this bird can sing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


This past weekend, the hubs and I headed out to Pittsburgh. I had never been there before, unless I'm forgetting a drive-through-it type experience from childhood.

The drive was actually a bit better than I was had predicted - right around 3 hours. However, the turnpike in this state is expensive. This non-Pennsylvania native is not used to paying $35 roundtrip to travel across the state. We probably would have taken other roads, but we didn't realize how much it cost on the way there. And on the way back on Sunday night, we didn't want to add an additional hour onto our trip as we both had to work bright and early on Monday.

The reason for our trip was because my beloved St. Louis Cardinals were in town. What ended up working out well was that this week also happens to be the inaugural Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week. A weekend of good beer and Cardinals baseball? Yes, please.

The weekend got off to a good start on Friday with a trip to Troegs in Hershey. Troegs is our favorite local brewery. They've moved from Harrisburg to Hershey, so it's a 20-30 minute drive for us now. However, we still head out there pretty often because it's awesome.

I was feeling like something a little different, so I decided to try my Java Head (an oatmeal/coffee stout) floated with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

You may be skeptical of the beer and ice cream combination. I'll be the first to admit that this would probably not be appealing unless you have the right beer. I think that Java Head is the right beer, because it was delicious. Highly recommended that you give this a try with your favorite coffee stout or similar beer.

We headed out to Pittsburgh on Saturday morning. We had plenty of time to kill before we could check into the hotel or head to the game, so we decided to check out the local craft beer scene.

The first stop was House of 1,000 Beers. I don't know if they actually have 1,000 beers, but they did have a lot of bottles. They also had a nice draft selection of about 50 or so beers. Between the two of us, we enjoyed 3 excellent beers - Atwater VJ Black, Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon, and Long Trail Coffee Stout. I'm not really sure which one that is, as all three are stouts. The VJ Black was especially delicious and vanilla-y. I'm not sure how widely available it is around here, but I hope I find it around here somewhere.

We had lunch at a place called Hough's. They were actually having a whole pig roast that afternoon, and we would have liked to have partaken, but it wasn't kicking off for another hour upon our arrival. And we were hungry.

We stayed downtown with the goal of being in walking distance of the ballpark. The view from our room on the 11th floor was of some cool architecture.

We debated the nearly one mile walk from our hotel to the ballpark. In typical summer baseball weather, it would have been wonderful. In 40 degree rain? Less enjoyable. April baseball is always a bit of a crapshoot. We didn't win this weekend, although I guess we should be thankful that we missed the snow by one day. IT'S ALMOST MAY, MOTHER NATURE.

So we walked to PNC Park. It was a lovely view from up high behind home plate on Saturday evening.

The game not a great one for the birds on the bat. Although they started the game by loading the bases with no outs in the first, they somehow managed to be blanked by AJ Burnett. It was painful. The highlight of the night was our own St. Louis Blues clinching a playoff series for the first time in a decade. It was nice to celebrate the win on the walk back to the hotel with some other St. Louis fans.

The Sunday game went a bit better. We sat almost on the field and our offense was not shut out. That's a step up right there.

Here's our own Mr. Kyle Lohse and Yadi Molina before first pitch. Quite a few Cards fans were on hand to cheer on our team to a 5-1 win. Other than the cold, it was a very pleasant weekend. Fans on both sides were nothing but considerate all weekend. The only time the hometown fans said anything to me was to ask polite questions, like "Who are you starting tomorrow?" and "How in the heck do you pronounce Rzepczynski?" Likewise, the Cards fans in attendance all seemed to be courteous and respectful from what I witnessed.

On the way home on Sunday night, we stopped to eat at Mad Mex. Very yummy and fun atmosphere.  The next time we're in an area with a Mad Mex location, we will definitely check it out again.

Overall it was a nice weekend. It was over too quickly, as most weekends are, but we had a nice time. We're continuing to look forward to more east coast adventures!

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