When it comes to his business, Commonwealth Press co-owner Dan Rugh runs a tight ship. But this spring, he plans to make waves.
The Beer Barge makes its triumphant return to the three rivers on April 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets to the annual event, which was postponed for two years due to Covid, go on sale March 31 at 5:30 p.m. Prices haven’t been announced yet. Follow CommonWealth Press on Instagram to stay up to date.
Landlubbers will board The Empress, a 212-foot-long, 50-foot-wide member of the Gateway Clipper Fleet, at Station Square for a three-hour tour filled with tunes, brews and nautical nonsense.
The vessel will carry about 400 souls, including representatives from more than a dozen local breweries, distilleries and cider houses. Two bands and a DJ will rock the boat: Century III, BjORDAN and Jx4.
Upon their arrival, attendees, who must be vaccinated, will receive a 5-ounce taster glass. Snacks will also be available to purchase, but Rugh recommends filling up before you set sail.
“It’s bigger than a booze cruise,” says Rugh, who runs the Allentown-based custom print and design shop with his wife, Shannon. “It’s a bunch of independent businesses pulling off something pretty impressive. There’s no corporate backing. The guy who pours your beer is probably the guy who made it.”
The Rughs started their company in 2002. Beer makers, including East End Brewing Co. and Penn Brewery, were some of their first clients. They even helped the folks in charge of the original Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week come up with promotional events and branding.
Using their own money, they launched the first Beer Barge in 2013. They barely broke even but had the best time.
Tickets for the maritime mayhem usually sell out within minutes. To accommodate all the revelers in previous years, Commonwealth Press operated two back-to-back cruises and even tied the Empress and the Duchess together to form a giant, floating dance party.
If the pandemic left you feeling high and dry, the Beer Barge is a wet and wild return to normalcy.
Prone to seasickness? You can still support Pittsburgh breweries on April 30. Deutschtown’s Allegheny City Brewing is hosting Logger Jam: A Celebration of Local Lagers from noon to 3 p.m. The event will be held in the brewery’s new beer garden on East Ohio Street.
Roundabout Brewery pop-up
In February, Roundabout Brewery moved out of 4901 Butler St. in Lawrenceville to make room for Coven Brewing. Check out our list of new taprooms and suds factories opening in 2022.
Fear not, beer lovers: Dyana and Steve Sloan are still operating the Roundabout pop-up site. Located at 1836 Oxline St. in Chateau, the beer garden is a hidden gem along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. It boasts red-and-white striped tents and picnic tables.
Weather permitting, it’s open 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.
A different food truck will be on site each day. Pets are permitted on Thursdays, but not on the weekends.