Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on October 10, 2023.
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When Roundabout Brewery announced that they were closing their Lawrenceville location, we were pretty bummed. Thankfully, this one did not entirely cease operations and went to remote brewing to continue hosting its seasonal Roundabout Popup space on the North Shore River Trail.
Naturally, their end-of-season event, Smoketoberfest, also remained to celebrate all things fall with fun, friends, beer, and a whole lot of smoked food from some of the best food trucks in Pittsburgh.
We had missed attending this one for many years due to seemingly always being out of town, but after visiting Smoketoberfest for the 10th annual event in 2023, we can see we made a big mistake missing out all those years!
What is Smoketoberfest All About?
As a ticketed Oktoberfest event, you may be wondering what Smoketoberfest entails. Thankfully, as far as ticket values go, this has been one of our favorite fall beer events to date!
For the cost of admission (~$55 in 2023 after tax), we got the following:
- A branded Smoketoberfest mug and one welcome beer
- Samples from the four food trucks on-site
- The ability to buy more beer with many smoked brews made just for the event
- Live music
- …and more!
Virtually every element of Smoketoberfest involved some smoked component, although some non-smoked beers were available. During our 2023 experience, this included smoked beef ribs from Blowfish BBQ, loaded tostadas from Dos Reyes (a vegetarian mushroom option was also available), haluski from Black Sheep BBQ, and pork cheek on a corn cake from Pittsburgh Tortas.
The portion sizes from each truck varied, with a serving from Blowfish BBQ including two sides that we would say was on par with a standard meal order from the truck, with single serving tostadas and corn cakes from Dos Reyes and Pittsburgh Tortas, respectively, and a side size from Black Sheep Barbecue. When it was all said and done, the food amounted to what we would argue was more than two full entrees by food truck standards, which helped justify the ticket price nicely.
The real treat from the food side of the menu was that virtually everything available to try is typically not found on the regular menu of each respective truck. Blowfish BBQ hit it out of the park with perfectly smoked and intensely flavorful ribs, Dos Reyes flavors had a perfect balance between sweet, spicy, and smokey, and Pittsburgh Tortas produced some of the most tender cheeks we've ever had. Our only real regret was that the haluski from Black Sheep BBQ didn't compare as much, if only because the other three were that good.
Sadly, apart from buying a burrito from Dos Reyes, it did appear that most of the other trucks didn't have extra for sale, and despite being completely stuffed, we probably would've bought three more plates from the trucks just because we may never see some of these dishes again!
Blowfish BBQ ribs, I'm looking at you.
On the beer front, Roundabout offered a smoked Oktoberfest, another smoked variation that added chiles as well, a smoked peach Ginga Wheat, Hootie Fest IPA, and other popular, albeit non-smoked, brews like a Pilsner, Hefeweizen from a guest brewery, their seasonal Jacked Up O'Lantern stout, and more.
As this event was packed (every table was full and then some), it is worth noting that Roundabout had a second bar space set up for the event with additional taps. In this instance, the bar was cash or tickets only, so those going in would do well to have a bit of cash on hand in case this remains cash only at future events. Thankfully, we had $20 in our pocket, allowing us to buy some of the beers only found on that draft side.
Finally, we would be remiss if we didn't give a shout out to the smoked peach Ginga Wheat as being the star of the day. This one is a crowd pleaser even without the smoked peach, but the additional flavors with peach sweetness and a subtle smoke was so good we complained to the Roundabout folks for holding out on having this one on more often- yes, it was that good!
Overall, Smoketoberfest is the kind of fall event we love- great beer, stellar food, and a theme that can be found in just about every element of the event. But throw that event at the wonderful Roundabout Popup on a cool but sunny fall day and we can't ask for much more. We will be back!
Smoketoberfest takes places at the Roundabout Popup each October for one day only. The event is ticketed and sells out in advance.
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