Homebrewers pour into Pittsburgh as part of statewide beer competition | Pittsburgh City Paper

Homebrewers pour into Pittsburgh as part of statewide beer competition

click to enlarge Homebrewers pour into Pittsburgh as part of statewide beer competition
Photo: Courtesy of Breweries in PA
Pennsylvania Homebrew Invitational
When the explosion of the craft beer industry is brought up, it’s often in the context of the number of breweries opening, growing, or diversifying. But more often than not, those brewers and breweries are the product of years spent homebrewing.

Whether it’s purely for fun or in the pursuit of something more serious, the homebrewing population is massive and ever-expanding. And for the second year now, Pennsylvania’s best will be able to showcase their chops here in Pittsburgh.

This summer, Breweries in PA, a digital promotion company, will host the Pennsylvania Homebrew Invitational, a series of five events where homebrewers put their best forward. Touted as the largest statewide homebrew competition ever held in Pennsylvania, the event will, on Sat., July 22, stop locally at Necromancer Brewing in Ross Township.

After all five events conclude, the five winners will move on to the final round taking place on Oct. 21 at Floating Feathers Brewing in Mill Hall, Pa. The winner will take home the title of best homebrewer in Pa., along with a championship belt and a $2,000 cash prize.

More than anything, however, the event is about exposure and showcasing the hundreds of people in our state that have dedicated themselves to homebrewing, a passion that requires mountains of labor and time. The event at Necromancer will feature over 30 participating breweries, with unlimited pours for attendees.

“My favorite part of it is not only all the great homebrewers we get to meet, but some of the great beer we had along the way,” Breweries in PA co-founder Chadd Balbi tells Pittsburgh City Paper. “These homebrewers take this very seriously and are handcrafting some unique, creative, and delicious beers for guests to try."

Balbi adds that the fun thing about homebrewing beer is the freedom to produce something not usually found on taproom menus.

"When you are brewing beer at the professional level you have to brew beer based on trends and other things out of your control," he says. "When you are homebrewing beer, and your bills don't rely on having to sell beer to the masses, you can get much more creative with your offerings. So guests will get a chance to enjoy beer that is fairly unique from that aspect.”

In other words, homebrewers are more likely to expose beer fans to something off-beat like a pretzel stout or a Golden Ale with chocolate. The Pennsylvania Homebrew Invitational will also feature well-made examples of classic styles, all made in basements and garages.

Balbi says crowds at the first Pennsylvania Homebrew Invitational were receptive to the talent and the passion on display and believes the event exists to celebrate the people making beer just for the love of it.

“The response was overwhelming,” said Balbi. “Almost every event sold out and the nationally recognized beer judges who participated in the series were very appreciative of the work we did to shine such a large light on Pennsylvania homebrewed beer.”
Pennsylvania Homebrew Invitational. 12-3 p.m. Necromancer Brewing. 2257 Babcock Blvd., Ross Township. $35. breweriesinpa.com/homebrew