Last Updated on September 22, 2020 by Jeremy
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Over the years, we've had a growing interest in biking, and have developed a love of finding more and more bike trails in Pittsburgh. As much as getting out on the trails for ten, twenty, or forty-plus mile rides is something we quite enjoy, we have to admit it is even better when we can finish the ride at a Pittsburgh brewery for a draft (or two).
Thankfully, our beer scene is quite well developed and there are a number of breweries where you can access them straight from a trail (or within a block or two max on city roads). In this one, we wanted to share all of the ones we've hit to date!
Note: Beyond breweries that are located right off of the bike trails, this article will also give shoutouts to other breweries that are close to the trails but may require a short drive or a longer ride on city roads to reach. The accessibility for bikes varies with these. Some have private parking lots and windows where you can keep an eye on your bikes mounted on your car. Others do not. Some are larger and may allow you to bring your bikes inside. Others may not. As such, you may want to look into the supplemental breweries mentioned a bit more to see if you'd feel comfortable taking your bike as all of their setups are different.
Southern Tier on the North Shore River Trail
When it comes to breweries right on the heart of a bike trail, we'd be remiss if we didn't start out with Southern Tier. This New York-based brewery expanded into Pittsburgh in 2017 with a pretty spectacular brewpub right on the North Shore about halfway between Heinz Field and PNC Park.
While you cannot see this one directly from the North Shore River Trail, it is located just across the street from the northern bike ramp for the Fort Duquesne Bridge and is easily reached within just a few moments from a trail connector nearby (specifically on the western side of the bridge).
Metered street parking is often available right on N Shore Drive, and free spots for trail users are available on Oxline Street and River Avenue along the trail respectively (but can often be full at peak times). Park at one of these, bike to your heart's content on either the North Shore River Trail or the GAP, return for a beer at Southern Tier, and you'll be back at your car rather quickly!
Southern Tier is located at 316 N Shore Drive. Nearby you can also hit Allegheny City Brewing, War Streets Brewing, and 412 Brewery all within a short drive. However, keeping your bikes in eyeshot if you keep them on your vehicle may be hard at these.
Roundabout Popup on the North Shore River Trail
We often lament the under-utilization of our rivers in Pittsburgh, and some breweries are quickly getting in on the action to help change this. Lawrenceville-based Roundabout Brewery is one such business as they now have a pop-up beer garden on the North Shore River Trail near its western-most terminus (just around the corner from Bicycle Heaven).
The hours for this one vary with the seasons and weather, so you'll do well to check their Instagram page before visiting. But when it is open, you can quite literally bike into the garden straight from the river trail- our favorite kind of setup!
This one is located right next to the parking area on Oxline Street (same lot mentioned above), so we love to park here, go for a long ride, and then end at the brewery for a beverage.
Roundabout's seasonal pop-up is located on Oxline Street along the North Shore River Trail just around the corner from Bicycle Heaven.
Strange Roots off of the North Shore River Trail
On the opposing end of the North Shore River Trail, you'll find yourself arriving in Millvale. If you hop off the trail and ride on the road just a block or so around the bend, you'll be presented with a gem of a brewery- Strange Roots (formerly Draai Laag).
This brewery has a wealth of beers on tap, and a strong showing with funky, wild-fermented beers. Toss on a beautiful outdoor beer garden and you have a great place to stop and have a drink in the middle of your ride!
Nearby you can visit Grist House as well via a short ride a few more blocks on city roads. They have a large outside courtyard that would likely be bike-friendly, especially if the outside bar is open.
Hofbrauhaus on the Great Allegheny Passage
If you cross the rivers to the South Side, you'll find yourself on the Great Allegheny Passage which runs from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, and connects up to the C&O Canal Trail that runs to Washington DC.
Within just a few miles you'll find yourself in SouthSide Works and in front of Pittsburgh's outpost for the German Hofbrauhaus. While this one is as much restaurant as it is a brewery, you'll find a beautiful patio overlooking the trail and river as well as a fleet of delicious German brews.
If you continue east along the GAP you'll wind up in Homestead where Voodoo Brewing is located just off the trail and requires biking on city streets for a few blocks. They have an outdoor courtyard with an ordering window; however, you would not be able to see your car when drinking here. Likewise, if you park near Homestead you could also drive over to Brew Gentlemen in Braddock quickly as well; however, the same biking concerns apply (they let us take our bikes when we visited, though!).
Bloom Brew Near the GAP
As you journey into the Laurel Highlands on the Great Allegheny Passage, you get to some of our favorite stretches of the trail as it follows the Youghiogheny River away from the city.
As you pass through West Newton, if you are in need of a quick brew and arrive at the right time, a stop at Bloom Brew is a must. This brewery is located just off the trail on the other side of the Youghiogheny River, and all you have to do to reach it is pop off the trail, cross the E Main Street Bridge, and take the first left on N Water Street one block down to reach the brewery.
If you want to make libations be a focal part of your day, parking in West Newton has some perks as Crooked Creek Distillery is located across the river as well just off the bridge on N Water Street in the opposing direction! Not a bad combo for ending a long ride on the GAP.
Helicon Brewing on the Panhandle Trail
The Panhandle Trail is a gorgeous 29-mile rail-trail that runs from Walker's Mill, PA, all the way to Weirton, West Virginia, and offers a mix of rides through nature, rolling hills, and little boroughs along the way. Roughly four miles east of the Walker's Mill terminus is the borough of Oakdale, home to Helicon Brewing which is located right on the trail itself.
In fact, we like to start our bike trips out at the trail lot near Helicon for a number of reasons. First, you're only a couple of miles away from the Washington County border, which, at the time of publishing anyway, is when the paved section of the trail starts (Allegheny and WV sections are crushed limestone only). Second, it is a solid 20-mile ride one way to the WV border (a great way to build up thirst, and also our max distance we can handle currently). Finally, much like others in this guide, you get to end at the brewery itself!
Always a great spot to celebrate a victory beer after a ride. Be sure to order one of their lagers or IPAs as a shandy as well- it is a great way to cool down!
Levity Brewing on the Hoodlebug Trail
Indiana, PA, is about an hour's drive from Pittsburgh, and if you make it out this way you can go for a 20-mile round-trip ride on the Hoodlebug Trail between this city and the borough of Black Lick to the south (which subsequently connects up to the Ghost Town Trail).
This bike trail covers a lot of varying scenery from rolling hills, industrial complexes, small boroughs, and crosses several streams, creeks, and rivers as you bike. It is a bit hilly, but not terribly high in grade at any given section (although expect slightly more uphill going towards Indiana) and is relatively well-maintained except for the last mile near Black Lick.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of this trail is not the scenery itself but the fact that the acclaimed Levity Brewing is located just feet from the trail about a mile away from the Indiana, PA, terminus. So hop onto the trail on this end, bike as far as you'd like, make the return trip and celebrate with a pint!
Nearby you can also hit Noble Stein within a short drive from Levity. However, keeping your bikes in eyeshot if you leave them on your vehicle may be hard.
Helltown Brewing on the Westmoreland Heritage Trail
One of our favorite bike trails in the region is the Westmoreland Heritage Trail. This one covers two distinct sections in Westmoreland County covering eight and nine miles (Delmont to Saltsburg and Export to Trafford respectively).
Both sections of these trails have their own merits, with the Delmont to Saltsburg stretch being a fairly secluded forest and the Export to Trafford stretch following a gorgeous creek towards the Trafford end. Whether you do one, or both, is truly up to you, but if beer is on your radar too starting in Export and riding the nine-miles out to Trafford (and another nine back) is a great option. Why? Helltown Brewing's production facility is located just about a quarter of a mile from the trailhead (which features a large public parking lot, too!).
For this one we can do you one better than just a pint at the end of your ride. Commit to the full 18 miles roundtrip between Export and Trafford and you can take a break for a scoop of ice cream halfway at Parkside Creamery in Trafford. A solid ride with gorgeous scenery, an ice cream break, and beer at the end? Sign us up.
If you bike on the Delmont to Saltsburg section of the trail, you can easily reach Yellow Bridge Brewing and Devout Brewing within a short drive (slightly longer if coming from Export). Much like other breweries near to the trails, you may have a hard time watching your bikes at these.
Other Bike Trails with Breweries Nearby
For this article, we wanted to only feature breweries that could be found either right on a bike trail or within one or two city blocks from a trailhead such that they can be accessed easily by all- independent of skill level. But we'd be remiss if we did not mention a few other trails where breweries are close by but not necessarily on the trail.
One great example is the Butler-Freeport Community Trail where the Butler terminus is located roughly a half-mile from the central business district in the city. Here you can find great breweries like Reclamation and Butler Brew Works within a quick ride on surface roads. Likewise, closer to the Freeport end is Cellar Works Brewing in Sarver. While this one is much closer to the trail than the ones in Butler, the roads here are a bit hillier and a bit busier with traffic and may not be suitable for riding unless you're quite advanced and comfortable with country roads.
Likewise, while there are no breweries directly on the Montour Trail, if you park at the Coraopolis trailhead you'll be just a short drive away from Cobblehaus Brewing right in the heart of the borough.
For these breweries, we do have to reiterate that since they are not located directly on the bike trail some of the amenities for bikers may be limited. As mentioned at the start of this article, biking logistics including racks or the ability to see your car via a window can vary from brewery to brewery. As such, you may want to look into these spots just a bit more (based on your comfort level) to see if visiting is right for you and how you transport your bike. Worst case, a call or message to the brewery to see if they'd let you bring a bike in wouldn't be the worst precaution to take in advance.
Overall, the brewery scene in Pittsburgh has been expanding at a rapid pace over the years, and we're really excited to see many breweries pop up on (and near) our amazing bike trails. So next time you're looking to go for a ride, plan your outing accordingly to finish with a great brew!
Where is your favorite place to grab a beer after a bike ride? Comment below to share!