Good news! There are officially more breweries open in America today than ever before–4,144 as of December, which the Brewers Association says is the most since 1871. Even better, most of them are small, local microbreweries. Pittsburgh is doing its part to chip in: Two craft breweries opened in Pittsburgh last week and a bunch more are on the way. Here’s a closer look:
A note on dates: the process of opening a brewery can take years and involves applying for licenses at the local, state and federal level. As a result, delays are quite common. Check out a brewery’s social media page for the latest information.
507 Foreland St., Northside.
When NEXTpittsburgh first wrote about Allegheny City Brewing last November, part-owners Amy Yurkovich and Al Grasso spoke fondly of their time spent living in Colorado and in particular small neighborhood breweries that created a “third place” where friends and neighbors could gather over a pint. They have created just such a space at their cozy Northside location. Details like family photos on the wall and tiny succulent plants on the salvaged tables give the intimate spot a lived-in feel. As for the beer, co-owner Al Grasso told NEXT they “really wanted to push the envelope.” Despite being just a few days old, ACB already boasts an impressively diverse eight-beer tap list that includes a flavorful graham cracker porter, barrel-aged ginger beer and a bold habanero stout.
925 Main St., Sharpsburg.
Andrew Witchey’s Dancing Gnome Brewery opened to standing-room only crowds Saturday, October 1. The tasting room is designed in a contemporary style with a poured concrete bar, uniform stainless steel tap handles and houseplants that pop against the bright white tiles of the wall. With it’s well-defined aesthetic and hazy, hoppy pales many thought the location called to mind Braddock’s Brew Gentlemen. A chocolately Wonka Stout and hoppy blonde joined two pales as the first four beers on draft at the brewery, a number that will certainly increase as production ramps up.
Mindful –UPDATED 1/17
3759 Library Road, Castle Shannon.
A former McGinnis Market on Route 88 in Castle Shannon has new life as Mindful Brewing. The brewery is owned by the same team behind Carnegie’s popular 99 Bottles craft beer bar. They are using a 10-barrel system (and six 20-barrel fermenters) to brew between 10 to 15 of their own beers. Brewer Nick Jones says time will tell which ones become flagship, but their popular Lime Agave Wheat is likely to make the cut.
The first floor of the building contains the brewing facilities, a full restaurant, bottle shop and primary tap room, where 10 to 15 local wines and meads will join other local and national beers. Upstairs contains a partially-enclosed patio and an additional bar with 20 tap lines of its own. If you can’t wait until opening to sample their fare, check out their collaborative beer with Full Pint, a Big Lebowski-inspired imperial White Russian Stout called His Royal Dudeness that’s currently available in bars across town.
Coming this year
102 Union Ave., Oakdale.
Opening: “End of October”
Located in the heart of Oakdale, Helicon Brewing already has 18 bike parking spots installed in anticipation of thirsty cyclists peddling by on the Panhandle Trail. Owner Chris Brunetti hopes to satisfy customers that are looking for a new beer every time as well as those who prefer the same style consistently. Eight beers will be available at a time, four or five for flagships as well as two to three rotating seasonals. As a production brewery and not a brewpub, Helicon can’t serve food (or host food trucks!) but outside food is welcome, and they do happen to be conveniently located next to a pizzeria.
322 N. Shore Dr., Northside.
Lakewood, NY’s Southern Tier Brewing will open their very first satellite brewpub in the shadow of Heinz Field. The North Shore location will boast a 10,000-square-foot beer garden and another 6,000 square feet of interior space. A one-of-a-kind seven-barrel system (which just made it through customs from Germany) will brew four to five exclusive, site-specific beers. They’ll be joined on the tap line by about 20 more Southern Tier brews trucked in from Lakewood and a handful of offerings from Victory Brewing. The location will have also have a full restaurant menu to satisfy hungry tailgaters.
1351 Washington Blvd., Larimer.
With a name like “Couch” you know it has to be chill. Part owner Cary Shaffer says Couch Brewery will not tolerate any “beer pretentiousness.” “We want somewhere people can chill out and relax in,” he says. “We don’t want anyone to be shy about a good beer.” Couch plans to double brew on a three-barrel system to fill their seven-barrel fermenters. They will have five year-round offerings including a hefeweizen, oatmeal stout and “Love Seat” IPA. The building’s occupancy is 99 people, and while they won’t serve food they will regularly host food trucks in the parking lot. Despite the chilled-out vibe, Shaffer stresses they are very serious about their brewing. “If the people want the numbers we’ll give it to them,” he says of their beers. Expect plenty of comfortable, overstuffed seating options in the tasting room.
1416 Arch St., Mexican War Streets.
Opening: “Hopefully by the end of the year.”
When we last spoke with Jake Bier, he had just signed the lease for his nano-brewery inside an 1877 firehouse across the street from Randyland on the Northside. Since then War Streets Brewery has expanded to a 1.5-barrel system. “We’re not as nano as we were before,” he jokingly laments. The increased production will help Bier churn out six flagship beers once the space is finished, all of them named after nearby streets, like the Resaca Red, Sherman Stout, and Monterey IPA. A handful of seasonal offerings will be available as well, and Bier still hopes to collaborate on a Randyland beer with his nearest neighbor, possibly a hard root beer.
3711 Charlotte Street, Lawrenceville.
Opening: “early 2017”
The rich get richer. Lawrenceville will soon have another craft brewery when Matt McMahon opens Eleventh Hour Brewing in an 1872 former schoolhouse turned gas lamp manufacturer. McMahon was a home brewer who worked full-time in business intelligence before asking himself, “Is this really what I want to be doing in 20 years?” He says the location will have an industrial feel and that a number of old garage bays will be transformed into entryways and large glass windows.
McMahon says that even though Eleventh Hour has become known from beer festivals as the brewery with the Jalapeno Pale Ale, what he really wants is to focus on perfecting four to five main styles of flagship beers, like IPAs and stouts, while leaving more experimental beers for seasonal offerings.
13380 Route 30, Irwin.
Opening: “January 1”
Co-owner Tom Jenkins envisions Fury Brewing as a laid-back, intimate taproom where 30 or so people can come and watch sports while enjoying a broad spectrum of beer styles. Jenkins plans to take advantage of a new law that allows brewpubs to sell liquor as well as beer by selling PA-made wines and spirits in addition to eight to ten Fury beers. Local cheeses and finger foods will be for sale on-site; otherwise, Inferno Pizza, Pasta & Wings is located right next door.
644 Broadway Ave., McKees Rocks
Opening: “April 2017”
At Abjuration, beers will be poured into flasks, not pint glasses. “We’re professional nerds,” says co-owner Tom Glover. “We really bring that depth and science to beer, too.” He and longtime friend and partner Dave Hallam had been homebrewing for years before launching an IndieGoGo that enabled them to begin setting up their taproom inside the Parkview Theater in McKees Rocks. The plan is to cycle through styles in the first year before settling on any flagships: “The intention is not to make the same beer twice,” says Glover.
Fortunately, all of Abjuration’s recipes are open-source and posted on their website, so you can replicate that Mango Triple IPA from the comfort of home once it is kicked at the brewery. Their one-barrel system will allow them to brew experimental batches in smaller quantities before they eventually scale up production. They hope to open a satellite location somewhere in Pittsburgh after two years.
1958 Varley St., Spring Hill
Opening: Summer 2017
What has Mike Seamens been up to since he sold Mind Cure Records? Helping to open a brewery, for one. Seamens partnered with brewer Greg Kamerdze and the two are in the process of remodeling a former Workingman’s Beneficial Union social hall and turning it into Spring Hill Brewing. The building overlooks part of the city and sits on a sizeable plot of land that is currently tended by Rescue Street Farms and will eventually provide the brewers with fresh fruits and honey. Kamerdze favors Farmhouse ales and plans to start with three flagship beers: a wit, brown and golden ale, all brewed with the same strain of Belgian saison yeast.
337 E. 8th Ave., Homestead.
Opening: Summer 2017
Between Voodoo Brewing and gastropubs like Blue Dust and Dorothy 6, Homestead already has a lively craft beer scene. It will become that much livelier with the arrival of Trios Brewing in the former Levine Brothers Hardware Store. The name is a riff on “tres rios,” appropriate since manager David Rodriguez spent the last six years opening brewpubs in Spain, one of which, Fábrica Maravillas in Madrid, was named one of the 10 best in Europe by The Guardian.
After bringing American-style beer to Europe, the owners intend to use their 15-barrel brewhouse to bring European-style beers to Pittsburgh: expect farmhouse-style saisons and Belgian quads and tripels in addition to more standard ales and lagers. The first floor of the building will host the main bar and a restaurant whose menu will be heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine. Ownership plans to turn an adjacent lot into a beer garden with communal tables and a small concert area. They’re even keeping the small bowling alley that currently occupies part of the building’s second floor.
The search for a permanent home for CoStar Brewing . . . continues. Co-owner Dom Cincotta says that they “haven’t found the right location yet” but they continue to scour the city for the perfect spot. They also won’t part with any stake in ownership: “brewer owned and brewer made always,” Cincotta says. In the meantime, keep an eye out for their beer at bars like Squirrel Hill’s Independent and Smallman Galley. You can learn more about CoStar in our feature from 2015.
And that’s not all:
Gluten-free brewers Aurochs Brewing Company are currently open Saturdays at their Emsworth taproom and should be open full-time in the near future. Conny Creek Brewing has plans to open in North Apollo, while Levity Brewing Company‘s expansive Indiana taproom is now open to the public. Finally, Delmont’s Yellow Bridge Brewing hopes to open by the end of 2016.
Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments.