Pittsburgh Metal Just Got a Little More Festive and a LOT More BREW-TAL!
I stumbled across something that caught my eye a few months back that was being planned in Pittsburgh, PA called the Pittsburgh Brewtal Fest. At the time it was in the “dream” stage. The people in charge had a pretty amazing idea and laid it out almost perfectly.
I say almost because as quick as I found it, the “plans” had disappeared. I was bummed out because a hard rock event with breweries involved seemed like a very cool idea. There are so many “stuffy” beer and wine events that this one was tailor made for a very large target market.
After a few months out of sight out of mind, I was alerted by fellow rockers that the “Brewtal Fest” I spoke of was actually going to take place. At first I thought for sure that someone else got involved and would turn an otherwise kickass event into a lame money grab corporate event. Thankfully I was wrong. It seemed the people who dreamt this thing up were actually behind getting it rolling into a reality. NOW on November 6th in Lawrenceville, PA, the Pittsburgh Brewtal Fest is on!!
I got to grab a few minutes with Pittsburgh Metal vocalist, Chris Roy of the band Vermithrax. Vermithrax are part of the 6 band bill prepping to shred you into oblivion on several different genres of metal/rock. I will let Mr. Roy do the speaking via our quick Q&A. Also, check out Vermithrax on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/VermithraxMetal Also check out the other bands and breweries via www.pghbrewtalfest.com
Hey Chris, thanks for taking the time with me at The Heavy Metal ICU and Adrenaline 101 Radio brother.
Chris Roy: No problem “Sweet Lou” always a pleasure my friend. Nice to see you back to the local rock scene here in Pittsburgh.
Well Chris though my days of rockin’ out aren’t quite over, I’m still just a voyeur of the scene for now. But, I’ve been watching the exploits of Vermithrax over the last few months and looks like some fire is starting to catch on. It’s good to see the people of Pittsburgh seeing the band and how damn good you are, as I have for the past few.
Chris Roy: Very much appreciated Lou. We love playing; we love getting out there and just doing what we love to do. And yes, you have been a Vermithrax supporter for a long while. I’m (and of course the band) are just lucky we get the opportunity to do what we do…which is melt the face of every person, one head at a time!
What exactly is the Pittsburgh Brewtal Fest?
Chris Roy: It was the brainchild of Meg Evans of Rock Bottom Brewery and her husband, James Evans of Spoonwood Brewery, who are both metal and heavy music fans. Both of the frequent Craft Beer Festivals, as well as many area metal shows. They wanted to combine 2 passions that already have a strong connection, since many musicians have been known to enjoy a beer or 12.
As soon as they told me early in the year, I was in and am really psyched to see how this can bring the Pittsburgh music scene and other scenes together.
I first learned of a “potential” BrewTAL Fest early this past summer when it was in some sort of “GoFundMe/Kickstart” type stage. It seemed to just fizzle, then I saw some post on a few social media sites.. When did you and Vermithrax get involved?
Chris Roy: I’ve known Meg & James for a few years, so Vermithrax was the first band approached. The idea was to get diverse heavier music from the Pittsburgh area and obviously they reached out to people that they knew to a certain degree and had a local following that they were aware of.
Since this is a new concept, there were and are many things to learn.
For instance, Craft Beer Festival fans kind of know what to expect with ticket pricing, since often beer sampling and merch are part of your admission tiers. Metal Fests rarely, if ever, include beer tickets, branded souvenirs (Brewtal Fest Glass), which are include in General Admission ($36) and in the case of VIP tickets($55) for this event also include a Brewtal Fest T-Shirt and Food! All tickets also include an entry to win a Beardly Custom bass, which is an insane prize just for buying a ticket!
A huge shout out to Rick of Beardly customs and Commonwealth Press for being hugely active sponsors!
Rather than bail when the Kickstarter didn’t launch as fast as Kickstarter allows, everyone involved took personal stock in helping promote the event on a more grassroots level.
It’s now less than a few weeks away on Sunday, November 6th at Spirit (Lawrenceville, upstairs) from 3pm-9pm for VIP tickets and 4pm-9pm for general admission tickets.
How about the other bands involved?
Chris Roy: Child Bite is the only non-local bands hailing from Michigan and signed to Phil Anselmo’s (Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual) label Housecore. Pittsburgh’s Dethlehem (For VIP ticket holders who get in an hour earlier), Grey walker, World’s Scariest Police Chases, Natural Causes and little ole us, Vermithrax.
Is this only a “thrash” fest or will fans of ALL genres of metal/hard rock enjoy this (with or without Beer involved)?
Chris Roy: Diversity is the key to its success; so this year you will hear elements of classic/traditional metal, death, thrash, hardcore, punk and possibly zydeco classically influenced Jazz, Reggae, Metalcore. You might have to listen hard for that last one however.
The future of this Fest depends on whether other local bands realize that by helping make this year’s “Brewtal Fest” a success they are helping secure that this becomes an annual event. They’re ensuring that it grows and allows their band a shot at making their own signature beer; like 4 of the bands on the bill got to do! If the scene supports this Fest, there will be more and even more brewers will want to be involved! That is a huge win for our heavy music scene and Pittsburgh, as a whole. Can you tell how amp’d I am, this is amazing that we are here watching the grassroots of something that can become and WILL become, a very spectacular thing!
What is the “brewery” involvement with the bands and will YOUR beers be available to the buying public AFTER this event?
All 4 of the local bands with their particular Brewery collaboration will absolutely be available at the Fest! In fact, there is a friendly beer competition for the Brewtal Fest Championship Belt for the band that gets the most votes for the best beer collaboration and a trophy for the winning Brewery!
We (Vermithrax) would love that belt and would treat it like our own Stanley Cup and bring it around for friends and fans at our shows to check out! (insert maniacal laugh)
We worked with Steve and James at Spoonwood Brewery to create Vermithrax’s first signature Ale. It was such a great time for the band to see and experience the process. We came up with a refreshing Pale-styled Ale that starts Sweet with fresh (innocent) Blood Oranges that we pillaged, then baptized in a fire of various chilies to create a delicious Beer that seems sweet enough at first, but bites you every time with just a touch of Hellfire. (insert another infectious maniacal laugh only a Metal Frontman could pull off) We found that this would be fitting for any Beer with the “Vermithrax” (dragon) brand on it. We hope those that attend feel the same and give us and Spoonwood their vote. If we get enough votes we might move to bottling some for some future shows in the new year! I’d like to add a little nitrous if we go to bottles… so Help us make that happen!
What bands and breweries are involved?
Chris Roy: One band, “World Scariest Police Chase’s” are with Rock Bottom making a craft Malt Liquor! Another band on the bill, “Greywalker” made their signature Porter with Penn Brewery. And last but not least, “Natural Causes” are working with East End Brewery on a Cream Ale of sorts, I believe. So, much like the participating band’s music, the beers will be diverse and grab you by the brain!
Will the breweries be showcasing any of their additional beers?
Chris Roy: Tons!!! That is more the point from the brewers’ perspective. They want you to see what they have to offer and believe me, I’ve been sampling a lot more lately and there is some amazing stuff out there in our local Pittsburgh community that will blow away your taste buds as well as some brain cells. Hahaaaa
Anything else you’d like to add before we sign out?
453+213, you do the math. \m/ \m/
See ya November 6th brother!
That’s metal my friends! This looks like the start of a beautiful relationship here in Pittsburgh…beer, metal, and more! Check out the website for the Pittsburgh Brewtal fest at www.pghbrewtalfest.com
I hope to see a LOT of our metal brethren on November 6, 2016 in Lawrenceville at Spirit!