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We got a behind the scenes look at the raspberry/blackberry/lime kettle sour Grist House will serve at Fresh Fest. Try it this Saturday at Nova Place.

Published on Tuesday, Aug 6th, 2019by BRIAN CONWAY

ABV is our weekly series that highlights a different beer from a local Pittsburgh brewery every week. Check out our past picks here

Leading up to Fresh Fest we will preview some of the collaboration beers attendees can expect to try on Aug. 10 at Nova Place.


Deep in the heart of Texas, the prairie sky is wide and high, and craft beer flows so free.

Or at least more than previously, as of late.

“No matter how bad your laws are, Texas laws are worse,” said Kuumba Smith, the man behind Smittox Brewing.

“We were the last state to do beer-to-go,” he said, referencing a new state law that allows manufacturing breweries to sell up to a case of beer for off-site consumption. 

Fresh Fest Collaboration: Grist House x Smittox Brewing (Texas)

Smith, who lives in Allen, north of Dallas, is in Pittsburgh to brew his Fresh Fest collaboration beer with Grist House Craft Brewery. It’s called Work Optional Lifestyle and is a kettle sour brewed with raspberry, blackberry, and lime.

“Coming from the world of macro lagers, as I started getting into more craft beer, I started getting curious about the different flavors,” Smith said. “How does somebody do this imperial stout with chocolate? How did you make this one beer with fruit in it? So that kind of piqued my interest. I’m drinking it; I started wondering if I can make it.”

Turns out, he can. Last year, Smith won the Riverside Shootout homebrew competition at Fort Worth’s Martin House Brewing Company with his Short Order Porter, an 8.8% imperial breakfast porter made with hazelnut, cacao nibs, maple syrup and coffee, which was then canned for distribution.

His path to craft beer is no different from that of most other craft brewers. He started with “Brew in a Bag,” some five years ago, before moving to all-grain and slowly expanded his equipment and recipes. Today, he brews out of his garage once a month, twice if he’s lucky, in addition to a full-time job at a financial services company.

Smith is in the process of determining whether or not to take the plunge and open Smittox Brewing as a proper brewery. 

“I’m tired of working for people,” he said. “I want to be my own boss.”

He believes Fresh Fest, with its abundance of black brewers, will be an opportunity to learn how others secured the financing and partnerships needed to be a successful craft brewery owner.

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