I often marvel at beer. Not just because it tastes great or because it can enliven a dull evening (though I do appreciate those qualities), but because four humble ingredients come together to create a bottomless well of possibilities. Tweak the malts, hops, yeast or water even slightly, and the end product is a completely different beast. At the recent Beers of the Burgh festival, local brewers proved they've got a whole lot more ideas for America's favorite beverage.
On a rainy Saturday in May, more than 40 of the region's brewers — darn near all of the region's brewers, in fact — flocked to the massive Lawrenceville warehouse that hosted Art All Night a few weeks before. And in their wake came throngs of craft-beer lovers itching to sample everything from classic American lagers to hopped passionfruit mead.
These beer festivals are tricky to navigate. It's easy to get lost in the foamy sea of possibilities, or lose track of what new brew has made its way into your tiny glass. But amidst the maze of home-brewers, cider-makers and local brewing celebrities in attendance, one newcomer stood out in a delightfully nerdy way.
Abjuration Brewing was one of several breweries making their public debuts at the festival. Along with offerings like a Belgian strong ale and a juicy IPA, Abjuration brought four versions of a low-alcohol blond ale. Each was dry-hopped with a unique hop variety, and the resulting brews testified to the power of raw ingredients and the value of experimentation. Amidst a warehouse full of staggering ABVs and fiery chili beers (of which there were a surprising number), the elegance of Abjuration's crisp, sessionable ales made a mark.
Abjuration Brewing (started by four local friends) is currently looking for a location to open a nano-brewery in the area. And even though Pittsburgh's craft-beer scene has boomed in recent years, I'm convinced there's room for plenty more folks at the bar.