As a city, we are going through so many awesome changes and growth spurts that 20 years from now we will look upon this time as Pittsburgh reinventing ourselves. Focusing in on beer alone, it is amazing that we have a brewery in just about every part of town. We are also extremely lucky to have these folks who decided to brew beer doing it here share their stories with us.
It seems that the 90’s were a hot time to get started in the brewing profession, the booming industrial phase if you wish. Andrew Rich, from Penn Brewery decided to start brewing beer with a former rugby teammate (the former rugby teammate is Matt Cole and the brewmaster for Fat Head’s, go Matt!). They brewed A LOT of bad beer, but they’re knowledge improved with each brewing batch. Andrew did a stint with Erie Brewing Company before coming to Penn Brewery.
The other Pittsburgh brewer that started brewing in the 90’s is Steve Sloan from Roundabout Brewery. After spending a few summers over in Lansberg, Germany, he fell in love with all sorts of types and styles of beer. He also got to go to plenty of beer gardens. After Steve graduated from the University of Florida, with a Masters in Chemistry (what other beer brewers can say that they have a Masters in Chemistry?), Steve went to Hawaii and got his first brewing job at Kona Brewing Co. That was 1996. Steve is rather well traveled and we’re a lucky town to have caught his eye and now get to enjoy his beer in Pittsburgh.
Now Megan Seastedt, brewmaster at Rivertowne, at the ripe age of 21, decided that brewing beer was going to be a passion. Her friend was in a home brew club that met monthly in New York. She tagged along one time and that was all she could think about afterwards, “I want to make beer.” It was just a small scale at first, but the owner of the home brew shop offered to teach her! She knew she wanted to get a job in brewing, but job hunting back and forth between New York State and Pittsburgh was proving difficult. She started in NY with a local brewery gluing boxes and labeling beer, but soon moved up to the bottling line. Trying to focus in on commercial level brewing, she decided to take the bull by the horns and applied to the Fermentation Science program at Oregon State University. She was accepted and after just 1 term got a job. She was a cellar-lady at Southern Tier, but now the brewer at Rivertowne Brewing Brewpub in Monroeville. Megan always wants to challenge what she knows about beers and emphases “DRINK LOCAL & DRINK OFTEN”. We have the same motto here at Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week!
Scott Smith’s story for East End Brewing is short, sweet, and to the point. He left his perfectly good job at a Fortune 500 Company to see if brewing would work. You only live once, so why not?! Hey, we’re really glad Scott took the plunge. Scott’s on the same page about the revolution of beer within Pittsburgh. Like us, Scott is expecting big things and can’t wait to experience all the beer this city will have to indulge in, right at our fingertips.
Andy Kwiatkowski is not just a part of the board as a home brewing rep., but has just got a professional brewing job. His father is a home brewer and Andy’s been around brewing since a young boy. Andy’s father let him draw labels for his brews since he wasn’t yet able to enjoy the fruits of his labor quite yet. It was always interesting to him and in 2009 a close friend had brewed a beer specifically to celebrate his college graduation and it blew Andy away! Making something in your kitchen that could taste so delicious is what jump started Andy into brewing beer on his own. He did some research for home brewing and 4 months later got hooked.
Now that you are all officially beer geeked out, let’s talk about how these brewers start their day, re-energize, or just when they feel like making eggs. Steve from Roundabout has perfected a soft boiled egg. Megan doesn’t care as long as her eggs are served with bacon. LOTS of bacon. Scott wants his eggs from the hens that have been fed on spent brewer’s grain. Andrew from Penn Brewery takes after Dr. Seuss with some Green Eggs & Ham. Finally, Andy enjoys them scrambled with some sriracha. Scratch that, he likes some eggs with his sriracha. If you all get a little star struck meeting these fine folks, you can now strike up some egg-cellent conversations starters.
#PCBW2014 is less than a month away!
There are going to be a lot of events that the brewers above and many more of our amazing sponsors are creating for us to enjoy this year during Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week. Make sure to stay current with our calendar. Events will be posted very shortly. Some of the events that our featured brewers are most excited about include the Collaboration Brews, Beer vs. Cocktail Dinner, The Keg Ride, The Real Ale Fest, Beer Barge, and many more.
Thank you to Carly Lunoe for writing this post. Give her a follow on Twitter!