I live in Pittsburgh. I love living in Pittsburgh. There are some really great things about Pittsburgh.
Life in The City…
We have the relevant again Pirates (finally). We have the Penguins playing in the Stanley Cup finals right now. We also have the perennial Super Bowl contending Steelers. I realize about half of you are done with this article by now, hang in here it will get better for you. Pittsburgh has great culture with museums and theaters, wonderful dining options with new places opening up seemingly weekly. All of which fit any budget and taste. It is a great time to be living here.
On the flip side of all of this good vibe, Pittsburghers has 13 minutes of Spring. We go from -5 before the wind chill directly to 95 and humid. That gives you, during that aforementioned 13 minutes of Spring, oodles of time to get your garden planted. I’m sure we all have things we would change where we live.
We also have very strange alcohol laws. The state of Pennsylvania owns all of the liqueur stores. You want wine? You want liqueur? Head on over to the state-run store to pick that up. Remember, the store is state-run so you can imagine the hours they are open. Oh and you can’t buy beer there.
There are also bar licenses, case distributor licenses (cases of beer), and six-pack shop licenses (12 packs or less). It makes shopping for a party… interesting and exhausting.
The latter (the six-pack shop) is what I want to talk about today. While you cannot walk into the corner store or gas station to pick up beer in Pennsylvania, we do have the wonderful six-pack shop and the phenomenal mixed six-pack. A six-pack shop is the way to go for those after beer diversity, out to try something new without getting stuck with a case. (You probably have something similar in your area.)
How many times have you bought a case of beer, got two beers into it and wondered what project around your house needed done? That way you could invite some friends over to help with project using an offer of paying in beer. Winner got get rid of the rest of that case. How many times have you said to yourself “I would love to try that new Cherry Stout, but I remember that last case I hated after investing $52 in it”. It took you for ever to drink it. The SO was all “Let’s just throw it out.” What about that Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter. That sounds great but do you really want 24 of them? Probably not, even if it is fabulous.
This is the beauty of the six-pack shop. People can walk into an establishment like the one I work in and select individual bottles to try. You don’t like that Hibiscus IPA? You only had to buy and suffer through one. Much better investment. Not so sure about that Orange Blossom Cream Ale… What is a $3.50 investment in a potential new seasonal favorite? Try it. See if you like it.
How to Shop for a 6-Pack…
My tips for those shoppers that are new to the “make your own six-pack” world are these:
- Have fun. Relax. Plan on spending a good amount of time looking over the options. The shop I work in has 800 different beers to choose from. THAT is right 800! Plan the trip to give you enough time to notice that once a year release from many craft breweries.
- Have a beverage while browsing. Most six-pack shops in Pittsburgh will have drafts available. Grab a draft of something hopefully you have never had before while shopping. I mean, you can’t do that in Macy’s!
- Ask questions. People that work in craft shops love to talk beer. Ask. Give feedback to the beerista about brands and styles that you have enjoyed in the past. It provides us with insight into other recommendations we can make to help you find something you will enjoy. (some of us are certified by Cicerone and can make some very good suggestions)
- Go in with an open mind but at the same time, have a plan. Yeah, this sounds like an oxymoron but really it isn’t. Have a plan. Know what you are in the mood for as far as a style. Do you want to go on a hop trip? Feeling “dark and stouty”? Going out on the boat and need light and refreshing? Let the beerista know your thoughts up front. It helps get you into the right beer styles. At the same time, go in with an open mind in the sense that the beerista is around this stuff all the time. He/she may have some suggestions that may seem odd to you. Be open to taking a chance, which leads to my last tip…
- Take a chance! Have three or four favorites? Pick those old standbys and then get two you have never had. Expand your beer horizons. Discover your next old favorite.
Guess what, Pick-A-Six is not just a PA thing either. So get out and find its mutation in your area. Use the resources available to you to get the beers that are best for you.
Pittsburgh is great, PA laws are not. Six Pack Shops are a fabulous place for a beer lover to explore and find new loves. Each trip can be different exploration of your mood or to match your upcoming activities.
Finally, if you are in Pittsburgh stop in my shop and have a beer with me while we root for the Steelers! (Send me a message to connect.)
So take your time, Relax, and have ABigBeer.
Please send a message or comment below.
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