When I had a day job with a 401(k) and all that responsible “stuff,” I shared an office with a Brooklyn transplant who felt a burning desire to tell me the numerous reasons why I was living in the wrong city. Am I a diehard Pittsburgher? Not at all. Does Brooklyn make my heart melt? Sure. Do I want to live there? Of course. Do I want to pay rent there? Hell no. Do I need someone telling me daaaay in and daaaaay out why my Brooklyn clock is ticking? No thanks, I’m good.
Though I doubt he’ll read this, what I want said officemate to know is, “guess what! Brooklyn came to ME!” [shit-eating grin fills face]
Brooklyn came to PITTSBURGH!
This summer, Brooklyn Brewery hit the road on their Mash Tour, and Pittsburgh was one of the destinations- a testament to the many changes that have transpired in the city’s food & drink scene.
“What’s the Mash Tour,” you ask?
n.1: The first step in the brewing process; mixing malted barley with water, then heating to extract its sugars.
n.2: An adventurous mix of emerging culture from our neighborhood and yours; dinner parties, concerts, comedy, readings and humanity’s favorite beverage.
Though I am a novice in beer drinking, there is something appealing about drinking a cold beer on a hot summer day, and nothing channels summer for me like a good ol’ farm dinner. Combine cold beer, talented chefs, picnic-style dining, music and mingling, and you have a Brooklyn Brewery Mash kickoff event, and you have these folks rocking the picnic look like champs…!
I drank beer, and I enjoyed it! This was a truly momentous day indeed! As such, if I liked Brooklyn Brewery’s Summer Ale, I imagine you beer drinkers might want to take a sip or two or three. I also snuck a sample of Wild Purveyors‘ new Shrub flavors, and I highly recommend purchasing those for summer sipping.
Chef Justin Severino of Cure, Chef Mike Poiarkoff (a Pittsburgh native!) of Vinegar Hill House and Brooklyn Brewery Chef Andrew Gerson collaborated to feed us picnickers using Blackberry Meadows’ beautiful wood-burning oven.
In the spirit of eating on a farm, the dinner felt much like sitting at a table full of growing boys. Squawking or staring at the clouds, or maybe pointing a lens at the clouds like yours truly, instead of finding your way into line, resulted in a picked-over spread. However, there was still beauty in the remnants and in the act of very generous picnic sharing smoky, roasted potatoes with me.
“Cooooome and get it!”
wild mushroom aioli and bacon
white miso vinaigrette, golden raisins and shallots
Roasted Bok Choy
charred scallion buttermilk sauce, torn mint and basil topped with pickled chiles
Grilled Garlic Scapes
roasted green garlic and scape oil
Sometimes it just takes an outsider’s perspective to show you the cool elements of your own city. Thanks to the Mash Tour, I discovered the strummings of local band Union Rye. Both their tunes and attire were the perfect fit for a sunny Sunday on the farm, and I hope to hear them again soon!
After learning my line lesson on the savory courses, I was quite sure to be at the front of the dessert line for the olive-oil corn cake with rhubarb jam and sorrel whipped cream. The idea of sorrel whipped cream had my brain whirling with herbal ideas.
I had sun on my shoulders, music in my ear, and flavorful food on my plate. It was the perfect summer Sunday, and it happened in Pittsburgh. It was especially exciting because there was still more of this Brooklyn-Pittsburgh hybrid in store. Stay tuned!
Santé to Summer Sipping!