The Friday Pint 2016 #5 – Wigle Hopped

So that, for what it was worth, was January. The month in which you either went dry or you just carried on as usual. I took a week off of alcohol myself at the start of the year, following the gluttony of Christmas and New Year. It actually seems to have done me good. Even in the weeks following, I haven’t been drinking as much as I may have done if I was still back in the UK. I have a small collection of beer to dip into, but until I have money coming in, it’s not going to grow much more.

As it is, sometimes I’ll have to reach for something other than beer to provide the inspiration for these posts. This week is one of those weeks, and the drink in question is a glass of Wigle Whiskey’s Hopped Whiskey.

Wigle are based in the Strip District of Pittsburgh (with a barrelhouse on the north shore). Since opening in 2012, Wigle have won a number of awards for their spirits. They have also supplied old barrels to local brewers to age beer in, some of which have returned and had whiskey aged in (Rounders Share was aged in barrels which previously stored barley wine).

As for the whiskey, you can tell it’s been hopped the moment you remove the cork. A floral aroma emerges from the bottle that is distinctly hop like. For those wondering, Cascade, Newport and Centennial were the hops used. Taste wise, it tastes how you’d probably expect a hopped whiskey to taste. There’s the warmth of the alcohol, quickly followed by the flavours imparted by the hops, which slowly fade in the aftertaste.

Personally, as a man who enjoys highly hopped IPAs, the idea of a hopped whiskey intrigued me, and the actual thing didn’t disappoint. I can easily see Wigle Hopped being a drink that people don’t like, either put off by the hops, or by the whiskey element.

At the time of writing, bottles are still available from the distillery, and for customers in Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania online.


The Friday Pint 2016 #4 – SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale

As Storm Jonas makes its way up and across the east coast of the USA, I once again find myself with a glass full of beer. This week, it’s a beer I’ve had no prior experience of at all, SweetWater’s 420 Extra Pale Ale.

First conceived on April 20th, 1997, 420 Extra Pale Ale is 5.7% Centennial and Cascade hopped beer brewed with 2 row, munich and 40L malt.

It’s about six months beyond the date at which they say it’s best if enjoyed by. Given the style, I can easily believe that it would be better fresh. That being said, it still tastes fine, and I’m quite enjoying it.

I wouldn’t say 420 is a special beer. It doesn’t astound or amaze me in the way that some pales have or do. That being said, it is rather drinkable, and I wouldn’t complain if this was amongst my choices of beers in a bar or restaurant. Would I buy a bottle of it again? Possibly, if I found myself in Atlanta, GA. for enough time.



The Friday Pint 2016 #3 – Erie Brewing Skipper Stout

I don’t like coffee.

As such, for the most part, I don’t like coffee based beers.

Skipper Stout, for me, is a beer that seems to change with each sip I have of it. With one sip, the coffee flavour will be prominent and strong, and I will find the beer horrible. With the next, I can hardy taste the coffee at all, and for me Skippers Stout becomes much more drinkable.

Last week, my fiancee bought a case of Skipper Stout. Unlike me, she likes coffee, and so enjoys Skipper Stout much more than I do. From what I’m told, it’s actually a very nice coffee stout.

Temperature does seem to have a strong effect on what Skipper Stout tastes like. The coffee flavours seem to get weaker as the beer warms up. For me, this is obviously a good thing, but for the coffee and beer lovers, it’s probably not.

I’m not sure if the fact that I, a person who doesn’t like coffee, finds himself warming to a coffee stout says anything or not. If you do like coffee, I’d say it’s probably worth checking out.

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Skipper Stout is a seasonal beer made available from November each year, until supplies run out. More information can be found here

Erie Brewing Company can be found on Twitter @eriebrewingco


The Friday Pint 2016 #2 – The Ever Growing Bubble

Every so often, over the past few years, and the increasing growth of the beer industry, people wonder how much bigger the beer bubble can get before it bursts. In recent weeks, and in coming months, a number of new breweries, brewpubs and micropubs are opening that suggest the burst is some way off yet.

Here, in the Pittsburgh area, there are a number of brewpubs in the planning stages, to go along with the significant number that have opened in the last few years. When I first came over to visit my fiancee, almost 4 years ago now, choice was limited. Now, there’s so much choice locally I have no need to seek out the beers from further afield.

It’s locality that I think is one of the key driving forces in the success of these new venues opening up here, and also back home in Southampton.

Soon it will be two years since The Butchers Hook in Bitterne Triangle opened, and a year since The Dancing Man first opened its doors. Both of these have quickly become embraced by the local community, and both support the community around them. Whether it be by providing a space for groups to gather, or by obtaining the beer and food from local producers, the area in which they are situated, and the people are important to the success of The Butchers Hook and The Dancing Man.

This success has only led to further expansion of the beer scene in Southampton. Bitter Virtue continue to expand their already impressive beer range, Sadlers now have a presence in Southampton (much to my delight), Brewdog will soon have a presence, and a number of micropubs are or very soon will be following in the footsteps of The Butchers Hook.

In a world in which we have become much more connected globally, people have seemingly become more attracted by local produce and services. Hopefully, the current trends can be sustained. A world in which I can stock a drinks cabinet mostly with liquor made in the local area seems like a good one to me.