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.”


From a hop growing wild up in Idaho’s St. Joe River Valley, comes the now, newly named Elani hop varietal.

Per the hop growers at Yakima Hops it is “Clean and bright. Tropical-citrus and stone fruit.  Notes of pineapple, guava, lime, white peach, orange zest.”

And if you want to taste a commercial example head to a nearby BJ’s Brewhouse where Elani is featured in the seasonal Tropical Hopstorm IPA.

Cocktail Book M – O

Back into the big ol’ Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails and to my favorite entry from the options in the letters M, N and O.

This month I choose a divisive term, one of many ways that spirits makers can try to cheat code / barrel hack aging but can also be used well if used with the right intent.

Review – Modelo Especial

It has been big news that Modelo has overtaken Bud Light in recent months as best selling beer in the U.S. Will it stay king of the hill, who knows. Maybe Bud Light will stop shooting themselves in the foot and regain the top selling spot.

Until then, best to taste the beer and see for myself.

Looks real pretty in the bottle. Lovely bright yellow. The aroma is classic pilsner. Gave me a memory of being at a baseball game. This has a good taste to it. Has a bit of a cross between a pilsner and a Mexican lager to it which gives it a bit more complexity than you have in your Industrial pilsner. It also isn’t as super watery as that ilk. Which makes me a little hopeful that the flavor is taking hold of the American palate.

Cali Distro

California is a large state and yet even in this behemoth 7, only 7 cover 90% of the entire state.  And those 7 have now formed an alliance under the California Beverage Solution banner. 

The 7 are: 

• Advance Beverage Company;

• Donaghy Sales;

• Heimark Distributing;

• Markstein Sales Company;

• Matagrano Beverage;

• Pacific Beverage;

• And Stone Distributing.

I will hold judgement but I will say that power eventually always corrupts and whenever mergers and collusion go to far, splintering will occur.  Independent and local distributors are always needed.

Echo Flex

A common complaint when going to concerts or sporting events is primarily the price of beer but also finding a good and local craft beer.  Baseball and soccer tend to be better than basketball and hockey but concerts and theatre seemed to lag a bit unless you were BYOBing at the Hollywood Bowl.

But if you are a fan of the musical booking at the famed Echoplex, well your choice of beer just got better with….

Party Beer Co. has very appropriately added to the party.


If you do not know by now, Smog City Brewing is REALLY community focused.  Be it the California craft beer community or our climate changed world.

Their latest collaborative effort is with, Pure Project Brewing, and the , National Forest Foundation for the release of Forest Understory IPA, part of the Smog City Community Impact Series of beers.  Pure Project will counter with Beneath the Canopy Murky IPA. 

Every purchase of Forest Understory IPA will have a portion of the proceeds donated to the National Forest Foundation.