Recently we sent AGtheDir up to finally meet Andy Kwiatkowski, head brewer for one of the newest breweries in town, Hitchhiker Brewing Company. Located in Mt. Lebanon, PA and owned by husband and wife Gary and Serena Olden, residents of Mt. Lebanon, the brewery and tap room is the conversion of a previously existing luxury tea shoppe.
Walking up to the brewery has a very welcoming feeling with a rustic facade, blooming florals and very tidy, well kept building. Its not your average looking brewery. The size of the space is very intimate and lends itself to be inviting to community members, college students, hipsters and beer dorks alike.
Funny enough, Andy and Adam have been chit chatting and sometimes even bantering back and forth through their twitter accounts for quit awhile. Long before Hitchhiker was on Andy’s radar. Several opportunities came and passed missing each other at their favorite watering holes, beer events and even scheduled meet ups that all just never happened. But today we made sure these two hooked up so that AG can pass along what Gary and Andy have going on and plans for the future!
Its a brew day, so Adam followed Andy around the basement careful to stay out of the way while the head brewer did his thing. At 28 years old, Kwiatkowski finds himself living his long dream of brewing beer professionally as the head brewer using his recipes both tried and true as well as new.
AG had the chance to enjoy the Tumbleweed Oatmeal Brown Ale that Andy and Hitchhiker released in April for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week. It was the first offering to the public from them and it lasted mere minutes after being tapped down on the North Shore Rivertowne Tap House during a “Meet the Brewers” event. Today he sipped on a little bit of everything you see on the chalk board here.
While sipping on several of the current offerings Adam got a real feel for Andy’s quick wit and almost troubling perfectionism. AG was rather pleased with the condition of the beer and styles and learned all sorts of new things as Andy listed the issue he had with each and every one. Good news is…he won’t stop until HE thinks its perfect which gives us all a long journey of being able to watch him grow and fall for this beer over and over again as he fine tunes them all.
Also be on the lookout for expansion quickly to increase his capabilities in quality control and volume. We HIGHLY encourage you to stop out to 190 Castle Shannon Blvd. in Mt. Lebanon anytime from 3p to 11p Weds & Thurs or 12p to 11p Fri & Sun to try several fall offerings including his popular pumpkin beer and a lesser known style of Gratzer!
Cheers Pittsburgh! Go help Andy “live the dream” and support Gary and Serena with theirs!