Pittsburgh Flea Markets

I stopped going to flea markets for a while, and in that time the Pittsburgh flea market scene has changed significantly. Here’s an update from what I’ve learned so far this year.

The biggest, best flea market around is still in Rogers Ohio, Fridays only (year round). This one takes extra effort since it’s on a week day, relatively distant, and takes all day to get through the whole thing, so I usually only go once a year.

My previous favorite local flea market was Wildwood Peddler’s Fair, but that closed a year or so ago. I think they never really recovered from the flooding of Hurricane Ivan.

Trader Jack’s in Bridgeville is one of the older markets which is still going strong, but unfortunately I don’t like it any more than I used to.

My newest discovery is Rossi’s Pop-Up Market, which is less than 7 miles away in an ex-Loew’s theater. It’s indoor-outdoor, all year round, Saturday and Sunday. This is a much nicer, cleaner place than Jack’s, though I still haven’t found anyone selling good old tools.

I also haven’t found anyone I recognized form Wildwood. Maybe they went out of business, or maybe I just haven’t found the right market yet?

Beer Batch #25: Crippled Kriek

I wanted to brew a cherry beer, but I didn’t find a specific recipe I liked the look of. Crippled Kriek is a first attempt at getting what I want.

I called it “crippled” because I expected a cherry beer that didn’t taste like a proper Kriekbier, but instead, I got a beer that didn’t taste much like cherry. The rest of the flavor came out as I intended, and it’s a good beer; it just doesn’t taste like cherry.

Crippled Kriek

Brew date: March 29, 2009

Ingredients for a 5 gallon batch:

  • 1/2 lb Crystal Malt
  • 1/2 lb Chocolate Malt
  • 1/4 lb Roasted Barley
  • 6 lb LD Carlson Light Golden DME
  • 1oz Hallertau hops, 8.6AA for 60 min
  • 1oz Hallertau hops, 8.6AA for 10 min
  • 1tsp Irish Moss
  • 49oz Cherry Puree (3.3lb canned)
  • 1/4 gallon yeast starter, using WLP500 abbey ale yeast and WLP810 SF Lager

Same process as usual: Steep the grains, add the DME, and then boil for an hour. I added the cherry puree directly into the primary fermenter, after measuring the original gravity.

For the yeast starter, I used some 2nd generation Abbey Ale yeast, in hopes of getting some of its taste profile, and some 2nd generation San Francisco Lager yeast, because I knew it would ferment in my chilly house temperatures. In the end, I think the ale yeast failed and the lager yeast succeeded.

Original Gravity: 1.062


  • Started yeast on March 26 using 1c DME in 4c water, and boiling for 30 min
  • Pitched yeast at 70F
  • April 8, 2009: Gravity = 1.014
  • April 9, 2009: Gravity = 1.014; rack to secondary
  • April 21, 2009: Gravity = 1.014; rack to the keg

The taste is a lot more clean than I had hoped for. I’d prefer the more interesting flavor which the Abbey Ale yeast would impart, but instead I think this is just the lager yeast.

For the recipe, I started with my gruit recipe (but without the herbs) and added the Roasted Barley to give it a bit more of a chocolatey/smoky flavor and a darker head. This part of the flavor turned out just as I had hoped.

In retrospect, I should have paid attention to the recipes which called for 10lbs of cherries. Another possibility would be to add the cherries in the secondary fermenter, instead of the primary.

As usual, it’s a good, drinkable beer. It just didn’t come out how I wanted it to.