Pumpkin & Friends

2014-09-23 10.48.32

There are very few beer styles that  are editorialized within the industry as much as pumpkin beers. Arguably the most hyped seasonal beer style, pumpkin beers are met with resounding celebration by some and with eye-rolling disdain by others. Well, here at The Brew Gentlemen Beer Co., we love them.

Aside from being a staple of my favorite time of the year, pumpkin beers hold a special place in my heart. One of the first recipes that I ever formulated on my own was a pumpkin brown ale – I was working for Anheuser Busch and was new to homebrewing, the brewmaster told me I should bring in a few of my beers for sensory sometime, and I decided that this would be my debut. I brought a few other beers with me, “they aren’t terrible” was the most common review, but the pumpkin beer stole the show. Upon their first sip, the room was awash with compliments on the roasty and caramel notes that make one nostalgic for fall and pumpkin pie. This was one of my first big confidence-building moments as a brewer, eventually leading to my desire to build a professional beer portfolio. I’ve loved the style dearly ever since.

I’ve dabbled in a few other pumpkin experiments over the years, but for the brewery’s first pumpkin beer season, I wanted to do something really special. So rather than settle on one… we’re brewing three. And going a step further, to bring in the camaraderie that accentuates that experience, we’re working with three other businesses to make all three of these pumpkin beers part of our BGx Collaboration Series. Here’s the lineup:

 1.) Brew Gentlemen x Grist House: Noob Gains

Pumpkin Imperial Stout

In talking to Kyle Mientkiewicz (co-owner and brewer at Grist House), we agreed that we wanted to do something that combined both of our strengths in brewing, but also challenged us to step it up a notch. Noob Gains refers to the rapid growth a beginner experiences when they begin weightlifting – given how fast both of our companies have grown since we both opened in May, this made sense.

The beer is meant to elicit similar feelings to those of a new weightlifter: sensory overload, excessive consumption, and the feeling that you’re a bit drained by the end of it. The base beer incorporates smooth but powerful roasted notes, along with flavors of nutty chocolate, caramel and toffee. The addition of 600 lbs of pumpkin and 15 lbs of spices amp this beer up with a huge mouthfeel and spicy aroma of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg.

2.) Brew Gentlemen x Square Café: Square Breakfast

Pumpkin Walnut Pancake Wheat

I love Square Café. I eat breakfast there every Sunday, and I had the opportunity to speak with Sherry, the owner, one morning about eventually doing a collaboration. She instantly suggested a beer based on the Pumpkin Pancakes, and I couldn’t have agreed more. This beer is brewed with Square’s own pancake batter and Pennsylvania maple syrup. Don’t worry though, it’s still beer.

In my opinion, the best pancakes are light and fluffy, with a palate of complex and nuanced flavors. I want this beer to reflect those qualities, so we started with a wheat beer base to provide the warmth of baked bread that would not overpower the rest of the beer. The addition of 50 lbs of pancake batter gives this ale the unmistakeable flavor of a fresh pancake, while walnuts, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and maple syrup add layers of flavor that become more evident with every sip.

3.) Brew Gentlemen x Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches: Spice Cream Sammich

Pumpkin Tripel

I had it in mind to recreate this Belgian Pumpkin ale that I did a few years back, followed by the idea to turn that into an ice cream sandwich. So we reached out to the local experts on that matter, our friends at Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches, and decided that a Pumpkin Tripel ice cream sandwich seemed both feasible and delicious.

The inspiration for this beer stems from my love of Belgian ales, whose powerful spicy clove phenolics beg to be incorporated into fall treats. The base for this tripel incorporates the classic graham cracker notes of the style, with hints of spicy rye and slight caramel sweetness. Belgian candi sugar adds the characteristic oven-caramelized flavor, and fresh pumpkin adds a rich, creamy mouthfeel. Vanilla and pumpkin spice combine with phenols created through fermentation, to add a unique twist.

We have a lot of fun coming up with ideas like these, and working with others and allowing their expertise to shine through only enhances the experience. For instance, if you’re unsure how much spice to add to a pumpkin pancake beer, ask how much spice would be in 1,760 pancakes and go from there. When you get an opportunity to share something like this, it makes the end result not only delicious, but much more special than the sum of its parts.

Here’s to fall, friends and pumpkins.

11/1 – Hitchcock! – A Halloween Party at the Carrie Furnace

hitchcock poster

The following is a message from Peter Kurzweg of The Independent Brewing Co., a local craft beer-focused bar located in Squirrel Hill:

Good evening:

The Carrie Furnace, once a mighty steel mill, now stands alone in a no-man’s land, by the Monongahela river, on the border of Rankin and Swissvale. This long-abandoned monument of industry looms over a wide-open expanse of empty terrain, an Ozymandias-like monument of Pittsburgh’s once-great steel industry.

The mill reached the height of its production in the 1950s and 1960s, producing 1000 to 1250 tons of iron each day. Before falling into collapse with the rest of Pittsburgh’s steel industry in the 1970s.

On Saturday, November 1st, for one night only, The Independent and The Brew Gentlemen will restore the Carrie Furnace to its 50s and 60s era of greatness. We will be throwing a Halloween party in homage to that era’s most prolific director: Alfred Hitchcock. Together with Rivers of Steel, the non-profit steward of this beautiful historic monument, we present: Hitchcock! – A Halloween Party at the Carrie Furnace.

This little party will have all of the components of a great Hitchcock film: suspense, romance, psychological thrills, and murderously good craft beers and cocktails. DJs throughout the evening will keep you dancing the night away on our dance floor centered in an old hangar bay of the mill.

Tickets go on sale this Wednesday. General Admission tickets will be sold for $35 each and will include three drink tickets (beer or cocktail) at the bar.  Additional drink tickets will be available for sale at the event. 200 VIP tickets will be on sale for $65 each. VIP tickets will gain you access to a special VIP section, featuring exclusive food, cocktails and beers not available to the general public, as well as additional amenities.

Food will be available for purchase from our food truck corral, which will be located around a large bonfire in the courtyard of the mill, back-cast by the moonlit shadow of the old blast furnace. Participating food trucks include PGH Taco Truck, Blowfish BBQ, Street Foods, Gyros N’at, and Leona’s Ice Cream Sandwiches, along with a food tent from The Independent.

500 parking spots will be available at the venue and will be sold on a first-come-first-serve basis for $10 each in advance. Free shuttle services will be available from the Pump House at the Waterfront in Homestead. Shuttles will run to and from the venue throughout the evening, beginning at 7:30pm.

This Hitchcockian Halloween lasts from 8:00pm to 1:00am. The event is rain or shine (well, shine of the moon, that is…)

9/20 – First Responder Night

First Responder Night-01

Three Saturdays ago, we hosted the largest event we’ve ever thrown. Garden Party was a huge success, drawing a crowd of over 1500 to Braddock to sip on a few beers, grab some dinner from the food trucks, and soak in one the last few gorgeous summer nights. Well, family, it looks like it’s about time for another party.

This time around, we’ve partnered with the Forest Hills Police Department. Their new police dog, Loki, needs some help getting settled into his new home.

The police departments around the Mon Valley work closely with one another and a number of them, including the Braddock Police Department, are good friends of the brewery. These guys, along with other first responders such as fire and EMS, have been a huge help throughout our time here in Braddock. So really, this is for them. Loki is a super sweet bro as well.

So here’s what’s going down. We’re having an afternoon bash at the brewery to benefit the K9 Division of the Forest Hills Police Department. A dollar from each beer sold will go towards getting a specially-outfitted K9 police cruiser for Loki and the team. We’re getting our core group of mobile food buddies together – PGH Taco Truck, Blowfish BBQ, and Gyros N’at. The K9 team will be doing a demonstration with Loki and a few others. Throw in an auction for Steelers and Penguins tickets and a bunch of other awesome stuff, pump some tunes, and there you have it.

First Responder Night. This Saturday. 2PM – 7PM. You’re invited.

This Week @ The Brew Gentlemen (9/10-9/13)

This Week @ The Brew Gentlemen will now be migrated to email. I’ll still post a link here every week but the best way to stay in the loop would be signing up for our newsletter here.

The updates for this week can be found here. Our current draft list can now be found on our new website here.

Thanks for growing with us as we learn the ins and outs of this all. Never stop improving.



This Week @ The Brew Gentlemen (9/3-9/6)

Garden Party was a wild success. Thank you all who came out to Braddock and spent the afternoon with us. We had a great time, but more importantly, learned A LOT about throwing an event of that size. We’ve already got a long list of notes where we’d like to improve. If you happened to attend, please take our short, three question survey here to share your thoughts on how we can do a better job next year.
This is a busy week for Pittsburgh craft beer. Big Pour, the annual beer festival at Construction Junction, is this Saturday. The event is already sold out but there will be a bunch of events going on throughout the week. Check below to see what we will be up to.
Here are the weekly updates.

Current draft list for the week:

  • White Sky
  • Business Casual
  • General Braddock’s IPA
  • Build & Destroy
  • RPF 21: Beer Beer
  • RPF 06: American Pale Ale
  • RPF 20: Experimental Hop Session IPA
  • RPF 03: Irish Pale Ale
  • RPF 17: Apple Pie
  • RPF 01: Hefeweizen
  • RPF 09: Catherine’s Wit
  • RPF 15: Root Vegetable Saison
  • Apis Winery & Mead: Hopped Pineapple Mead

Wednesday 9/3 (4pm-10pm)

Food: PGH Taco Truck (Cancelled due to truck maintenance)

Thursday 9/4 (4pm-10pm): Pilot Batch Thursday 

Food: Pittsburgh Smokehouse

Beer Release: Southern BBQ Chicken Beer

We will have the Chicken Beer available again this Thursday as part of our Pilot Batch beer release. Smoked chicken, bacon, dates, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and maple syrup all packed into a 6% ABV brown ale. Pair it with a Brisket or Pulled Pork Sandwich from Pittsburgh Smokehouse.

From 5-7pm we will be sampling beers at Whole Foods in East Liberty. Maybe this is a pre-cursor to them getting a license to sell beer? Maybe not. They’re calling it Little Pour and we will be there.

Friday 9/5 (4pm-10pm+)

Food: Blowfish BBQ

Beer Release: Chipotle Galaxy Double IPA
#BBBQ is back to form with Blowfish BBQ this Friday. On top of that, the Chipotle Galaxy Double IPA (inspired by the pilot batch) will be making its debut. To all of you who said the pilot batch wasn’t hot enough, we welcome your second opinion.
This Friday, we will also be participating in a 3-brewery tap takeover at The Independent. We will join Grist House and Four Seasons for a “Meet the Young Guns” event featuring $4 pints from 5-7pm. For those of you who can’t make the Big Pour, this is a great opportunity to come sample beers from 3 of Pittsburgh’s new breweries.

Saturday 9/6 (4pm-10pm+): 

Food: Gyros N’at

Big Pour will be going on, but we will still have the taproom open. For all of you without tickets, come hang out with us and Gyros N’at at the brewery. Have a great week and see you in the taproom!