The long-awaited 412 Brewery opened on the North Side over St. Patrick’s Day weekend and revelers celebrated by drinking plenty of beer.
Located at 847 Western Ave., right across from Nicky’s Thai Kitchen, the new taproom can accommodate up to 40 people inside and another 40 on the rear patio. For now, it’ll operate Thursdays through Sundays.
All beer-making is done at a 600-square-foot garage in McKees Rocks, where brewers Ed Wojtaszek, Mike Duca, Ben Engelhard, Jim Simmons and Tim Hinkle work on a five-barrel system. They’ve produced about 20 different beers over a two-year span, including Hoodie Weather Harvest Ale, Mo Hops Mo Problems West Coast IPA and R-U-Ready 4 One-Too English Special Bitter.
412 Brewery already distributes kegs and cans to nearly 100 area bars and restaurants, but special batches will be brewed specifically for the taproom. The taproom features seven house drafts and a rotating choice of local mead or cider. Folks can stop by for a pint or fill a growler.
Wojtaszek is particularly proud of the new Double IPA he just brewed, which is unnamed at the moment. (He says they might give customers a crack at naming beers, which can be a challenging job. So start thinking.)
Along with beer, there will be a small assortment of wines and signature cocktails and — once the kitchen is finished in a few weeks — customers can enjoy simple eats such as tacos and sandwiches.
According to long-time Western Avenue residents, the space has previously housed an Italian restaurant, a laundromat and the Blue Bell Diner. A stained-glass blue bell still adorns the front of the building.
Sam Mure, who calls himself the brewery’s maintenance man, said all of the renovations were done by himself, the brew crew and owner Lindsay Tomchak. The tables, including an enormous spool that once held industrial wire, were handmade.
The custom light fixtures resemble Pittsburgh highway signs and black-and-white snapshots of the city fill an entire wall behind the granite bar.
When the partners first starting looking for a North Side location, they had their sights set on the old Shamrock Inn, a larger building up the street that housed a dive bar for decades. That didn’t happen, but the fact that they opened on St. Patrick’s Day weekend is one of those weird coincidences, Mure says.
Eventually, 412 Brewery will move its production facility to a larger space – perhaps in McKees Rocks – that will include a taproom and restaurant.
Right now, Mure and his partners are simply feeling lucky to be in such a bustling neighborhood.