Pittsburgh Brewery # 2 – Hitchhiker Brewing

Hitchhiker Brewing has the simple thumb as their logo and now a couple taprooms to enjoy their beers including Mt. Lebanon and Sharpsburg.

Let’s create a flight from both!

Conversion Dry Hopped Blonde – “Brewed with Pilsner malt. Hopped lightly with Amarillo and dry hopped with a touch of Amarillo. Notes of Lemon peel, fresh bread, crackers, and blossoms.”

No Way Summer Stout – “Brewed with Caramel and Dark Malts and fermented with our house yeast blend. Notes of Coffee, Chocolate, and Caramel. A refreshing, crushable Stout.”

15th and Canal Pale Ale – “Brewed with oats. Hopped with Citra and Mosaic. Named after our production brewery and tap room in Sharpsburg. Notes of pine needles, blueberries, pineapple, and grapefruit.”

Faux Real IPA – “Brewed with Oats and Wheat. Hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Cashmere, and Simcoe.”

Pittsburgh Brewery Tour # 1 – Trace Brewing

Wave the Terrible Towel, time to visit Pittsburgh and the first stop is Trace Brewing. Noodling through their website, I noticed that they have a vocational program which is the first that I have seen on a brewery website.

Time to dive into the taster tray…

Pinhole – “Cream Ale brewed in collaboration with our good friends and neighbors at Bankrupt Bodega. Light and crushable, brewed with flaked corn and noble hops.”

Agio Italian Pilsner – “Pilsner brewed with Eraclea pilsner malt, which is made from barley grown near the Adriatic Sea northeast of Venice, Italy. The beer was hopped with Magnum, Saaz and Hallertau Tradition in the kettle, and then dryhopped with Mandarina Bavaria, Hallertau Blanc, and Hallertau Tradition. Crisp and hoppy with notes of noble hop citrus, fresh cut grass, and standing in a field after a rainstorm.”

Foeder Kellerbier – “Our house Kellerbier aged for two months in an American oak foeder. Floral and lemon hop character with caramel and vanilla notes from the oak.”

Sure, You’re Right NE Hazy IPA – “IPA brewed with Citra and Idaho 7 hops. Notes of Pineapple, Overripe Stone Fruit and Spicy Honey. Dedicated to the best MC with no chain you ever heard.”

USA Brewery Tour # 3 – BlackStack Brewing

From beignets and Sazeracs to the State of Minnesota and St. Paul to visit BlackStack Brewing.

Old Country Buffet Beer – “A wink & a nod to a couple of our favorite forms of indulgence. Good, clean, American Style Pils to be enjoyed, just like the buffet, until you say “when.””

Polar Express Cold IPA – “Fermented cold with a strain that normally ferments hot & fast. El Dorado, Nugget & a new one for us, Experimental HBC 1019, in a gloriously crispy package.”

News To Me New Zealand IPA – “This year we got to select New Zealand hops for the first time. In celebration of such a joyous occasion, we decided to use all of them in a brew together. Full of our beautifully striking selected lots of Nectaron, Nelson Sauvin & Riwaka from down yonder.”

Free HBC 586 Triple IPA – “Supremely saturated with HBC 586 & HBC 586 Cryo, an as yet unnamed varietal from the Hop Breeding Company that has very swiftly become one of our figgity favorites. Fully sending it with this one in pursuit of those “lunchroom cups where the fruit is still sitting in the juice” vibes we’ve become oh-so-fond of.”

1st Visit – Wagon Wheel Brewing

I expect breweries to be located in many types of buildings. Industrial parks, on the pier, in a food cart pod but Wagon Wheel Brewing is the first that seems to be an anchor tenant of a large condo complex.

The space is massive. There is a bar to the left and another to the right. Space upstairs (I think) and a large outdoor patio. Even a small little communal table area for parties. Full restaurant as well and a bar which is actually integrated with the beers beyond just Micheladas.

Since Oxnard is known for strawberries, I went for the special strawberry salad and it was really good. Outshone the beers actually and that is not because the beers were not good.

So, I had a taster tray with two West Coast IPAs, a pilsner and a coffee stout. The Pinch Pils was my clear winner with the coffee stout needing a bit more coffee punch to it and being labeled as Imperial, had me looking for more lushness and ABV behind it. The IPA duo was fine. Neither differentiated from the other beyond name to me.

For me, I would probably pick a Ventura brewery over stopping here but if on a trip with less beer inclined folks, this might be a better stop.

USA Brewery Tour # 2 – Miel

We go from Hill Country to cocktail country to visit (via the interwebs) Miel in Louisiana.

We Have the Czechnology – “Czech-style 12° Polotmavý. A smooth amber lager poured in the Czech way.”

Meow Meow – “New Orleans Common brewed with Zuper Saazer hops. An easy drinking amber ale with a malt-forward flavor!”

I Spy Cara Cara – “Fruited Sour aged on fresh oak chips and blended with cara cara orange. Slightly sweet with notes of orange, vanilla, and tannic oak.”

Smoked Braggot – “Braggot style ale fermented on Paradigm Garden honey and blended with Lapsang Souchong smoked tea. Fermented on equal parts honey and malt, this beer is rich with a sweet and smoky finish.”

USA Brewery Tour # 1 – Off Main Brewing

A name not often used to describe a brewery would be boutique but that is what Off Main Brewing has in it’s branding. And I like that term.

But this post is about the beers in a possible taster tray, so let’s pour….

Comanche Moon – “Blonde Ale that embodies the essence of the Texas Hill Country with its clean, crisp profile and
a touch of hop aroma and subtle sweetness from the malt.”

Bluebonnet Bock – “this traditional Bavarian strong beer is a malt-forward amber lager with a higher gravity, delivering a robust and flavorful experience.”

The Weekender – “this brew is crafted with flaked and malted wheat, giving it a satisfying body that perfectly complements the complexity of Southern Hemisphere hops. And here’s the best part: it’s fermented with Kviek Yeast from Norway, which imparts a delightful citrus flavor to the beer.”

Home IPA – “this surprisingly drinkable 7.6% American IPA is the first recipe we ever created.”

Women’s World Cup Brewery # 3 – Three Sisters Brewery

We head to New Zealand for the last brewery to honor this years Women’s World Cup. The brewery is Three Sisters Brewery AIBA’s Champion Small International Brewery 2023, BGNZ’s Champion Small Brewery 2022 and Champion Micro Brewery 2021.

Served Cold NZ Pilsner – “Pilsner and maize malts with Motueka and Nelson Sauvin Hops.”

Ernie’s Bitter # 2 – “Number two is an English IPA with a marris otter, biscuit and brown malt base, Windsor yeast with East Kent goldings hops and fresh fuggles.”

I See Red – “Red rye pale ale with Citra, Mosaic, Motueka and Nelson Sauvin hops. “

Freestylin’ DDH – “Our entry to the 2023 Smith’s NZ IPA Challenge. This West Coast style IPA has our highest ever hop load at 60g/L.  Packed with freestyle Motueka and Nelson Sauvin hops on a light malt base and fermented with Frothtech yeast.”

Women’s World Cup Brewery # 2 – Black Hops Brewery

Who wouldn’t like a brewery with a first beer of eggnog stout? The three mates who started Black Hops Brewing now have three locations in Burleigh Heads, Biggera Waters & East Brisbane.

Let’s head to my taster tray…

Code Red – “A 6.2% classic American Red Ale. Rich toffee malt body and minimal yeast character. Winner of the Champion IPA title at RQFW Awards 2019 & 2022.

Foreverland – “Big pithy grapefruit and citrus dominates the aroma and flavour with a smooth, soft hazy malt bill to balance it out. Perfect for these warmer days.”

Red Velvet – “This Dessert Porter brings to life the intricate flavours of a red velvet cake. Savour each sip, where the fusion of cake and beer creates an epic taste adventure worthy of celebration. Raise your glass to HQ’s 7th Birthday and toast to a truly unforgettable experience. “

Untamed – “Capturing the wild spirit of the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, this NZ IPA commands a lineup of 100% NZ hops. Expect gritty bitterness, juicy tropical fruit and citrus aromas with a subtle malt body. “

Women’s World Cup Brewery Tour – # 1 – Boatrocker Brewers and Distillers

Our first stop in Australia this month is in Braeside and specifically Macbeth Street for Boatrocker Brewers and Distillers.

Founded in 2009 by Matt & Andrea Houghton after a time where their beers were brewed elsewhere, they now have their own space and a Gin School!

Here are some beers for the taster tray…

Alpha Queen Pale Ale – “The beer that started Boatrocker…  Loaded with aromatic female hop flowers, this queen is highly hopped, wonderfully bitter and undeniably delicious.  Long live the queen!”

Conehead West Coast IPA – “Conehead is our latest core range IPA… Loads of hops, used in DIP hopping plus dry hopping, this is a beer that doesn’t shy away from bitterness and that lovely, dank resinous hop aroma. It’s a West Coast IPA that you can easily enjoy a few of.”

Yes Chef California Common – “A deliciously chewy bready malt base complimented by North American hops.  Delicious on its own but best paired with …. some Deep End Pizza!”

Basil and Berries – “After developing complexity for 18+ months, our foeder aged wild ale has been generously blended with 250 grams per litre of fresh basil and mixed berries.  The result is a distinctive fresh and fruity reinvention of the classic lambic style.”

Central Coast Brewery # 3 – Night Lizard Brewing

I am not fond of lizards at any time of day, but I am fond of breweries at any time so let’s head to Santa Barbara and Night Lizard Brewing and have a taster flight…

Bushmallow German Blonde – “A refreshing crisp ale. Munich Malt and Pure Idaho 2-row are featured in this ale. Growing in steep canyons of the channel islands, this endangered shrub has pink, lavender, or white flowers in spring.”

Gnatcatcher IPA – “A New England “Hazy” Indian Pale Ale. This fruity, juicy IPA is huge on Mosaic, Citra, and Idaho 7 flavors. Named after the endangered coastal Gnatcatcher, this species was heavily predated on by brown-headed cow birds.”

Yuzu Mijiu DWitt – “Yuzu and house made Mijiu blended into our double Belgian White Ale.”

Lupine Porter – “A traditional English porter with heavy caramel, toffee and toasted nut notes, with a slightly chocolatey sweet finish. This endangered flower is endemic to the dunes of San Luis Obispo. Only 700 plants remain!”