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Yes they can: North Huntingdon microbrewer jumps on 'hazy beer craze'

Stephen Huba
| Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, 10:18 p.m.

In the tap room of North Huntingdon's Fury Brewing Co. , a flurry of activity accompanied the canning of one of its New England-style India pale ales on Thursday.

An assembly line that included co-owners Ryan Slicker and Stephan Hoffer seamlessly moved the product from the fermentation tank to the 16-ounce cans to the labeling machine.

Slicker's parents, Ernie and Sandy Slicker of Pittsburgh, dutifully rinsed and labeled the cans.

Flying Pieces, a New England IPA that has a milky appearance, will be the first canned product the microbrewery has released since it opened in March 2017.

It will be available on tap and in four-packs at 11 a.m. Saturday at Fury Brewing's strip mall location at 13380 Route 30, near Irwin.

“We're fully committed to the cans,” Slicker said after turning off the seaming machine.

Fury Brewing is trying to capitalize on the national “hazy beer craze,” as well as the growth of microbreweries in Pittsburgh. By one count , there are 42 microbreweries in communities in Allegheny, Westmoreland, Washington and Butler counties.

“We're trying to take advantage of it. … It's such a big thing right now,” Slicker said, describing the light-colored, hazy New England IPAs that have caught on with beer aficionados.

Until now, Fury Brewing's craft beers have been available only on tap at its headquarters, at about 30 Pittsburgh area bars and at festivals such as Beers of the Burgh and the Steel City Big Pour.

Now, fans of limited-edition New England IPAs will be able to take them home. The batch of Flying Pieces, made in two runs this week, will yield about 800 cans. Another limited release called Apocalyptic Pageant is scheduled for canning next week, Slicker said.

“I'm a huge can fan,” he said. “I've always liked cans better than bottles because they're easy to take with you and crunch up when you're done.”

Slicker noted that some venues and festivals prohibit bottles.

“These can releases are good for New England-style IPAs, stouts and sours — high-profile beers that are more difficult to make,” Slicker said.

Fury Brewing got its start about four years ago, when Slicker, Hoffer and co-owner Tom Jenkins met at Verizon, their mutual place of employment in downtown Pittsburgh.

“We were all home brewers, so we'd meet up after work and taste each other's beers,” Hoffer said.

The trio started offering their beers at charity events and getting good feedback. They'll celebrate their first anniversary in North Huntingdon on March 24.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

Stephan Hoffer (left) sanitizes cans and purges them with CO2, while Mike Lingsch fills them with beer and Ryan Slicker seals the cans, as they work to fill nearly 900 cans of Flying Pieces, a hazy India Pale Ale, at Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. This is the first time Fury has opted to can its beer. It will release a limited quantity on Saturday, Jan. 27.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Stephan Hoffer (left) sanitizes cans and purges them with CO2, while Mike Lingsch fills them with beer and Ryan Slicker seals the cans, as they work to fill nearly 900 cans of Flying Pieces, a hazy India Pale Ale, at Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. This is the first time Fury has opted to can its beer. It will release a limited quantity on Saturday, Jan. 27.
Ernie Slicker, father of co-owner Ryan Slicker, places labels on a freshly canned India Pale Ale called Flying Pieces, while working on canning beer at Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. This is the first time Fury has opted to can its beer. It will release a limited quantity on Saturday, Jan. 27.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Ernie Slicker, father of co-owner Ryan Slicker, places labels on a freshly canned India Pale Ale called Flying Pieces, while working on canning beer at Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. This is the first time Fury has opted to can its beer. It will release a limited quantity on Saturday, Jan. 27.
Co-owner Ryan Slicker seals a can of Flying Pieces IPA, as the crew works on canning beer at Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. This is the first time Fury has opted to can its beer. It will release a limited quantity on Saturday, Jan. 27.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Co-owner Ryan Slicker seals a can of Flying Pieces IPA, as the crew works on canning beer at Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. This is the first time Fury has opted to can its beer. It will release a limited quantity on Saturday, Jan. 27.
Ernie Slicker (left) watches as Stephan Hoffer, Mike Lingsch and Ryan Slicker fill 16-ounce cans with Flying Pieces, a hazy India Pale Ale, at Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. This is the first time Fury has opted to can its beer. It will release a limited quantity on Saturday, Jan. 27.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Ernie Slicker (left) watches as Stephan Hoffer, Mike Lingsch and Ryan Slicker fill 16-ounce cans with Flying Pieces, a hazy India Pale Ale, at Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. This is the first time Fury has opted to can its beer. It will release a limited quantity on Saturday, Jan. 27.
A 16-ounce can is filled with Flying Pieces, a New England-style India Pale Ale, while the crew works on canning beer at Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. This is the first time Fury has opted to can its beer. It will release a limited quantity on Saturday, Jan. 27.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
A 16-ounce can is filled with Flying Pieces, a New England-style India Pale Ale, while the crew works on canning beer at Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. This is the first time Fury has opted to can its beer. It will release a limited quantity on Saturday, Jan. 27.
A top is placed on a full can as the brewery staff works on canning beer at Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
A top is placed on a full can as the brewery staff works on canning beer at Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018.
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