Latina and woman owned Hot Plate Brewing Co., is coming soon to Pittsfield, Mass.! The brewery in planning, led by Sarah Real, who, I’d be doing a disservice to if I didn’t mention that she is still working her full-time job as a fund and consumer specialist at ViacomCBS while getting this brewery off the ground, and her husband Mike Dell’Aquila. Hot Plate aims to be a welcoming and inclusive space for ALL people, regardless of race, gender or disabilities.
It was a tour of New Belgium, years ago, that Sarah realized brewing and owning a brewery was really what she wanted to do. She took to homebrewing, but it wasn’t until 2017, when Sarah and Mike lost gas in their building while living in NYC, that the name Hot Plate came to life.
Desperate to continue making homebrew, Sarah purchased a hot plate, and said, “When you want something bad enough, you’ll do what it takes to make it work, even if it means brewing on a CuisineArt hot plate!” For Sarah, the name Hot Plate resonates and embodies perseverance and strong will.
During the pandemic, like many, Sarah and Mike left NYC and bought a house in the Berskshires. Sarah says that many people are traveling to Mass for craft beer, but skipping over Western Mass. In fact, as of right now, there is not a single brewery in Pittsfield. It seems as though it’s a pretty exciting time for Western Mass., seeing that a lot of people who have left the region are returning, not to mention, many people from NYC swing through the area en route to places like Vermont and New Hampshire for hiking, skiing and whatnot. With the addition of some up and coming breweries, like Hot Plate, perhaps this area will see a positive economic influence.
Hot Plate will offer an assortment of beer styles brewed from their two vessel, 7bbl system. One can expect some approachable, classic styles, styles that are considered trendy and some nuanced beers, like Saisons and Belgians! Keep your eyes out for Sarah’s favorite beer to brew, her Chamomile Blonde Ale. I can only imagine how amazing it must taste.
Sarah’s mother is a retired speech pathologist and because of this, Sarah inherited a heightened awareness to the everyday struggles people with disabilities face. Because of this, Sarah commits to making the taproom space inclusive and welcoming for everyone who walks through the door. Warm and welcoming colors, a variety of music, played at a lower volume, with folks who may be hard of hearing in mind as well as full accessibility for folks who use walkers and wheelchairs. The space plans to host a variety of artists and musicians as well!
After their first year, Hot Plate plans to utilize MassHire, a government run program designed to help Massachusetts residents gain on the job training in different industries. (Hello, can we have this program in ALL 50 states?!) Hot Plate is also committed to hiring people who live in Pittsfield.
Hot Plate is gearing up to launch an Indiegogo campaign to help them fund the brewery in planning the rest of the way. Keep an eye on their Instagram for when it goes live, and to stay current on their build-out progress and opening date!
With so many up and coming breweries owned by marginalized people who are planning their business with good and inclusive intent, it’s exciting to think that the craft beer space will be more safe and welcoming than ever before. Cheers and best of luck to Sarah and Mike!