Craft Beer, Fundraisers

Q&A: Pittsburgh’s homebrewers are Brewing up a Cure on Oct. 19

We caught up with Chris Bolcato, a member of the planning committee for Brewing Up A Cure – a beer festival that benefits Cystic Fibrosis research.

On Saturday, Oct 19, you can sample the best of Pittsburgh’s homebrewed beer AND benefit a noteworthy cause at the annual Brewing Up A Cure. We caught up with Chris Bolcato, one of the organizers of the Brewing Up A Cure event. (You can follow Chris’s brewing adventures @quattro_angeli_brewing on Instagram.)

Q: What is Brewing Up A Cure? 

Chris Bolcato: Brewing Up a Cure is an annual homebrew-focused beer festival with all proceeds benefiting cystic fibrosis.

Q: Let’s start with the basics. What is TRUB?

CB: Technically speaking (per Wikipedia), in the process of brewing beer, trub is the term used for the material, along with hop debris, left in the whirlpool or hopback after the wort has been boiled then transferred and cooled.

Trub may also refer to the lees, or layer of sediment, left at the bottom of the fermenter after the yeast has completed the bulk of the fermentation.

Three Rivers Underground Brewers (T.R.U.B.), however, is a Pittsburgh area homebrewing club dedicated to promoting and enjoying the joy of homebrewing. We are a small club but are extremely active in the homebrewing community. You can find us around town serving beer at a number of events annually, especially our club sponsored event ‘Brewing Up A Cure’. If it has to do with beer, you can bet that we’ll be there. We’re always looking for new members who share our passion and want to learn how to make great beer!

Posted by Brewing Up A Cure on Monday, October 1, 2018

Q: Who can be a member of TRUB? 

CB: Anyone with a passion for crafting great beer is a strong candidate for joining T.R.U.B. The candidate must be willing to becoming obsessed with making homebrew and a strong tolerance for cleaning equipment.

Q: How did TRUB get involved with raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

CB: Brewing Up A Cure is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for cystic fibrosis research. It allows members of T.R.U.B. to promote homebrewing to the community, as well as support a cause that is very close to the club’s hearts. T.R.U.B. club member Shane Terrick has a daughter who was born with cystic fibrosis. I have identical twin nephews who both have cystic fibrosis. The annual event has grown from just a small group of homebrewers to one of Pittsburgh’s signature beer events. Brewing Up A Cure will feature well over 100 different homebrewed beers made by club members, as well as beer from craft breweries across the Pittsburgh region. Some of the professional brewers have strong roots in the brewing clubs and they are always willing to participate in this event.

Q: How much has Brewing Up A Cure Raised for CFF? How many years has TRUB hosted the event?

CB: Brewing Up A Cure is one of Pittsburgh’s longest-running beer festivals featuring over 100 different homebrewed beers, ciders, and meads. We are now in our 13th year. Since inception, we have helped to raise almost $300,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation!

Q: How does Brewing Up a Cure differ from some of the other beer festivals around Pittsburgh? 

CB: The main difference is that our event is mainly focused on serving beers crafted by homebrewers. The majority of the beers people will be sampling at this event were created at home by some very talented brewers. The beers created will range from classic, brewed-to-style recipes to no holds barred experimental recipes. This definitely offers our guests a wide and exciting variety of beers to sample.

Q: Do I need to be a beer expert to appreciate homebrews? 

CB: Absolutely not! Beer nerds and beer newbs are welcome. If you appreciate good beer and enjoy a variety of styles, then this is the festival for you. If you are new to beer, we will chat you up and figure out what you like and make sure you get a taste!

Q: Tell us about the voting system? Is this a homebrew competition as well? 

CB: Yes, absolutely there is some level of competition at this event. We essentially have a competition for the best beer and the best brewer each year. The winner gets the coveted “Golden Spigot” award. The voting is done using an app-based system. When the guests arrive they will be directed to download the “Brewing Up A Cure” app (for iPhone and Android of course). Using this app, attendees can simply click and vote for their favorites!

Q: Have any of the homebrewers who have attended the event gone on to open their own brewery? 

CB: We will also have many local breweries serving at the event. We have several brewers who have gone on to brew for such local breweries Hitchhiker, 412 Brewing, Four Points Brewing, and Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh to name a few. Some of these local professionals have also collaborated with the homebrew clubs to create unique brews to feature at the event and at their taprooms. We’ve brewed some really great collaboration beers with Roundabout, 412 Brewery and Four Points Brewing that we cannot wait to share at the event.

Q: Anything else someone should know before they go? 

CB: Four things.

  • One, people should know that they need to be prepared to be blown away by the homebrew at this festival. The skill level of our brewers and their attention to detail, ingredients, and creativity is just amazing. Folks attending this always ask the same question which is “where can I buy this stuff?”
  • Two, remember is to vote for your favorites! We all want that Golden Spigot
  • Three, there will be great food and awesome items for auction.
  • Four, know that you are doing something that is not only enjoyable but that it makes a difference. By purchasing a ticket and attending our event, you are making a donation that fully benefits Cystic Fibrosis. We hope to see you there.

Brewing Up A Cure 2019 Details

  • Date: Saturday, October 19, 2019
  • Time: 6-9 pm
  • Location: Energy Innovation Center, Hill District
  • Tickets: $50, available online here
  • Facebook event

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