Fresh Fest, the nation’s first and only black beer festival, is coming back to Pittsburgh

24 black-owned breweries. 45 collaboration brews. 20 food vendors. 6 musical acts. 3 DJs.

Cheers to Fresh Fest 2019.

Cheers to Fresh Fest 2019.

Courtesy of Fresh Fest
Rossilynne Culgan

Updated 3:30 p.m. March 26

Fresh Fest, the nation’s first — and only — black beer festival, which debuted in Pittsburgh last summer, is coming back this year, and it promises to be bigger, broader, and fresher.

Expect 24 black-owned breweries, 45 collaboration brews, 20 food vendors, six musical acts, and three DJs — and likely more to come.

“We are doubling up with the amount of brewers and the amount of collaborations that we’re doing and vendors,” said Fresh Fest Co-Founder Mike Potter, who is also the founder and CEO of Black Brew Culture, an online magazine.

Fresh Fest will expand into a three-day affair — Aug. 9-11 — with industry-focused activities on Friday and Sunday, such as a symposium on diversity, an industry bottle share, and a brewer’s appreciation brunch. Mark your calendar for the main, public event on Saturday, Aug. 10.

In the first year, attendees packed into the outdoor plaza of Nova Place in Allegheny Center on a warm summer evening for the one-day event. This year, Fresh Fest will expand to the indoor portion of Nova Place, as well.

Organizers also anticipate that attendance will double. More than 1,200 people attended in 2018, as the event drew national attention from outlets like NPR, Thrilist, Blavity, and City Lab, along with plenty of local coverage.

“I think one of the biggest reasons was that there were so many different collaborations that were available,” Potter said. “When you say that a festival is going to have brand new exclusive beers, it really gets people excited.”