Pittsburgh has an impressive craft beer scene that I’ve been anxious to check out this summer. There are easily fifteen breweries that I wanted to check out, but that number seemed a little too ambitious for a weekend tour. Instead I chose the six that friends recommended most highly, picked up my friend Martin, and took off for a full day of beer sampling that I hoped wouldn’t get the best of me…
HITCHHIKER BREWING CO.
190 Castle Shannon Blvd Pittsburgh PA 15228
The first stop was Hitchhiker Brewing Co., where I was immediately impressed by the huge open window looking out over the sidewalk. Their craft beers are brewed right on site with up to ten on tap at any given time. (They also have a focus on creating a low environmental impact.) The interior of the brew pub has a great industrial feel with plenty of wood and metal, and I couldn’t help but comment that if I were to design a taproom it wouldn’t be far off.
Martin and I tried a flight of three handcrafted beers, we had to pace ourselves after all. The Wheatmill was my favorite with Tumbleweed and The Barbarian in second and third. Since our tour I’ve been back to try even more brews and check out their secluded patio area out back.
THE BREW GENTLEMEN BEER COMPANY
512 Braddock Ave. Braddock, PA 15104
Across town The Brew Gentlemen was waiting for us (along with the gyro truck in the parking lot). A successful Kickstarter campaign is behind this small brewery and taproom that focuses on combining classical brewing and the culinary world. Most of their brews seem more complex than their peers, we tried both chai- and cucumber-inspired beers and I really enjoyed both. The space itself used to be an electrical supply store and now has a modern industrial feel to it with lots of wood and stainless steel. Walk around the corner from the bar and you can look down through a set of large windows to the brewery itself.
FULL PINT BREWING COMPANY
1932 Lincoln Highway North Versailles, PA 15137
Full Pint was the only brewery I’d tried before the tour, Martin had some White Lightning at his house one day. I really liked it, so had high hopes for their other brews. This stop was most like breweries I’d visited on the west coast, basically a set of huge converted garages in an industrial park – taproom on one side and brewery on the other. Lots of bright colors with the logos of each beer painted on the walls. We sampled a healthy six styles with the highpoint being that I got to try my first sour! I wasn’t sure what to expect but absolutely loved it and have been actively seeking them out ever since.
300 39th Street Pittsburgh, PA 15201
The branded fence along the perimeter of Arsenal‘s outdoor cider garden couldn’t act as a better advertisement. I’d driven by countless times before our tour, but once I walked around the the other side wanted to kick myself for waiting so long. The day we visited there was amazing live music and a smokehouse truck, so we walked around the corner to the actual brick and mortar located in an old row house to grab some cider and then lounged for a bit. (Then we spent awhile wondering why we hadn’t bought a growler… oh yeah, because we still had two more places to check out!) I could imagine wasting an entire weekend here, no problem,
4901 Butler Street Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Roundabout, while having my favorite overall selection of the day, is super small inside. It was also completely packed while we were there which didn’t allow for many photos. Picture it: a back wall bar with six brews on tap and three long tables with eight stools around each. About the width of that window in the photo above and twice as deep. I really liked that the table setup made you almost have to talk with your neighbors, the way a traditional beer garden works.
DRAAI LAAG BREWING COMPANY
501 E Ohio Street Millvale, PA 15209
We ended our day at Draii Laag, coincidentally the same day they opened their big and beautiful outdoor space. This brewery focuses on Belgian-inspired ales, some of my personal favorites, but they don’t conform to styles either. I tried the Goedenacht which could only be described as a cider-mead-farmhouse ale and it was delicious. There was even a German food truck pulled up in the parking lot, and had we not been so full of beer would have jumped at the chance to partake.
We’ll be reporting back with Part 2 as soon as we recover from Part 1!Posted In behind the scenes, cocktails, living, pittsburgh