Beer: School's out for Pittsburgh Brewniversity

Pittsburgh Brewniversity, which used beer education to raise money for nonprofit Operation Walk Pittsburgh's efforts to give people hip replacements, must shut down, at least in name. Tom Hoffmann says another entity has trademarked the "Brewniversity" name, and, "Despite our attempts to fight for our little beer school, using such fine references like Monty Python and the Holy Grail to build my case, we have ultimately lost our battle with their lawyers ...."

The founders are holding a wake from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Beerhive in the Strip District. It's free, but they'll be auctioning off 1.5-ounce tastes from a 2013 bottle of Samuel Adams Utopias, which the top 10 bidders can try at 7:15 p.m. Proceeds, of course, benefit Operation Walk Pittsburgh. Read its obituary at

The 2013 Samuel Adams Utopias is just released. The fewer-than-15,000 24-ounce bottles of 28 percent-alcohol brew, which retail for $199 and up, were filled from just 100 wooden barrels, which held a blend of brews, including, for the first time this year, Sam Adams Kosmic Mother Funk. Learn more at

On Friday, you can get taste of the beers of Gary Olden, who with his wife, Serena, is opening Hitchhiker Brewing in Mt. Lebanon in the spring. He's bringing a couple of 5-gallon kegs -- a West Coast-style India pale and a black pale ale -- to Craft Beer Night at Koolkat Designs at 691 Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon.

From 6 to 9 p.m., the artsy store will present samples of those beers, little bites and several local artisans and their beery wares, including Patty Boss, who makes bottle openers, drink charms and bottle stoppers; Samantha Bower, who makes tile coasters; Kate Wagle Hitmar and her Pub Sweaters (for your bottle) and Ken Wagle and his beer-tap Santa carvings; Kirsten Lowe-Rebel, with prints of her pen-and-ink drawings of local brewpubs and whiskey and gin bottles; and Julia Staudt, with beer bottle cap Christmas tree ornaments and beer can ornaments and airplanes. Local photographer and woodworker Karen Sturgeon will be taking orders for her oak beer six-pack caddies. All purchases can be wrapped for free.

Bring a six-pack of craft beer and you can participate in the Craft Beer Swap and take home six different bottles. Munchies will include homemade soft pretzels and Bier Kase. More at

(Meanwhile, tickets have gone on sale, $30 and $50, for Mt. Lebanon Public Library's fourth annual fundraiser, Brews for a Chili Night, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 1 --

This is St. Nik Weekend at Penn Brewery on the North Side. At 7 p.m. Friday, the man in red himself will tap the St. Nikolaus Bock Brewer's Reserve. There will be live music by Autobahn (6 to 8 p.m.) and Blues Orphans (8 to 11 p.m.).

Then, from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, St. Nik and friends including the Pirate Parrot and the Washington Wild Thing will be at a special lunch from 1 to 3 p.m. That evening, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., the brewpub teams up with Pittsburgh Police from Zone 6 for the Freeze Fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics of Pennsylvania. Tickets ($20 at the door) get you a drink ticket, light appetizers and three raffle tickets, plus live music, and 20 percent of what guests spend on food and drinks will go to the cause. More at

(Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh, which on Wednesday tapped its December seasonal Christmasbier, is holding its family St. Nikolaus Celebration from 6 to 9 tonight.)

My colleague Mary Thomas alerted me to this weaving of art and beer: The Studio at the Society for Contemporary Craft in the Strip District is starting Crafts & Drafts, a monthly pairing of beginner-friendly crafting projects with local brews.

The first one is from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 13. Visiting fiber artist Jennifer Moss will teach how to needle felt a variety of two- and three-dimensional holiday-themed trimmings to affix to your ugly holiday sweaters. To quote the release, "Wacky, tacky, garish and gaudy -- students will make something so ugly it's cute!" The Church Brew Works beer no doubt will help on that score, Mary points out.

Tuition is $35 per person and includes felting materials and beer. The next session is set for February. Register at or by calling 412-261-7003.


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