As an Ambridge native now living in Pittsburgh, I was immensely excited for Altered Genius when they opened their brewery last year. Since then, the brewery and my beloved lil hometown have been circulating in craft beer conversations around the city. When I hear someone say, “yinz been dahn to Altered Genius yet?! – We love that spot! Their food is AMAZING” it seriously brings a happy tear to my eye.
If the pandemic gave us anything, other than panic and existential dread, a lot of us, myself included, were given the grace and space to reevaluate what our interests were, and made us take a good look at our lively hoods, begging the question, “What the hell am I doing here?!” ‑ It was no different for June Saulen, General Manager and Part Kitchen-Owner of Altered Genius in Ambridge, PA.
There’s no doubt that we have mad love for this brewery, I especially, because I used to skip out of my lunch period at Ambridge Area High School to get hotdogs from The Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe, the same building where Altered Genius resides. (And yes, I make everyone aware of this crucial hotdog history)
Anyway, back to my girl, June…
During quarantine, June, who worked as a bartender, was out of work and left with a lot of time and uncertainty on her hands. She began to sell food out of her own kitchen to make ends meet. Quickly, June got a lot of attention for her food. So much attention, that she ended up on Ken Jaram’s radar, Co-Owner of Altered Genius. He ordered food from her and soon after approached her about running their food program at the brewery.
While June doesn’t possess any official culinary training, she draws inspiration from “watching every single cooking show on Netflix.” She adds, “I brought a lot of ideas back from my vacation to the beach for my current menu.” June mentions that the menu is on a constant rotation, featuring seasonal ingredients and whatever brewery-goers are craving.
June and her kitchen staff responded to the outpour of positive feedback about their tacos, so be on the lookout for a monthly taco special coming soon. *Word to the Wise: get the Lobster Tacos, served with a secret buttery sauce, which is absolutely divine. A close second, the Birria Pork tacos, served with a special dipping sauce. Both will blow your mind, I promise.
They also offer brunch on Sundays, with a few different renditions of Eggs Benedict as well as a Cheddar Stuffed Brunch Burger, topped with all the fixin’s, an egg, and some sort of amazing sauce. It’s incredible. Although it’s on a bit of a hiatus, save room for dessert: Creme Brulee with a 5oz pour of Lenore, AG’s flagship stout. It’s insane. Check it out.
When you come in, she recommends pairing any of her delicious creations with whatever hazy IPA is on tap (currently, Wicked Smaht.) She adds, “I’m not into Hard Seltzers, like, at all, but I LOVE the Seltzers here at AG!” – They recently released two waves of canned Blueberry Lemon Seltzer because they sold out so quickly. I must agree with June, they are quite tasty.
Be sure to drop June a line on Altered Genius’ Instagram or Facebook and let her know what you think of the food! Follow June’s food creations here and if anyone’s in the market for a kitchen job, much like everywhere these days, they are hiring!