Category Archives: Rivertowne North Shore

Rivertowne North Shore

Because my wife Lina and I were in Minneapolis for five days during 40/40 (where we did visit some great microbreweries), Pittsburgh became the place where to make up missing time and visitations. Both Minneapolis and Pittsburgh are small big cities…people are friendly, the amenities such as restaurants, the arts, and concert venues, are world class. The best of both worlds type of thing.

The last night in Pittsburgh, my brother and I went down to the newly open Rivertowne Brewery: North Shore. It is one of four locations for this small chain. The North Shore location is housed in the Del Monte building. “The Del Monte Center, a six-story, 270,000-square-foot office building which cost around $43.5 million to construct, is located along the Allegheny River and near Heinz Field, where the Super Bowl-bound Pittsburgh Steelers play.”

I will get to the beers in a bit…I want to first go elsewhere…

I don’t know what it is about rivers/lakes, and beer, but they always seem to make a good pairing to me. Look how beautiful this photo is that was taken outside of the establishment:

A little more attractive than a shopping center parking lot, eh? Location, location, location. I know that some microbreweries have no choice to go where they do, but I do believe an effort should be made to make the setting more than just either a Subway or a Microbrewery.

Here is a shot a little down the walkway that winds along the river for quite some time. My brother told me that the southeast-bound part of this path goes all the way down to Washington D.C., except for one little part that is almost completed.

The walkway was strangely almost deserted…I found out why as we progressed down the way.

There was a tribute band to The Who performing that had a big crowd.

We stuck around to hear them play “Teenage Wasteland (really named Baba O’Riley),” the anthem for every adolescent off on the wrong track. I saw and heard the original Who play down at JFK Stadium, to over 100, 000 people, back in 1982. These guys did a decent job…the lead singer’s voice was about as fried as Roger Daltrey’s, though.

I found this on a website:

In an interview with Billboard magazine carried out in February 2010 Townshend discussed how he feels now that 40 years on this and other Who songs take on a deeper meaning. He explained that when he wrote the band’s classic tunes, “the music there was about living in the present and losing yourself in the moment. Now that has changed. Boomers kind of hang on to that as a memory. When I go back and listen to those songs, the Who songs in particular of the late ’60s and early 70s, there was an aspiration in my writing to attune to the fact that what I could feel in he audience was – I won’t say religious – but there was certainly a spiritual component to what people wanted their music to contain. There’s definitely a higher call for the music now which is almost religious. U2, for example, are hugely successful with songs about inner longing for freedom, ideas.

A song like ‘Baba O’Riley,’ with ‘we’re all wasted,’ it just meant ‘we’re all wasted’ – it didn’t have the significance that it now has. What we fear is that in actual fact we have wasted an opportunity. I think I speak for my audience when I say that, I hope I do.”

Umm, talking about wasteland…I found out why the walkway was bereft of people:

Yes, a packed brand- spanking new casino. The ruin of the Indian Nations everywhere.

I get the logic that Pa. doesn’t want Pennsylvania cash to go to Atlantic City or Las Vegas, so it wants to build its own to keep the revenue in state. I also get that most people who gamble are not addicts…no more than every person who drinks a beer is an alcoholic or problem-drinker. For most, it is just a night out on the town and a harmless diversion. Yet, I am extremely skeptical when gambling is presented as a panacea to budget problems…that is truly a gamble.

I think the benefits and costs of legalized gambling are much more of a 50-50 deal, if not worse. The big winners are the casinos themselves, and the house always wins–particularly more so now that the table games are all being computerized. It is just a big money-sucking operation. My brother gave a ten dollar donation playing the slots machine and we moved on. There is a reason why gambling is called the “Stupid Tax”…this includes the Pa. Lottery by the way…

It was also weird on a beautiful moonlit night, everyone was inside looking like Zombies.  Even The pseudo Who concert was a casino event.

Ahem, back to Rivertowne and the beers.

I have to be completely honest about the microbrews at Rivertowne, they were good, not great. Still far better than the zombie brews of the Bigs. I did think the granite bar had a cool design:

The place has a hip chic look both inside and out…again, though, it was fairly deserted which seemed odd for a prime location on a Friday night around 9:00. We have to remember when people are at casinos spending money, they are often not somewhere else spending money. If I was a restaurant owner, I would be mad about this, particularly since casinos have bars and restaurants within their grounds and spheres of operation. It is  called an unfair competitive advantage.

I have seen much better crowds here in Lancaster at venues such as a Rivertowne on a Friday night. This place deserves a better chance to succeed.

Rivertowne also supplements its beers with other microbreweries. I had a Sierra Nevada Glissade Spring Bock. I have become a big fan of bocks in my travels. I also enjoyed the award winning Victory Hop Devil.

I am really happy that Rivertowne has decided to go up rather than down in the brews that it does not brew on-site. I think, in time, its own beers will be able to compete with the best. It just seems right now that they are on the learning curve.

I will leave you with one last shot of the Pittsburgh night. It is a shame that most down in the vicinity missed it while gambling: