TX Beer in PA?
June 13, 2013 2:10 PM   Subscribe

How can I provide our host in Pittsburgh with delicious Texas brews?

We're going out to the East Coast in July to spend some time with friends and generally escape the Texas heat (though "escaping the heat" into an area of the country where air-conditioning is not de rigeur is...to me, questionable. Oh well.) Most nights we're staying with family/good friends, but a one night layover in Pittsburgh will be spent on the couch of an old roommate's ex-boyfriend, a nice guy who I don't know as well. Said guy moved from Austin to Pittsburgh one year ago, and his constant complaint is the loss of Austin beer. I'd love to provide him with a variety pack as a house gift, but since shipping beer is illegal in BOTH states, I thought I'd bring this to the green. My question breaks down thus:

1. Is there a store anywhere in PA that Texas beers are sold? I have little hope for this, though I thought I'd ask on the off-chance that there's a pack of Shiner Bock floating around somewhere up there. We're Amtraking to Pitt from NYC, so stores there are also an option.

2. We're flying into Providence and road-tripping/sleeping on floors in-between, so I suspect bringing beer with me on the plane is just a bad idea. But then, I love gestures. Wacky ideas for beer-transport are welcome.

3. Should I decide to forget the symbolism, I'd love to bring him local Pittsburgh beers that are similar to his favorite Austin brews. I know the man likes hops. Are there any well traveled Mefites who can point me to good Pennsylvania companies, particularly any beers that taste like Independence Stash IPA or Real Ale Lost Gold IPA? Hidden treasures he might not have stumbled across in a year in PA? (I see this old post, but I'm not just looking for good beers, I'm looking for hoptastic ones)

Beer snobs of Metafilter, help me be an amazing houseguest!
posted by theweasel to Food & Drink (17 answers total)
Okay, here's the thing about beer in PA. They have state liquor stores. You go to a State Store for wine and the hard stuff and a Beer Distributor for cases of beer.

You can occassionally buy singles or six-packs to go from an actual bar, but they charge you bar prices for the convenience. Also, no Sunday sales.

Your best bet is to take a trip to a Kroger in Weirton, WV (22/30 gets you there.)

Unless you can pick up some cute brews on your way from RI.

Can you pack cans in your suitcase?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:18 PM on June 13, 2013

Best answer: A bit out of the way, but the House of 1000 Beers looks like it has a lot of options that you may want to look into. I've never been but it looks like you can buy beer in 6-pack form there.
posted by amicamentis at 2:22 PM on June 13, 2013

And a local Market District [grocery store] sells Shiner Bock.
posted by amicamentis at 2:23 PM on June 13, 2013

Not in PA, but here in NYC there's been some kind of marketing push from Shiner, as I'm seeing their stuff everywhere all of a sudden, and Shiner Bock used to be a scarce commodity 'round here. I wouldn't be surprised to see it at distributors.
posted by mkultra at 2:44 PM on June 13, 2013

You're landing in Providence, you say? Nikki's sells 1,000 brands of craft beer. Statistically, one of them has to be from Texas. Call them (not on a weekend, not when they're likely to be busy) with a reasonable list of specific brands and ask.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:45 PM on June 13, 2013

Go with #2. Wrap it up well and pack it in your luggage. I've flown with bottles of wine, and it's no big deal.
posted by donajo at 2:46 PM on June 13, 2013

Well, for Shiner in particular, their website says it's distributed in NJ and PA. And I've purchased Shiner Bock in Baltimore and carried it on the Amtrak to Boston.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 2:47 PM on June 13, 2013

This lists some places in Pittsburgh that stock Shiner Bock. It's from 2010, though.
posted by hoyland at 2:54 PM on June 13, 2013

Best answer: I suspect that you will find it easier to buy beer out of state and take it with you on the train, but we do have some actual beer stores in PA now, where you can even (!) make mix-and-match six packs. And buy beer on Sunday! This varies at the city/county level (especially some of the surrounding areas of Pittsburgh) but it really depends where you are.

Has he ever mentioned Victory's Hop Devil? It's local to this side of the state, but fairly popular further afield.
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:59 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Maybe I'm just mean, but I'd just pack a few forties of Lonestar.
posted by politikitty at 3:17 PM on June 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

I can buy Shiner in Philadelphia - I was just at my neighborhood bottle shop this evening and they had Shiner Bock and Ruby Redbird - but it's also super easy to fly with beer and will probably be much easier than trying to find Texas beer in the northeast, especially since your friend LIVES in Pittsburgh and says he's had trouble finding his old favorites. Put it in your checked bags; the airlines absolutely do not care and will not ask you any questions about it. Just wrap the bottles in some t-shirts or other soft things, or if you're nervous, I recently started using Jet Bags and they're great for extra peace of mind.

There are some great PA beers, but I suspect your friend will be more impressed by you showing up with Texas beers he can't get locally than you trying to guess what local-to-him beers he hasn't had yet. I mean, I would hope he appreciates the gesture no matter what you decide to do, but I bet the nostalgia factor will be more meaningful to him than the actual taste of the beer, even if you bring him just-okay Texas beer and pass on some top-of-the-line PA stuff.
posted by jessypie at 4:36 PM on June 13, 2013

House of 1000 Beers is awesome and I'm actually heading there either this weekend or next. If you can provide more detail about specific brands, I'll scope it out and see what they have.

I've definitely seen Shiner Bock; it's pretty common here.

Tröeg's Nugget Nectar and Perpetual IPA are both great; Tröeg's is over in Harrisburg and widely available here. More locally, East End Brewing's Big Hop is my go-to beer, and your friend will get a reusable growler out of the deal; ditto Sharp Edge's Over the Edge beer, which is also available in growlers (for both, you'll need to get a growler at the brewery/restaurant; they won't honor other place's growlers.)
posted by punchtothehead at 4:38 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, the people at House of 1000 Beers are really nice, and I bet if you give them a call, they'll check the stock for you.
posted by punchtothehead at 4:40 PM on June 13, 2013

I have no idea about beer where you are headed, but our Oklahoma friends ask us to bring them Texas beer for the alcohol percentage rather than the brand. That might make a difference in where you buy it.
posted by tamitang at 5:12 PM on June 13, 2013

Shangy's in Emmaus, maybe?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:34 PM on June 13, 2013

If he likes really hoppy beers I would try and pick up some Alchemist beer when you're in RI if you can find it. You might not be able to find it outside of VT, but it wouldn't surprise me if a good beer store in RI would have some cans or bottles for sale.
posted by koolkat at 1:27 AM on June 14, 2013

Like jessypie, I've brought beer along with me while flying many times. I just wrap it really well in clothes (and once in bubble wrap for an international flight) and stash it in a checked bag. My bag ALWAYS gets searched though, just FYI. The people I am bringing it to are always super thrilled to be presented with their favorite beer that they're having trouble finding (especially when the people are my girlfriend and I and the beer is Jester King Funk Metal).
posted by vakker at 5:57 AM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

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