Despite their fierce rivalry on the gridiron, the cities of Pittsburgh and Cleveland have a lot in common — especially when it comes to drinking, says Paul Benner, owner of Platform Beer Co.
“We’ve been spending a lot of time in the market,” he explains. “The residents have a similar mindset and taste. Our goal is to become a member of an already fantastic beer scene in Pittsburgh and be a respectful member.”
Here’s how that will happen: By late summer, the Ohio-based brewery plans to open a location in Garfield. Benner says the two-story building at 4805 Penn Avenue will feature a 10-barrel production facility, canning line, walk-in cooler and event space on the 4,800-square-foot lower level.
On the second floor you’ll find a taproom for more than 100 guests, 24 draft lines, a kitchen and an area for interactive games.
Benner, who founded the company in 2014 with Justin Carson, says Platform also will sell Pennsylvania-made wines and spirits and will work with local businesses, from bakeries and distributors to T-shirt companies and other breweries.
“It will be its own space with its own look and vibe,” Benner says of the old building, which boasts a lot of exposed brick and steel.
Much, if not all, of the beer poured at the site will be produced there as well, he tells us, including special releases and styles that cater to the local market.
Platform started as a small brewhouse in Cleveland’s up-and-coming Ohio City neighborhood. It produced 97 barrels of beer in its first year, all sold in their original taproom. Since then, the company has opened a bigger production brewery, as well as taprooms in Columbus and Cincinnati. Last year it produced 27,000 barrels of suds, which it distributed throughout Ohio and parts of Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania.
You may have already tried their beer: The company produces a special hazy IPA for Columbus-based restaurant Condado Tacos, which has two locations in Pittsburgh.
Platform, so named because it gives homebrewers a platform on which to produce and sell their own creations, is known for the diversity of its offerings. Since opening, it has released more than 600 unique beers.
“We are confident that we will be well-received in Pittsburgh,” Benner says. “So far we’ve been impressed.”