Posted by: marcmwm | September 19, 2008

Beer O’ Clock — Pitt edition

Scroll down to the “Your Pitt two deeps” post and you’ll find a comment from my friend Marc.

When we were at the Daily Iowan in 1990, Marc was trying to do a story on Matt Groening, the creator of “The Simpsons.” I caught wind of this and bet a six pack of beer that he’d never get Groening on the phone. This was early Simpsons, before franchising. Also, I didn’t take into account that Matt Groening is a pretty cool guy. Marc got the story.

But I never paid up. I was a grad student, newly married, six kids and a mortgage and a washing machine (true, false, false and false). Suffice to say, it’s been a bit of a running joke.

He brought up Yuengling, a regional favorite from Pottsville, Pa.

On his radio show Wednesday night, Kirk Ferentz voted thumbs down on Iron City Beer, a Pittsburgh staple. A Steelers fan at my fantasy football draft brings a sixer of this stuff every year. I had one a few years ago. Innocuous, not awful. Kind of like the Cubs fan version of Old Style. I’m sure I’ll have one or two at the Pirates game later tonight.

I can’t imagine this exists, but someone on Beeradvocate reviewed “Totally Dirt Cheap Light Beer” from Pittsburgh Brewing Co. That can’t be real, can it? The guy gave it an “F” and said avoid at all costs, even if it’s free. Cmon’, dude. I’m from Dubuque. That’s a challenge.

Last week, the beer discussion picked up greatly. I’ve been informed by a few readers that Old Capitol Brew Works in Iowa City ( Pat told me the brew master down there has a license to brew Dubuque Star. And then, Tim taunted me by saying he actually drank a Dub Star there the night before. Say no more, I’m in. I’ll be down. I’ll probably end up buying a T-shirt and everything.

There was also some reminiscing on the Stone City Brewery in Solon. I knew about this place but never made it there. A couple hockey buddies used to go there and drink, I believe, the Stein Bock. They called it, well, I just say “fabulous liquid knockout juice.” I’m kicking myself for not getting out more.

So much beer, so little time.

This week’s recommendation from my friend and former Gazette stringer Barry Pump, who’s working toward his poli sci PhD at UWashington in Seattle (guy had the good sense to get out of sportswriting and move to a beautiful part of the country):

Grimbergen Dubbel

It’s from Belguim, so I have no idea on the distribution. It does look like one of those “bombers” in the 22-ounce bottles, the ones that you used to find on the shelves on the far wall at Benz (still not open, end of the month maybe?). It’s a Belgian dubbel, rich and malty with mild alcohol characteristics (so says Beeradvo, anyways. I admit, I’m not yet that refined).

It gets a B+ on 261 reviews at Beeradvocate, which I think is pretty good.

Here’s Ftownthrowdown’s review:

“Pours a ruby brown in color. Decent amount of pillowy head. Decent carbonation. I’m usually not a big fan of Dubbels, but this had more flavors that I do like. There was a definite toffee flavor, as well as a very nice dark fruit appearing as well. Which I didn’t mind at all. Good beer.”

Sounds appealing.

Marc, what’s your address? A sixer of Upper Canadian is on the way!!!!

Grimbergen Dubbel



  1. A few weeks ago you we got to talking about Arrogant Bastard. Wel, the seed was planted and now I’m sitting on 3 bombers of the Bastard and 3 bombers of Ruination IPA. It’s going to be a good night. A very good night.

  2. And don’t discount Yuengling. If you’ve never had it, be sure to try it while you’re in PA. If I could get it in Iowa, it would be my go-to cheap beer.

  3. I’m still on the lookout for either of those, Joe.

    I have had Yuengling at least a couple of times. The last was in Altoona, Pa., for the Penn State game last year.

    When Iowa plays at Penn State, we usually stay in Altoona. It beats booking a hotel room in State College like now. We also hit a few local bars that are smack dab in neighborhoods. it feels like the early scenes from “Deer Hunter.” Great places with good bar food and whatever beer is on tap.

    I remember Yuengling being pretty good. I think I might’ve had their ale or red, also. I’m pretty sure I saw it at the Johnson Ave. Hy-Vee here in CR, but don’t quote me on that.

  4. Next time you’re in Madison, check out Steve’s Liquors. They’ve got a couple of locations and a website. They carry the full range of Stone products.

  5. And according to the Yuengling site, they don’t distribute in Iowa.

  6. I’m deflating a Fat Tire right now and watching Invincible on cable. Papale and the Eagles didn’t play Pittsburgh that season and I’m kind of we hadn’t either. Hmm. But I digress.

    Last fall we were in Asheville, N.C. for my friend Paul’s wedding. Half his family is from the Pittsburgh area and they were all glad Yuengling distributes up and down the east coast. I raised a few.

    Two of my fondest beer memories came from the same moment in time. When I was in the army in the late 1980s I visited Belgium and went hiking around Brussels all day. Waiting to catch a Paris train scheduled for 1am, I stopped in the station bar and thought I’d try something local. I didn’t know what Chimay Ale was before that.
    Ambrosia. Heavens opening up.
    Then I went to school in Iowa City the following year and was having a Bud Light at a bar. Another patron noticed and said, “Hey, we’ve got Budweiser. Drink the good stuff.” I flashed on the Chimay and laughed and laughed.

  7. Oh boy, did I try some Yuenglings this weekend. Pirates game, sports bar Saturday night after the game, watching the bad half of the Iowa State game, boy, did I try some Yuenglings.

    Good stuff. A toasty good body. I don’t have any comparisons, though.

    Also had Iron City. It’s the Old Style of the east, I think.

    I might’ve mixed the Yuengling up at Hy-Vee with Genessee. I think that might be where I goofed.

    I’ll definitely look up Chimay, Marc.

  8. Did you get to Church Brew Works or Penn Brewery in Pittsburgh?

    I was a bit underwhelmed by Church–great food, great venue, but the beer was fairly ordinary (although the stout packed a wallop). The place gets A’s on Beer Advocate, but I didn’t think it was quite first tier.

    Penn Brewery hosted an Oktoberfest that looked like it was pulled straight out of Munich. Festival tents, bands, and swarms of people eating sausage and drinking their fine beers. (It’s also a nice place to visit when they aren’t hosted a crazy festival crowd).

    Iron City is…well, it’s drinkable if it’s cold, I guess. Yuengling is good solid stuff–kind of the Leinenkugel or Schell’s of the east.

  9. I didn’t make it to either of those places, Tim. Penn sounds cool.

    Saturday night, I went to a disappointing sports bar somewhere downtown that had the ISU game. Watched a half, drank some Yuengling and ate a hoagie that is still with me here on Monday.

    I think you nailed it, Yuengling = Leinie’s. Maybe a fuller Leinies, like one of the October beers.

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