Jess and I couldn’t make Brewfest this Friday (why not a Saturday next time, Brewfest Overlords?), but we were in the area, so as an alternative we hit the Rivertowne Pour House in Monroeville. The Pour House is one of three Rivertownes in the area, but this is the one with the brewery. We’ve been here before, and it’s awesome.
I present the Pour House as an alternative not merely because they sell beer, or because they brew it, but because at any given time they have 19 house-made beers on draft (as well as an excellent root beer). The extensive menu is a mix of regular standbys and creative seasonals, so there’s always something new (unless you go every day, but there are organizations for that).
The back of this extensive menu lists two samplers with seven beers each: The Brew Master’s and the Assistant Brewer’s. The Brew Master’s is listed as “more intense,” and it gives you a wider range of tastes. I went with that.
(There is also a fruit beer called CranTonio Holmes. I did not try it. I am very sorry.)
The current Brew Master’s sampler includes Shady Lady Maple Brown (5.3% ABV), Scotchtoberfest (9.1% ABV), Ripped Up Red (5.5% ABV), Last Chance Vienna Lager (5.5% ABV), West Coast Stout (6.1%), Helles Frozen Over (5.2% ABV), and Old Wylie’s IPA (6.2% ABV). These are presented from malty to hoppy, and I progressed through in that order to avoid hopscorching my tongue. And they come in this!
(Here is some advice if you go: Don’t have the Fire Sauce if you’re here for the beer. Don’t get me wrong, it is an excellent hot sauce (I had it with chicken tenders), but by halfway through I was not tasting so much of the beer.)
The Shady Lady is a really great idea for a seasonal that could have gone horribly wrong (it didn’t). The batch includes two gallons of maple syrup – “take some home to put on your pancakes,” suggests the menu. Fortunately it’s not THAT sweet. The maple syrup added as much in the way of body as it did sweetness, so what you get is a smooth, sweet-but-not-sickening drink; you can taste the maple syrup, but it doesn’t taste like you’re drinking maple syrup.
Aside from the Shady Lady, I particularly enjoyed the Scotchtoberfest (I like a good scotch ale), the West Coast Stout, and the Helles Frozen Over (nice and light). I’ve gone on record as being no hophead, so the IPA wasn’t really my thing, but it wasn’t the kind that I don’t want to finish (yes, that’s praise).
Riverstone has a great brewpub menu in addition to the beers, and I’ve never been disappointed with their food. The gadzukes (fried zucchini) are delicious and our regular choice of appetizer. You can get higher-end fare or pub food – it’s all good quality, and it all goes well with the beer.
You’d better like Pittsburgh, though – signs and banners of every ‘Burgh team imaginable adorn the walls. Jess made the ill-advised choice of wearing her oneWVU shirt, and received an array of hairy looks (she’s a Westmoreland County native! really!). As we were leaving, though, an older couple wished us good luck in the evening’s WVU-Cincinnati game (they were Penn State fans), so everything worked out okay.
For us, not the Mountaineers.