Barrel and Flow Fest. Photo courtesy of Epicast.

By Megan Brown

Barrel & Flow Fest, one of the best beer festivals in the country as voted by USA Today readers, isn’t just about beer. Its larger mission is to foster an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere to empower the entire Black community.

This year’s festival, which kicks off Tuesday, Aug. 8, will showcase Black art, food, music — and, of course, beer — through a weeklong spectacular that culminates with the showcase festival on Saturday, Aug. 13 in its new home at The Stacks at 3 Crossings in the Strip District. 

Barrel & Flow will feature more than 30 Black-owned breweries (sharing 55 one-of-a-kind collaboration brews made exclusively for the festival), 150 food, art and craft vendors, seven bands, five DJs, and two live stages curated by Pittsburgh’s Boom Concepts

Breweries from all across the country will be there, but you’ll also see some familiar local faces, too. 

Here’s the full list of brewers.

Food from local restaurants is a highlight of Barrel & Flow Fest. Photo courtesy of Epicast.

A few local breweries have teamed up with Black artists in the Pittsburgh area. You will find a collaboration between Brew Gentleman and artist C.B. Perry, and you can try the old-fashioned, cocktail-inspired ale with rye collaboration from Trace Brewing and artist HUNY. 

Black musical artists from Pittsburgh and beyond including Elias Kouri, Livefromthecity, Blvck Hippie and NASH.V.ILL will perform all day Saturday. Here is the full list of performers.

This year. Barrel & Flow teamed up with a new sponsor, Crackem, a free app that allows users to earn rewards for visiting participating breweries.

Barrel & Flow Fest started in 2018 as Fresh Fest, the nation’s first festival for Black-owned craft breweries. The festival rebranded to Barrel & Flow last year. 

Barrel & Flow Fest will have live music curated by Boom Concepts. Photo courtesy of Epicast.

Barrel & Flow Fest Full Schedule

Tuesday, Aug. 9, 5-8 p.m. – Brew Gentlemen Steel Garden, Downtown (free)

Wednesday, Aug. 10, 4-10 p.m. – Dancing Gnome, Sharpsburg (free)

Thursday, Aug. 11, 7-10 p.m. – Brewer & VIP Event at Cinderlands Warehouse, Strip District

Thursday, Aug. 11, 6-10 p.m. – Trace Brewing, Bloomfield (free)

Friday, Aug. 12, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. –  Conference & Network Event at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh, Green Tree

Friday, Aug. 12, 7-10 p.m. – Bottle Share at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh, Green Tree

Friday, Aug. 12, 9:30 p.m. – Comedy Show at Arcade Comedy Theater, Downtown

Saturday, Aug. 13, 5- 9 p.m. – Barrel & Flow Festival at The Stacks at 3 Crossingss, Strip District. VIP admission is at noon with 3 p.m. entry for Early Admission Ticket-holders 

Saturday, Aug. 13, 10 p.m. – After Party at Thunderbird Cafe, Lawrenceville

Sunday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – Brewers Brunch at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh, Green Tree

Tickets range in price from $30-$215. Read the festival’s Anti-Harassment and Covid Policies.

Watch Boaz Frankel’s chat with Day Bracey, founder of Barrel & Flow Fest, after last year’s festival.

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