Brew 'N Chew event will feature breweries, food vendors

| Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Food-show promoter Dee Weinberg can think of three reasons why the Pittsburgh Brew 'N Chew event will be a success: 80 varieties of beer, 35 food vendors and activities — darts, corn hole and bowling — to work up a thirst and an appetite.

“This is more than just your traditional beer fest,” says Weinberg of Squirrel Hill. “We wanted to take beer to the next level. Attendees will have selections from both big and smaller breweries, alongside a wide range of food pairings from show vendors.”

Offering his take on the importance of pairings will be guest speaker Garrett Oliver, author of “The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food,” editor-in-chief of “The Oxford Companion to Beer” and brewmaster of The Brooklyn Brewery in New York.

His recommendations pair red meats like hamburger and steak with traditional brown ale, pizza with amber lager and spicy buffalo wings with IPA (India pale ale). Proper pairings don't allow one taste to overpower the other, he says.

Oliver's reputation as a beer aficionado earned him the highest honor within the U.S. brewing profession: the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation and Excellence in Brewing from the Institute for Brewing Studies. Forbes magazine named him one of the Top 10 tastemakers in the country for wine, beer and spirits.

He has shared his expertise at beer tastings and dinners from The Waldorf-Astoria in New York to Noma in Copenhagen, Aubergine in London, Restaurant Julia in Sao Paulo, and many more restaurants.

At Brew 'N Chew on Jan. 11 Oliver will have book-signings and talk about beer-pairings at two sessions, cooking at the first session only. At the second, Kevin Watson from Savoy will do a cooking demonstration. Both sessions will include a timed pour of the limited-edition Brooklyn Brewery Black Ops Beer.

Among the local craft-beer exhibitors will be Copper Kettle Brewing Co., a brew-on-premises shop in Greenfield. Greg Hough, one of the owners, says that over the past two years, do-it-yourself brewing has become a growing trend.

“People enjoy brewing for a variety of reasons,” he says. “Some people feel brewing beer is mysterious and want to learn more about how it's made. Others are looking for a unique experience. Lastly, what could taste better than a beer you brewed with your own customized label?”

Copper Kettle will be showcasing two of its most-popular beers for the Brew 'N Chew event, Cuckoo Clock of Doom Double IPA and Spicy Pepper Brown, a brown ale brewed with jalapenos. Hough says the brewery and his company's Hough's Taproom and Brewpub will team up for the first time to provide special food pairings.

Also sharing their brews at the event will be Rivertowne Brewing of Murrysville, where brewmaster Andrew Maxwell says there's a beer for every occasion, depending on the season.

“Right now, we have a lot of Scottish malty brown-bodied beer because it's colder,” says Maxwell, who believes “people should enjoy different flavors of the spectrum.”

Participating food vendor Bev Lumley, owner of Kaleido Kone Creamery in Portersville, Butler County, will offer different flavors of her company's homemade gelato. It is available in a variety of creative taste treats, from caramel candied bacon and cotton candy to German chocolate-cake batter and oatmeal cookies 'n cream.

With 228 recipes that are exclusive to her unique catering business, Lumley says her gelato-making wizards — including husband Charles and son Ethan, 18 — have dreamed up a flavor that will tie in perfectly with the Brew 'N Chew event: a dark stout beer-infused gelato.

“What inspired us are all the variations of craft beers out there now,” Lumley says. “And my husband is a beer lover.”

In addition to domestic and imported brews and food samplings from local restaurants, pubs, caterers and markets, Brew 'N Chew will feature live entertainment by Pittsburgh singer-songwriter Mark Ferrari at the first session and Totally 80s band at the second session.

A portion of the event proceeds will benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Give Kids the World charity.

Candy Williams is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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