African-American Craft Beer Brewers Unite To Host A Festival Of Their Own – NPR

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Fresh Fest co-founders Day Bracey (left) and Mike Potter (right) visit with Chris Harris, owner of Black Frog Brewery in Holland, Ohio, near Toledo. Jeff Zoet/Courtesy Day Bracey hide caption

toggle caption Jeff Zoet/Courtesy Day Bracey

To tell how the nation’s first black beer festival came to be held in Pittsburgh, you might start with a beer.

Maybe it was that introductory Sam Adams Boston Lager that longtime Michelob and Heineken guy Mike Potter drank more than a decade ago. “It had a completely different profile, a completely different taste, you know, completely different aroma,” he says. “It just elevated my curiosity.”

Or maybe it should be the bottle of Blue Moon that Day Bracey tipped shortly after he got out of college, thanks to $1 specials at a now-defunct bar in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. “That was the first time I drank anything that tasted relatively decent,” says Bracey. In college, he and his friends drank “Natty Ice and Vladimir [Vodka].”

In any case, their tastebuds ultimately led them to found Fresh Fest, the first-ever beer festival for breweries owned by African-Americans, along with stand-up comic Ed Bailey.

A dozen such breweries will visit Pittsburgh’s North Side at Nova Place on Saturday for the daylong festival. Fresh Fest’s purpose is to celebrate black brewing talent and emphasize that craft beer, long implicitly seen as white territory, needs to get more diverse.

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