What’s old is new again in Pittsburgh’s craft beer scene.
The beloved Full Pint is back under new ownership and Voodoo Brewery has overhauled its Homestead location and its food and beverage menu to make on-site imbibing more inviting. After its first-anniversary celebration was muted by Covid, Inner Groove Brewing is throwing a banger of a block party this Saturday.
Full Pint Brewing Co.
Dan and Carrie Franklin are giving Full Pint Brewing a refill.
In January, the Wexford couple bought the bankrupt company’s assets, including its production facility in North Versailles.
They dismantled the brewery to give it an update, complete with a new floor, automation system, canning line and filter press (the only machine of its kind in Pennsylvania), which will allow them to make unique styles, such as rice and corn beer and malt liquor. Eventually, the site will reopen to the public.
In the meantime, Full Pint has new digs at 16087 Perry Highway in Warrendale. The retail store, which opened on May 29, sells cans in four-packs and cases, and will soon offer merchandise. By Labor Day, customers will be able to enjoy a pint on-site at the location, along with food.
Working with brewer Jim Simmons, the new owners are producing Full Pint favorites, such as White Lightning and Chinookie IPA. Night of the Living Stout will soon be resurrected as a year-round offering. New offerings, including a strawberry milkshake IPA, are arriving next week.
The Franklins have been homebrewing for more than 20 years. They originally intended to build their own brewery, but those plans did not pan out. When Full Pint filed for bankruptcy in November, they jumped at the chance to take control of an established brand. They changed up the logo and labels with help from Indianapolis-based CODO Design, a food and beverage branding firm.
“Our goal is to bring back what everybody loves,” Carrie Franklin says. “We are definitely going to let the old Full Pint fans weigh in on some of these choices.”
Voodoo worked a little magic during the pandemic to revamp its Homestead pub at 205 E. 9th Ave.
The improved taproom features fresh artwork, a reconfigured seating arrangement and a new kitchen. You can also sip outside in the sunshine in the courtyard. Hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 3 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The renovated site made its public debut on May 21 with the unveiling of Jeremy Raymer’s mural of Josh Gibson, a Negro Leagues star and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer. The slugger’s image now graces the side of the brewery’s building.
Guests are encouraged to take a swing at new menu items, including appetizers, pizza, beer mussels, sandwiches (a.k.a handies) and salads, and can also enjoy brunch on Sundays.
Chef Nate Cillo infuses beer into a majority of the dishes. The BBQ Pulled Porker Handie features beer-braised pulled pork topped with crunchy jalapeno slaw and Good Vibes BBQ Sauce. Sunday brunch even includes a beer cheese breakfast burrito.
When customers place their orders at the bar, they are given a buzzer that tells them when the meal is ready to be picked up.
The bar also is stocked with new beverages, including barrel-aged cocktails, slushes and a line of hard seltzers, which are all the rage this season. There are currently two flavors of Project X88B88 ELXR available on draft and in cans: Watermelon Lemonade and Blue Spirulina. Each is infused with vitamins and antioxidants.
Voodoo, which also operates locations in New Kensington, Grove City, Meadville, Erie, State College, Cleveland and Indiana, just opened a pop-up brewery out of a shipping container at Conneaut Lake.
“Everybody knows how difficult Covid’s been,” co-owner Jake Voelker says. “We really leaned in and reinvested in our communities.”
Inner Groove Brewing
Inner Groove Brewing’s only been open for two years, but it’s got an old-school vibe.
Named after the spot on a vinyl record where bands lay hidden tracks, the Verona taproom is celebrating its anniversary with a vinyl DJ block party on Saturday, June 5, from noon to 10 p.m. The event, which will take place in front of Inner Groove at 751 E. Railroad Ave., is free.
There will be a full lineup of Inner Groove beers on tap with two new anniversary beer releases, including Pink Born Unicorn, a special edition of the popular First Born Unicorn. In support of Pride Month, First Born Unicorn was given a colorful, new label design and a sprinkle of red dragon fruit powder to create a hazy, pink pale ale.
The other release, Psychotic Reaction, is a dessert sour conditioned on plum, blueberry and blackberry with Madagascar vanilla and sweetened with lactose.
Three food trucks will be on-site: Mexican food from La Catrina, wood-fired pizzas from Wood Stoked Oven and gourmet hot dogs from Mike’s Dirty Dogs.
Pittsburgh legend DJ EZ Lou, along with several other DJs, will spin tunes from a variety of genres. Local record store pop-ups will line the street from 4 to 8 p.m. Vendors include Humanacat, Jerry “VINYLMAN” Weber, Mike Budai, Music Underground, Pleasant Dreams Records and Whistlin’ Willie’s.
Inner Groove will sell Led Zeppelin-inspired concert T-shirts as souvenirs featuring a “playlist” of all the beers it has brewed during its second year of operation on the back.
The NEXT Beer is a new column highlighting different brews, breweries and events in and around Pittsburgh. If you have a beer-related news tip, send me an email. Cheers!