Thursday, November 22, 2012

Beering in the Ohio River Valley: Wrap Up

So my brother-in-law elected to have his wedding on Labor Day weekend.  Our family was in the wedding party along with our toddler, who is making a career out of being a flower girl.  I think she has been a flower girl about 10 times in 5 years of life.  I'm going to have to get her set up with a miles account.

Though I was born in Cleveland and the wife in Maryland, we've never spent time in that part of country where West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio meet.  I asked Pennsylvania beer king Lew Bryson on twitter what I can find for beer and he said there was nothing.  Well as luck would have it, the rehearsal dinner was a River City Restaurant. The restaurant in the middle of rustic Wheeling, WV, which is an island in the Ohio River.  The area has a great banquet hall and wouldn't ya know, the place used to be a brewery!  Adjacent to it is what looks like a sports bar with PLENTY of Great Lakes beer on tap.  And oh darn, the bride is late getting to the rehearsal dinner.  So the wife and I enjoyed plenty of Great Lakes Burning River Dortmunder and one of my favorites of all time, Oktoberfest.

Wheeling, WV

The history of Wheeling is that it used to have over 20 breweries operating before the dreaded Prohibition took affect.  The place we were actually was in operation as of 2003, but shut down due to a flooding of a Ohio River.  BUMMER!  The place is now the Wheeling Artisan Center with tours and plenty of beer paraphernalia and lots of craft beer on tap at the bar. 

Otherwise the beer selection in the area was pretty slim, which is sad as Pennsylvania and Ohio have great beer scenes.  I mostly consumed a ton of Yuengling, which is my go to beer when I'm in the Mid-Atlantic..  I typically go for their traditional lager as opposed to the Black and Tan.

Overall I would say the various operating and abandoned steel plants and breweries give you the impression of a place who's time has come and gone.  I cannot help but contrast the quiet former glory of the Ohio Valley Area's former industrial might with Shanghai's ever growing world we were just a month later.  At first it's depressing but then the scenery in the early fall has a beauty and charm to it.  I remember back in high school that we learned Venus fell in love with Vulcan, the ugly blacksmith (if you will) of the gods.  Well now I can see why people love this area, even if they call it the Rust Belt.

Of course I did not have my notebook but we enjoyed some serious beers at Bar Symon at Pittsburg's airport: Founder's Dirty Bastard, Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat, and Big Eddy IPA by Leinenkugels. Not a bad experience overall.

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