Beer, meet Bellevue. Bellevue, meet beer.
Lincoln Avenue Brewery, the first beer maker on the scene since the borough lifted its long-time ban on alcohol, opens Saturday. The street out front will be closed to vehicular traffic from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., so people can enjoy festivities inside and out.
“We love our neighborhood and we wanted to do something good for it,” the brewery‘s co-owner Joel Haldeman tells NEXTpittsburgh. “It’s been so cool to see the neighborhood rally around it.”
Located in a 111-year-old building on the corner of Lincoln and Hawley avenues, the brewery features a menu of locally sourced panini, salads, charcuterie and breads from Mediterra Bakehouse. There’s also a kids’ menu that includes sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches (the facility is nut-free).
Along with beer from 12 taps, including seasonal offerings from Arsenal Cider House and Aurochs Brewing and community collections from local homebrewers, the bar serves signature cocktails and Pennsylvania wines.
The business grew out of Haldeman’s homebrewing hobby before he and his wife Amy Haldeman purchased the property. The couple decided to transform the former dental office into a beer factory once they met Grant Saylor, a fervent member of Bellevue’s ale-making community.
Lifelong Bellevue residents, Saylor and his wife, Lisa — who met as teenagers at Northgate High School — were big advocates of changing the borough’s antiquated liquor laws to attract new businesses. Folks were apprehensive at first, thinking there’d be a nuisance bar on every corner. When the referendum question first appeared on the ballot in 2011, it lost by 30 votes. It finally passed in 2015.
Along with more than 140 volunteers, the Haldemans and Saylors spent two years bringing Lincoln Avenue Brewery to life. People who logged at least 20 volunteer hours are now members of the brewery’s Founder’s Club and will receive beer benefits.
In addition to take-home growlers, beers are available on-site in tasters, flights, half pours and pints. Grant Saylor operates the two-barrel system every other day, creating beverages such as the 511 New England IPA and the Bulldog DIPA.
The owners tell us they can’t wait to say “cheers” to Bellevue this weekend.