The Scene: Pittsburgh Beer Community Rises Up Against Hate

Pittsburgh’s adult beverage scene is thriving. From beer to spirits to everything in between, the Steel City is a drinking town and business is booming. The Scene is a monthly feature on Breaking Brews designed to bring you an in-depth, up-close look at the businesses, the people, and the products collectively making Pittsburgh a global destination for artisanal libations.

Scene 1: Pittsburgh Bands Together in the Face of Tragedy

Saturday, October 27th, 2018 – terror struck Pittsburgh as a lone gunman entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill and maliciously gunned down people gathered to worship and celebrate their faith. These actions resulted in several wounded and 11 dead. The gunman’s motive was as plain as it was sadistic: kill all Jews. Simply because their beliefs did not line up with his.

This mindset and the subsequent actions this level of thinking produces is, unfortunately, something we still face every day in our country. In a nation built upon cornerstones of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, citizens still walk the streets in fear because their race, orientation, gender, and religious beliefs differ from others. In the most extreme lines of thought, those people are allowed to believe what they want. It’s their right as Americans. However, when those beliefs manifest themselves in violent attacks against fellow humans, it negates those rights. These actions erode the basic safeties we’ve all been granted and exemplify the copious levels hatred that still runs rampant in our world.

The aftermath of this attack has left many scared, many mourning, and many questioning why. Whether this sort of violence takes place on the other side of the world or in your own backyard, it’s impossible to accept or to process. It signifies that as far as we’ve come as a civilization, the destination of true equality is still endless miles away.

If there is any silver lining to be found in the wake of this tragedy, it’s this: In the darkness of tragedy comes the light of strength, resolve, and community. The City of Pittsburgh and its constituents have joined together in numerous ways, from fundraisers to vigils to just being there to provide support when needed, to show this level of hate is not welcome. Communities from around the world have stood in support of our great city as it recovers from the events of October 27th. Regardless of color, creed, sex, or political affiliation, we are all human and all together in this struggle known as life. Seeing this sense of unity does not erase what happened. But knowing your fellow human is standing next to you believing in the good this world harbors certainly helps.

The Pittsburgh beer community is one of great camaraderie. It’s been noted on multiple mediums how quickly one brewer will rush to help another when they need supplies, advice, etc. Likewise, the men and women who comprise this great industry are constantly doing their part to better their communities by hosting events designed to raise money for various causes, including hurricane relief, veterans services, and many more. It’s no surprise the outpouring of support that has come from the breweries, brewery representatives, and craft beer destinations throughout our city in these difficult times.

Here is just a small sample of how these businesses and those behind them have helped and continue to help the Tree of Life in its recovery:

– Eleventh Hour Brewing in Lawrenceville donated 50% of their can sales to the Tree of Life Go Fund Me page the week after the events unfolded.

The Pittsburgh Craft Beer Society has started a donation page and is over halfway to reaching their goal. You can donate here. In addition, the Pittsburgh Whiskey Friends are hosting a special WhiskyCast fundraising event on November 26th – you can get all the details here.

– The Independent Brewing Company and its sister bar, Hidden Harbor, both located in Squirrel Hill and in close proximity to the shooting, donated $1 from every plate and drink served to Tree of Life.

Community Pour at Lorelei on Monday, November 5th. Photo courtesy of Debbie Steuber.

– On Monday, November 5th, The Independent and Hidden Harbor’s new sister location, Lorelei in East Liberty, hosted The Community Pour. 100% of all sales from this event are being donated. The event was very well-attended and had kegs generously donated by:

  • Arsenal Cider
  • Brew Gentlemen
  • Butler Brew Works
  • Cinderlands
  • Dancing Gnome
  • East End
  • Elk Creek
  • Graft Cider (based in New York)
  • Grist House
  • Helltown
  • Hitchhiker
  • Levity
  • Reissdorf (based in Germany)
  • Roundabout
  • Spoonwood
  • Threadbare

– On Tuesday, November 6th, East End Brewing is doing a similar event at both their locations in Larimer and the Strip District. 100% of sales of draft beer and soda at both locations will be donated. In addition, Aiello’s Pizza will be at the Larimer location selling slices of pizza that will also benefit the cause.

– On Thursday, November 8th, Beerhead Bar in the North Shore will be hosting a charity event with proceeds from Rusty Rail, Rhinegeist, Troegs, Wyndridge Farm, and Brooklyn Brewery being donated. Beerhead will be matching all proceeds. After 5pm, Slice on Broadway, located in PNC Park, will be serving pizza for $1 per slice with 100% of sales being donated. In addition, TJ Isenberg and Joey Papadakos are donating their time and will be performing from 4:30 to 7:30pm.

PLEASE NOTE: In no way is this list complete. If you know of any breweries, bars, and/or restaurants who have donated to the cause or have an event scheduled to help Tree of Life, please email me the details and I will be happy to add them.

From the second we take our first breath, a countdown begins to the second we take our last. In between those two breaths, it’s up to us to maximize every second given to us and make the most of this precious time we have on earth. We all possess the power to make an impact on this world. It’s imperative we use that power to do something good. Something memorable. Something honorable. That something can be small, it can be large. It can be felt by thousands, it can be felt by few. But if it affects even one person positively, you’ve done your part. 

It has been said thousands of time since October 27th, but it bears repeating: our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the 11 victims, as well as those who had loved ones wounded in the attack and all who were affected by these surreal events. Our community continues to mourn. But, equally as important, our community continues to unify against the hatred and inequality that tears our world apart. Even the most simple of acts of help and kindness will have a ripple effect throughout civilization, in Pittsburgh and beyond, as we always remember those whose lives were taken too early.

If you can’t make it out to any of the aforementioned events but would still like to donate to the Tree of Life, please click here. As of the time of this publication, they were just shy of their goal. Help push them over the line!













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