I just got back from my Summer Vacation week in Pennsylvania – first stop, the Rivertowne Pour House in Monroeville. There are three Rivertowne locations just east of Pittsburgh, so I chose Monroeville because it’s the site of the brewery. Having arrived on the red-eye from San Diego (by way of Boston), we arrived at the brewpub a few minutes before opening, giving me ample opportunity to appreciate the rotating messages on the sign:
Mmmmm, 19 handcrafted beers…since it was only about 11am when we arrived, there were only a handful of people at the restaurant, and our waitress was super friendly and sent the brewer over to chat with us. He mentioned that the pub’s first anniversary had just passed, and expressed his passion for brewing creative beers. So…19 beers, how to choose? I spent many minutes pondering the possibilities. The beers were listed on cute illustrated chalkboards:
Our waitress explained that there were two different seven-brew samplers offered, one of them featuring the stronger ales on the draught list, and I knew that destiny was calling me. With the sampler, I received tastes of:
So how did they measure up? I was actually surprised by some of my top picks! Breaking away from my traditional loves, I was quite smitten by some of the original flavors Rivertowne had to offer.
Nobleman – A German Alt Bier, with clean fresh hoppy flavor and a good level of bitterness, it struck me as an IPA-lite, in the best possible way – not overly thick or cloyingly bitter, this was refreshing and flavorful.
White Lightning – A spiced Belgium White, White Lightning also had a clean, fresh finish. This was a well-balanced beer – mildly fruity/flowery from the orange and grains of paradise, with just a hint of spiciness to tease the palate but not overwhelm.
Espresso Stout – Sweet and strong, with great coffee flavor, one of the best coffee beers I’ve ever tried.
Perfectly Pomegranate – Fruit beers are hard to get exactly right, but this is one of the exceptional ones – fruity and smooth, refreshing but not too sweet, this is a perfect summer beer.
The Plum Ale (a little bit of knock-you-over-the-head plum fun) and the IPA are also worth a shout out, though not quite as exceptional as the rest. Everything was actually quite pleasant and drinkable; the only one I probably wouldn’t drink again is the Lager – a fine example of its style, but not one of my favorite things. Also worth noting – the Pacino sandwich with homemade chips – yummy! Overall, Rivertowne was really great, and I’m happy that it was our first brewery visit of the trip.