Back Alley Brewing
Back Alley Brewing. Photo by Jennifer Baron.

Necromancer’s Queer Beer Club

Necromancer Brewing’s Queer Beer Club has been around since the beginning of the year, meeting the third Tuesday of every month (which means they’ll be there tomorrow, March 21). 

The club has been attracting 60 to 80 folks to each event. In February, they hosted Queeraoke. This month, there’s an open stage: comedians, singers, poets, drag performers and anyone else is welcome. The next gathering takes place on April 18. 

Membership is free and comes with cool benefits, including exclusive merch, a newsletter, queer-focused events — and $5 drafts on club nights. According to Instagram, Necromancer has an all-queer production team (who makes great beer); the club is part of Necromancer’s greater mission of equity and inclusivity.

Beer Ladies on the road

Last month, some of the Pittsburgh Beer Ladies who are part of a Facebook group with more than 3,000 members, made the trek to Allusion Brewing Company in Vandergrift.

Co-owner Robert Buchanan had invited the group to participate in a brew day. Head brewer John Bieranoski and assistant Kayla Geahry helped walk the Beer Ladies through the process of brewing Queen of Connacht, an Irish red ale. For the last few weeks, it’s been fermenting in the Edgar Allan Poe tank. (Both tanks and beer names allude to literature, hence the name.)

Now it’s ready to drink. On Saturday, March 25, at 4 p.m., the Beer Ladies are hosting a release party at Mike’s Beer Bar on the North Side. Allusion’s Chuck Wagon Oatmeal Coffee Stout and Chasing Mavericks, a West Coast double IPA, will also be on draft, and since the rest of Mike’s 80 taps are local beers too, there is truly something for everyone.

Kenyan Hicks, owner/distiller of Noire Expedition Distillery in Lawrenceville. Photo courtesy of Noire Expedition Distillery.

Noire Expedition opens

On Friday, March 24, Pittsburgh welcomes Noire Expedition Distillery, with a grand opening at its Penn Avenue location in Lawrenceville. 

Owner Kenyan Hicks is one of the city’s first Black distillers, serving gin and vodka cocktails. The distillery will be open on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 9 pm. Hicks says he’ll offer a Moscow Mule, gin and tonic, and a martini “for sure,” with other possibilities still being formulated.

CoStar readying for its closeup

CoStar Brewing gained a stellar reputation when it was selling its Hopland Park Pale Ale, and other creations, out of a Highland Park garage about 10 years ago. But the search for the right brewpub location, as well as the business model, were a challenge. 

Now, CoStar fans will be glad to hear it’s finally happening: co-owners Dominic Cincotta and Jeff and Caitlyn Hanna are building a brewpub in Etna. The 323 Butler St. location will open later this year.

Back Alley offerings

Following a grand opening over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Back Alley Brewing is settling in at the old Dormont Borough building at West Liberty and Wisconsin avenues.

They’re open Thursday through Saturday, and hope to expand to Sunday hours in the near future. 

There is a little bit of everything on tap, including Fluffernut, an imperial butternut squash ale, and Mountain of Gold, a “Pittsburgh-style” lager named for the neighborhood. The beers are available on tap or in cans in a lot of different venues, from Club Cafe to Red’s Good News.

(P.S.: It’s a 20-minute walk from Back Alley to the new East End Brewing Mt. Lebanon taproom, and seven minutes from there to Hitchhiker’s Lebo location. I think we have the start of a Dormont-Lebo beer trail.)

Cousins Lounge in Millvale is pairing East End Brewing Co. beers with Girl Scout cookies. Photo courtesy of Cousins Lounge.

Girl Scout cookies and beer

On March 29, Cousins Lounge, a Millvale fixture for 38 years, is teaming up with East End Brewing Company to pair East End beers with Girl Scout cookies

Here are the matchups: Trefoils with Partly Clahdy IPA; Thin Mints with Fat Gary Nut Brown Ale; Samoas with Brighton Heights Oatmeal Raisin Stout; and Do-si-dos with Homewood South Milkshake IPA. 

Beer and cookies (three small pours and two cookies per beer) are FREE — while supplies last, that is. East End drafts are $5 (since you really should buy something). It all starts at 7 p.m.

Three Rivers Beer Week

Two Three Rivers Beer Week celebrations in six months — why not? 

It’s only happening this year, though, as the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild transitions from an October to an April celebration — the 12th through the 16th this year. The guild is introducing an updated brewery guide as well as a new membership program, Friends of Pittsburgh Beer. 

Events include an ice cream mixer at Abjuration Brewing on April 13, featuring ice cream sours such as peach/pretzel, blue raspberry and root beer, topped with Millie’s Ice Cream.

A Lawrenceville Brewery Crawl is set for April 15. Additional events are being added to the website every day.

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.