Talk about kicking a keg

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on

Brufest logo WEB

We love beer's power to do good.

The annual Brufest of the Pittsburgh Rugby Club on Saturday, Nov. 17, will do just that by encouraging attendees to bring food items to give to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. For each item, you get a raffle ticket.

You have to be there to win, and to be there, you need an admission ticket, which costs $35 or $50 if you fancy yourself a VIP who should get in early -- at 4:30 p.m. Everbody else gets in at 5:30 p.m. and the fun -- tastings of dozens of brews in your keepsake glass, light food -- runs until 8:30 p.m.

The venue is Saddle Ridge/Bar Room/Beach Bar at Station Square on the South Side.

For the full list of confirmed brewers and other details about Brufest as well as tickets, go here.

Among the three dozen or so participating brewers are three regional upstarts/startups:  Butler Brew Works (whose Nick Fazzoni says they're bringing Carver's Pumpkin Ale, Hop Marsh Single Hop IPA and Spelunking Imperial Stout) and Milkman Brewing Co. (this fest's two-time best-of-show winner, bringing Dahntahn Brahn Ale, Peppercorn Rye, Peppermint Porter, Mean Ass Hank Double IPA and, in honor of Thanksgiving, a Cranberry Ale), as well as an outfit I hadn't even heard of: Native Blood Brewing.

I found a page on Facebook, sent an email and heard back today from Ben Engelhard, one of the co-founders and brewmaster of Native Blood Brewing, LLC.

Turns out, Mr. Engelhard, 34, is a teacher, and so are his two co-founders: Tim Howells and Tim Hinkle. About two years ago, they were in a planning meeting at school one day, feeling a little bored with the status quo, and talked about, "What could we do to kinda tap into our creativity and some of the skills we bring to our teaching? We came up with beer."

They liked beer, but had never brewed it, and so began a lot of experimentation, fueled by Mr. Engelhard's skills as a cook, Mr. Howells' meticulous science bent, and Mr. Hinkle's mechanical ability.

They've been brewing on a 5-gallon system, now at Mr. Engelhard's West View home, for appreciative friends and family, but this event, he says, "is a huge exposure event for us.”

They hope to eventually connect with some investors, get a bigger brewing setup and go commercial.

The Native Blood name? Well, Mr. Engelhard is Brazilian, so he's a native South American, and Mr. Howells is part Native American.

Even though they're all from somewhere else, they invoke "Native" as much to mean local and Pittsburgh, and say the "Blood" part is for the blood that flows through and binds all three of them.

They'll all be at Brufest, where they'll be pouring their bottle-conditioned Broken Trail pale ale and Native Gourd pumpkin ale, as well as a little of their Rainmaker blueberry wheat and Hop 31, which they brew each year in honor of May 13 "Top Gun" Day.

Here's the label for Native Blood Native Gourd:


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