‘Brew’ museum’s first beer debuts at Mt. Lebanon resident’s brewery
Grateful Red would have been a cool choice. But so is Interactive Exhibit.
That’s the name of the first-ever beer bearing the label of Brew: The Museum of Beer, the multimillion dollar project proposed for Pittsburgh to tell the 10,000-year history of one of humankind’s favorite beverages.
A “Name That Beer” contest drew hundreds of entries – the apparent Grateful Dead fan’s suggestion included – with Max Meese of Ross Township submitting the winner for the new red India pale ale.
East End Brewing Co., which is owned by Mt. Lebanon resident Scott Smith, hosted the April 24 debut party, during which Meese took the ceremonial first sip of Interactive Exhibit. The ale is effort among Pittsburgh brewers East End and Hop Farm, where the beer was made, along with Lakewood, N.Y.-based Southern Tier.
“Mmm. Really, really good,” Meese said after taking another sip. “It has a nice balance of the malt and the hops. It’s a really great beer.”
A confessed “huge fan of corny names,” he and his wife, Morgan, put quite the effort into coming up with something that could work.
“I actually spent a lot of time bouncing ideas off her, and we couldn’t get past the idea of people going to the Brew museum and asking to participate in the interactive exhibit,” he said. “You know, you have to check out the interactive exhibit before you leave the museum.”
Because the Brew folks constantly use that exact selling point and obviously enjoy a good inside joke, Interactive Exhibit it is.
As the beer enthusiasts who packed East End for the debut filled their glasses with the new offering, Smith talked about how it came to be.
“Collaborating on beer is always a lot of fun,” he explained, “because it doesn’t take three or four guys to brew a batch of beer. So it really means that all but one of them stands around sipping beer while pointing at the other guy.”
In all seriousness, he is highly supportive of the Brew vision.
“There’s no museum of its kind anywhere in the country, in the world, of the scale of what they’re looking to put together,” Smith said. “People may ask, ‘Why Pittsburgh?’ or ‘Why not Pittsburgh?’ Look at what we have going on here, the exploding beer scene that we’ve seen the last four or five years. It’s a wonder to behold. And of course, the city, itself, has a great brewing history. So we’d be happy to be home for such a wonderful institution for many years to come.”
At the core of the Brew team are Dr. Joe McAllister, Denis Meinert and Peters Township High School graduate Matthew Sherwin, who have been spearheading efforts toward bringing the project to fruition.
“Beer goes back to the origins of civilization and may actually have given rise to civilization,” McAllister said. “It may not have happened without beer. Why did we stop being nomads, wondering around doing this hunting and gathering thing? Probably to stay in one place to grow barley and make beer.”
As far as making beer in Pittsburgh, it’s been going on since 1765.
“There’s nobody west of the Alleghenies who has a longer history than we do,” McAllister attested.
Meanwhile, the road to Brew: The Museum of Beer continues.
“Our next major step is to bring in some international experts to kind of confirm our model, to flesh it out, to take it into the next design steps,” McAllister said. “Those are drawing on major experts in the field, people who have worked on major entertainment destinations around the world and who are happy to come in and work with us.”
For more information, visit brewmuseum.com.