Great Lakes Brewery Company’s Lake Erie Monster, a Big Hoppy Monster of Goodness

I’ve never heard of the legendary “South Bay Bessie” that is rumored to inhabit Lake Erie’s shallow waters, but then again as a Pittsburgher I’ve spent much of my life avoiding anything Cleveland related. One beer coming from the Mistake on the Lake may force me to change my mind about the hapless city.

I have been lucky to try the limited seasonal offering honoring “South Bay Bessie” from Great Lakes Brewery Company, Lake Erie Monster, twice so far here in Pittsburgh. This is the first year since its inception in 2005 that it has been distributed much outside of Cleveland, and even now it is difficult to find.

Lake Erie Monster is an unfiltered imperial India pale ale that when poured is surprisingly clear, golden, with a white persistent head that laced pleasantly around the glass while drinking. The aroma of this brew is very fresh, hoppy throughout, with lemon. While you are hit with a lot of hoppyness with your first taste, plus refreshing lemongrass and pine, the noticeable alcohol flavor on the backend is masked perfectly with sweet malt that does not leave an unpleasant too-sweet aftertaste. The honey-like malt flavor balances with the major hops and unmistakable alcohol without making itself overwhelming, something that I find all too rare.

While this beer is hoppy enough to satisfy IPA lovers everywhere (and to scare off any hop-fearers), it is so drinkable that it easily lives up to its name as a monster. Clocking in 9.1% ABV, drinkability is a dangerous characteristic for this beer to have! I highly recommend (carefully) giving this delectable brew a try before they are all gone. Lake Erie Monster is only available from May to July, so your time is running out! I found Lake Erie Monster on draft at Harris Grill (the location of Bacon Bash) on Ellsworth Ave in Shadyside and more recently at the Sharp Edge in Friendship.

By Beth Kerr

The Vegan Agenda Part 1: Celebrities are so smrt… ur smart.

I was down in our nation’s capital (That’s Washington D.C. for those of you that went to public school.) When I was walking down the street, about 3 blocks away from the White House I came across an interesting looking news paper stand. We have all seen these; they’re the big plastic ones that say free on the side and mostly contain house listings. This one was different it had a bunch of pictures of celebrities and I saw in big letters it said recipes inside. I figured I’d check it out since I’m always down for trying new recipes.

As I raised the small news paper to my face the first thing I noticed was Tobey Magurie’s smiling face, the second was big lettering that said, “Go Vegetarian Go Vegan!” Normally I would just throw this away in the nearest sewer drain but I decided to check it out. It’s always a good idea to see other points of view even if you don’t agree with them.

I turned to the first page of this PETA sponsored Vegan Starter Kit and instantly knew I made a mistake. The first two pages were covered with smiling celebrities and quotes’ proving that once again all you need to make it in show business is looks. Here are some of the gems that stuck out.

Sir Paul McCartney: Says “chickens are as intelligent as dogs, cats, and some primates”

I have personally have never seen any of these smart chickens but if they’re as smart as dogs, cats, and monkeys then that must mean they also play, throw and eat their own poop. That must also mean that if we can prove an animal is dumber then a dog it would be ok to eat them.

Constance Marie: (yea I never heard of her either.) Held a chicken once during the filming of “Selena” and it was at that point in her live that she realized for the first time that animals are alive and where chicken nuggets come from.

Carrie Underwood: Says killing animals for meat just makes her sad. I guess we’ll just have to kill them for sport and the sheer fun of it.

Pam Anderson: Says chickens, pigs and other animals are interesting individuals with personality and intelligence. She’s right, have you ever talked to a pig? They are down right charming and would be the life of the party at any social gathering. Especially when they do that trick were they roll in their own feces

I read through all 22 pages of this garbage and found some interesting recurring themes. They like to mention over and over again that Vegans are in perfect health and meat-eaters are over weight. I found 20 different comments saying this, but what I want to know is, if Vegetarians and Vegans are all the perfect body weight then what the hell are Alec Baldwin and Forest Whitaker doing in this magazine? If you believe that Alec Baldwin doesn’t eat cheeseburgers you probably also believe that milks CAUSES osteoporosis. Oh wait… I’m sorry, they claim that too.

Read more about the Vegan Agenda!

By Sean Brett

Happy 4th of July from the Bacon Nation

Well I have my “Mmmerica” shirt from Tee Fury (sorry if you missed) so now I am officially ready to celebrate our independents in style. I might even wear the shirt all weekend.

I figured now would be a good time to pull out some older posts that should help you have the best 4th of July cookout ever.

Beer: You got to have beer at a cook out here are some of my favorites, Brew Free! Or Die IPA, Big Hop IPA, Racer 5 IPA, and Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.

Food: Other then beer, food is the second most important thing at a cook out. Here are some ideas for you, Bacon Burger Dogs, Grill around the Globe, Heart Attack Snack, and the Bacon Explosion.

I hope those help you have a great time this weekend. I have a lot of other posts I could have added but it would have took me for ever to find them all. If you think I missed any important ones just link to them in the comments. Just search for your favorites or browse the archives.

Have a great weekend and remember to buy your Bacon Bash tickets.

Enjoy Bacon!

Bacon LIVE: The Bacon Bash Promotional Extravaganza

On last night’s show Sean and I were excited that Bacon Bash tickets are going on sale today. At about the 15 minute mark we snapped in to a Bacon Bash infomercial. We covered just about every aspect of the event plus some top secret ideas we are trying to have happen at the event. You’re going to have to watch the show to see what they are. Hopefully the live stream recording didn’t mess up during those parts.

We also talked about the comeback of the Taco Bell Bacon Club Chalupa. Sean will give it a try and let us know what he thinks. We then wrapped up the show with banter about ordering food late at night and Obama’s aids eating baskets of bacon.

Watch us on!

Watch LIVE Wednesdays at 7 pm EST at!

21st Amendment Brewery’s Brew Free! Or Die IPA: Great for a 4th of July Cookout

As the temperature climbs and the Fourth of July creeps nearer, cookouts will inevitably be a part of my plans. The question, for me, is never what food to bring to cookouts (cheddar brats…duh), but instead what beer to bring. Luckily, one of the hottest trends in the beer world is looking to make this dilemma quite a bit more interesting.

Admittedly, prior to this spring, I hadn’t drunk beer from a can in a very, very, long time. There are great benefits from drinking beer in a can, including the most satisfying “crack” of opening it and its welcome spot at any outdoor event. Despite this, a few things always disturbed me about beer in a can. First, the metallic tinge of flavor that was added when drinking beer from a can always was a huge turn-off for me. Secondly, there are simply only awful choices of beers available in cans. That is, until now.

I can thank the hot brew trend of the season, craft beers in cans. I’ve tried several of these this spring and summer, two of which came from 21st Amendment Brewery out of San Francisco, CA. Most recently, their Brew Free! Or Die IPA has been resting comfortably in our fridge.

First of all, this beer gets points for awesome name and can design. It really stands apart from the other beers in the distributor, which it should, because I would be quick to dismiss boring cans in the sea of fancy bottles. Out of the can it is a rich golden color with a moderate amount of thick head which stuck around. Its flowery aroma is pretty standard for an IPA, although less impressive than similar brews. While the mouthfeel of this beer is very pleasing, with a thick, satisfying, slightly carbonated sensation, I feel that its taste was good, but nothing to write home about. I was left hoping for a little more hoppy bitterness with this beer. The sweetness of the malts in this IPA was a bit too present, definitely not allowing the hops to take center stage. This characteristic made the beer quite drinkable, though, which leads me to decide that it passes my “cookout worthy” test.

While I found the beer enjoyable to drink, it left me unfulfilled as an IPA. Is this a consequence of the can? I don’t know the answer to that, but I feel that 21st Amendment Brewery can be proud of their success of improving the state of canned beer. I recommend it for your Fourth of July bash, as well with lunch or dinner. Finally, I feel that this IPA, because of its lack of bitterness, may be a more universal craft brew for those used to drinking the current “triple hop brewed” canned beer selection.

Let me know what you think about this beer if you have the chance to try it. Also be sure to check out my last beer review, Sweaty Betty Blonde.

By Beth Kerr

Bacon and Peaches Panini

One of my favorite style sandwiches are Paninis, so I was happy to find out that there was a whole blog dedicated to them. has been going strong for a few years now and they cover just about every kind of Panini you can dream up.

Last year they posted about a Bacon and Peaches Panini. You would think that peaches and bacon wouldn’t mix well but Kathy, author of the blog, thought otherwise.

I had a hunch that peaches would taste great with bacon and it turned out to be true. It’s that sweet-savory thing I just can’t get enough of.

Not having my own Panini press I have not been able to try this out but I am going to take Kathy’s word for it. Give that she is an expert an all. Check out here blog for more Panini ideas and amazing photos of them.

Bacon & Peaches Panini

Serves 2


  • 1-2 large yellow peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 4 slices bacon, fully cooked
  • Fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced (as much as you like)
  • French baguette, sliced crosswise into 5″ sections OR ciabatta rolls (I would not recommend sliced breads)


  1. Preheat the Panini grill to medium-high heat (375°F).
  2. For each sandwich: Halve the bread lengthwise. In between the halves, layer on the cheese, two slices of bacon and as many peaches as will fit neatly inside the bread.
  3. Grill 4-5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Here are a few more bacon recipes from Kathy:

Let me know if you try and of these out or were I can get a cheap Pinini press in Pittsburgh.

Boulder Beer Company’s Sweaty Betty Blonde

On hot summer days, like ones we have been lucky enough to experience recently here in Pittsburgh, there is nothing quite like finding the perfect refreshing beer to kick back and enjoy. Sweaty Betty Blonde is a selection from Boulder Beer Company (Boulder, CO) that may just fit the bill for you this summer. With a label that describes the beer as “Irresistible. Flirtatious. Aromatic. Soft. Supple. Unavoidable. Smooth. Exuberant. Glistening. Wild. Firm. Rare. Succulent. Luscious. Ripe. Natural. Glowing. Curvaceous. Magical”, it better live up to the hype.

First, a short bit about Blondes. Blonde ales, also known as Golden ales, share a clean and crisp taste, low to medium hoppy flavor, and sweetness from malts. While they may have some faint fruity notes, they should not be overwhelmingly present.

Sweaty Betty Blonde, once poured, was cloudy, with a pretty straw color and little head that did not stick around long. This is a nice looking beer in a glass. The aroma of was not strong at all and only consisted of faint flower and banana scents. Not overpowering, and really barely noticeable after the first few sips. I feel that the most prominent taste was a spicy medium-hoppy flavor, accented nicely by slight banana and clove flavors. I was pleased with this balance of flavors, and found it to be quite a drinkable beer, especially in warm weather. There was some carbonation with Sweaty Betty, but not a great amount. The mouthfeel of this brew was clean and crisp, leaving a sweet lingering taste on the palate.

I would recommend this beer as a refreshing drink after mowing the lawn (not that I’ve ever mowed a lawn), or a long walk. Personally, I wouldn’t prefer to drink this beer with food, since the sweet lingering flavor may clash with dinner. I would, however, order this pre-meal or on a lazy afternoon. Give it a try and let me know what you think! I enjoyed this beer at Mad Mex here in Pittsburgh (McKnight Rd, other locations).

By Beth Kerr

I would like to take this time to welcome Beth Kerr to the site. She will be writing about beer and recipes (since she is the one that cooks most of them). She has also been called Mrs. Baconpants on more than one occasion, so adding her to the site was a no brainer. Enjoy her first post.