As usual, the tickets almost immediately sold out for the Steel City Big Pour beer, food and art fest Sept. 6, at Construction Junction in North Point Breeze. There are two three-hour sessions -- at noon and at 5 p.m. -- each of which is expecting 1,650 patrons. More people would go if they could get/fit in.
But also as usual, there are some “Big Pour Week” events that people can get into in the run-up to the big show. Venues are putting together events from this Sunday, Aug. 31, through Sunday, Sept. 7. Here are some of the ones we've heard about so far. (We’ll update this listing as more events are added.)
We’ve also heard from East End Brewing Co.’s Scott Smith that this year’s Big Pour beer — an amber ale aged with cocoa nibs — is to be available at the Larimer brewery and its Pittsburgh Public Market outlet as soon as it’s tapped at the Big Pour. He says it was inspired by a cacao-spiced Brazilian brew.
• Tuesday, Sept. 2: At 7 p.m., East Liberty’s Kelly’s Bar and Lounge holds its annual Mini Wet Hopped Festival, featuring wet-hopped beers -- pints and flights -- from Roundabout, Costar, East End, Hop Farm and Troegs. Brewers will be on hand to talk about hops.
• Tuesday, Sept. 2: From 6 to 9 p.m., BRGR in Shadyside does a tap takeover featuring beers of Millvale’s Grist House Brewing.
• Tuesday, Sept. 2: From 7 to 9 p.m., Mount Washington’s Shiloh Grill’s Bacon Night will feature Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, 90 Minute IPA, Burton Baton, Theobroma and Punkin on draft (one of them run through the Randall).
• Wednesday, Sept. 3: From 6 to 8 p.m., BRGR in Cranberry holds a Weyerbacher Night featuring Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Merry Monks and Last Chance IPA (plus pint glassesand a gift-basket raffle).
• Wednesday, Sept. 3: From 6:30 p.m. to midnight, the Butterjoint in Oakland does a Green Flash tap takeover.
• Wednesday, Sept. 3: From 6 to 8 p.m., Atlas Bottle Works in Lawrenceville holds a Dogfish Head sampling.
• Wednesday, Sept. 3: At 6 p.m., Bocktown in North Fayette presents Troegs new Hop Knife.
• Thursday, Sept. 4: From 7 to 9 p.m., Rochester’s Hollywood Gardens releases one of two kegs in Pittsburgh of Jester's Tree, a double IPA Weyerbacher brewed in collaboration with Naparbier of Spain.
• Thursday, Sept. 4: From 5 to about 8 or 9 p.m. at Roundabout Brewery in Lawrenceville, the Pittsburgh Public Market’s Wheel and Wedge Cheese Shop offers cheese “flights” that people can purchase to enjoy with Roundabout beers. Cheesemonger Alix Wiggins is picking the pairings.
• Thursday, Sept. 4: Starting at 6 p.m., Ciao 2 in Robinson hosts a Dogfish Head beer dinner of four small plates with four beers -- 60 Minute IPA, Indian Brown, Etrusca and Punkin -- for $49.50 per person.
• Thursday, Sept. 4: At 7:30 p.m., BZ’s Bar and Grill on the North Side holds a four-course Victory dinner ($40).
• Thursday, Sept. 4: From 5 p.m. to close, Piper’s Pub on the South Side presents three firkins of real ale from Millvale’s Grist House Brewing.
• Thursday, Sept. 4: From 6 to 9 p.m., BRGR in East Liberty does a Yards Brewing tap takeover.
• Thursday, Sept. 4: At 7 p.m., Lawrenceville’s Franktuary features ShawneeCraft.
• Thursday, Sept. 4: From 5 to 7 p.m., Whole Foods East Liberty does a “Little Pour” event featuring smaller local brewers.
• Thursday, Sept. 4: From 5 to 7 p.m., Whole Foods Wexford does a Bell's Octoberfest and Brown Ale Kick Off.
• Friday, Sept. 5: At 7 p.m., Hop Farm Brewing’s Matt Gouwens presides over at tap takeover -- six Hop Farm brews on draft -- at East Liberty’s Kelly’s Bar and Lounge.
• Friday, Sept. 5: From 5 to 8 p.m., Whole Foods Wexford does a “Little Pour” event, including the beers of Lawrenceville’s Hop Farm.
• Friday, Sept. 5: From 6 to 8 p.m., Hampton’s Barrel Junction marks Big Pour Eve with Yards Brewing.
• Friday Sept 5: From 5 to 7 p.m., Squirrel Hill’s Independent Brewing Co. will offer $4 pints from Braddock's The Brew Gentlemen, Millvale's Grist House and Latrobe's Four Seasons. Notes the last's Christian Simmons, "We figured it be a good way for people to try out some of the newer breweries if patrons couldn't make it to the big pour. We're calling it 'Meet the Young Guns.'"
• Friday, Sept. 5: At 7 p.m., Shadyside’s Harris Grill holds a Bell's Big Pour Pre-party with rarities including Kal-Haven Rye, Baroness Von Nordwestlich and Hopsoulution.
• Sunday, Sept. 7: The Bocktowns offers specials to customers sporting their Big Pour tickets and swag.
• Sunday, Sept. 7: At 5 p.m. at Downtown’s Sienna Mercato, it’s a "Hair of the Dog" last call for Big Pour Week featuring Weyerbacher brews such as Sunday Morning Stout (“for those of you just waking up,” quips Vecenie Distributing sales rep Michelle Reid), Imperial Pumpkin and Last Chance IPA, which benefits animal-rescue charities. Notes Ms. Reid, “We'll look the other way if you decide to keep the glass!”