Some quick facts!
Name: Brandon A. - Allegheny River Brewery
Where he is from: Pittsburgh, PA
Spike Brewing equipment owned: 20 Gallon HLT with HERMS coil and heating element, 20 Gallon Mash Tun, 20 Gallon Boil Kettle with heating element.
Homebrew club: TRASH (Three Rivers Alliance of Serious Homebrewers)
Years brewing: 6 years
Brewing setup: We have a 3 vessel custom made electric brewery. My two friends and co-brewers (John B. and Paul R.) built the brewery. Paul is a mechanical engineer who specializes in automation, and built us a custom program to control the brewery functions via laptop. He also did all of the electrical work on the brewery. Our brewery can be used inside and also, can be wheeled outside.
Favorite beer to drink: This is like asking someone to pick their favorite child. I truly have a respect for and enjoy almost every style of beer, but it’s really tough to beat a very well done pale ale.
How he got into homebrewing: My co-brewers and I started to drink craft beer while we were roommates in college and we were blown away at the depth of flavors, compared to the big brand light beers we and other college students had become accustomed to. Being DIYers, we looked into how we could try to replicate the awesomeness that is craft beer. We did only two brews on a single pot and turkey fryer exract set-up before we decided to go all-in and build our electric brewery. We planned the build out over 3 months. Since, we’ve been updating and improving with no signs of stopping. We call ourselves Allegheny River Brewery, because we all grew up together in Oakmont, PA which is located along the Allegheny River.
How has your Spike Brewing equipment helped elevate your brew day?
Our spike kettles have allowed us to be more efficient with our brew day and have even more control of the outcome of the beer. The ease of use has also allowed for a more enjoyable brew day.
If you could give advice to a brewer that was just starting, what would you tell them?
My advice would be to educate yourself as much as you can with brewing knowledge through books, brew clubs, and just listening to advice and feedback from other brewers. Make small tweaks to recipes and brewing procedures to narrow down what will allow you to make the most impactful improvements in your beer.
What is one homebrewing story you love to share?
We applied to be on the tv show Beerland when they announced they were looking for brewers in the Pittsburgh area. After a few interviews, we were chosen to be featured. We ended up winning the Pittsburgh episode, so we were flown out to California to film the season finale against the winners from others cities in the country. Although we didn’t win the finale, it was an awesome, once in a lifetime experience that allowed us to meet a lot of cool people with similar interests from different parts of the Country and just reinforces that home brewing is a passion that is shared by so many people from all over the place.