Sunday, December 16, 2012

Surviving December: Whiskey Before Breakfast (& Pittsburgh Boozes)

Let's be honest. A lot of drinking happens in December. There are holiday parties with friends and for work. There are holiday dinners with family. There is New Year's Eve.

As I write this, I'm recovering from my work holiday party. Well, a work holiday party preceded by a day of whiskey drinking, which started before breakfast thanks to Pittsburgh's Wigle Whiskey.

2401 Smallman Street (in the Strip)

I never used to be a whiskey drinker. It's been a semi-new development over the past year. See, when your main mode of transportation is a bicycle, it's not terribly easy to get a case of beer from the distributor to your fridge. It's a whole lot easier to transport a bottle of whiskey, and thus I have become a whiskey drinker.

Yesterday morning Wigle released their first bottles of aged whiskey. I arrived with friends a little before 9 a.m. and got in a line that was already wrapping around the building. While waiting, we placed our orders for the whiskeys we wanted to take home. We were also served a delicious drink called the Bees Knees (Wigle White Wheat + cream + honey). I picked up one of each of the aged whiskeys (one regular, one cherry wood, and one maple wood). Anyone who, like us, got out of bed early enough on a Saturday to get their hands on these limited bottles was welcome to sign one of the small casks used in the aging process. It's nice thinking our names will be on that cask and that the cask will be a part of Wigle's history for (hopefully) many, many years to come.

My aged Wigle whiskeys, at home atop my fridge.

Now, if whiskey's not your thing, Pittsburgh has other options for local alcohol. Fortunately for me, two of those options (as well as Wigle!) are located along my route home from work. 

147 Julius Street (Larimer)

East End Brewing may be located in Larimer (they've recently moved into their newer, bigger building on Julius Street), but they have a very convenient growler station at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip. They stay open til 6 p.m. on Fridays, which is the perfect for a quick stop after work to bring home a growler of one of my favorites (Pedal Pale Ale, Big Hop, Fat Gary...).

300 39th Street (Lawrenceville)

Arsenal Cider House is such a treat to have in the neighborhood. Really. The ciders are tasty and the fun of sampling and choosing which growler to take home with you is made even more fun when your growler is labeled with your name and a ranking. Last time, I received my growler with "Admiral Allison" on it. 

December is a long month. Thankfully, we've already survived half of it. As the rest of the month goes into the books, make an effort to drink locally. Wigle, East End, and Arsenal are only a few of the many ways to do so. With so many hardworking local businesses serving up homemade and homegrown brews and libations, there's good reason we've been described as a football town with a drinking problem. 

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