Now that our long winter hibernation is behind us it’s time to rekindle those friendships we have missed while hiding under covers parked in front of our fireplaces and televisions. Although following one another on Facebook, twitter, and Instagram seems to have become the most popular way to stay in touch these days, meeting up for a good old fashioned libation can be the right prescription for our dusty friendships!
Microbreweries by definition are breweries producing less than 15,000 barrels per year and usually concentrating on exotic or high-quality beer. They have been around for years but it seems in only the most recent years they have found their way into the media’s awareness, hence turning the spotlight on those that have been quietly brewing some of the best and freshest beer ever to be tasted.
All Saints Brewing Company is a great example of a craft micro-brewery. Jeff Guidos, founder and Head Brew Master, graduated from St Vincent College with a chemistry degree, moved away, taught, but returned home to pursue his passion. Maybe it’s his chemistry background or the fact that St Vincent’s was the first U.S. Benedictine monastery to brew monastic beer back in the 19th century, but be it through education, osmosis, or a greater calling, he was meant to brew beer! After years of home brewing, then working/learning/mastering at the Red Star Brewery Jeff and his wife Angela decided they should open a place of their own after the Red Stars closing. He made phone calls to likeminded beer lovers and home brewers Mike Hepner (assistant brewer) his wife Jean, Bill Albright (grows many of the fruits that are used in the seasonal beers), Chris and Sharon Guido and gave life to All Saints.
Voodoo’s Child Lager was a Gold medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival for Jeff, and although the medals may be coveted by some, for those at A.S.B.C., their mission statement says it all, “to build a brand focused on selling locally manufactured craft beer: For beer people, by beer people. Consistently good tasting craft beer, brewed locally, and with Western Pennsylvania pride and passion as our constant goal.”
Another beauty about calling friends to meet up at All Saints is the lack of televisions in the Tap Room, no distracting programs while you’re catching up with one another (now when The Steelers are on this may be a different story, but I did say distracting television, which all of us know does not include anything Black & Gold.) The people there are happy to give a tour, share history and get to know you. They want you to come back and feel welcomed, it’s not a bar, it’s a brewery where they made your beer for you in the back room, how much friendlier can it get?
The Tap Room has 10 beers on tap, from Amber Ales, IPA’s, Pale Ales, to their Munich Dunkel. If having a difficult time deciding which you like best try a “flight” which is a sampling of some favorites. They change often so grab yourself a growler to take home or make it a fun switch from the traditional bottle of wine when invited to dinner.
They invite you to join them for their summer monthly Beer-B-Q’s, but make certain to watch them on Facebook for they will update their schedule regularly as they add events and new brews.
All Saints invokes a sense of comradery, you will feel like you’ve been expected even though you’ve never been there before, so next time you are looking for somewhere new, fun, and a little quirky to meet up, you can reason a visit here as both educational and enjoyable! (Located on Rt 119 & Roseytown Rd., Greensburg.) I’m no saint but I’ll leave you with the dear words of Saint Arnold of Metz, the patron Saint of Brewers “From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.”
For friends of the wine lover it’s more than just the wine, it’s also about the experience. Many are familiar with the basics of wine tasting: look, smell, and taste. We need to understand there is so much more to it, as it becomes about sharing, and enjoying. How many of us kept a special bottle after a memorable evening and used it as a candle holder? My college roommate and I used an exceptionally large, long-necked bottle as our Christmas tree for two years! We hung lights and ornaments on it and every time I see one of those bottles, I smile and remember us laughing as we sang carols decorating it! Wine, it’s for moments, occasions, events, meals. We sip it, drinking the moment, savoring the people we choose to share it with.
Greendance Winery is located in Mt Pleasant. Many know it as the winery at Sand Hill Berries. We look for their delicious desserts but tasting their wines has become a new kind of decadent pleasure.
More than 40 wines, many crafted with the very fruits harvested there on the farm including: blackberries, red currants, black currants, goose-berries, blueberries, strawberries, rhubarb, cranberry peach and, of course, the grapes that grow on more than seven acres of the farm. While fruit wines may be top of mind when you think of a winery on the most popular berry farm in our area, they also offer the traditional Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot, Cabernet and Merlot to mention a few more. Choosing from so many options has been proven to be a challenge; therefore, free tastings are offered to help you narrow your favorites. While in the tasting bar, take notice of their very impressive display of award-winning wines above the bar.
The Nectar Garden, is a lovely place to sit and enjoy your wine amongst the flowers. The winery offers a picturesque location for private gatherings, showers, anniversaries, and birthday parties. Weekends and special events throughout the summer also offer a variety of gourmet snack and sandwich options, and will most often include live music and special events. The garden opens Mother’s Day weekend and would be a lovely place to spend some time with her – although there is plenty of time to enjoy, as it remains open through October. A calendar of events can be found on the Greendance website for dates and times of upcoming activities (www.green dancewinery.com/calendar).
Susan Lynn, one of the owners, explained the meaning behind the name as, Green – representing agriculture, and Dance – as the dance of life. The owners include Susan and her husband, Richard; Amy & Rob Schilling; Roxanne Vinoski and husband and vintner, Walt.
Whether it be a robust round of beer, or sipping fine wine in the garden, savor the moments spent, the laughter shared and the memories made with those you hold so dear.
In addition to being the proud mother of three amazing children, Carol Whelan is also a corporate and non-profit event coordinator (relaxedevents.net), and the proprietor of Fairy Godmothers 3, a vacation home concierge service (724-532-0436). Carol resides with her soul mate, Brian, her favorite four-legged child, Gizmo (all the two legged ones have moved out), and two spoiled cats in Latrobe. Feel free to email Carol at: firstname.lastname@example.org