PITTSBURGH − Savor the vibe and soak up the atmosphere at Barrel & Flow Fest, Pittsburgh’s nationally recognized beer festival returning August 13 to a new location.
Spotlighting 30 black-owned breweries, Barrel & Flow Fest features seven bands, five DJs and two live visual arts stages. Factor in food trucks/tents, independent artisans, local nonprofits, and an overall total of 75 sample breweries/distilleries, and we’re talking a total of 150 vendors spread across The Stacks at Three Crossings , near Railroad Street in The Strip neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
The beer tents will be pouring their prized products along with festival-exclusive collaborations, such as Ambridge Altered Genius Brewery, partnering on a blonde ice cream stout with neighbors Merchant Street Ice Cream Therapy, and fellow brewery Ambridge Fermata Brewing , teaming up on a papaya IPA-flavored cold with food and drink blog 412Beer.
Other collaborations involve popular regional breweries like ShuBrew and Burgh’ers, both from Zelienople, Trace Brewing from Bloomfield, Dancing Gnome from Sharpsburg, Brew Gentlemen from Braddock and Grist Brewing from Millvale in partnership with the Pittsburgh rap star, Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang.
From Allegash Brewing in Portland, Maine, to Warcloud Brewing in Los Angeles; and Weathered Souls Brewing in San Antonio, Texas, at Chicago’s Black Horizon Brewing, craft brewers from coast to coast will be represented. Women’s company Coven Brewing in Lawrenceville will participate this year, as will brewers from Costa Rica (BlackMan Brewing) and the UK (Rock Leopard Brewing).
If beer isn’t your thing, other pours will include Plush Vodka of Delaware and Indiana’s 18th St Distillery spirits.
With the Allegheny River side of the city as a backdrop this year, the Flow portion of the festival features live music from acts like nationally touring Pittsburgh blues duo Soulful Femme, Memphis indie rockers Blvck Hippie, the Washington DC rapper Chris Allen (the only two -time winners at West Virginia University’s Battle of The Bands), up-and-coming Pittsburgh rapper Live From The City, and notable Pittsburgh rockers Elias Khouri and NASH. V.ILL with Byron Nash.
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Bios of the musicians: www.barrelandflow.com/flow
New this year is the inclusion of two art stages, with live visual artists painting in real time.
Describing the new Strip location, Barrel & Flow founder Day Bracey, a Beaver resident, said, “We’ve blocked off 27th Street to 29th and then we’ve got the venue itself, so it’s been kind of a P-shape. The place is so good to work with.”
Twice named one of America’s best beer festivals by readers of USA Today, last year’s event took place at SouthSide Works and was more sprawling. Even with bracelets and sampling glasses provided by the festival, too many people without tickets crashed the party.
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“We’ve learned that bigger isn’t always better,” said Bracey, co-founder of award-winning comedy and beverage podcast Drinking Partners. “People didn’t like the physical size of the festival. A lot of people didn’t want to walk for the whole duration of the festival. Sometimes it was too confusing. Some people went to the festival and didn’t even know there was two more steps.
“The last two years have been tough, but we’ve learned a lot,” Bracey said. “We’ve maintained the brand and we’ve seen the support from the community. It’s not just me or a small group, it’s like the whole community has come together. It’s the little things, like ‘hey , I established links with this brewer or this brewer .’ People are constantly contacting us saying ‘we love what you do, how can we help you?'”
Originally called “Fresh Fest” when it launched in 2018, the main goal of the beer festival was to support and raise awareness of black-owned breweries, who remain underrepresented in the booming beer industry. craft beer.
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Barrel & Flow’s reach has expanded to also stimulate black artists, including a scholarship program.
Barrel & Flow’s website features the mission statement: “To honor what we consider to be interconnected and important sectors of black arts. To celebrate black arts and artists. And to express and share how collective art is greater than the sum of their individual parts.”
Garrett Oliver, beer writer and brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewing, enjoyed his visit to the Pittsburgh Oktoberfest, hailing the festival as “a beer festival that actually felt like America.” Blacks, whites, people of all kinds, gays, straights, women, men. Folk, folk. Ran smoothly. Beautiful crazy vibes, zero negativity… Damn good beers.
Barrel & Flow tickets are $55, valid for general admission between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on August 13, or $85 for early access from 3 p.m. Buy at barrelandflow.com/tickets
A $215 VIP package also includes admission to an August 12 conference and bottle sharing, festival admission at noon, and Sunday brunch.
With many foreigners booking multi-night stays in Pittsburgh to attend, Barrel & Flow has planned a full week of events this year.
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August 9, Brew Gentlemen Steel Garden, US Steel Tower, downtown Pittsburgh, 5-8 p.m. August 10, Dancing Gnome, Sharpsburg, 4-10 p.m. 11, Brewer & VIP Event, Cinderlands Warehouse, Strip District, 7-10 p.m. Aug. 11, Trace Brewing, Bloomfield, 6-10 p.m. Aug. 12, Comedy Show at Arcade Comedy Theater, Downtown Pittsburgh, 9:30 p.m.
Barrel & Flow also created an Ale Trail, in team with Crackem. Download the free Crackem app to find out where Barrel & Flow collaborative beers will be sold and earn rewards by visiting participating breweries.
Main stage musical programming:
3 p.m.: Soulful Woman.
4 p.m.: Elias Khouri.
4:40 p.m.: Live from the city
5:40 p.m.: Rob Rhodes and Shane Cobain
6:20 p.m.: Blvck Hippie
7:20 p.m.: Chris Allen
8 p.m.: NASH.V.ILL.
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Connect with Barrel & Flow: @barrelandflow on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Scott Tady is entertainment editor at The Times and easy to reach at [email protected].