Flight School: a walkthrough of how you can use curbside takeout options at local breweries to make your own beer flights at home.
ABV is our weekly series that highlights a different beer from a local Pittsburgh brewery every week. Check out our past picks here.
Synonymous with visiting a brewery – especially if it’s your first time visiting a particular brewery – is the taster flight.
Typically arranged as a group of small pours (think 4-oz. to 8-oz. of draft beer) in small, easy-to -handle glassware, taster flights are a great way to try a selection of a brewery’s offerings, without committing to full-size draft beers.
Flights are also a great way to just have a baby-sized beer if you’re not fond of being SUPER boozed up after just one drink (e.g. barrel-aged stouts, barleywines and other high gravity beers).
And although we aren’t physically visiting our favorite breweries right now for taster flights, the Very Local team had a stroke of genius. What if we could help you build your own flights – from home?
Our Taster Flight Methodology using Curbside Pickup
Here’s how we came up with our taster flight arrangements.
First – Each section below is categorized by Pittsburgh brewery. For example, scroll to the ‘Cinderlands’ section to see a taster flight you can create using Cinderlands beer. Or, scroll to the ‘East End Brewing’ section and you’ll see a taster flight you can make using East End’s beer. Pretty simple.
Second – Under each brewery’s respective section is a taster flight arrangement. We’ve categorized the taster flights using variables like color, strength and taste. For example, the Hitchhiker Brewing section showcases a flight entirely arranged by strength of beer. The East End Brewing section highlights a flight arranged by color of beer in your glass. And the Cinderlands section highlights a flight arranged by tasting notes and aroma you’ll encounter when drinking the beer.
Third – Have fun! Yeah sure, this is school (flight school?) but it’s beer and beer is a fun beverage. Want to get adventurous? Mix and match breweries? By all means, this is not a thorough, extensively researched flight list. This is merely a suggestion to optimize your curbside pickup beer runs. Make the most of what you’ve got or even mix in some non-local beers to really take things up a notch.
Lastly – Tag us! Are you part of a neighborhood beer share? Do you treat friends / family to flights on the regular? Let us know! Post photos of taster flights you’re especially proud of and tag us on your favorite social channel (@VeryLocalPGH). We’re stoked to see your creativity.
ABV, volume LXXXIV
Learn How to Build Your Own Taster Flights from Home
East End Brewing // Larimer
How to Get Their Beer: At this time, East End is offering Pittsbughers two options: curbside pickup at the brew pub in Larimer OR you can opt for home delivery. Their website has details on both.
Flight I: Color
Typically, taster flights that arrange beers by color will go from light to dark. East End keeps several light AND dark beers available most times of year, so creating a colorized flight using their seasonals and mainstay beers is not super difficult.
Light – Hefe Weizen: German Wheat Ale
Medium – Big Hop: American Ale
Dark – Gratitude (any year): Barleywine
Bonus – you can throw in a You Are Here: Neighborhood beer or even Caution Slippy, their New England Style IPA, for added color mix.
Follow: East End Brewing
Hitchhiker Brewing // Sharpsburg and Mt. Lebanon
How to Get Their Beer: Hitchhiker is offering curbside pickup at both their locations. Just hop on their website to place your order and note the email receipt for pickup times. You can also grab select Hitchhiker beers at most Giant Eagle locations they distribute to.
Flight II: Strength
Taster flights that arrange beers by strength will go from low gravity to high gravity. Hitchhiker generally keeps a wide variety of beers on draft with varying strengths. Admittedly, I prefer the low-ABV, low-gravity stuff, but Hitchhiker’s Whole Punch series and Subsurface series both flirt with big, bold flavor and unapologetically higher ABVs. And they’re both awesome.
Low ABV – 15th and Canal: Pale Ale
Mid-Grade – Bane of Existence: IPA
High ABV – Myrcene: Double IPA
Follow: Hitchhiker Brewing
Cinderlands Beer Co // Strip District and Lawrenceville
How to Get Their Beer: Cinderlands has curbside pickup available at their Strip District location. The Lawrenceville location is currently closed due to COVID. Cinderlands is also offering home delivery with full details on how to order and when to expect shipment live on their website.
Flight III: Aroma and Tasting Notes
This might be subjective, but we’re arranging this flight from least aromatic and light up to big ole flavor-packed, aromatic punchy beers.
Light – Tracks Again: Unfiltered Pilsner
Medium – Squish: Pale Ale
Dark – Tartshake: Lactose-infused fruited sour
Follow: Cinderlands Beer Co
Header Image at Leaning Cask Brewing Company. Photo: Cory Morton