A good beer is good year-round (of course), but there’s something about having a beer in the final weeks of summer as football begins that is extra delightful. These Pittsburgh-area breweries are expanding, opening, rebranding and more. Take note so you know where to go next time a craving strikes. 

Back Alley Brewing taproom coming to Dormont

You’ll find Back Alley Brewing Company in Dormont not in a back alley, but in what used to be the old borough building on West Liberty Avenue. The brewery that began as a group of friends making their own beer is now nearly ready to open its first taproom after a few last-minute preparations.

“We’ve been working over the past several months on some larger upgrades to the building, but with everything finally coming into place, we’re aiming to have the taproom open in early fall,” says co-founder Cody Hoellerman.

Back Alley has made something of a name for itself in Dormont selling to-go cans from the brewery on Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 to 6 p.m. Their cans are also sold at several Pittsburgh-area restaurants and beer stores including Moonlit Burgers, Mike & Tony’s Gyros, KingView Mead, Red’s Good News, Arsenal Cider, Hal’s Bar & Grill, Creekside Beer, Rear End Gastropub & Garage and Market District. Get a taste this weekend when Back Alley pops up across the street from its HQ at Hillsdale Commons from 3 to 7 p.m. The party in the park will feature a variety of Back Alley brews along with live music and local food.

A brew on the patio at Back Alley Brewing Co. Photo courtesy of Cody Hoellerman.

The four co-owners and friends behind Back Alley have been building excitement for the upcoming opening by pouring pints on the patio on Saturdays throughout the summer. Drinks won’t be the only attraction when the taproom opens its doors — Back Alley is ​​collaborating with local restaurants, food trucks and other vendors on food sales. A full kitchen is “definitely in our plans” though, says Hoellerman.

Down the road, says Hoellerman, they plan to expand the second floor of the Brewery to include additional dining space and an area for private events that could eventually act as a hub for live music, art and community gatherings.

“It’s really a hobby that got out of control (in a good way) and turned into a business that we’re incredibly excited about,” says Hoellerman. “We love beer and the Dormont community and are so thrilled to be merging those two passions.”

Asadero by Mindful becomes Mindful Carnegie

Mindful Brewing Co., a South Hills-based brewery with locations in Castle Shannon, Bloomfield and Carnegie, has relaunched its Carnegie restaurant concept Asadero by Mindful as Mindful Carnegie. 

The rebrand in the borough comes with a full menu refresh, a new open-concept kitchen and additional outdoor seating at 1001 Washington Ave. Beginning in 2019, Asadero by Mindful served Mexican food by contracting out its kitchen to a local vendor. When the vendor decided to move out of state, the brewery had to come up with a new plan for the restaurant, says Zack Woods, Mindful’s marketing director and event coordinator.

Photo courtesy of Mindful Brewing Co.

“We had to pivot and readjust what we wanted to provide to the community,” says Woods. “We wanted to bring more attention to the Mindful name.”

Menu additions include loaded “animal style” fries, salads, smash burgers and vegetarian options like the black garlic veggie burger. The brand is also refocusing its attention on becoming a community asset and place for people to spend time. 

“We’re getting our live music back on, trivia is every Tuesday and we have a chess club on Sundays,” says Woods. “We’re really trying to be more effective within our community.” 

Voodoo Brewing opens on the North Shore

Voodoo Brewing Co. has locations all over the state, plus one in Cleveland and another opening soon in Las Vegas. The latest location opened on North Shore Drive between the two stadiums in late August. 

“It is scaled up a little more from our other locations,” says Jake Voelker, COO of Voodoo Brewing. “We have some really cool menu items that are kind of amped up.”

The culinary team led by executive chef Nate Cillo has put together a menu of pub favorites with an unexpected twist. These include a smoked duck sandwich, duck wings and a chickpea veggie burger. In addition to the “similar beer lineup that customers have come to know and enjoy at our locations,” the North Shore location will offer hard seltzers and ciders, barrel-aged batch cocktails, wine and a full mixed drink menu. 

“We’re very happy to be on the North Shore,” says Voelker. “This is definitely an out front location with the potential to reach a whole new group of customers.”

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