Brian Sholder (left), co-worker and longtime friend of owner/brewer Mark Larimer Jr. (right), stands in front of Truss Brewery’s tap, brewing and kitchen space. Photo by Annette Bassett.

Truss Brewing gains traction

On May 27, Truss Brewing Co. in Pleasant Hills brings back its monthly comedy night, which joins live acoustic music on Fridays and Saturdays, in its outdoor seating area.  

“Literally a mom-and-pop brewery,” according to owner and brewer Mark Larimer Jr., Truss offers food and beer for takeout, delivery or outdoor dining on picnic tables. 

Within an 830-square-foot space, which includes a 1.5-barrel brewing setup, Truss manages to crank out enough beers, from stouts to sours, to fill eight taps and supply local clients including Mike’s Beer Bar on the North Shore and 1700 Penn Ave. in the Strip District. Truss also makes its own seltzer, which can be mixed with the brewery’s fresh fruit purees. 

Truss prepares the food, including pizza, ribs and burgers, in a wood-fired oven back there too. Maybe it’s Larimer’s 30 years of food service management experience with Market District. Maybe it’s the daily experience of living with four kids under 10 years old. But Larimer and his (very small) crew make it work.   

Truss Brewing Co. sells beer in reusable cans and growlers, or patrons can bring their own containers. Photo by Annette Bassett.

Though Truss is a member of the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild, it has kept a comparatively low profile since opening in December 2020. 

Judging from the crowd on a recent Friday night, it’s a hit with the locals. Larimer plans to expand to a second location (site unknown) within a year. 

For now, Larimer says small is good: “I didn’t think I needed all the bells and whistles.” 

Hazelwood Brewery making progress

David Kahley of The Progress Fund inspects a space on the Hazelwood Brewery property, which might be developed as a distillery in the future. Photo by Annette Bassett.

The lights are on, concrete floors have been poured and the brewers have the keys. There’s still a lot to do before Hazelwood Brewery can open its doors, but David Kahley, whose Progress Fund is financing the three-brewery destination, says, “We’re gonna try to take advantage of summer and do some stuff,” including a possible open house for Hazelwood neighbors.

Bonafide Beer is set to open its second location at the new brewery space. New France Brewing Co. is new to the scene, though its brewer is not. Abstract Brewing recently pulled out of the project; there’s no word on which brewery will take its place.

At New France, Nick Jones will brew, while Tom Marshall handles sales. Jones was head brewer at Mindful Brewing Co. when it opened, and Marshall worked at the older iteration of Full Pint Beer

“We’ve been kicking around this idea for a while,” says Jones. The brewery’s name hearkens back to when Fort Duquesne was part of the vast expanse of New France in the 18th century. In fact, their logo features the outline of the fort.

New France hopes to open before the end of the year. Bonafide is uncertain about an opening date.

What else is on tap?

Concertgoers enjoying Jambridge 2022, a daylong music festival presented last September by Fermata Brewing Co. A series of Summer Jam concerts will lead up to this year’s Jambridge, starting on May 27. Photo courtesy of Fermata Brewing.

Fermata Brewing Co. in Ambridge hosts its first Summer Jam of the season on Saturday, May 27. It’s an all-day event with bands, food, games and of course beer, in the parking lot next to the brewery. Co-owner Jared Tuk says the monthly parties are a warm-up for Jambridge, the multi-stage street festival set for Sept. 23. The lineup for Jambridge drops in the next few weeks, and Tuk says it’ll be bigger and better than ever.

Both Pittsburgh Winery and Wigle Whiskey have songwriter events coming up: the Winery is more of an interactive workshop experience, on May 28, led by Mark Dignam, Kaston Guffey of My Politic and Stella Prince. Wigle hosts Songwriters Series performances featuring Julia Norah and Graham Albright on June 1, and Kaston Guffey and Georgia English on June 15. In between, on June 8, Scott Blasey will be on hand for a whiskey and music pairing (get tickets here). 

Eleventh Hour Brewing Co. celebrates summer with School’s Out, a daylong event on June 10. It will be releasing Schoolhouse: History, an aged saison-style sour ale. The brewery’s back alley will be closed off for yard games and s’mores making. And tell your dogs (unless you want it to be a surprise): there will also be a Salty Paws pop-up! And food trucks, too.

White Whale Bookstore’s latest selection of Mindful Brewing beers includes a white stout (pictured) named after the bookstore. Photo by Annette Bassett.

White Whale Bookstore in Bloomfield paired with Mindful Brewing last year to offer a book browsing/beer experience. Now they’ve taken it a step further with White Whale the beer, a white stout. “The experience of drinking a beer in a bookstore is pretty unique … and we wanted to brew a beer to match,” Mindful says via email. “White Whale’s golden color makes its traditional stout flavor profile just as unexpected and enjoyable.” 

Tickets are still available for Beers of the Burgh, the annual celebration of the ever-expanding local beer scene, happening at Carrie Blast Furnaces in Swissvale on June 3. In addition to 50-plus breweries, Pittsburgh Winery, Arsenal Cider House, Goodlander Cocktails and more will add variety, as will The Open Road, offering samples of their non-alcoholic selections. Speaking of The Open Road, the shop will participate in the Allentown Night Market on June 10.   

Last but not least: Brew Gentlemen is bringing back the Downtown beer garden, starting in June, in the plaza by the U.S. Steel Tower. Check Instagram for updates. 

Annette Bassett

Annette Bassett is a freelance writer and grant writer living in Bloomfield. She likes visiting local breweries, going to concerts and walking the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh while listening to audiobooks. She prefers wired earbuds.