By John Santa
Inspiration can come from anywhere for Andy Kwiatkowski.
For his latest concoction, Kwiatkowski, head brewer at Mt. Lebanon’s Hitchhiker Brewing Co., had barely begun his day when his latest idea sprang into fruition.
“Drinking a smoothie for breakfast one morning inspired me to translate that concept into a beer,” he said.
And so Hithhiker’s newest beer was born.
Subsurface Smoothie Sour is one of 11 beers currently available for consumption at Hitchhiker’s Mt. Lebanon location.
“This beer is brewed as a kettle sour, which is a two-stage process,”Kwiatkowski said. “Before introducing hops or brewers yeast, we inoculate wort with a culture of lactobacillus, a bacteria often used in making yogurt. Lactobacillus consumes sugar and creates lactic acid as a byproduct creating the sourness.”
The entire process for creating Subsurface Smoothie Sour last about 16 hours, Kwiatkowski said.
“We then boil it to kill off the bacteria and ferment like any other beer,” he said.” We then condition the beer on a really unreasonable amount of fruit – there is over a pound of fruit per four pack of cans. Subsurface is a rotating series, so there are always different fruits in each batch.”
This particular iteration of Subsurface Smoothie Sour contains Rahr 2-Row malt, flaked wheat, citra, house yeast and fruit.
In addition to its location in Mt. Lebanon, Hitchhiker also boasts a Sharpsburg brewery and tap room where 16 beers are available at any given time.
Hitchhiker’s Mt. Lebanon tap room is located at 190 Castle Shannon Boulevard.