Originally published July 30th, 2017.
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Update 2/26/17: It has been announced that Draai Laag is expanding and changing their name to "Strange Roots Experimental Ales."
When foodies talk about their "list," they are usually referring to a note on their phone with restaurants and bars they want to checkout.
That is not what my list is.
My "list" is a backlog of places I have already been to... but damnit, still haven't gotten around to writing about.
Not sure why, but today I randomly feel like picking "Draai Laag Brewery" from the bench, and letting them suit up and get out there.
I went to Draai Laag.... well, frankly, a while ago. I was wearing a Pens shirt, and I was surprised I didn't need a jacket to sit outside... so yeah. That long ago.
I really liked this space. To truly understand why, we need to take a look at...
Maddie's Thoughts on Beer - A timeline
Early College: garbage water
Studying abroad in Prague: Pilsner is the only thing I will drink
End of college: the hoppier the better, folks
Backpacking in Europe after college: damn, I miss IPAs
Backpacking in Asia: You only truly appreciate how refreshing a lager is when you're in the 95 degree Southeast Asian sun.
In Pittsburgh after Asia: IPAs are so fucking strong now and I can't drink more than 1/4 one without feeling sick
Long story short: I am OVER IPAs. They are too rich. I don't find them refreshing anymore, and I cannot finish more than half a glass. My new thing? Sour beers.
Considering I would happily drink lemon juice, I think sour beer is what I have been waiting for my whole life. Sour, tart, or bitter flavors? COUNT me in.
It's not that Draai Laag only serves sour beers - that would be completely inaccurate to say. Their flavors are just more interesting and complex than a "Quadruple IPA Hop Attack Blizzard Storm Hammer Punch" beer.
They do have a lot of sours, but they also do a lot of things with wild ingredients, unique yeasts, and fruit. Most of the beers I tried leaned towards the sour end of the spectrum (probably because I literally said "What is the most sour beer you are serving?" and ordered it), but that is not the only thing they have.
I kinda hate doing this, but I am going to quote their website, because it really does sum them up:
"Our beers combine elements of Belgian and French brewing tradition with local micro flora to create unique, complex beers that can only be described one way, wild by design."
Some interesting brews (also pulled from their website) include:
Simon Girty: Ale Brewed with Honey, Cocoa and Orange Peel
Ragnarok: Ale Fermented with Elderberries, Black Currants, Red Raspberries & Black Cherry Juice
Goedenacht: Ale Brewed with Apples, Orange Blossom Honey & Coriander
Petite Ferme: Ale Brewed with Wheat Straw and Fermented with Honeysuckle Flowers
and, perhaps the most bizarre....
Relic: "Long story short – we came into possession of a French Monastic cabinet dated from the 17th century and, naturally, set to work extracting a yeast strain from the layers of wax used to preserve it. Hops were added sparingly, allowing the uniquely earthy, musty and citrusy flavors of this ancient strain to shine."
So, what don't I like about Draai Laag?They don't do growlers. They only sell bottles. Idk, I want to be able to bring 64 oz, home and not drag more wasteful glass onto this planet.
Finally, they have a great outdoor setup, and a cozy inside. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. They were happy to answer all of my questions, and suggest different beers. If you are looking for something different than your typical "Armageddon Destruction End of the World Monster IPA," check this place out.
Finally, Grist House Brewery is like three blocks away, so you could easily do a little brewery tour.
HERE GUYS I AM GOING TO MAKE YOU AN ENTIRE ...
RT 28 BEER TOUR:
Edit - Stop Zero: Leaning Cask in Springdale
Stop One: Dancing Gnome in Sharpsburg
(Eventual Stop Two: Hitchhiker Brewing in Sharpsburg - when it opens)
Stop Two: Draai Laag in Millvale
Stop Three: Grist House in Millvale
Stop Four: Allegheny City Brewing on the North Side
(Eventual Stop Five: War Streets Brewing on the North Side- when it opens)
PLEASE, get a designated driver for that^^^... or hop on the Porter Tour Bus!
Anyways, Draai Laag, I love you. I will see you soon - I am officially a Millvale resident!
PS: I will add more pictures later. I need to get them from my external hard drive.
PSS: I can't talk about sour beers without mentioning my FAVORITE sour beer in the city of Pittsburgh - Allegheny City Brewing's sour beer... SO GOOD AND SOOOO TART
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