Photo courtesy of Meg Evans

A self-described workaholic, Meg Evans began her career in beer in the basement of Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, NY, gluing boxes and labeling bottles. She was eventually offered a job working in brewing production and management where she discovered her passion.

Now she heads production at Rock Bottom Brewery at the Waterfront in Pittsburgh. Despite being part of a larger chain of breweries, they live by the local craft ethos, focusing on smaller brewpub production. Right at home in this environment, Meg relishes the creativity that is so crucial to her craft and takes pride in the patience and dedication it takes to make a great beer. She is a prominent figure in the Pittsburgh craft beer scene, as well as a role model for other women in the industry.

Recently, Meg and her husband (a brewer at Spoonwood Brewery) were judges at the King of the Wing Festival at Penn Brewery. After being introduced to a plethora of delicious wings, they decided that they needed to check out a few of the joints themselves.

My husband James and I spent half of our lives in the snow belt of Western New York about an hour south of Buffalo, NY. The area is known for a few delicious bites like Beef on Weck and a Garbage plate. But the one that trumps them all is chicken wings. I can’t say that I’m an expert or a connoisseur, but I sure know what I like in a wing. So, when Mark Turic asked James and me to be judges at the annual King of the Wing festival, it was a no-brainer. What came of that festival for us was a new list of places we had to visit. Of course, we scoped out those who were at the top of the mountain. First stop, the winner of the “Exotic” Category – Nox’s Tavern in Blawnox, PA.

One thing I still hold dear from growing up in a small town is this social concept you only really understand if you’ve lived in a place with less than 30,000 people. There is this acceptance when you walk into a place and a feeling of comfort whether you know anyone or not. Picture a scene from Cheers and you can get my drift. Pittsburgh is an amazing place to be settled in because even though it’s much larger than our hometown, you can find a neighborhood to call your own with that very same vibe. Not to mention, the beer industry is the epitome of this concept too. The group of brewers we’ve met are a family to us at the heart of it all.

Okay, sappy stuff over and onto the real point here – wings. Nox’s Tavern is no different than what I described above. You walk into an intimate space, a quaint patio and a friendly staff. The main point of our visit was to try the award winning wings, so without much hesitation, we briefed the menu before ordering their Butter Mesquite and BBQ Thai. My mom joined us and ordered their Garlic Parm. I have to admit, it was hard to choose. Their wings were crisp, juicy and incredibly flavorful. This was a wing I could like. No, make that love. We will certainly be visiting again.

Caroline is working towards completing her Masters in Food Studies at Chatham University. She is an avid runner with a penchant for tiny spoons.