UPDATED: Mark and Liann Larimer see their small business as a big blessing.

Truss Brewing Company, a 930-square-foot takeout establishment located at 42 Old Clairton Road in Pleasant Hills, started out as a massive project. The couple, who have four children under the age of 8, was about to sign the lease on a 150-seat taproom and production facility in Observatory Hill. Then the pandemic started.

“We barely escaped financial tragedy,” Mark Larimer says.

Truss, which refers to both the framework supporting a bridge and the process of tying the wings and legs of a chicken before cooking it, opened Dec. 16.

The one-barrel brewhouse will specialize in small-batch beers and wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas made with organic dough and topped with cheeses, tomatoes and olive oil imported from Italy. Other menu items include beef filet tips, sandwiches on fresh-baked bread, salads, grilled seasonal vegetables and whole wings. They will also sell full- or half racks of ribs slathered in Truss barbecue sauce — which will also be bottled and for sale soon.

Roasted pork and chili crisp on a beet powder and black sesame seed bun. Photo courtesy of Truss Brewing Company.

Mark Larimer worked in fine dining restaurants and spent 26 years as food and beverage director for Giant Eagle Market District. His head brewer, Aaron Busch, a Colorado native, is also a whiz in the kitchen.

Together, they’re concocting beers with locally sourced, unexpected ingredients such as fresh beets and carrots. Truss will have eight taps that will always include one experimental brew, a gluten-free option and an all-natural seltzer.

The Larimers, who live just a few hundred yards from the brewery, want their community to vote on a year-round, flagship offering: Pleasant Pils, Monoga-hefe or Light on 51.

Photo courtesy of Truss Brewing Company.

Visitors to the nano-brewery can fill a growler, sample some suds, order takeout and peruse an assortment of Truss-branded merchandise. That includes face masks, koozies and a one-gallon, pressurized growler, as well as locally made items such as Sonny Rose Ranch Hot Honey and Red Ribbon Soda Pop.

Helping other small business owners is important to the Larmiers, who feel like they have a few guardian angels on their side.

On a recent evening, while Mark Larimer was tying up loose ends at the brewery, a priest from a nearby church stopped in to inquire about the business and bless the building.

The Larimers were humbled by the gesture and have faith that Truss will be a little slice of heaven in Pleasant Hills.