Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tailgating Frenzy

I'm going to take this post in a slightly different direction as some of my others, I do this because I am partnering up with "Cooking for Regular Assholes" ( a blog written by a contemporary of mine who works in the food industry. While I write about the beers I enjoy he enjoys some success as someone who creates the dishes we regular assholes are normally served.

As a "Stillers" fan and part time "Yinzer" I feel it is my duty to my city to alert the world to the tradition of the Steerers Tailgate.

"Tailgating, you say? I've tailgated before, this isn't a Pittsburgh thing."

Ah but tailgating for a Steelers game is! Let me tell you a short story, My friend Marc is a diehard "Yinzer" (Pittsburgher is you want to be politically correct about it) who is holed up in FL currently with about 75% of our septuagenarians. Marc sprung for some primo seats to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game. I may have to mention that the Steelers were in town as well. Upon entering the venue he was greeted by some fellow black and gold devotees. "We've been counting Buccs fans since we got here." "How many have you counted?" "27."

Now what does this tell us? Tampa Bay doesn't care about football? Not really i mean they put up the cash to start a team and get a stadium, right? No this tells us about the fanaticism of Steelers fans and just how nuts we get about football. You thought your college or high school was really pumped about their games, now lets imagine half a state like that. now you know why it's called the Steeler's nation.

Tailgating as a yinzer is one hell of an experience, there is food games and most of all beer. Marc may try and steal my thunder here about the focus of a tailgate, but we all know it's just once hell of an excuse to drink all day long. As a beer blogger I often joke about being an alcoholic, but to be honest, the tailgate has been the only thing that has ever gotten me drinking before noon.

In Pittsburgh when you tailgate you often see some standard faire like Coors Light and Miller Light, but quite honestly the real fans out there are drinking local brews, two to be exact IC Light and Penn Pils.

IC Light, for those of you in the know who enjoy fine beer you may cringe or laugh knowing that it is your yearly dose of Ohio river water. As well all know it's that Ohio river water that give all of us yinzers our pahers ¹. IC Light or as it's label states Iron City light, is brewed by the Iron city Brewing Company. The Iron City Brewing company has had it's ups and downs, to pittsburghers mainly downs, however if you view it from outside the city you begin to realize all of the innovations it produced, like most recently the aluminum bottle, and less recently the first snap top can. They also pioneered the use of the twist off cap and "Malt Cooler" known as Hop-N-Gator, you are welcome Smirnoff. IC light is your typical american lager, however it is not your typical light beer. While many light beers are produced as regular beers then simply watered down IC light is designed to have less calories. It;s brewing doesn't require it to be watered down and results in a fuller, less flat, taste. Though at about $20 for a 30 rack, you can't expect it to rival the Micros and Imports I usually cover. I must say however IC light has a certian Je Ne Sais Qua about it, i'm not sure what about this beer grabs me and keeps me returning to this when I need something cheap. My guess opiates.

Penn Pilsner, now I have talked about the Penn Brewery before on my review of Penn Dark. Penn Pils is the flagship product of the Penn Brewing family. Despite it's name it resembles a vienna lager more closely then a pils. However i have heard this beer described as the quintessential american pilsner, the pils that all other American pils are based off of. If this is true then they have quite a bit to stand up against. Penn Pils may not be the greatest beer under the sun, however it has a flavor that calls back the old days. All of Penn's products are brewed in accordance to the Reinheitsgebot, or German Beer Purity Laws. This means when you are tasting a Penn Brewing product you taste a little bit of history, and you get to taste a fine brew with absolutely no adulterants or filler grain. Truly a craft brew Penn Pils is my first reach at a tailgate.

¹ Yinzer pahers (powers) include the alcohol tolerance of John Belushi, the eyes of a seasoned referee, and the strategic mind of Napoleon Bonaparte (but only in football.) Oh i almost forgot, we can also make drunk calls to your sister.