Melding Industrial with Spiritual: Carrie Furnaces Beer + Yoga

Carrie Furnaces Beer + Yoga
Carrie Furnaces Beer + Yoga

In the Rust Belt of Pennsylvania sits the Carrie Furnaces Complex.  The mill has stood strong since the early 1900’s and, compliments of a plummeting need for steel in the early 1980’s, was forced to shut its proverbial doors and send its workers looking for alternate ways to feed their families. It seems as though every person native to The ‘Burgh had a relative that worked in one of the mills or knows someone that drew a hard-earned paycheck from one. 

Making lemonade out of lemons is a task that Pittsburghers do very well, and when Rivers of Steel National Heritage Foundation acquired the property in 2010, it opened its doors back up and began hosting guided tours. Visitors have fallen in love with the rust belt beauty, the history of the mill, and the connection of friends and family. I know I was smitten over it.

Beer + Yoga

There’s also a love for revitalization in town. New restaurants, craft breweries, and businesses are falling right in line and giving a much needed face lift to Pittsburgh’s downtrodden boroughs. Brew Gentlemen Beer Co. in Braddock converted an old electrical shop in the steel mill town and offers creative craft brew styles- bringing life back to the sleepy town and new income sources. 

The company began hosting Sunday Brewery Yoga Sessions in-house and the attendance has been phenomenal. Combining beer and yoga is a natural melding in my opinion. Yoga is good for the body, mind, and soul and beer is good for the belly. Plus, it’s a great excuse to hang out after class with friends and fellow yogis.

yoga at carrie furnace

As an end of summer beer and yoga session blowout, Brew Gentlemen partnered with Rivers of Steel, South Hills Power Yoga, Fittsburgh, and lululemon on August 23rd for the Beer + Yoga Blowout at the Carrie Furnaces. Melding industrial with spiritual, a spray-painted, graffiti-filled warehouse was the backdrop. 

And what a beauty it was.

brew gentlemen

For a very affordable class fee of $10, attendees not only had and hour-long power yoga class and a free 5 oz. brew sample back at the brewery afterwards, but a $5 donation to the Pittsburgh Yoga Collective was included in the fee- a local nonprofit whose goal is to “bring the practice of yoga and mindfulness to under-served and at-risk populations in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas.”

south hills power yoga

South Hills Power Yoga gave away free session cards in exchange for a pose with the instructors. What’s inspired power yoga? According to the studio’s official site, it ” ignites the body and mind through the cultivation of breath and presence. ” Their classes use upbeat music and inspirational themes to fuel the “powerful current created by the asana flow.”

Here’s a sample of the hour-long class:

What does that mean? Power yoga is vigorous approach to breath-synchronized yoga. Vigorous, indeed. Instead of holding yoga poses for 2-5 minutes, power yoga flows quickly from one pose to the next. 

pgh yoga
Pittsburgh Yoga Collective was happy to let attendees know where their donation was going and how it would be used. 

Back at the Brewery

brew gentlemen
After the session, everyone headed back to Beer Gentlemen for their free sample of craft beer. What was at our table? General Braddock’s IPA and a Coffee Milk Stout prototype. What did Mr. Locke think of the two? He thought the IPA was solid and well-rounded with a nice aroma at the start. It had a good, round middle and a pleasant, but lightly bitter, finish. It’s unfiltered, opaque look was pretty and not too sticky or resin-y in the mouth. As for the Coffee Milk Stout? A wonderful, strong coffee aroma which he liked and beautiful color. The stout is a one off and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

yoga and beer
The tables were packed to the hilt and many loved the brunch menu from Second Breakfast and Driftwood Oven. 

Disclosure: I was hosted by Beer + Yoga and Brew Gentlemen Beer Co. to give you fine folks the scoop on what makes the event so great. I was not asked to state a particular point of view and all opinions are my own!

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