Photo by Justin Criado

Hopheads from around the state enjoyed the Meeting of the Malts III presented by the Brewers of Pennsylvania Thursday, Jan. 22 at the Priory Hotel in Historic Deutschtown.

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Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado
Photo by Justin Criado

By Justin Criado

The Priory Hotel in Historic Deutschtown is use to hosting big, important events.

The Grand Hall is breathtaking and has a certain Medieval feel.

That was the case Thursday, Jan. 22 when the Brewers of Pennsylvania presented the third Meeting of the Malts, which included a panel discussion, microbrews and a five-course meal, but could have been mistaken for a Knights of the Round Table event with all the brew and food going around.

“Pittsburgh is very much a hop-forward town. Really big, hoppy beers are appreciated here,” Bill Covaleski of Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, Pa.) said. “I like to say bitter beers are for happy people. So I guess you guys are happy.”

Covaleski along with brewers Chris Trogner of Troegs Independent Craft Brewery (Hershey, Pa.) and East End Brewing Company’s Scott Smith (Pittsburgh’s East Liberty) made up the panel, highlighting the current state of microbreweries and explaining which beers pair best with the courses the audience were enjoying.

“Pittsburgh is a thirsty beer market,” Covaleski said. “The diversity of beers that are appreciated in this market is noticeable to begin with.”

Nearly 150 people enjoyed the two-hour meal and discussion, which Pittsburgh Post-Gazette food & flavor editor Bob Batz, Jr. moderated.

With microbrews gaining more and more popularity in the beer market brewers are starting to look for more local ingredients to help make their batches.

“You’re seeing it of course with restaurants trying to support as many local farms as possible,” Trogner said. “I think you’re starting to see more and more breweries do that. I think you’re going to see that get pushed further and further.”

Being in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty for 10 years now, Smith explained that more bars opening in the area are looking for local beer, too.

“If we’re looking for people to drink local beer and we’re using local ingredients it reinforces that,” Smith said. “Rarely do we see a new bar that opens up that says they’re going to put in a 16-tap system that’s all beers out of St. Louis. Everybody’s going to plug in to something local, then offer a rotating selection of what’s outside.”

Northside is home to Penn Brewery (Troy Hill) and bars like James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy, and Park House have a wide variety of beers on tap and in bottle.