One thing we can always be thankful for in Pittsburgh is the fact that we will never have a shortage of great beer. Just a few short weeks ago at the time of this posting, Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week 2015 drew to a close and, boy oh boy, what a showcase of beer it was! Many of our breweries joined forces to produce this year’s series of one-off collaboration beers and their truly wasn’t a bad beer in the bunch. Sure, some may not have met your go-to profile standards, but our local brewers proved they can stand toe-to-toe with anyone around the brew kettle.
In my last submission to the ‘9 Extraordinary Craft Beer Destinations in Pittsburgh’ series, I shifted the focus from the bars doing amazing things with craft beer to some of the breweries producing killer beers in our own backyard. As always, with so many breweries offering up so much, grinding that list down to just nine wasn’t the easiest task in the world. But fear not, I’m back for Round 2!
Below you’ll find nine MORE breweries who you need to check out immediately, all of which are making Pittsburgh’s craft beer scene a better place. Also, please find links to the other ‘9 Extraordinary Craft Beer Destinations in Pittsburgh’ series and read responsibly.
I’d also like to point out that these nine extraordinary breweries will be part of the Beers of the Burgh Festival happening this Saturday in Lawrenceville, along with over 35 other breweries, meaderies, and cider houses. This event is currently sold out. If you’re a ticket holder, you are in for a treat. If you missed out, be sure to stay on the lookout for future Beers of the Burgh festivals as these events have quickly become the best showcase for local brewing talent we have.
1) Helltown Brewing | Mt. Pleasant – In the 1700’s, the area that would later become Mount Pleasant was a hotbed for whiskey production and distribution. As bootlegging and lawlessness spread through the area, the community was dubbed “Helltown.” Fast-forward a few centuries and that handle has become synonymous with some of the best local beers around. Helltown Brewing has been operating since 2011 and its lineup of beers including Perverse Stout, Idle Hands Double IPA, Rapture IPA, Mischievous Brown Ale, and others tie perfectly to their hellish namesake. Plus, Mt. Pleasant’s zip code is 15666. If Satan has a master plan, you gotta believe he’s devising it over a Helltown pint. You absolutely owe it to yourself to check them out and leave with a growler or five.
2) Hop Farm Brewing | Lawrenceville – Hop Farm stands out on this list because everything about their beer has a local contribution. They grow their own hops organically and add them to every batch of beer they brew. A passion for growing hops and brewing beer naturally led to a marriage that resulted in the opening of the brewery and taproom in 2013. Hop Farm’s flagship IPA, One Nut Brown Ale, can be found on tap year-round along side a diverse, constantly evolving and growing list of offerings to challenge your palate. Hop Farm also features small food items to pair with your favorite pint right in the heart of Lawrenceville, one of Pittsburgh’s most popular and fastest-growing neighborhoods.
3) Church Brew Works | Pittsburgh – Resting just on the outskirts of the Pittsburgh city limits sits a church. Of course, this former house of God has been renovated and transformed into one of the coolest destinations for beer drinkers in town. Church Brew Works has been producing solid beer and amazing food for years, and the historical ties connected to their brewpub make it a true destination that brings together craft beer enthusiasts from far and wide to worship. An upswing in immigrant migration to Pittsburgh in the 1800s led to the need for more parishes, but you can bet none of those folks thought award-winning beer would be brewed on the alter a couple centuries later. Church has an extensive list of medals connected to their beers and they won Large Brewpub of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival in 2012. Head in for a pint and a pierogi pizza…you’ll be glad you did.
4) Rivertowne Brewing | Export – One of the coolest things about Rivertowne isn’t so much that they’ve solidified themselves as a true local craft beer powerhouse because that was inevitable. It’s the fact that they don’t just have one destination in town, they have five! In addition to the main production brewery in Export that features a taproom, extensive brewery tour, and a relaxing outdoor seating area, Rivertowne has four restaurant locations scattered across Pittsburgh with an emphasis on their beers and other local and regional options as well. These locations rest in the North Shore, Monroeville, North Huntingdon, and Verona. Rivertowne is always a solid stop before and after events at PNC Park, Heinz Field and Stage AE, and their full menu combined with extensive tap offerings ensures you’ll always come back for more.
5) Voodoo Brewery in Meadville / Voodoo Pub in Homestead – Looking for some of the best beer in the region but don’t feel like driving up to Meadville to get it? Fear not, Pittsburgh beer enthusiast! Voodoo Brewery has brought their wares right to your front door. There’s no question, a trip to Voodoo’s main production brewery is well worth your time. In fact, there’s a tour offered through PA Brew Tours that will take you there via bus. But if you’re looking to stay close to home, you can now head down to Homestead and experience all the great Voodoo brews in their one-of-a-kind pub that opened in January 2015. The pub features food trucks along side an always-solid lineup of beers and offers an environment that will undoubtedly make you a repeat customer.
6) Draai Laag Brewing | Millvale – Draai Laag (pronounced dry-law’g) Brewing’s mission was to bring something different to the Pittsburgh beer market and they’ve accomplished this with their extensive list of Belgian-inspired ales. Their beer comes to life based on old world brewing methods like complex fermentations using multiple yeast strains and longer maturation periods. Their flavors are more complex, but part of craft beer consumption is challenging your palate with something new. Draai Laag has a beautiful taproom in Millvale and allows you to sample different beers to help you find something in your wheelhouse. You can truly expect a unique experience accompanied by some excellent beers brewed with pride and passion when you stop in for a visit!
7) All Saints Brewing | Greensburg – So far, this list of destinations has taken us to hell and to church. Now, it’s going to take us for a pint with the saints! Continuing a long-standing tradition of brewing excellence in Westmoreland County, All Saints brings a lineup of quality beers to the forefront in a taproom setting that oversees their brewhouse. They have taproom hours Wednesday thru Sunday, giving you many opportunities to pull up a stool, enjoy a pint, and grab a bite to eat from their menu of food options. Founder and brewer Jeff Guidos won a Gold medal at the 2002 Great American Beer Festival for his Voodoo Child Lager and his exceptional brewing prowess can be found in all the beers on tap at All Saints.
8) Rock Bottom Brewery | The Waterfront/Homestead – While Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant may be considered a “chain,” you’d never know it when partaking in Pittsburgh’s location in Homestead. The brewers have a very local-centric approach to their beers and getting to know them better drives this point home even more so. Their objective is to contribute to the growing local craft beer scene and make unique, flavorful beers at every juncture. They are winning on both accounts. In addition to great beer, there’s absolutely no way you can leave Rock Bottom hungry with a full menu of delectable food options to settle the rumbling in your belly. Combine those two must-have elements with their location in The Waterfront and you’ve got yourself the perfect before-and-after stop before shows at The Improv or a night of games at Dave and Buster’s. Plus, it’s connected to Sing Sing Dueling Piano Bar. So many positives here!
9) Bloom Brew | West Newton – Rounding out the list is a brewery who may be small in stature, but big in craft beer options. Bloom Brew opened in February 2013 in West Newton and was born from an obsession with homebrewing. From small batches in co-owner Jeff Bloom’s kitchen to the opening of their actual brewery, Jeff and co-owner Steve Denk have a passion for creating solid beers handcrafted in small batches and utilizing as many local ingredients as possible. One element that makes Bloom Brew unique is the amount of beers you can experience at their brewery. They have 24 on tap at all times, with 24 more ready to fill the lines when a barrel kicks. They share a space with the West Newton Volunteer Fire Department and offer a beer called 82 Hot Head Red whose sales benefit the fire hall. They are open every Saturday for growler fills!
HONORABLE MENTION: Fat Head’s | South Side – Why is Fat Head’s just an honorable mention, you ask? Well, despite having a pub in Pittsburgh’s South Side bursting at the seams with killer food and amazing beers for days, Fat Head’s beer is often considered “local” even though it’s actually brewed in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. The famous South Side location, which opened its doors in 1992, represents the first Fat Head’s restaurant, so its tie to Pittsburgh is huge. Next came the Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon in North Olmstead, Ohio and thanks to award-winning brewer Matt Cole’s incredible beers, huge demand called for the opening of their full-scale production brewery in 2012. Fat Head’s continues to bring award-winners to your pint glass and a trip to the South Side pub is an absolute necessity. They have recently opened up another pub in Portland, Oregon too!
Read the first 9 Extraordinary Craft Beer Destinations in Pittsburgh: BREWERY EDITION! post
Check out the first four installments of ’9 Extraordinary Craft Beer Destinations in Pittsburgh!’
The Post that Kicked It Off! Read the first post in the ’9 Extraordinary Craft Beer Destinations in Pittsburgh’ Series
You Wanted More? I Delivered! Part II in the ’9 Extraordinary Craft Beer Destinations in Pittsburgh’ Series
And it continues! Part III in the ’9 Extraordinary Craft Beer Destinations in Pittsburgh’ Series
The Rocky vs. Drago Edition…Part IV in the ’9 Extraordinary Craft Beer Destinations in Pittsburgh’ Series