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Make a Friend Day is February 11

Make A Friend Day – February 11th

It’s always a great day to make a new friend.  So it seems very fitting that there would be a “Make A Friend Day” on the calendar to complement so many other special appreciation sort-of-days.  Personally, I have found there is no better way to make a new friend than with a nice, cold, delicious, locally brewed and bottled beer.

In my experience, any time I am giving out beer samples, people are usually up for at least a brief conversation, if not a much longer conversation that delves into the very meaning of life.  It’s really a trust building exercise.  They rely on my knowledge to let them try the beer I have, and to also guide them in recommending a beer to please themselves, a significant other, or a group of people for whom they are buying.

Beer permits a certain commonality between all types of people.  You really get a feel for someone when you know what their beer-of-choice is and why they drink it.  Craft beer or domestic?  Full-flavor or light?  Porter/stout, IPA, hefeweizen (wheat), or fruity-flavor beer?  Do you like a shot and a beer?  Those people aren’t messing around and are probably the toughest people you will come across.

Whether it is “Free Beer Friday,” “Turn Up Tuesday” (as the young-uns call it), “Thirsty Thursday,” or any other day of the week, a new friend in need, needs a beer, indeed.  So go ahead and invite the neighborhood over, crack open a cold Iron City, IC Light, Blockhouse, or American.  Or buy a stranger a beer at the bar, pay-it-forward, and make yourself a new friend.  I’ll drink to that.

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Happy Groundhog Day

There are many groundhogs around the country that are said to be able to predict whether winter will stay or spring will come, but those in Pennsylvania recognizes that the original weather-predicting groundhog is the one-and-only, Punxsutawney Phil.  Phil gives notoriety for an otherwise small town an hour and a half north-east of Pittsburgh.  On February 2nd , throngs of people, many local, many from other parts of the state, and even some from all over the country, will travel to the “Weather Capital of the World,” Gobbler’s Knob.  Many others will be watching intently by internet and TV for his prediction.

The tradition of having a groundhog wake from hibernation to see his shadow actually comes from folklore belonging to some of the original settlers of Pennsylvania: The Germans.  On this day, if the weather were sunny, it was said that winter would have another go before giving way to spring.  Likewise, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, he returns to his burrow for another 6 weeks of winter.  Of course, if he doesn’t see his shadow, then we are to expect an early spring.

The famous Phil can be found in just about any direction you look in Punxsy.  By the fire station, he is at the ready, dressed as a firefighter.  At the library, he dons the stovepipe hat that his “Inner Circle” and handlers wear during his events.  Other statues include Phil draped in an American flag, holding proud the key to the town, playing the bagpipes, and working hard as a carpenter, among many others.  

Throughout the years, Phil has enjoyed a infamy, and perhaps a few Old German beers as well. (Hey, does anyone really know what’s in his “elixir of life” they give him every summer?).  The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club (www.groundhog.org) even includes a fun-fact for all you alcohol aficionados out there: “During Prohibition, Phil threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter on the community if he wasn’t allowed a drink.”  

Atta boy, Phil.  

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Authentic Oktoberfest

Pittsburgh’s North Side German Club to Celebrate
First Public Oktoberfest in its 162 Year Old History

Here’s a media alert about a great event this weekend featuring our friends at Teutonia Männerchor (German Club–North Side/Deutschtown) and Block House Brewing.

WHO: Teutonia Männerchor (German Club–North Side/Deutschtown) and Block House Brewing.


  • A family friendly fest held outside under the Club’s Big Tent in its lower parking lot – open rain or shine.
  • Bier wagons, food stalls and merchandise stalls will be located throughout the grounds.
  • This Traditional “Münchener Style” Oktoberfest will feature imported German beer and wine and Block House Brewing. specialties such as Block House Oktoberfest, Block House Pumpkin Ale.
  • German food specialities include Hot Pretzels, Potato Pancakes, Bratwurst, Knockwurst, Currywurst and more.
  • Live music on stage throughout the fest and special demonstrations and performances by the Alpen Schuhplattlers.

WHERE: Teutonia Männerchor’s Oktoberfest Tent – Lower Parking Lot – 857 Phineas St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212 – North Side/Deutschtown – http://www.pghmannerchor.com.

WHEN: Friday, October 7 – Sunday, October 9, 2016

  • Friday, October 7 – 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM – Music by Mädel Jäger.
  • Saturday, October 8 – 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM.
    • Music by Hank Haller (Afternoon) and Autobahn (Evening).
    • Special “Dogtoberfest” – Saturday, October 8 – 11AM – 5PM – Dogs are welcome.
    • For a $5 donation to the Essence of Love Animal Rescue, receive a Block House Stein/mug or dog bandana.
  • Sunday, October 9 – 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM – Music  by Augsburg Brass.

WHY: Celebrate Pittsburgh’s German Heritage – largest ethnic group in the area – and the historic Teutonia Männerchor – Western PA’s premier German Singing and Cultural Society.

HOW MUCH: $10 cover charge. Beer, food etc. priced a la carte.


Founded in 2014, in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA, the Block House Brewing Company is an ode to the city’s rich living-history.  The historic brewery has survived the Civil War, Prohibition and the Great Flood of 1936.  Every brick, slate, and block of the brewery was meticulously crafted and carefully placed to endure the test of time.  The brewery channels the same methodical approach to crafting its beer.  The brewery’s line-up includes a Pumpkin Ale, Octoberfest, Summer Break and Double Chocolate Bock Seasonals. In early November, the brewery is introducing a full-year IPA – only available now at CONSOL Energy Center and Heinz Field in draught – available in bottles and draught.