By Ashlee Green

Photos by Lauren Stauffer

On Saturday, August 11, Pittsburgh’s first Black beer festival was held at Nova Place from 5 to 9 p.m. A collaborative effort between Day Bracey and Ed Bailey, comics and creators of the Drinking Partners podcast, and Mike Potter, of Black Brew Culture online magazine, Fresh Fest brought together Black brewers from across the country to collaborate on new beer recipes with leading local breweries.

One beer that debuted at this year’s Fresh Fest was a double black IPA created by Leroy Dennis and Samantha Guy of First Sip Brew Box, a monthly subscription service of beer-related merchandise, and Matthew Yurkovich and Al Grasso, brewers at Allegheny City Brewing. Yurkovich and Grasso named the beer “Double Black Diamond” because of their love for snowboarding and its “deceivingly high” alcohol content. Yurkovich said the beer will be on tap for about another month.

Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture online magazine says he paired local breweries together with Black artists and entrepreneurs so they could collaborate on new brews.

“We tried to find commonalities with the brewers and the businesses and then let them grow an organic relationship through the process of making the beer,” he said.

Potter said the festival weather was perfect and had three times the turnout he and the other founders anticipated. He estimates there were around 2,500 guests throughout the day.

“We didn’t have many hitches at all,” he said.

Potter’s main goal for next year is to increase awareness of the event and to include more breweries, but for now he’s just taking a break to unplug and celebrate Fresh Fest’s success.


This article was updated on 8/21/2018: Sentences were omitted to clarify that First Sip Brew Box and Allegheny City Brewing simultaneously expressed interest in Fresh Fest.

This article was updated on 8/24/2018: Sentences were omitted to clarify that the goal of next year’s Fresh Fest is increased awareness and the inclusion of more breweries.

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