05 January 2010

The wholesaler level

Greetings my devoted audience of none!

It's been almost a year since my last update and I'm happy to say that in June of 2009 I acquired a paying position at Vecenies Distributing in Millvale, PA. It is the master wholesaler of a number of different breweries, both in Allegheny County and several surrounding counties. We also distribute a couple of domestic brands and truthfully, all brands seem to receive the same amount of attention.

Working at the wholesaler level has been extremely educational thus far. I've learned a lot of the lingo and am developing a feeling for what my bars, taverns and distributors truly need. There hasn't been much turnover so I've gotten to know some of my customers pretty well. My coworkers at Vecenie are awesome and it certainly would be difficult to find a more supportive network from people whom are otherwise strangers. It's more like a family than a business.

I still try to attend as many beer functions as possible and my co-workers certainly help facilitate the search. I still occasionally do volunteer work for Voodoo and Blue Canoe, and count members of both establishments as my friends. I have worked a good deal of beer festivals, tastings, and dinners and I'm still not sick of them! I take the educational role of these functions very seriously and hope people walk away not just with a pleasant buzz, but a feeling of camaraderie and maybe, just maybe, feeling like they've learned a little something.

I look forward to learning more and tasting more!

09 February 2009

Catch up, now including the Blue Canoe

Well, things have been a good deal different these past couple of months. I've been spending a lot of time at Voodoo helping with everything from bottling to brewing. I've also spent a fair amount of time at their sister brewery, Blue Canoe, in Titusville. They've got an established little brew pub, but share brewers with Voodoo. The Blue Canoe provides more along the way of session beers but since it makes such small batches, the brewers have a little more freedom to experiment and who doesn't love variety?

Brewing is definitely no dream job of mine. It's interesting, no doubt, but it's also cold, wet, and time-consuming. I've certainly learned a good deal (enough for one brewer to comment I'm like a brewer's assistant) and can definitely explain our beers much better. And, hey, I can fill kegs and rake mash til I'm dead. But it's still the sales angle I'm interested in.

As is known, my position at Voodoo is unpaid but I had a seasonal job as a hostess to squeak by on. That ended late December so now it's time, I think, to say goodbye to this dream and get to seriously looking for an actual job. I'm still looking for something in the business and by no means will I stop trying to promote Voodoo. Besides, the beer fest season will be starting back up soon.

We've already had one this year in Garretsville, OH, at The Main Street Grille and Brewing Company. Small but fairly enthusiastic, a good show for their first hosted fest ever.

If you're in the PGH area, we have a beer dinner set up at The Pines Tavern in Gibsonia, February 25-27. You don't need reservations, just show up for dinner and taste some matched beer and food. Each night will feature someone from Voodoo. Check out the Pines Tavern website for more details.

05 December 2008

Holiday Valley Beer Fest, Zenos, and more!

Irregular updates, huzzah!

8 November I traveled to Ellicottville, NY, with the brewer of Voodoo, Justin, and discovered, much to my dismay, our booth was outside. It reached about a whopping 40 degrees that day and luckily I wasn't entirely underdressed. Sure could have used a pair of gloves though. We were in between Sam Adams (woohoo?), Ellicottville Brewing and Southern Tier. Not the greatest fest I've worked so far. It was at the Holiday Valley ski resort so it seemed to attract a different kind of crowd. Middle aged women demanded light beers and drunken crowds gathered around Woodchuck and Yuengling. Had a great time afterwards hanging out at the Ellicottville brew pub. I had a fantastic chocolate cherry beer and their Pantius Droppus.

Last weekend we traveled to State College to Zenos. We checked into our room before heading down to the bar and to our surprise had basically the bunk bed suite: two sets of bunkbeds. Super classy. Possibly the best hotel room ever. But Zenos, what a great little underground pub! Went down around 2pm, dined at 6 and then back to the pub til about 11pm. Hung out with a Troeg's brewer and his girlfriend and had a little impromptu selling battle by handing out free samples. We brought a dry hopped Wynona's Big Brown Ale in a firkin. Good crowd for the most part. Justin ran up a significant tab but the place was kind enough to have given us a $25 gift certificate so that helped. He's a big fan of Begians and sours and things I don't really get a lot so my palate is definitely adjusting to a fun new style of beer.

I need to start bringing my camera to these things. What fun is a blog without pics?!

We're doing a tasting in Sharon, PA, tonight at the Corinthian in honor of the 75th anniversary of the repeal of prohibition. Now if PA would get on the ball!

Trying to work out a deal with the Sharp Edge in Crafton, PA, that if they'll provide the kegs, we'll fill them and sell out of that Belgian bar. I do enjoy that place. Had a delicious Rodenbach Red the other night.

Well, that's all I can think of at the moment. Hope this gig in Sharon turns out well.

07 October 2008

Voodoo for real!

Little catchup since I've been neglecting this little blog. Went to the New Holland Autumnfest 20 September with some Tony Savatt reps. It pays to know people because we were VIP. Free beer til 10pm, then $2 pints til...well, we left around 11.30pm after a successful night so I'm not certain how long they were serving til. I do recall a delicious casked Mad Hatter as well as some sort of delicious Pilgrim's Dole that seemed more like cinnamon candy :D

Anyway, I now present my business card. Wow, I feel like I now have one foot in the Beer World!
From Amanda Likes Beer

I've worked two events now for Voodoo Brewing. The first was the Steel City Big Pour, which was on 13 September. A long day, but a real blast. It was held in this recycling warehouse that didn't have any open windows so we were coated in sweat in about 5 seconds. But what a job! Free beer everywhere! Friendly people! No complaints from me.

This past weekend then was the Kennett Beer Fest over by Philly. We were settled in between Dogfish Head and Flying Dog for the connoisseur tasting where we were sampling our Imperial Stout (12.5 ABV!) which was a huge hit. Then we had a half an hour to move to another booth for the regular tasting, this time by Boulder. The lines were outrageously long, Kennett must have made an absolute killing. It was a long day outside, but a pleasant temperature and friendly folks. My highest compliments went to Dock Street's Anniversary Imperial Amber, fantastic. Our Gran Met was a big hit. It's always nice to hear someone say that your brewery has the best beer at a tasting, even if they might just be sucking up to get a full glass ;)

23 August 2008

Potential future?

Well I've been a slouch about updating since the Great Utah Adventure, but to be honest I really haven't been up to much. I usually just purchase new singles from 3 Sons Dogs and Suds, but I really haven't had any motivation recently. Being unemployed and prospectless is never a fun thing and I think it was sort of wearing me down.

Then there was a break. At Erie's Beer on the Bay last month (samples of 25 fantastic regional breweries...excluding Yuengling, hah), Matt from Voodoo Brewery approached me and wanted to know if I was still possibly interested in reping for Voodoo. I had visited their brewery shortly after I turned 21 and offered my services at any capacity. A year later something has materialized!

Now it's hardly set in stone and it would only be a part time kind of thing, but it is certainly a start! So, fingers crossed and that's all I'm saying for the moment.

17 July 2008

The Great Utah Adventure

In relation to the random link, I just found it fitting since we did drive to the top of a mountain basically for shits and giggles. And also I have to share my love of The Onion. If you haven't seen their movie yet, I suggest doing that immediately. With some beer, of course.

So, in my quest for delicious beer, I jumped at the opportunity to both visit my friend Ben AND take advantage of a beer scene completely unknown to me. I'd been to Denver once when I was very small, and then once to the Washington/Oregon area for a few days when I was about 12. So in reality, I'd never seen The West. Utah sounded good to me. Before leaving for the Relatively Unknown, I found 5 microbreweries that seemed plausible (interest, and distance from Ben's house): Wasatch, Squatters, Roosters, Red Rock, and Uinta. Uinta had to be kicked. They only served lunch and only to those 21 and over (being that Ben is not yet 21). I decided I wouldn't want to patron a place like that anyway, so no love lost. On to the other four breweries then.

1) Wasatch (Park City):

Located in lovely Park City, which still seems to be caught up in their own 2002 Winter Olympics fervor (don't you think it's time to give it a rest, fellas?), we had no difficulty locating the Pub which brewed on premises [incidentally, this was the ONLY place we had to pay for parking]. Calamari appetizer and a selection of 4 beers to sample. The waiter didn't seem to think I could choose my own beer, so I was served Raspberry Wheat, Hefe-Weizen, Evolution Amber Ale, and the 1st Amendment Lager (pictured below).

Not exactly the most original line up, but after 4 seven oz samplers, I wasn't quite in the mood for anything else. Disappointing. Nothing stood out, nothing seemed bursting with flavor. I couldn't even finish one of them. Luckily things would only get better.

2) Squatters (Park City): The evening did not bode well as our waitress seemed a little clueless about beer styles. Here again the restaurant provided a sampler for you (WHY CAN NO ONE CHOOSE THEIR OWN BEER IN THIS GODFORSAKEN STATE?). It was served on a cute little miniature ski and came with a card with details about each beer (pictured below).

I never did find out what the seasonal was, but it had a light hop note and was generally pleasant. The Full Suspension Pale Ale was by far my favorite as it punched me in the mouth quite nicely. Captain Bastard's Oatmeal Stout also gets a shout-out since I'm generally not a fan of the style (barring New Holland's Poet, yum!). I also found the Pilsner surprisingly enjoyable. I tend to be snobby about Pils, but I could definitely see myself consuming a six pack on a hot Utah afternoon (woohoo for a mere 9% humidity!) with no complaint whatsoever.

3) Roosters (Layton): After a smelly but pleasant afternoon on the beaches of the Great Salt Lake, we made our way back into Layton to try Roosters. Spectacular calamari appetizer, so delicious in fact, that I forced it into my sampler photo (pictured below).

Polygamy Pale Ale (apparently the first "polygamy" style introduced in the SLC area), Diamondback Ale, and Junction City Chocolate Stout were MY own choices (finally). Had to try the Stout (found it sour and lacking in chocolate), but the two Ales were infinitely better. Again, not really thrilling, but hardly the worst of the group.

4) Red Rock (Salt Lake City): It's always a pleasant surprise when your last night in town is the best. Red Rock did not disappoint. Located in downtown SLC we had no difficulty finding free parking and just a short walk later, were seated right next to a menu of their beers.

The first six on the board were provided in the sampler, but I HAD to try the India Dark Ale before I left. Samples were a bit pricey at $1.25 each, but well worth the "splurge."

All very unique although my love goes to the India Dark Ale. Again, the Pilsner surprised me with a pleasant, refreshing taste. A great ending to a spectacular week!

Final Thoughts
In my esteemed opinion, Red Rock had the most delicious beer, followed by Squatters, then Roosters, then Wasatch (although in many ways Wasatch and Squatters seemed suspiciously similar- same brewmaster or something? although Squatters did seem superior to me). They all seemed to get a kick out of having Polygamy *insert style here* so that they could use the catch phrase "Why Have Just One?" Humorous, indeed, the first time you hear it. After a week it just gets lame.

Last but hardly least, an enormous thank you to my lovely host. He was my uncomplaining designated driver for a week and I am very grateful to him. I promise to return the favor some day. After, of course, 3 May 2009.

16 July 2008

Brief Update- Salt Lake City fo' sho'

Hello friends! I have gone updateless for a while for a reason: Impromptu Microbrewery Tour of Salt Lake City (Area)! I hit up four this past week and shall enlighten you all within a day or so. Plus pictures to keep you interested.

30 June 2008

World fame!

Okay, not so much. But as I'd hoped, I snagged a copy of the photo from Bocktown. I am very excited and I have to share it. Plus you can see the nasty storm that was moving in behind us. Bruce Campbell is more apparent in this one.

Got my Craft Beer Radio login up and running so I'm fully prepared for the next podcast.

Otherwise, last night I tried a Great Divide Samurai Ale. It was really light colored, just a touch of bitter. It was really drinkable in the same way a light beer is (although better tasting, I swear). Otherwise pretty boring. Then again it is brewed with barley and rice so I guess that's to be expected. It was too bad considering how much I like their IPAs. GD calls is fruity. I wouldn't.

29 June 2008


Last night my folks and I went to Bocktown for a Pens Conference Championship party sponsored by Craft Beer Radio where I got to meet Jeff from CBR and a fellow named Bryan from Philadelphia (who I thought looked suspiciously like Bruce Campbell- maybe someone should tell him) who runs an entertaining and informational blog called The Brew Lounge...if you enjoy Philadelphia, anyway.

After a rather nasty storm forced us off the deck and into the restaurant, we tried a nice selection of beer unavailable in the PGH area, including Iron Hill, Sly Fox (which apparently only produces canned beer), and the Canadian beer, Péché Mortel, made by Dieu du Ciel. There was this sort of lingering curiosity because my folks and I were the only ones to show up (poor advertising, I assume?) and I, a girl of 21, was the one interested in a possible career in beer. We had a group picture with Bryan, Jeff, and the owner of Bocktown, a woman named Chris so hopefully that will get put up somewhere and I can display both my love of beer and the Penguins!

As stated earlier, my taste buds are still developing. I'm a big fan of IPAs and tend to classify myself as a Hop Head. The Péché Mortel, which I suppose is a stout, was really a rather complex and strong beer. I'm decidedly not a stout person, but this beer was surprisingly delicious. My favorite of the night was definitely Iron Hill Old Ale. It smelled overwhelmingly of rum, but was actually very light on the tongue with a sweet after taste. A pleasant, lovely surprise, to say the least.

Well lookit here

Wouldn't it be spectacular to get paid to write about beer?

I don't, but I would.

My name is Amanda. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. I just graduated from college and I don't have a job right now. I'm not a professional beer taster, I can't officially judge beer competitions, I've never homebrewed (although that is soon to change and I did learn last week [all-grain yet]), I don't have a job in the brewing industry, and I have not developed my taste for Belgians yet. But I'm not a total newbie either. I was lucky enough to have folks interested in microbrews so I do have a year of tasting under my belt. And I'm completely dedicated.

Although I can't lie. I have been known to indulge in Iron City Light during Penguins games.

I promise this blog will never mention IC Light again. But I do hope to mention my beer travels, post beer pictures, promote beer tastings, and eventually demonstrate the evolution of my taste buds to include even those peculiar Belgians.

So welcome! I do hope you check back!