Pittsburgh Homebrewers, this sounds like a good way to spend a Saturday!!

Gather ‘round the Kettle: Copper Kettle Brewing Company opens first brew-on-premises in Pittsburgh


New folder (2)/cpweb5.jpg Jeff Medjimorec adds ingredients to a kettle to make a batch of beer. The brew shop opened Jan 4.
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A shelve of ingredients at the Copper Kettle Brewing Company. Patrons add all indreients themselves and brew their own beer at the new brew-on-premises.

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The flavor board at Copper Kettle lists the possible 40 flavors of beer you can brew. Copper Kettle only brews ales in their brew-on-premises.

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John Hough monitors beer as it is brewed. Hough designed the brewing system that Copper Kettle uses, along with the help pf graduate students from Carnegie Mellon.

Beer connoisseurs of the ‘Burgh, unite. A new type of brewery is here to help you and all your brew needs.

Copper Kettle Brewing Company opened Jan 4. in an old Greenfield hardware store and is a brew-on-premises shop that is the first of its kind in Pittsburgh, according to Duquesne University graduate Greg Hough, who runs Copper Kettle along with his cousin, Jeff Medjimorec.

A brew-on-premises brewery means that patrons can brew their own beer. The style is also referred to as a U-Brew and originated in Canada to get around high taxes on alcohol, Hough said.

“It’s like Build-a-Bear, but instead of a bear, you’re making beer,” Hough, 26, said.

To brew your own beer, two appointments are needed. The first is to brew the beer, which takes about two hours. At that session patrons pick out a recipe, gather the ingredients, combine them and brew. Copper Kettle has 40 ale recipes to choose from, which the owners obtained from different brewers and by experimenting themselves, Hough said.

The second appointment is scheduled 14 days later to allow the beer to ferment. The second session consists of filling, capping and labeling the bottles, and takes about an hour and a half. The beer is cold, carbonated and ready to drink right after the session.

The cost, for individuals or groups, ranges from $125 to $145 depending on recipe complexity and alcohol content, which ranges from four to seven percent. The results make five cases of 12 22-ounce bottles, or 60 bottles.

Along with the beer, the price includes generic labels and caps. Bottles are not included, and can either be purchased from Copper Kettle for $10 a case or you can bring your own, Hough said.

Copper Kettle is connected to Hough’s Bar and Restaurant in Greenfield, which is owned by Hough’s family. The family bought the bar four years ago and wanted to differentiate themselves from other bars in Pittsburgh.

“When we first opened up, we wanted to get certain beers, different than regular beer,” said John Hough, Greg’s father, who, along with Carnegie Mellon University graduate students, designed the system that Copper Kettle uses.

Hough’s bar serves an assortment of craft beers on tap. Patrons can take their drinks to and from the brewery and restaurant.

“The clientele would ask, ‘Do you have this?’ John Hough, 55, said. “The clientele set the stage for us; you have to listen to your customers right? I always ask customers for negative feedback and positive feedback because that’s the only way to grow a business.”

Building the brewery from the former Greenfield Hardware store took about two years, said Jeff Medjimorec, 45, Greg Hough’s cousin, who also works at Copper Kettle. The hardware store closed Dec. 31, 2009.

During the construction, Medjimorec and Greg Hough worked 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. building the brewery and then worked 3:30 p.m. until closing time at Hough’s bar.

Greg Hough graduated from Duquesne in 2008 with a degree in marketing and entrepreneurship. He played football for the Dukes for four years. After graduation, he played in Finland for the Tampere Saints during the 2009 season.

“The only thing I wanted to do was play football coming out of college. That’s what I thought I was going to be doing,” Greg Hough said.

During a family Christmas in 2007 or 2008, a family member got him a home brewing kit.

“I liked drinking craft beer so much I [thought I] would like to make it for myself,” Greg Hough said.

Eventually, he would like to expand the business into making sodas and root beer.

“It’s pretty amazing the twists and turns life has,” Greg Hough said. “I have no complaints.”

Medjimorec said brewing the beer is more fun than work.

“I love it. What more could you ask for than to make beer for a living?” Medjimorec said.


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