When it comes to narrowing down a list of incredible craft beer destinations to just NINE, let me be the first to tell you…it’s not easy. There is so much to consider. Atmosphere. Tap list/rotation. Food offerings. Staff friendliness. True dedication to crafts. Critical acclaim by patrons.
Last month, I published a list entitled “9 Extraordinary Craft Beer Destinations in Pittsburgh.” I compiled my selections based on personal preferences and sentimentality, as well as feedback I got from my readers when I asked the loaded question “What’s your favorite craft beer locale in Pittsburgh and why?”
The response from readers for the aforementioned article produced a flurry of establishments that didn’t make the list, but ultimately served a great purpose in not only shining a light on those locations, but inspiring me to continue this series to celebrate the brewpubs and locales in the Pittsburgh region that support the craft beer movement. And with the beer scene continuing to grow, obviously we have a lot to talk about.
Trust me, it was not a snub to the great locations that weren’t mentioned. I simply didn’t want to write a single post chronicling 50 locations because, if you’re like me, your attention span would’ve checked out big time. Nine seems like a well-balanced number.
That said, below is ANOTHER nine extraordinary craft beer destinations in and around Pittsburgh. If your favorite still hasn’t made the list, rest easy…there’s more to come.
1) Fat Head’s | Southside Pittsburgh - “The First 9″ article wasn’t live for 10 minutes when I got a text from my friend, “How in the hell did you leave Fat Head’s off that list?” Other readers reiterated that point, and I will concur. Fat Head’s is simply tremendous, on every conceivable level. It’s only fitting they lead off this group. From a craft beer standpoint, they’re 100% on-point with 42 rotating taps, including a tremendous line of their own Fat Head’s crafts. If you’re a hophead, make it a point to indulge in a Fat Head’s Head Hunter and/or Hop Juju (limited availability) as soon as possible. And the food…my GAWD, the food! Come hungry is all I can say, cuz you’ll be leaving full no matter what.
2) Sharp Edge | Five Locations across Pittsburgh - Back in the day, when I was young, naive, and had absolutely no clue what a good beer was, I got in an argument with a bartender at Sharp Edge because he didn’t have Miller Lite. I still look back on that and laugh, but also feel bad I wasted that guy’s time. In any event, my palate and I have matured and I can truly appreciate what Sharp Edge has to offer. A wide variety of craft beer, very little in regards to the nonsense beers you shouldn’t be after. With a full menu of great food at all five locations, Sharp Edge is a destination that will keep you coming back time and time again.
3) Harris Grill | Shadyside - Every Tuesday is Bacon Night. All you can eat. I could probably stop there and it would be enough to entice, but I’ll also mention that Harris Grill sports a nice craft beer list as well. Combine that with a full menu, fun events, happy hour specials, and a welcoming ambiance and you’ve got yourself a destination that begs for repeat frequenting. And all you can eat bacon on Tuesday…I mentioned that, right?
4) D’s Six Packs and Dogs | Edgewood - There are a variety of things that can bring a smile to your face. Craft beer and gourmet hot dogs are probably two of them. D’s takes two of these staples of happiness and puts them together under one roof, offering up great tap options to accompany the delicious food. Highly-renown for their dogs, D’s also features two words that have become famous among the craft beer brethren of the Steel City: BEER CAVE! With over 1,000 microbrews, imports, and domestics on hand, the Cave is grounds for craft beer euphoria and well worth a visit in the next 10 minutes.
5) Blue Dust | Waterfront/Homestead - Located at the entrance to the Waterfront Shopping area, Blue Dust is one of the best-kept craft beer secrets in Pittsburgh. A smokin’ hot draft list, as well as an extensive bottle selection makes Blue Dust a must-stop destination for craft beer enjoyment. I happened upon them last Fall for the first time and have found my way back for more, much like you’ll be doing after your first visit. While you’re in, be sure to check out the menu and grab a bite while you try to decide what beer to dive into next.
6) Penn Brewery | Pittsburgh - The heart and soul of a microbrewery can be found in every beer that’s poured. When you sit down at Penn Brewery and take that first sip, you know you’re part of something great. Penn embraces its European roots in the Steel City by offering traditional “Euro-Pittsburgh” fare, not to mention a wide variety of beer styles fresh off their own production line right on the premises. Based on your beer style preference, you’re sure to find something on their list to meet your demands. If the season is right and you can take in a Chocolate Meltdown Stout, I highly recommend you give yourself the treat.
7) Carson Street Deli and Craft Beer Bar | Southside Pittsburgh - Centuries ago, the Earl of Sandwich put some meat between two slices of bread and created one of the world’s most recognizable foods. Today, we humbly thank that man for giving us a tremendous option to put next to our craft beer, something Carson Street Deli does on a daily basis. Their proudest feature is the fact that 15 of their 21 rotating taps pour strictly local-brewed beers and they also offer casks. If you’re in the Southside, you undoubtedly have many options for food and drink. But if you’ve got a grinder, hoagie, sub, call it what you will on the brain singing in harmony with your craft beer craving, Carson Street Deli should be your destination of choice.
8) Wexford Ale House & Grill | Wexford - If you find yourself north of the city, Wexford Ale House & Grill is a great place to stop and partake in a few craft libations. With over 30 selections coming from a rotating tap list, chances are excellent you’ll leave impressed and plan a repeat rendezvous. Combine the beer options with a full menu of American fare and you’ll find yourself in a face-to-face staredown with a a win-win situation!
9) Independent Brewing Company | Squirrel Hill - It goes without saying…we should all support locally-produced craft beer. And Independent brings it all to the forefront with their effort of featuring beers born and made within the PA state limits. With a heavy focus on craft beers and ciders from the Pittsburgh region, Independent gets a tip of the cap for helping raise awareness of available options whose journey to our mouths started right here in the Steel City. They also offer a unique menu with foods that pair great with their tap offerings. Get out there and support the local craft beer scene by checking out Independent today!
Who Belongs In ‘The NEXT 9?!’ Leave a comment below on the craft beer destination you want to see make the next list!