This weekend's Great European Beerfest, in the parking lot of the Sharp Edge Beer Emporium in East Liberty on Saturday and Sunday, is your chance to try more than 120 beers in one of three three-hour sessions.
Sharp Edge cellarman Brett McMahan is hot on new-to-Pittsburgh brews from Innis & Gunn, which he describes as "kind of a punk rock brewery" in Edinburgh that makes "rum-barreled beers and a bit bigger than basic stuff" -- more in line with the kind of things American craft brewers are doing.
While you're in the UK brews, he also would have you look for Samuel Smith's Organic Apricot, a reformulation of the old classic Melbourn Bros. apricot.
Among the Belgian brews catching his eye are two new ones from Dupont: La Bier de Beloeil and Monk's Stout.
There'll also be beers from Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Russian, even Slovenia -- and some popular Christmas brews that participating distributors held back for this event.
Tickets are $60 ($65 at the door) for each of three sessions: 3 to 6 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday. It all kicks off Friday night with the Ultimate Belgian Bier Dinner at the Sharp Edge Beer Emporium. Culinary director Ray Ellis' dinner -- pate, fruit and cheese plate, framboise sorbet, Belgian endive salad, baked monkfish, pork tenderloin and gelato -- will be paired with six biers from Troubadour in Belgium. Four of the beers have not been previously poured in Pittsburgh or anywhere in the United States.
"I always try to find something new and exciting," says Mr. McMahan, who was in Antwerp last fall and met Troubador's Stefaan Soetemans, who will be at the dinner. The gelato will be infused with one of his brews -- Magma black IPA. Tickets, and there were only a few left, are $75.
Mr. Soetemans sounds fun. His nickname, Mr. McMahan says, is the Beast.
Bob Batz Jr.: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1930. First Published June 21, 2012 4:00 AM