In the great tradition of what Braddock once was, Asa Foster and Matt Katase are out to build something.
“Braddock’s not going to be back to what it was, but it will reinvent itself as something else,” Katase says. “We want to be a part of that.”
Foster and Katase, who met during their freshman year at Carnegie Mellon and became fast friends, started brewing their own beer three years ago while college juniors. Last year, they took over the space at 512 Braddock Avenue and set about — quite literally — building The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company
Katase recalls showing the space to his brother last year around Thanksgiving.
“I unlocked the door and said, ‘this is where it’s going to be!’ and it was, well, not a disaster, but the remains of what was once an electrical supply store.”
Though they’ve taken a break from actually brewing to physically construct their brewery — they’re doing nearly all of the renovations themselves — they’ve already developed and tested a number of recipes, including four flagship beers which they plan to keep on tap year-round.
Foster, a Boston native, and Katase, who hails from Hawaii, envision their space as a large, serene and inviting area, full of exposed brick and wood, and moving at a different pace than most breweries.
“We are definitely looking to bring something to the Pittsburgh beer market that doesn’t already exist,” Foster says. “We want to have a more café kind of vibe in that we want people to feel comfortable with it as a hangout space, not just a tasting space.”
“Come in and read a book. Come in and get some work done. Nobody’s going to rush you out of your seat just because you’re taking up a barstool,” Katase added.
“It’s a manifestation of our brand, and we want that to be reflective of what our beer is,” Foster says. “It’s the place where we have the most control over quality.”
Foster and Katase hope to start brewing again by late December or early January, and have the taproom open to the public early next year. In the meantime, they’ve had plenty of support.
“Almost every day, someone comes up to us and says something thankful or encouraging,” Katase says. “People are psyched to see young people doing things in Braddock.”
You can follow The Brew Gentlemen’s progress on their blog
Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Asa Foster, Matt Katase