Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Day Bracey and Ed Bailey of Drinking Partners Podcast and Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture online magazine will bring 12 black-owned breweries to Pittsburgh in August for Fresh Fest.

photo courtesy Epicast


When thinking about different professions, stereotypes of what a typical worker looks like often come to mind. Professors: older, tweed jacket wearing intellectuals. Journalists: scruffy, slightly haphazard introverts chasing their next scoop. Brewers: bearded white dudes in their mid-thirties who wear plaid and wax poetic about IPAs. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these images but they portray only a narrow view of what the world looks like.

Mike Potter, Day Bracey and Ed Bailey have a passion for craft beer, whether it’s tasting a new brew, producing a beer podcast or running a publication dedicated to Black beer culture. They have something else in common, too -- the three spent years being some of the only people of color they see when they walk into a brewery. Potter, Bracey and Bailey want to see more diversity and idea exchange in the beer community and so on August 11, the three men will launch Fresh Fest, the nation’s first festival that focuses on Black brewers.

The idea for the festival began with Day Bracey and Ed Bailey of Drinking Partners Podcast and Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture online magazine were talking about ways to bring more people of color into the beer community. “We were asking ourselves how we could use our platforms to create an environment of inclusivity with the black community and giving them a space to come in and feel safe [exploring the brewing community]. We wanted to create a conversation and that’s what this is,” says Bracey.

Since January, co-founders Bracey and Potter with help from Bailey have signed on 12 Black-owned breweries (as well as spirits company Rams & Parrots Whiskey) for Fresh Fest. One of the breweries, Cajun Fire from New Orleans was just featured on an episode of Vice’s Beerland. “It’s one thing to talk to someone who’s doing it. It’s another thing to see someone who looks like you doing it. That representation is so important,” says Bracey.

21 breweries from the Pittsburgh region, such as Brew Gentlemen, Full Pint Brewing Company and Bloom Brew, also will be on site to support the event. Bracey and Potter says that they received a lot of support from the Pittsburgh brewing community from the beginning with everything from bringing beer to collaborating on brews and infrastructure.

Many of the local breweries are also participating in collaborations with Black community leaders and artists. Pairings include Hitchhiker Brewery and creative space BOOM Concepts of Garfield; Mayor of Wilkinsburg Marita Garrett and Hop Farm Brewery; 1HOOD Media and Apis Meadery and more. Each collaboration will produce a one of a kind beer for the festival. “We wanted to ask the brewers for a collaboration because we wanted them to invest in the community. That way they’re actually having a conversations, not just showing up with beer,” says Bracey.

The festival will be held at Nova Place in the Allegheny Commons.

Potter, Bracey and Bailey hope that this will only be the first of many Fresh Fests. “This is all about access, representation, education and conversation. This is the first step in creating a conversation and a safe place [in beer culture] for Black people in Pittsburgh and hopefully the country. You have to start where you are,” says Bracey.  

Tickets, which are $49.25 - 94.25, and more information on the festival, is on freshfestbeerfest.com 
UPDATE: There was a location change for Fresh Fest. Please note that the festival now will take place at Nova Place rather than Threadbare Cider House, as was originally reported. 

Pittsburgh Magazine’s new food and drinks columnist Celine Roberts is a Golden Quill award-winning journalist who explores food from field to table with the help of her tastebuds and her pen.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Pittsburgh Rings, Sings and Dances into the New Year

“Highmark’s First Night Pittsburgh” features 100 performances for kids of all ages and, of course, fireworks for everyone.

The 400-Word Review: At Eternity's Gate

It's a fair Vincent Van Gogh biopic, but fails to make a strong impression.

When I Realized the True Meaning of the Army-Navy Game

As Army veteran and Pittsburgh Steeler Alejandro Villanueva sees it, Army-Navy is football at its core in a setting that transcends the sport.​

Apteka and Whitfield Team Up for a Vegan Christmas Meal

The latest installment of Bethany Zozula's Sharing Knives dinner series brings Apteak co-owners Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski in for an Eastern European feast.

At Jergel's, It's Beers and Grub Near Some Rock and Roll

The Warrendale venue makes seeing a show feel like an easygoing night out.

The Mon Wharf Switchback Paves a Route to the River

The new ramp to the Monongahela River provides a way for bikers and walkers to access the riverfront.

Overseas Adventures Lead to Pittsburgh Weddings

These couples made the trip that would take them from dating to engaged.

Hungry for Something Good, Pittsburgh? Where We're Eating in December.

We're celebrating a decade of Dinette, tempted by hot pitas at Pitaland and digging the (not so) secret sauce at Salem's Market & Grill.

I Made It! Market Can Simplify Your Holiday Shopping

More than 90 local handicraft artists will come together for a one-day event to save you from a panic-induced Christmas Eve shopping trip.

Have a Stout or an IPA, with a Shot of Space

Pittsburgh’s astronomers head to the taps to discuss everything from planetary movement to asteroids to — yes — the possibility of alien life, much to the delight of conspiracy theorists and space fanatics alike.

Festival of Lights Illuminates Holiday Cheer

La Roche hosts a night of drinking cocoa, taking carriage rides and getting into the holiday spirit.

Allegheny County Could Pay You to Convert Your Wood Burning Fireplace

In the hopes of reducing air pollution and improving indoor air quality — particularly for those with asthma — the county health department is conducting a program to convert open-hearth fireplaces into vented gas-burning appliances.

The 400-Word Review: The Possession of Hannah Grace

It's tough to take a setting this creepy and waste it, but this limp possession flick manages to do just that.

Relive Steelers' Super Bowl Wins at New Heinz History Exhibit

The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum’s new exhibit features game-worn, signed jerseys and other artifacts from Steelers legends.

Five Essential December Events in Pittsburgh

A creepy Christmas, Cleveland comics and more December happenings.