Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have noticed that the East End of Pittsburgh is becoming an increasingly popular area for serious beer connoisseurs. Beer distributors and restaurants in the area are carrying small-batch, locally produced brew. The producers of these small-batch beers take their craft seriously; many of them see their beer-production as an art. These smaller breweries are able to create delicious concoctions using a myriad of spices, and modified brewing techniques.
Asa Foster, a CMU graduate along with Matt Katase (both 22 years old) have started The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company. Their new business is located at 800 Braddock Avenue, in Braddock, PA.
I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Foster recently- he greeted me outside the brewery with a smile on his face.
“Here it is,” he said, walking me underneath a large vacant building on the main street. The space was large and sparse. Asa had set up a makeshift work area complete with a computer desk and a small area to experiment and perfect their original beer recipes. Also stacked inside were large wood pallets along with tools, and a large fan that was helping dry the floor from water that had leaked from a rain the night before.
“It doesn’t look like much now, but this building has good bones.”
I had to agree.
Asa showed me upstairs to a large, unoccupied space. “This is where Kevin Sousa’s new restaurant is going to be,” he explained.
“Your brewery is going to be underneath one of the new, premier restaurants in the city of Pittsburgh?”
Asa smiled a bit, and I could tell what he was thinking. Overflow from the restaurant, or patrons from the new eatery would surely find their way to The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company; this was a golden opportunity as far as location was concerned.
Mr. Foster showed me to a fridge in his brew-area.
“Care to sample some? This is our White Sky Chai Spiced Ale.”
My mouth was watering as he poured me a glass. The beer had a beautiful amber color, and didn’t have a hint of cloudiness- impressive. As I took a sip my taste-buds came alive. The flavors were pronounced, but not overwhelming. I could taste soft notes of cinnamon, nutmeg… The finish was equally satisfying- crisp and effervescent. Asa watched me closely as I devoured the brew- he knew I was going to like it.
Asa and Matt have a long-term plan. They’ve done extensive research on Braddock, and believe the neighborhood revitalization projects will bring additional businesses, and more importantly, thirsty customers to the area.
I’m glad I had a chance to visit The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company. At some point in the future when they’re enjoying great success and accolades, I’ll be able to say, “I remember when these guys were first starting out…”
Chef Chuck Kerber