In the waning days of summer, people often find themselves trying desperately to hang on to the things that go with the warm season. Kenny Gould is no different.
Gould, an entrepreneur, beer lover, writer and founder of Hop Culture Magazine, had been dreaming about doing a pop-up beer garden down by the riverfront. As the covid-19 addled summer of 2020 wore on, that dream morphed into doing some type of Oktoberfest event. That’s when The Highline, an office/retail complex with an elevated riverfront green space on the South Side, entered the picture.
“I wasn’t really thinking about it until the Highline got in touch with me and asked me if I was interested in using the space to throw a craft beer festival,” said Gould.
Despite having organized some 30 beer festivals around the country, Gould was not convinced that this was a good idea.
“I said ‘I’m not throwing another beer festival for at least a dozen months just because of everything that’s going on,’” said Gould. “But then I told them I was thinking about this other idea that I think could be done in a really safe way and could be really fun.”
The idea, a beer garden with safe social distancing built in, becomes a reality this Friday when Lagerlands Socially Distant Beer Garden opens to the public. Hop Culture Magazine is joining forces with Cinderlands Beer Co., De Fer Coffee and Tea and Burgh’ers Brewing, maker of burgers and other snacks, to bring it all to life.
The beer garden will be open at The Highline’s outdoor space at 339 McKean St from September 11 through November 1, rain or shine.
The space, which is family-friendly and open to pets, can accommodate 100 people at a time. In order to operate safely and prevent overcrowding, organizers are using an online reservation system. The beer garden is open 5 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Everyone is required to bring a mask.
“It’s really easy to think of this as not normal but for now, at least, this is normal,” said Gould. “Pittsburgh has a pretty long history of working really hard and making things work and hopefully we’re doing justice to that tradition with this event.”
As for entertainment, Gould is looking at bringing in jazz musicians and has also bought a projector and a 20 foot inflatable screen to show family friendly movies.
“It’s something I’m really excited about” Gould said. “Not only that but to be able to hire a dozen people and probably more on Saturdays and Sundays, people who are looking for work, people who are in the food and hospitality industry who may have been furloughed or put out of work, is pretty cool as well.”
For more information, email Gould at [email protected]
Paul Guggenheimer is