Oval Office: Steeling itself from Pittsburgh beer. (Photo by David J. Phillip of the AP)
Written by Greg Kitsock for The Washington Post
Sometimes, you just canâ€™t give beer away.
Thatâ€™s the dilemma of Scott Smith, founder of East End Brewing Co. in Pittsburgh. His microbrewery will turn out perhaps 2,000 barrels in 2011, and Smith is content to sell most of that in his hometown. But when he heard that the White House had ordered a special shipment of beer from Hinterland Brewing Co. in Green Bay, Wis. for President Obamaâ€™s Superbowl party this Sunday, he figured the celebration, in the spirit of bipartisanship, should include a Pittsburgh brew, too.
“There’s already a movement underway on Twitter and on Facebook to get this to happen. We’ve gotten a bit of local press in the papers and on the radio, and I’ve reached out to every political office that will take my call, but we’re still waiting for ‘the call’ to come in,â€ Smith e-mailed earlier this week.
â€œI called the White House directly,â€ he added. â€œThey suggested I send a fax, but I donâ€™t have a working fax machine.â€
And if Smith does get the call?
â€œI canâ€™t set up a license with a distributorship on such short notice, but Iâ€™d be happy to personally escort a shipment of beer.â€
East End doesnâ€™t bottle, so the beer would arrive in kegs or growlers. (You can follow the latest developments in this brewing situation on East End’s Twitter feed.)
Actually, Iron City Beer, a brand associated with Pittsburgh for generations, is available in the District, and itâ€™s conceivable the White House has already stashed some away. But as Smith notes, Iron City isnâ€™t actually made in Pittsburgh anymore. In 2009, the Iron City Brewing Co. ceased making beer itself and now contract-brews its brands at City Brewery in Latrobe, Pa.
A Beer in Every Port: A suggestion to D.C. area beer drinkers: if you donâ€™t absolutely insist on drinking beers from Pennsylvania and Wisconsin this weekend, why not check out the areaâ€™s most recent opening, Port City Brewing Co. in Alexandria? The microbreweryâ€™s first release, Optimal Wit (a Belgian-style witbier brewed with raw wheat and oats and spiced with orange peel, coriander and grains of paradise), was supposed to go on tap at ChurchKey, the Big Hunt, the Black Squirrel, Argonaut and Smith Commons in Washington; at Galaxy Hut in Arlington; and at Food Matters, Evening Star and Columbia Firehouse in Alexandria, according to Port Cityâ€™s owner Bill Butcher.
In addition, the brewery at 3950 Wheeler Ave. is holding what Butcher calls a â€œpreviewâ€ on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. Samples of two of Port Cityâ€™s flagship beers, the wit and Essential Pale Ale, will be offered to the public. Youâ€™ll be able to get a 64-ounce growler fill for $13.99. (Or bring your own growler and save $3.99.)