After a few minor construction modifications to the facility, the duo can sell beer daily. That is, if the deliberately tiny operation can make enough to keep up with the demand.
They brew once a week and, according to Hallam’s calculations, will produce about 120 barrels of beer this year. (In comparison, Anheuser-Busch produces 125 million barrels annually.)
But it’s by choice: Abjuration’s tiny size allows them to maintain their adventurous brewing style. Each week, a new concoction is added to the eight-tap lineup.
There is no flagship beverage, but there’s a style to suit every palate, ranging from a 15 percent ABV vanilla oak Belgian ale and cocoa-flavored porter, to a black IPA and malty amber ale that features a peanut butter toast malt. A blue corn cream ale is currently fermenting in the back room.
Although there have been some missteps — they accidentally scorched a recent batch of liquid gold and had to dump it — the Abjuration guys get a lot of support from their fellow brewers.
“There’s so many breweries in Pittsburgh because of the homebrew culture here,” says Hallam, whose wife gave him the homebrew kit that sparked his career.
Local brewers are quick to offer advice on everything from taxes to grain bills. Andrew Witchey, founder of Dancing Gnome Brewery in Sharpsburg, shared his secret to success: “Just be nice to everyone.”
Glover and Hallam agree. They’re paying it forward by posting all of their recipes online so novice brewers can practice a tried-and-true formula and then perfect their own beers. They’re also involved with the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation (CDC).
The CDC’s Executive Director Taris Vrcek says the Parkway’s revival creates the kind of amenity the area hasn’t seen in years.
“The theater was once an anchor in the business district,” he says. “The type of programming that Aaron brings — live music, live comedy — well, adding a microbrewery to that mix amplifies the whole thing.”
Glover and Hallam plan to keep Abjuration’s small-scale status while they focus on building their brand and attracting new faces to McKees Rocks. One day, they hope to open a larger production brewery in addition to this one, so another community can find joy in their beer.
And in case you’re curious: “Abjuration” is the act of renouncing or swearing off something. The duo chose it because they’ve sworn off traditional brewing norms and they’re up for anything.
“We want to keep this fun,” Glover says with a smile. “We’re on a journey of beer!”