Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hofbrauhaus Opens

The HofbrÀuhaus House in the South Side Works has opened as of Monday, March 16, 2009 and is wonderful. They have 4 beers on tap from Munich (Lager 5.2 %, Weizen 5.4 %, Light 3.8 % and Dunkel 5.5 %) and they are bottled in six packs for take-a-way. The on-site brewed beer will be tapped in April after the Munich beer is gone. The place is huge and the bar is a large horse shoe bar with a wood top. It’s not the Penn but they got a good welcome from the patrons. One thing that surprised me were the security people; large men in yellow tee-shirts. They look like bumble bees and they sting. I don’t know when their web site is going to be updated. The girls have nice outfits and some of the skirts are short. I’ll be back.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Drinking & Smoking on Sunday

I am confused. For a bar to be open in Pittsburgh, or any place in Pa. for that matter, it needs to have a Sunday license. To get one the bar must do 30% or more in food sales. They don't have to sell food on Sunday they just need to sell a lot of food. Recently, the Commonwealth passed the Almost Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking indoors. Well, almost. But the state prohibits bars from allowing smoking unless it gets an exemption. That requires that the bar does no more than 20% of their sales in food. Let's re-cap. Sell a lot of food and stay open on Sunday with no smoking permitted. Sell little food and let the patrons smoke all day without grub. So why do I see smoking permitted bars open on Sunday? I think the 10 to 20 percent gap is wide enough to do the intended job. Sell more than 20% in food but less that 30% and you can do neither smoking or Sunday sales. Am I confused? Did I miss something? Can somebody clear the smoke from my eyes?

Incidentally, if the bar has an exemption absolutely no one under 18 is allowed in the bar. Not your kids or the owner's kids. Bar have to post a sign no under 18's allowed, but many bars list 21 as the minimum age.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Beer Secrete

OK, this is my rant of the day. Why is it a secrete to know the alcohol strength of a brew? In my last post I commented on how strong-beer seems to becoming the norm. At one time elected officials would not allow the strength of a beer to be posted as it would entice consumers into buying the the strongest brands. Can we take a look at wines and spirits? Can we take a look at getting new officials? Although this law has been relaxed there is no law that requires the gravity to be posted in a bar. Many bars are noting the strength of the beers but only when the brewer provides it. I like the idea that we have a huge choice in selection now a days but should we not know the strength be a part of OUR decision making? If you order a 7% pint not knowing that it is, could that put you at risk, either in driving or medically? As beer is controlled by the the alcohol and tobacco people and not the FDA, no "food label" is required. I would think that consumers would want to know. But I rant.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Normal Beer

I know that the United States is a big country, but does that mean we have to make our beer as big? After prohibition, and up until not too many years ago, most beer in the states was about 5% in strength. Basic Bud is 5% and that seems to have been the target for most brewers. In the UK a beer of that strength would be considered a strong-ale. But brewers here are pushing the limits for beer strength. At a few of my favorite watering holes I find most of the beers on tap come in between 6% to 11%. That’s fine for a special brew once and a while but it seems to be the norm now a days. Is it just me or are there others who think this is getting to be too much? I know people who actually think 8% beer is your everyday brew. Noooooo!

I don’t blame bar owners from selling them since they have a higher profit margin. But for me it cuts into my choice. And it goes against the grain, so to speak, in general beer drinking. With more emphasis placed on DUI one would think that people would be seeking out lower gravity beers. I find cask ale better for me as it usually comes in under 5%. This allows me to have a few and still have a sense of direction back to the house. A lot of brewers make wonderful porters and pale ales, yet when see 7% after the name I shy away. Yes, these are enjoyable brews but I think this is getting to be too much. At first I thought it was a trend set by the Belgian importers. But it looks like the muscle beers will be with us for some time to come. Heck, I can remember when people said Guinness was strong.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Penn Brewery

When Tom Pastorius came back to the states from working in Germany he found crap for beer. So he founded the Pennsylvanian Brewing Co. I can’t remember if this was in 1986 or if that’s the year he took over a building on Pittsburgh’s North Side. That building once belonged to another German brewing concern, Eberhardt & Ober. Tom wanted to brew but he also wanted to open a nice restaurant and that’s when the law said no. At the time brewers were not permitted to sell direct to the public. Tom was determined to change this and in short order he did. Without doing into details, Tom openned Pennsylvania’s first tied house since prohibition, the Allegheny Brewery & Pub. That date was September 12, 1989, as miss-written as 1986 by so many other publications. Since then other brewpubs have opened across the state and Tom made this possible. The Eberhardt & Ober Brewery was located here since 1848 and once more the building is under threat as the new owners are looking to close the brewery, but more on that in a latter post. This post is being written to say thanks to a gentleman who made my favorite beer, Kaiser Pils, and allowed me to drink it in a wonderful old building. Simply stated, thanks Mr. Pastorius for what you have done for brewing, Pittsburgh and the Commonwealth. For more see Tm’s site at http://tompastorius.com/

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pittsburgh Pubs

Well, now that my other blog, edslondon.blogspot.com is of to a roaring stand-still I thought that I would try one more. Yes, I am a Pittsburgher and I love pubs and I love to talk pub talk. The burgh is a good beer drinking town and having five golden rings only adds to the living here. I live on the South Side and there is no wanting for beer. There is a lot to say however. The drink tax, no smoking are forefront right now but my first comment will be on the closing of the Penn Brewery. First I want to get a bit tanked at one of my locals so I can get worked up over this. Needless to say that I am pissed about this. So, let get to drinking and I will be back soon to hit the keyboard. For other info check out my site, pubnetwork.com.