadie IPA made it's debut last night, and. at 5.4% abv, you can have a few, and still have a relatively coherent discussion regarding the Swiss National Bank.  Sure your words will be a bit bolder than usual, but your friends will mistake that boldness for a keen intellect.  And for the wheat beer fans, we have Grist House's "Wheatin' for the Weekend," an American apricot-wheat beer.  Served to you in a large, 23 oz Hefeweizen Vase, it will prompt your friends to remark on what a large volume you've ordered, and they will immediately respect you for it.  By the end of the glass, if you order another one, you'll be a hero.  They don't need know that at 4.8% it's the lowest ABV on the board.  But, if you are a brave enough soul to order a Tri-PA or a Barleywine, your friends will ever-so-slowly take a step away from you.  They know what's coming.  It'll start off seemingly civilized: lamentations about  job-exporting international trade arrangements and the infringement of civil liberties.  But, by the end of your glass, you'll be jabbering at total strangers about imperialism and NFL concussions, the attenuated if not entirely non-existent connection between the two of which will seem suddenly apparent to your rapidly diminishing mental capacities.  By the end of your second glass, you'll have been reduced to a completely atavistic condition.  Your needs now are apparent.  You're operating on an instinctual level.  There is no conductor.  "The possibility of complete mental and physical collapse is now very real."

Anniversary Announcement

After cribbing from Hunter S. Thompson's prose for a full paragraph, it's time to announce a very special event.  Yes, it's been a whole year now since that awkward Satruday night when you and the Independent started dating, and it's time to celebrate our mutual love and the passage of time.  We're doing two events: the first, a nice, sophisticated prix-fixe food, beer, spirit, and cocktail dinner, on Tuesday, February 17.  The details will be announced next week, along with information regarding reservations.  The dinner will celebrate how far we've come since our humble roots a year ago.  We're going to show off a little bit.  The second event, however, will be a gonzo and atavistic salute to our first year in the booze business.  I now introduce: "Fear and Loathing at the Independent: a Gonzo Salute to our First Year,"  to be held on Saturday, February 21.  Details will be announced in an email next week, but suffice it to say that this is going to be a theme party dedicated to Hunter S. Thompson and suffice it to say that things are going to get weird.  

See you at the Independent, my friends.

Pete K.

*  Technically, Monique is calling this a "steak torta," but no fancy-pants romance language was going to get between me and a good Fletch reference.

This Weekend at the Independent (January 9th, 2014)

Hi folks:

It's really cold outside.  And, while it's tempting to stay on your couch and watch re-runs of Northern Exposure*, we're not going to stand by and watch you succumb to seasonal depression.  We've got a bunch of new things kicking around this weekend that will get you off the couch, and back to the people who love you.  

New Food!

Chef Monique and Sous Chef Sam continue to refine their menu for your seasonal tastes.  This weekend we debut five new menu items.  First, we're done making you wait for Fat Tuesdays for the best Gumbo made outside of a city whose name ends with "orleans."  Mo's gumbo is on the menu now, and is sure to cure your wintertime blues (and also sure to make you order another bowl of gumbo).  Second, we noticed that new bear-skin rug and axe you purchased after the Holidays, and you've been looking sharp in those flannels and that burley beard, Mrs. Robinson.  It's winter and nothing says "I'm defeating the elements because I've mastered nature" like 8 ounces of New York Strip Steak.  We now serve that along with a yukon and sweet potato mash and a beer sauce.  I ate it last night, and woke up this morning with 50% more beard thickness and biceps the size of bowling balls.  My wife attested that I was a stronger yet more gentle lover, too.**  Looking for a smaller, but decadent starter?  I suggest the Lamb bake.  Baked leg of lamb joins forces with briny feta and pickled vegetables to create this tasty, middle-eastern dip.  And for the sweet tooth, we've got Baklava with whiskey-roasted walnuts (drizzled with chocolate, of course) as well as a weekly tart special.  My hat is off to the kitchen.  Yours should be too -- or, in light of the weather, you should leave it on and make some other gesture of sincere respect.

New Draft Cocktail!

Malaria season got you down?  Feeling not Spanish enough?  Generally looking for a well-made Gin and Tonic?  Adam's got you covered with our new draft cocktail, the Spanish Gin and Tonic.  It's, frankly, incredible, and light and refreshing (which is good if your New Year's resolution, like mine, was to get more drunk, but less fat).  It's served with star-anise,*** which provides a perfect aroma to pair with the bitterness of Adam's house-made tonic syrup.  Mahon Gin is the perfect Spanish Gin for this drink, so, you know, we, like, use it and stuff.  At $8, it's a steal, and you should probably try it, even if you "don't like Gin," "don't like tonic," or "don't like Gin and Tonics."  Trust us -- this is different.

Alright folks.  Stay strong.  Fight back against the season.  Come to us and let us keep you warm.  We might not have a fireplace, but the crackle of our vinyl record player is proven to keep you even warmer.  

Pete K.  

*  That said, if you can't pry yourself away from Janine Turner and Barry Corbin, we sell 32 ounces of craft beer to go.  They'll ease your pain, 32 ounces at a time.  

**  She didn't so attest.  But we did clean up our daughter's vomit together at around 2 a.m., during which I exemplified neither strength nor gentleness.  

***  Uranise?

This Week at the Independent (Happy New Year!)


With great happiness we prepare to bring in the New Year at the Independent.  We're proud of what we've accomplished in 2014.  We're even more proud of what our good friends, the craft brewers of South Western Pennsylvania, did in 2014.  The Brew Gentlemen, Hitchhiker, Grist House, Milkman, and Whitehorse all started up their businesses and shocked people with how quickly they hit the ground running with quality, consistent, and innovative beers.   Four Seasons won a Silver Medal at the GABF with their Oatmeal Stout.  Roundabout and Hop Farm coexisted with beautiful beers and great tap rooms in upper-lawrenceville.  All Saints continued to make some of the best malt-forward beers in the Commonwealth.  And East End and Full Pint, the seasoned veterans of our beer market, once again led the whole pack forward, setting good examples of cooperative spirit and collaboration for the younger, smaller breweries (and making some pretty damn tasty and innovative batches of beer while they were at it).  When it comes to beer, South Western PA isn't just holding it's own.  It's poised to lead the way.  I mean it when I say, there's no other place on earth I'd rather be drinking and selling beer right now.

A Few New Year's Eve Tickets Left:

Tonight is the night to get your NYE tickets.  We have a few left, and we can't make any guarantees that we'll sell them at the door tomorrow.  We're trying to keep this party fun and being overcrowded is no fun at all.  Get your tickets now.  If you can't make it to the bar tonight, you can call in your order with a credit card from 5p-11p.  Our number is 412-422-5050.  That's a land-line, to the extent that makes you more comfortable.  That said, I've heard the stooges at the NSA just LOVE, so caveat emptor.  

Televising the Steelers Playoff Game Saturday Night

Yep, you read that right.  We're broadcasting the Steelers Playoff game on Saturday night.  Why?  This game isn't the moon-landing equivalent of the Pirates playoffs, but at the end of the day, we can't see the harm of playing the game.  Most of you like the Steelers.  Most of you want to watch this game.  Frankly, we like the Steelers and we want to watch this game.  And, at the end of the day, it's the freakin' NFL playoffs -- at most, you'd be subjected to four whole 3-hour spans of television over the next 5 weeks.  Don't worry, the TVs are temporary and aren't coming back in 2015.  

That said, we don't want to just do this:  we want to do it right and make it a uniquely Independent viewing experience.  What we WANT to offer, and what we think that we CAN offer, is a place for grown ups to watch the game.  You know, limited swearing at the television (ok, at least witty swearing at the television); an understanding that the guy on the other team is a human being and we shouldn't root for his death; a general disdain for the Ravens, who apparently needed to see a video of what domestic violence looked like before they had the guts to fire a guy who they KNEW had knocked his wife out cold in a fucking elevator.  That's not to say that we're not rooting for the Steelers on Saturday.  That's not to say that we're not going to do so vocally and with spirit.  It's just to say ... well ... it's just to say that we'll be drinking craft beer and cocktails when we do it; not swilling macro beers with sexist television commercials and drinking shitty flavored vodkas or jagermeister.  #TakeBacktheNFL  

Closed New Year's Day

We'll be closed New Year's Day; We'll be back and better than ever on Friday, January 2, 2015. 

Thank You

If I don't see you tomorrow night to thank you in person for all of the support you've given us, all the memories that you helped us create, all the memories that you created, and all the love you've sent our way, please accept my most sincere "thank you."  It's been one hell of a year thanks to you guys.  This bar is for you.  And, hell, we opened in five days -- it's by  you as well.  Thank you.

Pete K.  

New Year's Eve '87 FAQ


With Christmas under our significantly expanded belts, it's time to focus on New Year's Eve.  As you know, this New Year's Eve, the Independent is going back in time to celebrate New Year's Eve '87/'88 with an 80s Dance Party DJ'd by the one, the only,Matt Buchholtz.  The title?  Hot Tub Mime Machine.  You've been asking questions.  I've got your answers.

Q:  What the F*&k is a Mime Machine, and why does this party have such a weird and confusing name?

A:  That's a two part question.  First, a "Mime Machine" is nothing but stupid word-play on the 2010 John Cusack film titled "Hot Tub Time Machine," in which a group of friends return to their 80s heyday via a time-travelling hot tub.  If we're being generous, we'd give the movie a C minus on the same scale that would rate, say, Fletch as an A+.  But the 80s references were great.  Second, we named the party "Hot Tub Mime Machine" out of a combination of alcohol, exhaustion, and immaturity.  We knew we wanted an 80s party, but we didn't have a name.  I went home drunk, tired and stupid and tweeted out "Hot Tub Mime Machine" because, well, because I'm an idiot.  In retrospect, we probably should have just called the party "New Year's Eve with Fletch" (and, in fairness, every party should be loosely Fletch themed).  In fact, from here on out, this is just a Fletch themed party.

Q:  I see that this thing costs $50, what do I get for my $50?

A:  Food and lots of it. The menu is here. Moreover, once you're in, your beers all cost $4 and you'll have a choice between two $6 punches, made by Adam and Lucky respectively.  Now, even a Fox News "economist" can look at that price and realize that you're going to do far better financially with a $50 entrance plus $4 beer/ $6 punch menu than you would with a "$100 All You Can Drink" function.  If your plan is to drink in excess of 12 craft beers or 8 craft punches, that's your business, but we probably won't be serving them to you.

Q:  You had me at 80s Dance Party.  Who's DJing this and will there be Madonna.  

A:  DJ Matt Buchholtz will be your dance facilitator for the evening, and, yes, he will be playing Madonna.  It's an 80s Dance party -- playing Madonna is axiomatic.

Q:  I LOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEE the 80s and TOTALLY want to wear a COSTUMEE!!!  Can I?

A:  Yes.  In fact, costumes are "requiredish."  "Requiredish" means that you don't HAVE to wear a costume, but you'd have more fun if you did wear a costume, so we're making it a loosely enforced requirement -- much like de-commissioning nuclear weapons, paying taxes or registering for Selective Service as an 18-year-old male.  Trust us.  Costumes are fun.  I myself will be coming as John Cocktoston.  Like the name?  It's Scotch/Romanian.  

Q:  Where/when can I get tickets?  

A:  At the Independent Brewing Company, during hours of operation.  We're selling on premises to avoid service fees (we both win!).  The event is nearly certain to sell out, so get yourself and your friends tickets now.  

Tierra Del Fuego!

Pete K.

New Year's Eve Menu

All Items Included with Price of Admission

Hors D'Oeuvres

roasted lamb with peperoncini-brined feta & cucumber salsa

Surf & Turf skewers
pork meatballs with sweet-and-sour shrimp & mango

Potato,caramelized onion, chèvre, & sage

Brie, blackberry jam & bacon

Falafel-Crusted Maki Roll
Pickled veg & tuna

Late Night: petite sandwiches

Caprese with pesto
Smoked salmon, cucumber, red onion & egg yolk pate

Happy Thanksgiving from the Independent

As Robbie Robertson famously wishes the audience at the beginning of the  second encore in "The Last Waltz," Happy Thanksgiving!

We'll be closed for Thanksgiving proper, but we've got a great weekend of food, beer and cocktails at the Independent starting tonight with Thanksgiving eve.

Picking Up Hitchhikers:

If you make it in this evening or Friday evening, you'll find three new beers from our newest brewery on tap, Hitchhiker Brewing in Mount Lebanon.  We're really thrilled to get these guys on tap, and we're even more thrilled to offer some really interesting beers from them.  I met with Andy, their head brewer, last week and was blown away by their Gratzer, a polish smoked-wheat beer.  If you like all things rauch malt (and, when it's snowing, how can you not?), you're in for a treat.  Check out this really fun beer for at least a taste when you're in tonight.  Many thanks to the guys at Hitchhiker for the opportunity to serve their beer.

Cocktology Medal Lap Saturday:

On Saturday night, Adam is joined behind the bar by the lovely Greta Dunn of Meat and Potatoes and (formerly) of the Tiki Lounge, where she worked with Lucky every Thursday for South Seas Thursdays.  Recently, Adam and Greta finished in second and first place, respectively, in the Pittsburgh Cocktail Week, Disco Drink competition.  I'm hoping that Greta commemorates their one-two finish with a cocktail called "The Ricky Bobby"* and that Adam does the same with a cocktail called "Who Does No. 2 Work For"**  

December 3rd, Secret Vault

Paul Rosenblatt is back on Wednesday, December 3rd for another installation of the Secret Vault.  This time, he's playing deep cuts from his Psych Rock collection.  Don't worry, we'll have beer and to mellow out your trip when that guitar solo starts to get really intense.  

We have a lot to be thankful for at the Independent, and that begins with you folks.  Thank you for the support over the last nine months.  Enjoy your thanksgiving (preferably with a crowler of beer, a snuggie, a cat or three, and a hi-fi surround sound system watching the 2006 Blu-Ray edition of the Last Waltz.  

See you at the Independent!

Pete K.

*  The two people who got this one hopefully laughed a little bit. 

**  Presumably brown-spirit based.

This Weekend at the Independent: A Return to Normalcy

With Hitchcock Halloween under our belts, it's time for the Independent to follow the call of Warren G.* Harding and return to normalcy for a weekend.  This weekend we're back to what we do best:  serving great beer, great food and great cocktails while we listen to great music.

But one last thing about Halloween:

Thank you -- all of you -- who came and made this event a  success.  All told, we had nearly 1500 people at the Carrie Furnaces, which, we think, is the most humans in that space since the furnaces were last operational in 1982.  Most importantly, despite the big numbers and despite the fact that we had far longer bathroom lines than are even remotely acceptable (sorry -- lesson learned and that issue will be corrected next year), it was our guests that made this event a success by their exemplary party behavior -- lively dance floor, responsible boozing, and no fighting.  We'll be forever thankful to all of you who came out and we promise to make next year an even better party for all who can attend.  And, with that said, keep your eyes posted.  We had way too much fun too limit our collaboration with Bar Marco and the Brew Gentlemen to just one event a year...

Have You Dined with Us Recently?

In the words of THE Bruce Dickinson,** Chef Monique has begun to "really explore the studio space" in the Kitchen here at the Independent.  After being the only Chef in town cool enough to take a chance (with five-days notice) on two jag-off brothers with no food industry experience, she has dialed in her menu and her kitchen staff to the point where the food going out on any night that we're open is consistent and well-executed every time.  With that first priority accomplished, she's been working on specials over the past month.  And, boy, have they been slammin'.  In the past two weeks, we've seen succulent pork bellies, fall-off-the-bone-tender lamb shanks, and braised short ribs, all creatively plated with sauces and sides that would cause envy in the best "fine dining" restaurants in town.  Don't let our laid-back attitude fool you.  We're pushing out phenomenal food here.  Pittsburgh has a deeply entrenched "bar food" paradigm:  to wit, that a bar with a small kitchen must serve fried/frozen, unhealthy and unsustainable foods.  That paradigm needs to change.  Bar food should be good food.  Monique is leading that charge with a scratch kitchen that's turning out food that matches the craft quality of our beers, spirits, and cocktails.

Adam's Triumphant Return to Interactive Cocktology

It will be a welcome scene behind our bar on Saturday as Adam returns to his regular Saturday night, "live" cocktology gig after a month-long hiatus.  If you believed the rumors that he has been island hopping through the Caribbean, roaming each island's countryside in search of lost and forgotten rum barrels that have aged for no fewer than 100 years, you've been mislead.  He's been moving into a new house and thanklessly batching our everyday cocktails that you've been enjoying.  Regardless, he returns to the bar well-rested and inspired, with a menu of seasonally appropriate cocktails to warm your bellies and your soul on this late-autumn weekend.  Take for instance:

"Squash Racket - a "flip" style cocktail with bourbon, corn milk syrup, pumpkin ale, and grated nutmeg.  Flips are a category of drinks using whole eggs, which contribute a lot of creaminess (there's an older style of flip that's not worth getting nerdy about here)."

I get a lot of emails from Adam, and this is the one time that he's declined the opportunity to get nerdy.  That said, he's got, like, 90% of the ingredients for the "nerdier" flip, which involves a really hot fire, a "loggerhead,"*** and pewter mugs.  I'm no insurance adjuster, but I just can't wrap my head around why he's not using the loggerhead and the fire indoors in a crowded bar on Saturday.

As always, thanks for the support, and hope to see you at the Indie this weekend.

Pete K.

*  Gamaliel, in case, you're looking for "boy names."  

**  There's no difference between you and Bruce Dickinson -- he puts his pants on one leg at a time.  Except after his pants are on, Bruce Dickinson makes gold records.

***  So now you know where that word comes from.

This Weekend at the Independent

In this edition of "This Weekend at the Independent," we can draft beers for your at-home enjoyment, we present you with your Halloween plans for the  year, and we announce this Friday's collaboration-beer release party with the Brew Gentlemen and Grist House. 

Crowler Power!

Remember that time you wanted to buy a growler but you were concerned it would go flat before you could finish it?  Remember that time that you couldn't decide between the two beers that you really wanted, and you only had one growler?  Remember that time you forgot your growler at home and we didn't have one on hand?  

Those are all sad memories that you'll never have again!  We introduce you to the Crowler, a 32 ounce can that we seal right at the bar after filling it with any fresh, draft beer of your choice.  How do you get one?  Just ask!  Your friendly IBC bartender will get you a can (or several) and fill it (or them) with whatever beer you request; then she'll seal it before your very eyes, using the 19th-century, modern marvel of the automated canning machine!  We'll charge you the same per-ounce price as you would enjoy in the bar, and you can enjoy that beer on your couch while you raise your children!  

The Independent Brewing Company:  Helping you raise your children one 32 ounce can of beer at a time...

We Present:  Hitchcock!  A Halloween Party at the Carrie Furnaces.  Saturday, November 1, 2014  GET YOUR TICKETS NOW, BEFORE WE SELL OUT!

We are holding a Hitchcock-themed Halloween Party with the Brew Gentlemen at an old iron mill called the Carrie Furnaces.  This party is, without a doubt, the best we've ever been.  Tickets, which are $35 each, include three drink tickets for our bars which will serve fresh Brew Gentlemen Beer and delicious Independent Brewing Company punches made by our cocktologists Adam and Lucky.  We'll have theme-appropriate decorations that will blow your mind (designed by our very own Lex, who happens to be in the Set Design school at CMU when he's not tending bar here).  There will be food trucks and food tents with food for sale if you get hungry.  And, there will be music.  Lots and lots of soul, funk, hip-hop, and dance music pumping through the AC Power House of the iron mill, which will house our, um, literally (not figuratively) industrial dance floor.  This space is huge.  It's beautiful.  And, in short, it is the perfect place to celebrate Halloween.

Tickets on sale here:  Note, parking tickets are an additional $15, but we are running a bus (or multiple buses) to the furnace and back that evening from the Independent.  Tickets for the bus are $5 each.  Parking and shuttle service from the waterfront are free. 

We're throwing this event in conjunction with the wonderful people at Rivers of Steel, the non-profit stewards of the Carrie Furnaces, which is now a National Monument.  For more information on the Carrie Furnaces, please visit Rivers of Steel here:


Brew Gentlemen and Grist House Collaboration-Beer Release Party and co-tap-takeover, this Friday at the IBC

These two excellent breweries are collectively taking seven of our taps on Friday night:  three taps each with the seventh tap hosting the collaboration beer they brewed together:  an imperial pumpkin stout.  Imperial. Pumpkin. Stout.  I'll just stop there.  What else could I write in mid-October that would be more enticing.

Finally, big, big ups to our boys at Four Seasons Brewing Company in Latrobe for the Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival, awarded to them for "the Darkside of the Pint," their wonderful oatmeal stout.  These guys deserve the credit for that beer.  It's phenomenal.  I've got a full keg of it in our coolers here and we're saving it for a big-time medal celebration with the boys from Latrobe.  Stay tuned and we'll announce details on twitter and facebook.  In the meantime, we're celebrating their achievement this week by presenting five of their beers on tap, until they kick.  We know that a lot of folks are going to want to try Western PA's most recent GABF winner, and we have the inventory.  Come order a beer and toast these guys with their other great beers.

Thanks for reading, folks.  And remember, buy those Halloween tickets now.  That is one night that you won't want to be at home drinking crowlers with your kids.

See you at the Independent!

Pete K.