Monthly Archives: September 2012


Headed out to Pittsburgh for Pennsylvania Brewery Company’s Oktoberfest.

One day I want to get to Munich for the festival yet since I work in a school, the days just don’t add up.  Not enough days, too many miles. Plus, I doubt I’d get back to work not seriously in need of some sleep. Being an Eastern Pa. oriented dude, sometimes I forget that we don’t own the name Pennsylvania. I have always seen Western Pa. more as the Midwest, like Chicago.

Brother Steve and I got there early Early bird gets the beer and doesn’t have to wait in line.

The building is an authentic brewery. Tom Pastorious, the recently deceased Patriarch of Penn Brewery, bought the place and continued its tradition as a brewery. It is a beautiful building, traditional and European. I got to know him when on my 40/40 brew tour. He knew his stuff about beer. His spirit lives on.

Speaking of beer, here you go:

Appropriately, we drank the Oktoberfest. We started with it, we finished with it. It was so good that I had no need to stray. I hear the Pilsner is really good but I am not a lighter beer fan besides Wits.

Here is an obligatory shot of the Pittsburgh scene. Heinz ketchup factory is steaming away.

How about 57 Varieties of Beer? Now we are talking! Great with burgers.

Although not as chaotic as Munich, the place was packed with humanity. Good mix of young and old. I always find Pittsburgh folk to be friendly, although they seem obsessed with Steelers football.

We finally scored some seats inside after seeing that the food outside was basic but the offerings inside were more varied. This is a shot from our seats. It was like a beer haus aquarium behind the glass and all:

We had great seats to observe it all. Next, came the food. I had a breaded and fried Pork Chop, spaetzel (not sure I have the spelling right), it is a German mini-boiled noodle served with a sharp tasting gravy, and German potato salad (vinegar rather than mayo). Memories of when I was in Germany or eating at my Oma’s in New York City. My grandmother loved to cook. It is where she found her most happiness, so unmodern feminist was she.

The dish definitely captured the spirit of Germanic cuisine. When we think American food, meat and potatoes, we must remember that our cuisine is essentially German. We think we are of English descent. Not so. We are more German as a country more than any other nationality. And, we drink our beer cold like the Germans and lagers.

When we left around 9:00, I snapped a picture of the sign:

It was a glowing evening, well worth the trip out West.


Yuengling Oktoberfest


My brother and I, being of 3/4’s Germanic heritage (Mom’s side, been in US for centuries, Dad’s side, his parents immigrants from post war-torn WWI Germany–fresher Kraut) had a good laugh last weekend when we reflected on Germans holding Oktoberfest in September. How freakin’ anal and efficient.

Why not hold Oktoberfest in October? There might be a reason for this but it is probably uber-rational and efficient in that distinctive Germanic manner to the point where it simply becomes that the Teutons just can’t stand to be just in time, or God help them, late. Better to have a month’s cushion to prepare for disruption. I do thank the Lord that I have 1/4 Irish in our blood. Right brain has at least a minority stake in my consciousness, for one needs a touch of madness to stay sane.

Last weekend, I obtained a case of the Yuengling Oktoberfest from the local dive of a distributor. Ironically,, their prices are higher than the place closer to town but it is a quicker drive. I have been very pleased about how good this beer is. It actually is kicking sand in the face of the Yuengling Lager. It is fuller, maltier, and bigger. Although I am not sure how the pricing might compare to the YL, I assume it is probably a little bit higher. For the money, it is worth every penny.

In fact, as a session beer, it ranks among  some of the best beer I have had recently. Whereas the YL is a compromise of sorts, exisiting in-between the beers that suck and the craft beers at $ 30 plus a case, this Yuengling Oktoberfest delivers taste. The case I bought cost $ 24, but I figure that  at a less than wilderness outpost, one can probably get it for $ 22.

If you see a case of this, grab it. Before October.