Forget happy hour, and challenge your brain with puzzle hour. Puzzled Pint will have you puzzling while guzzling craft beer.

Puzzled Pint hosts monthly social puzzle solving events on the second Tuesday of every month in locations around the city. Want to know the location of the next meetup? Just solve Puzzled Pint’s location clue, posted online the Friday before the Tuesday evening event.

Location puzzles vary but typically involve a scramble, world game or pairing puzzle. The problem will yield a single word or phrase which unlocks the locations page, which reveals where to meet for the next Puzzled Pint event.

“The puzzles are beginner friendly; one of the guiding tenets of the Puzzled Pint is that the event is non-competitive, just for fun and even beginners can do it,” explains E Forney, co-coordinator of Puzzled Pint in Pittsburgh. “The location puzzle always has hints, and the solution will always be posted before the event.”

December’s location puzzle was a Mad Men-themed dialogue featuring a word scramble. Using the NATO phonetic alphabet, participants discovered the magic phrase that unlocked the event location. While each month features a different theme, like Mad Men or Greek mythology, knowledge of a particular subject is not required to participate in the event.

Puzzled Pint participants with brews and brainteasers. Courtesy E Forney.
Puzzled Pint participants with brews and brainteasers. Courtesy E Forney.

Once you find your way to the secret location, you’ll be put to the test with four or five brain teasers and logic puzzles. Typically, the puzzles will involve pen and paper, and participants might be required to cut or manipulate the puzzles to solve them. Previous puzzles have relied on Morse code, Braille and cryptograms to find the solution.

Unlike typical pub trivia, there’s no cash prize or winner declared at the end of the night, and participants can play alone or in teams. Solutions to the puzzles don’t rely on exact facts or figures either. In fact, players can use their phones to help solve the puzzles.

“We always make sure that knowledge of a particular show or subject is not required,” Forney says. “When people play they’re allowed to use their phones and Google to look up anything.”

Puzzled Pint started in 2010 in Portland and now has over 20 chapters internationally. The entire operation is volunteer-based, from chapter founders to members who submit puzzles. “Anyone who wants to can write a brainteaser. They’re tested by coordinators then added to the calendar,” Forney says.

Participants at every location solve the same puzzles each month, with the occasional international exception, Forney explains. “We have Puzzled Pint in Austria and New Zealand, so if there’s a puzzle that relies on some knowledge of American culture, we might have a different puzzle for the international event.”

Puzzled Pint started in Pittsburgh when one of its Portland founders, Matt Cleinman, began graduate school at Carnegie Mellon in 2014. Eager to bring Puzzled Pint to Pittsburgh, Cleinman reached out to CMU’s student puzzle hunt association and connected with Forney, a recent graduate and active alumna.

While it has CMU roots here, the backgrounds of attendees are diverse. “A lot of people have unrelated jobs, but some members work for escape rooms in their cities or do puzzle-related journalism for a living,” Forney explains.

Check out this month’s puzzle and January 12th event.

Emma Diehl

Emma Diehl is a writer, blogger, and social media marketer working in tech and startups in Pittsburgh. She loves local craft beer and a well-crafted pun.