North Hills Brew Fest takes over Pittsburgh Shrine Center
They brew beer in the basement, sometimes in their kitchens.
It’s a hobby, a passion and often an experiment.
They will share their drinks at the third annual North Hills Home Brew Fest on May 11 at the Pittsburgh Shrine Center’s Pavilion, an outdoor covered space in Cheswick.
This will be the first time the event will be held at this location. “The location is perfect,” says Bryan Llewellyn, one of the organizers. “We love the space and think everyone will enjoy tasting the beer and raising money for a good cause.”
Part of the proceeds will benefit the Shriners.
“It keeps growing and growing,” says James Elmer Jr., who handles public relations for the event for the Shrine Center. “And we hope a lot of people come out and it grows even more.” The Shrine Center’s outdoor space will be more than able to accommodate all the brewers. They expect to offer 50-60 different beers. It will be the site of the fourth annual First Choice Wine Festival from noon to 5 p.m. May 18. They have doubled the number of wine makers and expect 500 guests.
He is excited to see how well the home brewers like the location.
The cost of the beer event is $25. “That’s a great deal,” says Elmer.
One of the participants will be chosen to have one batch of its beer made at Penn Brewery on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The beer will be served at the bar/restaurant and in a few key accounts, says Penn Brewery brewmaster Nick Rosich.
The brewery participated last year and it was so successful the company wanted to do it again, says Rosich. Last year, Door Top Brewing from Latrobe was the champion.
He and some members of the brewing team will attend the event and choose this year’s best beer through a blind taste test.
“It really worked out well last year,” Rosich says. “I enjoy this because at one time I was like them. I brewed beer in my home.”
What makes this event different?
There are many beer festivals and tastings in Western Pennsylvania but what makes this one unique is all the beer is being made in homes, says Dennis Raible, who works for Fuhrer Wholesale on the South Side, and is one of the organizers.
“This beer is being made by guys in their home kitchens,” says Raible. “That is where the craft beer industry was born … in people’s homes.”
He says the first year he wasn’t sure how the quality of the beer would be, but he was shocked when he tasted the brews. “The beer was really good,” he says. “What these guys are making is absolutely incredible. People should come out and try these.”
Another advantage to attending this kind of event is you can actually meet the person who made the beer you are drinking, Raible says. You can talk with the brewers and learn about the process, he says.
“You can tell how passionate they are about the product so feel free to ask them any questions,” he says. “It might even inspire someone to become a home brewer.”
There are five prizes brewers can compete for at this event. Each guest receives three poker chips and can vote for three beers by placing the chips in a brewer’s bag to determine first, second and third. A fourth prize is voted by the brewers’ peers who each will have a poker chip to give to their favorite.
And then the top prize is the one chosen by Penn Brewery.
“Penn Brewery has been an incredible partner,” says Raible.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .