The stress of Jenga

“Come on out for a relaxing night of great local craft beer and fun games!” is what I was told about Wednesday night. Little did I know that I would go through one of the most intense games of my life and it was Jenga.

Jenga TowerThe fine folks at Spoonwood Brewing hosted a Giant Jenga competition as a part of Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week, Pittsburgh’s 10 day celebration of great local beer.

I have played Jenga 2-3 times in my life and have no idea what the rules are besides “dont knock it over!”. The game seemed pretty simple and with the libations flowing, we were all very relaxed.

8 people were slotted to play and divided into Team Should I Drink That, headed by myself, vs Team Noble Stein Brewing with captain Zack Morrow. After a week of Twitter trash talking it was time to get wood.

When my match started versus Megan we had a moment of truth.

Megan “Have you ever played this before?”
Me: “Twice that I can remember. You?”
Megan: “Same here.”
Me: “Fast game for both of us?”
Megan: “Probably!”

That wouldn’t be the case. Our game would go on for what felt like 45 minutes to an hour. Our hands were shaking and sweaty, we would tip-toe around the board and pretty sure we bit all of our nails off also. Dusk turned to night and if the pressure from the game wasn’t already high the ENTIRE BREWERY stopped what they were doing to watch. Patrons who were eating dinner grabbed their beers and came outside as word spread about the tower.


Moves went from seconds to minutes.


The what? What’s load bearing? Wait, what’s my name? Piece? I could go for a piece of pie. Pecan would rock right now. Rock! I’m playing next to a huge rock! Doug, concentrate! Concentrate… concrete. I need to fix the concrete by my steps.

We had several almost-crashes until the tower came down at Megan’s feet. I gave a huge sigh of relief and went back to my table. I was spent and when it came to game 2 I was wiped out mentally. I lasted 5 rounds before caving and knocking the tower over.

When the dust cleared Team Noble Stein Brewing won and Team Should I Drink That cheered as our friends accepted their prizes. We were all winners though because we had a great time with awesome food and good beer. It’s moments like this we wouldn’t have been able to experience 5 years ago but thanks to the craft beer boom and visions of places like Spoonwood Brewing, we’re able to eat, drink, and play while 100% supporting local businesses.

Thanks to Jason Cercone from PCBN & Spoonwood Brewing for images 3-5.

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