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Dinner @ Hartwood

A quick anecdote: In 2010, British band Mumford & Sons played the Reading Music Festival, following the release of their immensely successful debut album. Shortly into the first verse of one of their more famous songs, singer Marcus Mumford has somewhat of a moment. As soon as he starts singing, the crowd not only a.) goes completely bonkers, and b.) knows every word and are singing loudly along. And Mumford just starts beaming. A few small chuckles perforate the first verse as he continues to crank out the pounding folk-rock with full intensity. You can see it in his face: he has just realized that he has become, in no uncertain terms, seriously legit.

That stupid look of ecstatic satisfaction with one’s own creation was glued on our faces last night. It was a pretty huge milestone for us: we participated in our first formal in-restaurant beer dinner, just three weeks after hosting our own for the first time. The Brew Gentlemen were asked to join local nanobrewery-in-planning Milkman Brewing for a four-course beer dinner at the Hartwood Restaurant, nestled in the gorgeous wooded expanse just north of the city. The restaurant was unbelievable, a New England-style country mansion with multiple balconies, endless bookshelves, and stained-glass windows.

Everything went wonderfully. The event sold out, with 40 guests in attendance. Our White Sky chai white ale was paired with the first course, foie gras and duck-stuffed empanadas with an citrus and onion salad. To our extreme satisfaction, the beer was universally well-received by the attendees. It’s one thing for your friends to tell you your beer is excellent, but it’s pretty awesome to be given praise by strangers with zero obligation to flatter you. We also booked three more TBD events, including another dinner with the Hartwood folks. Stupid look of ecstatic satisfaction: activate.

A huge thanks to all involved and all in attendance, to Lee Schmidt and Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week, and to Kate, Jon and everyone else at the Hartwood Restaurant for making this whole thing happen. Needless to say, this is the first of many great things to come.

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