Last Updated on July 26, 2021 by Jeremy
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The craft brewing scene is currently taking Pittsburgh by storm. Not a month goes by where you don't hear about a brewery opening up in the region or a staple making news nationally for their products.
It is our lofty goal to visit all of the southwest Pennsylvania breweries popping up, and in this guide we'll be sharing our thoughts on all the breweries we've visited to date.
So if there is a brewery out there producing something unique that you need to check out, you can be certain we will feature it here!
But First, Our Beer Tastes
Before we jump into sharing our thoughts on dozens upon of breweries, we thought it is important first that you understand our taste in beers as all palates (and therefore subsequent reviews) will be different.
We drink a wide variety of beers and have a strong preference for European brews like German Hefeweizens and Belgian Tripels. We have a love affair with all things wild and sour, and have recently started to enjoy hazy New England IPAs and DIPAs. We tend to shy away from west coast IPAs as we think they are far too bitter, and Angie is not super fond of malty ales. On the dark beer front Jeremy hits those hard and loves ones with aggressive flavor notes like chocolate or coffee. So suffice it to say, we'll drink almost anything.
Overall, our biggest dislikes in the craft beer world (Pittsburgh beer or otherwise), aside from west coast IPAs, are weak or inbalanced flavors.
Do not confuse this with session or light ales that are meant to be this way, we mean beers that simply fall flat on the flavors that are promised or are horribly one-sided. New breweries tend to fall into these more than established ones as they are still working on finding their footing and styles. In our experience, most get significantly better over time such that we are due for a revist on several featured for that reason alone.
These are going to be recurring themes in the discussion below.
Find Local Breweries By Region
A previous iteration of this guide had all of the local breweries listed randomly. This worked well when we had seven breweries, but not so great once we had several dozen.
To help, we are organizing the breweries featured by region. Check out the map below to find a brewery by location or click the region name to drop down to read our reviews from each spot.
Within each section below, breweries are organized by closest to the city to furthest away. All breweries are within a roughly 60-minute drive of the city. For breweries with multiple locations, we've organized those by the location that is closest to the city center first even if the original or largest taproom is further away. Our placements of some that could be in two directions is arbitrary.
Pittsburgh City Limits: Sly Fox Brewing, Penn Brewery, Southern Tier, Allegheny City Brewing, 412 Brewery, War Streets Brewing, Four Points Brewing, Fat Head's Saloon, Helltown Brewing, Insurrection AleWorks, Cinderlands Brewery, Spring Hill Brewery, Burgh'ers Brewing, Eleventh Hour Brewing, Church Brew Works, Trace Brewing, Two Frays Brewery, Roundabout Brewery, Hop Farm Brewing Co., Couch Brewery, BrewDog, East End Brewing, Hofbrauhaus
North: Strange Roots Experimental Ales, Grist House, Dancing Gnome, Hitchhiker Brewing, Necromancer Brewing, Aurochs, Mastic Trail Brewing, Old Thunder Brewing, The Leaning Cask Brewing, Dented Keg Brewing Company, Stick City, Cellar Works Brewing, North Country, ShuBrew, Union Brothers Brewing, Missing Links, Butler Brew Works, Reclamation Brewing Co., Recon Brewing
East: Inner Groove, Acclamation Brewing, Full Pint, Fury Brewing, Invisible Man Brewing, Quinn Brewing, New Crescent Brewing, Unity Brewing, Conny Creek Brewing, Devout Brewing, Yellow Bridge Brewing, All Saints Brewing, Four Seasons Brewing
South: Headley's Brewing, Mindful Brewing, Spoonwood Brewing, Voodoo Brewery, Brew Gentlemen Beer Company, Pittsburgh Bottleshop, Rusty Gold Brewing, Bloom Brew, Washington Brewing Company, Levity Brewing, Noble Stein Brewing
West: Lincoln Avenue Brewery, Abjuration Brewing, Cobblehaus Brewing, Helicon Brewing, Altered Genius, Coal Tipple Brewing, Petrucci Brothers, Beaver Brewing Company
At the end of this guide we also link to organized brewery tours if you want to hit many of the above in one go as well!
Breweries in Pittsburgh City Limits
The following are a collection of breweries you can find inside the city limits of Pittsburgh, organized by proximity to downtown proper.
Sly Fox Brewing Co.
Sly Fox Brewing has been brewing in eastern Pennsylvania since 1995 and opened its Pittsburgh taproom in late 2019 in a small space just across from Point State Park– giving a much-needed boost to downtown's drinking scene.
During our first visit, we tried three beers- the Royal Weisse (a wheat beer), the Vulpulin IPA, and the seasonal Christmas Ale. All three of these were fairly standard iterations for their particular styles, and do not stray far from standard recipes that you could find at say, a macro brewer. While we did enjoy the Christmas Ale a fair bit (despite having a light finish), they were also not very memorable either.
Our biggest concern about this one is the space. We have to admit that we walked away from this one grumbling about the fairly small (and when busy, awkward) space more than any thoughts of the beer one way or another.
As such, this is the kind of place we'd go to if we were downtown and wanting a beer, or are entertaining friends who aren't into the craft scene as much, rather than going for any specific style.
Sly Fox Brewing is located at 300 Liberty Avenue Suite 100 just across from Point State Park.
Penn Brewery in the North Side / Downtown
Out of all of the breweries featured in this list, Penn Brewery is one of the only ones operating in a historic brewery building (that is approaching 170 years old), giving it an incredibly unique vibe that is more reminiscent of a European brewer than of a small producer that only opened in the USA 30 years ago (now with recent expansions downtown and at the airport as well).
The staple beers on the menu here include a Pilsner, Dark, Gold, Weizen, Kaiser Pils, and Biergarten IPA- a very standard assortment you'd come to expect from breweries in the city. The flavors of these beers are about as true-to-form as they come, which means that they're decent iterations of the style but do little to stand out among a sea of competition- both in the local and national scenes.
Where Penn Brewery shines, however, are in their seasonal beers and new experimental creations which have come about in recent years (more than likely to help stand out in the city's growing craft beer scene). Keep an eye out for the Tangerine Swirl, Hot Ginger, and German Chocolate Cake Stout (without the coconut rim) for some truly delicious creations we have not seen anywhere else.
Penn Brewery also features a full restaurant menu featuring an assortment of bar fare and German menu items. If you're in the mood for a bite to eat, be sure to try the pretzels as they were worth the visit alone. Penn Brewery also hosts many events throughout the year, including one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in Pittsburgh.
Penn Brewery is located at 800 Vinial Street in the North Side. Penn Brewery also has locations at 423 First Avenue downtown and in the airport.
Southern Tier Brewing Company in the North Side
New York-based Southern Tier expanded into the Pittsburgh marketplace with their North Side brewery and taproom in early 2017. The establishment is set up in gastropub format with a full food menu, almost two dozen beers on tap (including several from Victory Brewing and Sixpoint which are now partners with Southern Tier), and also includes local creations exclusive to Pittsburgh (check out the Pittsburgh Speed Date if it is available as it is a collaboration between over a dozen Pittsburgh brewers).
Our visit was shortly after opening where we found the brewpub packed on an early Sunday evening. Even with the crowds, we were waited on at the bar by a passing waiter who saw we were without beer and wanted to fix that for us (he also kept us full the entire night). Win!
This is one of those places where you'll get lost sampling beer as we ended up having six pints between the two of us, mostly on the brown ale side and fruity side of the spectrum (while also trying sips of about five more along the way). The staples are quality you'd expect from Southern Tier, and some of the more unusual, like Creme Brulee, really go out into the weird realm in a way that oddly works (although I struggled to finish my entire glass as the flavor is really strong). I'm not sure I can pick out one that was an overall favorite of the group, but they were all generally good and there is something to be said about that kind of consistency with a draft list this large.
As such, you have no excuse not to visit this one as Southern Tier literally has something for everyone.
Southern Tier Brewing Company is located at 316 North Shore Drive in the North Side.
Allegheny City Brewing in the North Side
Allegheny City Brewing opened its doors in Pittsburgh's Deutschtown neighborhood in late 2016, much to the joy of North Siders looking for a supplement to the iconic Penn Brewery.
This brewery produces an incredible selection of beers, with eight on tap at any given time. A decent percentage of the beers are of the flavored variety, and include gems such as the Allegheny Common (a brown ale aged on Commonplace Coffee beans- tasting more like a smooth porter), a Graham Cracker Porter, a Habanero Stout, and Ginger in the Rye (ginger beer aged in rye whiskey barrels) to name a few found during our recent visit.
Our favorite of the bunch was the Funkhauser, a funky farmhouse that had the nose of an IPA but the body of a session ale that we could keep drinking all day. This is dangerous because, as North Side residents ourselves, we just might do that.
Allegheny City Brewing is located at 507 Foreland St. in the North Side.
412 Brewery in the North Side
412 Brewery has been producing and distributing beer for quite a few years, but only opened a dedicated tap room in Pittsburgh's North Side in early 2019.
The taproom is a gorgeous space in a historic building on Western Avenue and is complete with a number of Pittsburgh-related designs like a massive 412 sign, highway signs turned lamps, and historical photos on the wall as well.
During our first visit we were able to sample a number of 412's beers including Mo Hops Mo Problems (a delicious and not-too-hoppy West Coast IPA), Hazelicious (a juicy IPA), Wreckreational Wheat (an oddly light wheat beer with a modest citrus profile), Pour Me an Udder (an intensely smooth and drinkable milk stout), as well as a Blood Orange Milkshake IPA that wasn't too strong on the flavors that offered a nice, subtle alternative to the more in-your-face styles you may be accustomed to.
Even better? The taproom is located just across the street from War Streets Brewery (below), meaning you can check out two breweries in one trip when checking this one out!
412 Brewery is located at 847 Western Avenue in the North Side.
War Streets Brewery in the North Side
War Streets Brewery has faced a long and winding road to finding a place to serve their beers in Pittsburgh, and after about two years of work trying to get off the ground they finally found a permanent home at Bier's Pub (formerly Benjamin's Burgers) in the North Side- now owned by the brewery.
We've been fortunate enough to try many of their creations while waiting, and have to say that their beers quite delicious iterations of the styles. The Sherman Avenue Stout has a robust malt, coffee, and chocolate flavor; the Sampsonia Way Smoked Porter has a wonderful balance between the smokiness and traditional porter flavors; and the Resaca Red Ale has us converted on a style of beer that we quite frankly never liked that much.
This should come as no surprise, as head brewer Jake Bier won a home brewing competition hosted by Wigle Whiskey in 2014 (beating about 50 other competitors).
When visiting Bier's Pub, head to the back of the restaurant and up the stairs to the left to reach War Streets Brewery's tap room. Food from the restaurant is available in the tap room as well!
War Streets Brewery is readily featured at Bier's Pub at 900 Western Avenue in the North Side.
Four Points Brewing in the North Side and Chareleroi
Four Points Brewing has been making waves in the local beer scene since opening in mid-2018, and it will only take a few moments after arriving to understand why- they have an impressive beer list!
During our early 2019 visit to their Charleroi taproom (they've since expanded to the North Side as well) we were impressed with the array of beer styles this relatively young brewery had available, ranging from Belgian Tripels to Triple IPAs, nitro stouts to imperial stouts, and fruited sours to fruited milkshake IPAs. Suffice it to say, the draft list reads (and tastes) like a brewery that has been around for much longer, and for that we're quite excited by it.
On our visit we tried eight beers (in 5oz taster form) and walked away liking more or less all of them. If you visit and are fortunate enough to find the Twilight Hollow on the menu (an imperial stout conditioned on cacao, vanilla, and raspberry puree), do yourself a favor and get it. Not only was it the best of the day, it was unlike any stout we've had in quite some time due to the strong fruitiness from the raspberry!
Our only regret is that the roughly one hour drive from Pittsburgh makes this one a haul to get to, but it is worth the drive- especially when paired with Fourth Street BBQ just next door (get the meat platter at the brewery if available on the daily food menu!).
Four Points Brewing is located at 400 Washington Avenue in Charleroi, PA- about an hour south of Pittsburgh. They also expanded in 2021 to have a taproom at 919 Western Avenue in the North Side.
Fat Head's Saloon in South Side
Many people are often to surprised to find out that Fat Head's started in Pittsburgh, as this is often considered to be an Ohio brewery. While that point is true, as most of the brewing operations were ramped up in Ohio in 2009, the original saloon was opened in South Side in 1992 and remains there to this day.
If you've ever had Fat Head's before, odds are good you know of what is arguably their flagships Head Hunter IPA and Bumble Berry Honey Blueberry Ale (the latter being one of our go-to's when we want a fruit-forward beer at not craft heavy bars).
But during our most recent visit, we decided to go for a different spread of the Sorceror (a Belgian strong dark ale clocking in at 9%), Foggle Goggle (arguably one of the best Hefeweizens in the city), and a Green IPA that was incredibly hop forward. While the IPA was a bit much for our liking, the two European brews were so true to their intended style that we were taken aback and we would most certainly drink them again.
My only regret about Fat Head's in the South Side is that they do not offer flights, and do not offer half pours either. So if you are looking to visit this one to sample a bunch of their brews, well, be prepared for several pints (which is why we only had a few on the most recent visit!).
Fat Head's Saloon is located at 1805 E Carson Street in South Side.
Helltown Brewing in the Strip District, Export, and Mount Pleasant
When they first opened, Helltown Brewing required a trek to reach their taproom in Mount Pleasant. Since then, they have acquired Rivertowne Brewing and expanded into their production facility in Export, and opened a collaboration taproom with Pennsylvania Libations in the Strip District- now a prominent feature in the neighborhood.
We've been to all of these locations over the years, and appreciate Helltown for having an array of brews, a solid spread of IPA, and some unconventional styles thrown into the mix as well. On our visits we've become fans of the Mischievous Brown (a solid English-style brown) and New England IPAs especially, and almost always leave with cans in hand.
But if you cannot make your way to one of their many taprooms, odds are good you will likely find their cans or drafts locally (or perhaps a few classic Rivertowne options as well). They're quite prevalent!
Helltown Brewing is located at 1700 Penn Avenue in the Strip District, 5578 Old William Penn Highway in Export, and 13 Henry C Frick Street in Mount Pleasant, PA (about 60 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh).
Insurrection AleWorks in the Strip District and Heidelberg
Insurrection AleWorks opened in Heidelberg (just south of Pittsburgh) in 2015 and expanded with a second taproom in the Strip District in 2020. Out of all of the breweries we've visited in Pittsburgh, it is easy to say that this one is on the smaller side. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in its offering as its beer and food menus are quite robust!
The draft list consists of about six to eight different beers at any given time, covering a wide spectrum of brews ranging from Pink Yoga Pants (a take on a Gose with Himalayan salt, coriander, and hibiscus- an unusual sour that works) to Captain Trips (a double IPA). Some of the more traditional ales are on the hoppier side here, but are well balanced in such a way that they're not off-putting to even the strictest critic (which, in this case, would be us).
On the more unusual side, Biere de Miel is a rustic American ale that has a blend of local honey mixed in, giving it an almost mead like finish. And then there is the Pink Yoga Pants, which is an incredibly complex sour with an unusual flavor profile from the three core ingredients mentioned above. Somehow, it works flawlessly.
Looking towards their food menu (Heidelberg only), Insurrection AleWorks could stand as a restaurant on its own and their offering features a wide assortment of wings, sandwiches, and wood fired pizzas- not to mention a cheese and charcuterie menu that is one of the largest in the region. Overall, no matter what you're in the mood for, be it beer or simply good food, this one is worth a visit.
Insurrection AleWorks is located at 1812 Penn Avenue in the Strip District and 1635 E. Railroad St. in Heidelberg, PA just south of Pittsburgh.
Cinderlands Beer Co. in Multiple Locations
Cinderlands Beer Co. is a trendy brewery with locations in the Strip District, Lawrenceville, and Wexford that focus on house made beer, cocktails, and a great food menu.
We visited the Lawrenceveille location on opening weekend and sampled four of the five available beers on tap- the test piece (a NE IPA), the Passionfruit Whipper (a berlinner weisse with passionfruit), the Blazing Crude (a coffee milk stout made with cold brewed Ethiopian coffee and steeped orange peels), as well as the cobra tonic (a tea and turmeric infused kolsch).
It isn't often that we sing the praises of all the beers we try at a brand new brewery, but we quite enjoyed all of the ones we sampled. The IPA was not too bitter and had a nice clean finish, the passionfruit berlinner weisse had a tart kick without being too tart, the cobra tonic had a nice strong ginger flavor with backend notes of tea, and the blazing crude packed in some powerful flavors (and a nice kick from the 7.5% abv).
Since then, the brewery has expanded their offerings to have many IPAs, more flavored whippers, an impressive flavored tartshake line, opened a second location in the Strip District (plus a third in Wexford), and rebranded the Lawrenceville location to be a Foederhouse complete with house-made Saisons that are worth visiting on their own right.
Overall, we have to say we find this brewery quite impressive. Whether you visit the Strip District location for their robust draft list or the Foederhouse in Lawrenceville for a Saison (and a smaller selection of their more standard brews), odds are good you'll find something you enjoy at this one.
Cinderlands Beer Co. has their Foederhouse at 3705 Butler Street in Lawrenceville, a larger location known as the Warehouse at 2601 Smallman Street, and a taproom in Wexford at 171 Wexford Bayne Rd Ste 101.
Spring Hill Brewery in Spring Hill
Spring Hill Brewery in the neighborhood of the same name opened in May 2018 and dubs themselves makers of “hilltop farmhouse beer.”
This is an apt description as the brewery is located in a former Workingmen's Beneficial Union (WBU) hall on top of the hill, has a large drinking area both indoors and outdoors, and the beers are all low ABV style brews (so far, at least).
As this one only had a few beers available during our last visit, we're going to hold off on discussing the beers themselves as of now. If you're in the mood to try out a new brewery while hanging out with a few friends, give this one a shot- then come back to this post in a few weeks to check out our full thoughts!
Spring Hill Brewing is located at 1958 Varley Street in Spring Hill City View.
Burgh'ers Brewing in Lawrenceville and Zelienople
Burgh'ers is a popular hamburger joint with two locations in the region that expanded their operations to include brewing as well!
During a winter visit I was able to sample a flight of four of their beers- the Uberbruken (a Berliner Weiss), Harvest Moon (a Winter Ale), Grand Duchy (a Baltic Porter), and Lotus & Papyrus (a New England IPA).
Apart from the Berliner Weiss (which came with numerous flavor options including a spiced cranberry that was rather unexpected), the remaining beers were simply clean iterations of the beer style, but not too strong on any flavor notes that would be noteworthy to call out. The winter ale had a decent maltiness to it, the Baltic porter offered robust flavors, and the New England IPA had a fair bit of citrus notes- all good options to go with a burger all the same.
Burgh'ers has two locations in the region including 3601 Butler Road in Lawrenceville and 100 Perry Highway in Zelienople.
Eleventh Hour Brewing Co. in Lawrenceville
Eleventh Hour Brewing (or 11th Hour Brewing, depending on how you search for them), opened in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood just off of the main strip of Butler Street in late 2017.
We visited shortly after opening while the brewery was still releasing their beers as beta products, and they had a fairly straight forward offering of a mosaic IPA, pale ale, oatmeal stout, and Belgian blonde to name a few.
As this one grew they started releasing more impressive creations like their pineapple ambrosia (a pineapple heavy ale) as well as an oyster stout that is a complex beer that will have you ordering it a few times to really understand its full flavor profile.
This one is releasing new creations every month and we're keeping an eye out for new gems like these!
Eleventh Hour Brewing Co is located at 3711 Charlotte Street in Lawrenceville.
Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville
If ambiance is something you desire to have while visiting a brewery, look no further than Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville- one of Pittsburgh's oldest and most iconic microbreweries.
As its name suggests, Church Brew Works is located inside a decommissioned Roman Catholic Church (the historic St. John the Baptist church, to be precise). The altar includes fermentation equipment on display for all to see, the pews are replaced with dining tables for patrons to enjoy its expansive restaurant menu, the stained glass is as beautiful as the day it was installed, and the slogan “on the eighth day, man created beer” is visible just about everywhere.
The beer menu itself is quite robust and includes over a dozen different styles of beer, including a Dunkelweizen (a dark wheat beer) and Baltic Porter (full of smokiness and spices) that I was able to sample on a recent visit. As far as the restaurant is concerned we are personally not the most impressed with the menu; however, this does not discourage us from visiting when we're in the mood for a beer in a truly unique setting as this one.
Church Brew Works is located at 3525 Liberty Avenue in Lawrenceville.
Trace Brewing in Bloomfield
We've been dreaming of a brewery in Bloomfield for a long, long time and Trace Brewing finally delivered with a dream-team in-house, a beautiful space (including a great little outdoor patio), and some delicious beer on day one.
During our visit shortly after the brewery opened for in-house pours, they offered a mix of draft plus cans for on-site consumption. We tried a mix of everything here, and a few beers of note include The Sun is Up (a Coffee Oatmeal Porter made from Redhawk Coffee) which had a nice coffee flavor without being overwhelming, A Change is Gonna Plum (with plum and apricot plus lactose) that could be equated to a moderately fruited gose, and Meteor Remote (a double IPA) that had some very refreshing tropical notes and could go toe-to-toe with other IPAs in the city any day.
We look forward to returning to this one (many times) to try even more brews including releases from their foeders and wilds from the koelschip. Trace is making moves and we are ready for it!
Trace Brewing is located at 4312 Main Street in Bloomfield.
Two Frays Brewery in Garfield
Two Frays Brewery is the first brewery to open up in Pittsburgh's Garfield neighborhood and it only takes a few minutes after arriving at realizing this one is going to fit right in. They have a gorgeous bar space, a modest production facility visible in the back, and a side lot that is perfect for outside drinking on a nice day (complete with some mural art that Garfield has an abundance of).
We visited this one on opening weekend in June 2021 and found a nice variety in the draft list of several IPA, an experimental Wheat conditioned on passion fruit, and a few (hopefully) staples like their Together Better Kolsch and Jen's Porter.
Of the IPAs, the Quiet Loud ended up being one of the first West Coast IPAs we've enjoyed because it was approachable and not over-the-top bitter whereas the LG2P used an experimental hop, HBC586, that made this one taste like a pineapple bomb. Two vastly different takes on the IPA style which were done exceptionally well.
But it really was the Together Better Kolsch and Freeze Tag Passion Fruit Wheat that we left raving about. Both easy sippers on a hot summer day with a well-rounded flavor profile and a hint of sweetness in the Kolsch and tartness in the Wheat. What more can you ask for?
It'll be interesting to see what this one comes up with in the future as the starting lineup was solid!
Two Frays Brewery is located at 5113 Penn Avenue in Garfield.
Roundabout Brewery in Lawrenceville
Roundabout Brewery is one of those places that has been getting better and better with age. Some of their staple brews, such as Ginga Wheat (ginger, lemon, and honey wheat that is one of the finest in the city) and various IPA styles have stood the test of time in a constantly evolving industry. On the other hand, some of their seasonal specials like Peach Berliner Weisse or Margarita Gose in the summer or the Cherry Bock or Chili Pepper Porter hit the spot at just the right moment when cooling weather calls for it.
Perhaps even better is the brewery's pop-up river beer garden located on the Ohio River towards the end of the North Shore River Trail. While only seasonal and incredibly weather dependent, it is hard to beat good brews, great views, and regular food trucks thrown into the mix too!
So while the draft list at this one doesn't change as fast as other breweries in the area, we love their consistency while trying a new style here or there in addition to a Ginga Wheat, of course. We will always get one of those without fail if it appears on the draft list.
Hop Farm Brewing Co. in Lawrenceville
For the longest time we never visited Hop Farm Brewing Co. because the name suggested that their beers would be, well, hoppy! (If you can't tell, we're not really big fans.) It wasn't until trying their beer at a local event that we realized they offer far more than the bitter, West Coast IPAs we are not into, and we knew we had to go.
During our visit we were able to try all of the beers on the menu, ranging from barrel aged red ales, low IBU specialty ales, a very delicious coffee porter, as well as a seasonal sour cranberry Berliner Weiss (and a barrel aged counterpart that was completely different) which ended up being our favorite of the bunch.
Hop Farm Brewing Co. is located at 5601 Butler Street in Lawrenceville and is open Wednesday through Sunday.
Couch Brewery in Larimer
Couch Brewery opened up in Pittsburgh's Larimer neighborhood (just next to Highland Park and the Pittsburgh zoo) in early 2017, and we timed our visit to check them out on opening night with a subsequent visit a few months later. This brewery has an unusual focus on all things furniture, with their beers being named after different sofa styles and the interior decor being mix-and-match seating from love seats to plush recliners depending on whatever inventory they have at the time.
This theme is a bit odd and will be attractive to a certain kind of beer drinker who values kicking back and relaxing as much as enjoy a good brew (although we have to admit the layout in our second visit was a marked improvement from opening weekend).
The beer itself at Couch Brewery is a bit hard to judge as most all of the beers are quite light, and a few, like the double IPA, don't even taste like what we'd consider the named styles to be like. In fact, hardly any of the beers were super strong on the hops despite their descriptions as most are added for aroma purposes only- so hops addicts may have a hard time finding a favorite here (although I'm certainly not complaining about that).
Our favorites from opening night were the HiFi Hefeweizen and Zitten Wit- two citrus-heavy varieties of our favorite style of beers, as well as their American Pale Ale. Much like the double IPA, this one had a very subdued hops flavor and was instead malty and sweet. Very unexpected for a pale ale, but decent all the same. On a subsequent visit we tried the HiFi Hefeweizen again and found it was even better due to some refinement in the recipe to be a bit less citrus heavy and more forward on the banana and clove flavors.
The winner at Couch Brewery so far, above all others, has been one of their first seasonal beers known as Siesta. This one features three kinds of dried peppers, green tea, and ginger. This one was released on Cinco de Mayo in 2017 and lasted until mid-July, so be sure to check back for this one in the future. It is truly unlike any beer we've had in the city.
Overall, Couch Brewery with all its eccentricities has some potential that we hope they grow into (and maybe out of) in the coming years. We'll be watching.
Couch Brewery is located at 1351 Washington Blvd in Larimer, just east of Highland Park
BrewDog in East Liberty
BrewDog opened its first brewery in the United Kingdom many years ago, and have since expanded to many cities thanks to their investing system called Equity for Punks. As a result of this, a Pittsburgh location opened up in Pittsburgh's East Liberty in early 2020, and really hit the ground running with an impressive draft list as well as a full food menu.
During my first visit, I was able to sample five brews. They were the Hazy Jane (a New England IPA), Pulp Patriot (a milkshake IPA), Choco Libre (a flavored nitro stout), Tiramisu Crew (a flavored nitro stout), and Self Assembly Pope (a coconut and vanilla porter).
While I would say that the milkshake aspect of the Pulp Patriot and the coconut and vanilla of the Self Assembly Pope were a bit light for my liking, the overall flavors of these beers really show what BrewDog has been doing right for so long. The standout to me was the Choco Libre as it had a relatively strong sweetness of chocolate that was balanced with a nice spice kick that I would say was almost unexpected. So if you like spicy chocolate stouts on nitro, this one is worth a try.
We'll be watching out for this one more in the coming months as exclusive Pittsburgh recipes are released from their (admittedly small) on-site brewhouse!
BrewDog is located at 6144 Centre Avenue in East Liberty.
East End Brewing Co. in East Liberty / Larimer
For those who love hoppy beers, East End Brewing Co. is calling your name. As is readily apparent by our coverage in this post we tend to stick with less hoppy flavored beers when drinking, and can often easily pick up the variation in hops in our selections (most of which we are not fans of). The trend we noticed with all of East End's permanent beer collection (an iPA, stout, brown ale, and Hefeweizen- the latter traditionally being our favorite beer style) is that you can pick up very pronounced flavors from the hops in all of the beer- even the Hefeweizen.
For those like us, East End has been expanding their experimental and seasonal selection quite a bit (up to 24 seasonals at last check) which have flavor profiles far more balanced than their permanent collection that we've been enjoying more and more of over the years. Try the lemongrass wit if it ever rotates back on tap- it is divine!
East End Brewing Co. is located at 147 Julius Street in East Liberty/Larimer. The Strip District location is now closed.
Hofbrauhaus in South Side
Can an international brewery with locations all over the world count as a local brewery? What if I said they brew all their beer on-site? We had a hard time with this one, and after polling our readers we have decided that yes, Hofbrauhaus works as a local brewery due to the latter (but we'll completely understand if you disagree).
This one is perhaps the most famous German brewery thanks to their wide production all over the world, and they brought their 400+ years of brewing tradition to Pittsburgh's South Side Works in 2009.
The beer menu here is fairly straightforward with only four options- the original Lager, a Hefeweizen, a Dunkel, and one monthly seasonal feature (which during our visit was the summer Hefeweizen- a maltier version of the style). The beers are a bit light for our liking compared to other German breweries, but we have to admit that their optional flavor additions help kick things up a notch. We opted for a black cherry Dunkel which added a nice sweetness to the beer that was most appreciated.
Overall, Hofbrauhaus isn't a beer drinker's destination in its own right. But for German brews in Pittsburgh, it does present a reasonable outlet to check out if you can't find a favorite on draft anywhere else.
Hofbrauhaus is located at 2705 S Water Street in South Side Works.
Breweries North of Pittsburgh
The following are a collection of breweries you can find north of Pittsburgh (generally anything north of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers), organized by proximity to the city.
Strange Roots Experimental Ales in Millvale
Did you know that the greater Pittsburgh area is home to an experimental brewery that has a strong focus on wild and sour fermentation? We didn't, and it was only recently that we found out about Strange Roots (formerly known as Draai Laag) in Millvale even though they have been open for several years.
For quite some time this brewery's sole purpose was to expand the science of sour and wild fermented beers, and took inspiration from the beers of Belgium and northern France. They had a massive portfolio featuring dozens of unique beers, ranging from Belgian ales, sour beers, to seasonal lambics (both flavored and conventional) to others that are, well, downright funky that you simply have to try to truly understand.
I had the privilege of listening to the owner talk about his love of the science of fermentation and using wild micro-organisms in brewing, and he had me convinced that Pittsburgh is truly lucky to have him here. Not only are they expanding the flavor combinations in beer (naturally, without artificial flavors), they're doing it in most cases using local yeast strains found nowhere else in the world.
In 2018 the brewery changed its name from Draai Laag to be known as Strange Roots Experimental Ales in order to broaden their portfolio to include other beers beyond the sours we've come to know and love. While all the favorites will still be featured in their brewing schedule, they are in the process of rolling out experimental takes on other beers including ales, IPAs, and more!
Overall, Strange Roots has some of the finest beers we've tried in Pittsburgh- although our love for European brew may be making us a bit biased when it comes to this local gem as their sours are truly the star. In any case, you should definitely check this one out and be sure to follow their Facebook page to be notified when limited edition brews are available- they go way too fast!
Strange Roots is located at 501 E. Ohio Street in Millvale and has a second location at 4399 Gibsonia Road in Gibsonia, PA.
Grist House in Millvale
Right down the road from Strange Roots in Millvale is Grist House. This brewery hits all of the major points we look for in a place to grab a draft beer, namely: a varied and large traditional draft list, a great ambiance (they're dog friendly!), the ability to see the brewing floor while drinking, and a packed house.
In between petting the dogs and sampling food from the visiting food truck, our first visit involved a tasting tray including five beers as well as a generous “sample” of a sixth which ended up being roughly the same size as the tasting beer (did I mention at no extra charge?).
The beers covered the spectrum of common craft beers ranging from our favorite, hefeweizens and American wheat, all the way to rich coffee porters, kolsch, and hoppy IPAs. On the lower hops spectrum all of the beers at Grist House were very aromatic and had strong flavor profiles with fruit flavors dominating the palette in combinations we would not have expected.
Grist House also has limited-run, high ABV barrel-aged beers that occasionally make an appearance (we sadly missed the most recent which ended its run before our last tasting), as well as experimental beer lines with periodic productions meaning that this one truly has enough for everyone, regardless of what flavors you enjoy.
If you're in the mood for Saturday brewery hopping, a trip to Millvale to visit Grist House and Strange Roots should be on your must do list very, very soon.
Grist House is located at 10 East Sherman Street in Millvale. Sadly, the tasting trays are no longer offered at Grist House, but you can grab a growler to go and go axe throwing at Lumberjaxes a few blocks over!
Dancing Gnome Brewery in Sharpsburg
I really hate to classify breweries by a certain type of beer that they produce, but I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Dancing Gnome is incredibly hops forward in their beers. So IPA lovers (and even those who are not fond of it), this one is for you as no place in Pittsburgh does this style of beer better.
Now, if you've read through this guide to this point, you probably know that we have only recently started to enjoy IPAs, and tend to enjoy the less bitter New England and European styles (as well as most double IPAs) over their West Coast counterparts. Thankfully, this is what Dancing Gnome excels at and produces a wide array of beers that could only be described as hazy juice bombs.
We'd normally list the beers we enjoyed the most next, but to be honest, we've enjoyed everything Dancing Gnome produces such that as long as you are prepared for IPAs, you can go order anything here and will probably be happy. (And if you don't like IPAs, go for the Wonka stout, it is one of their very few non-IPA beers and is worthy of being included in their draft list.)
For those who like a bit of fruit flavor in their beers, be sure to check out Dancing Gnome for their underscore series (such as ____apricurrant) which conditions their beers on a ridiculous amount of fruit for a creation that is unlike any other we've had anywhere, not just in Pittsburgh. They describe these like a smoothie, and it is pretty much just that. (But be careful here as this one will sell out the same day it becomes available- we've only had the series once ourselves!)
So while those who love IPAs and hops-rich beers will absolutely love this brewery, those who do not still have several reasons to make the journey out as well!
Dancing Gnome is located at 925 Main Street in Sharpsburg, PA.
Hitchhiker Brewing Company in Mt. Lebanon and Sharpsburg
Hitchhiker Brewing Company is a brewery that has transformed itself from being a spot most would overlook to being one that commands your attention.
The brewery first started in Mt. Lebanon and had a decent spread of beers with its major standout (to us) being their seasonal creations for the fall. But after they opened their expansion in Sharpsburg in order to increase their production capacity and start a canning line, that all changed.
Now the brewery makes a spread of some of the finest beers in the city.
We consider their Whole Punch IPA series (made with milk sugar) to be the flagship, and is one not to miss as each released is conditioned on a different variety of fruits (key lime pie, blueberry, or mango, anyone?). Going beyond these the brewery also has a strong focus on fruited Berliner Weisse beers, saisons, and IPAs that are almost always on draft- plus collaborations that you simply cannot miss (such as a partnership with Maggie's Farm Rum to create a beer after their painkiller cocktail- a winner we hope becomes a regular in the rotation).
Make it a day out and visit both Dancing Gnome and Hitchhiker in one go for a great brewery crawl in Sharpsburg!
Hitchhiker Brewing Company is located at 190 Castle Shannon Blvd in Mt. Lebanon. In late 2017 Hitchhiker opened a second location at 1500 S. Canal Street in Sharpsburg.
Necromancer Brewing in the North Hills
Necromancer Brewing opened on Babcock Blvd just north of Pittsburgh in 2021 and has an interesting twist. As their name may suggest, they are looking to revive lesser-known beer styles that have faded out of common production over the years. So beyond more conventional Hazy IPAs, Belgian Wits, and more, you may be able to find gems like a Grisette, Kentucky Common Ale, and more (with more obscure beers coming in the future- only a couple had been released by our first visit).
So depending on their lineup at any given time you have a really interesting opportunity to go down the rabbit hole at this one- the Grisette and Kentucky Common were two styles we've only ever tried at a few places and quite enjoyed here! Rounding them out with a more conventional Saison and Hazy IPA made for a stellar afternoon out.
During our visit close to opening Necromancer did not have their taproom completed for draft pours. Instead, they were allowing individual can sales to be enjoyed on-site or in four-packs to go. So if you are hoping to pick up a flight, you may want to check on the status of the taproom before you visit. But if you're alright with can pours, this one can (and should) be enjoyed right away!
Necromancer Brewing is located at 2257 Babcock Blvd.
Aurochs Brewing in Emsworth
Aurochs Brewing Co. is unique out of all of the breweries featured in this guide as it is the only brewery in Pittsburgh dedicated to making gluten-free beer.
Yes, you read that right- all of the beers here are sourced to ensure they contain no gluten at all and instead include somewhat unusual grains like millet and quinoa.
Aurochs Brewing opened a few years back on a small scale, but shut down in late-2015 to undergo an expansion. This expansion finished in late-2016 where they re-opened with a soft-launch of select drafts on Saturday afternoons only.
As we visited during this time we only got to sample two beers, the Aurochs White Ale and Aurochs Brown Ale, two light session style beers that go down quick (and had you not told us otherwise, we never would've guessed was gluten free).
We're really looking forward to returning to this one in the future when they have their full-scale opening!
Aurochs Brewing Co. is located at 8321 Ohio River Blvd in Emsworth, PA- just west of Pittsburgh.
Mastic Trail Brewing in Glenshaw
Mastic Trail Brewing opened in Glenshaw, just north of downtown Pittsburgh, in summer 2020. This Caribbean inspired brewery, bar, and restaurant has a number of offerings for all guests- not just beer drinkers (including a tiki cocktail menu that will make you think you're on a boat far, far away).
As far as beer is concerned, on our first visit we were able to sample the Tropical Tiger, an amber ale conditioned on papaya which had a subtle sweetness to it that was not terribly overpowering. The brewery also has novel creations like the St. Thomas Witbier with hibiscus added as well as more conventional brews like hazy IPA and more.
It is worth noting that when this brewery opened you are likely only to find 1-3 of their brews on draft at any given time, but the draft list is rounded out with beers from other local and regional producers as well. So while we did not get to try much when visiting this one, we're excited to see what comes next and will update accordingly once we can try more!
Mastic Trail Brewing is located at 1044 Saxonburg Blvd in Glenshaw, PA.
Old Thunder Brewing in Blawnox
There is a lot to love about Old Thunder Brewing in Blawnox. This one took the brewery scene by storm when it opened in early 2021 in a former post office. The space is one part throwback to the past (with US Post Office signs and even an old vault present on-site) as well as one part modern minimalist design that just work together.
While the space at this one will suck you in, it is most certainly the draft list that will keep you around. During our first visit, they had sixteen drafts and many were disproportionately heavy towards IPA, APA, lagers, and stouts. While we often hope for the largest amount of variety possible when visiting a brewery, what this meant was that we could taste our way around style variations from a few different brews (specifically DIPAs made with hops from the southern hemisphere and the stouts).
If the beers here are any indication, you can get a lot of variety through the expression of grains and hops in a single beer style, so perhaps the draft list was as varied as it needed to be. But to be honest, give me a random pour to enjoy with the vibes at this one and I'll be happy no matter what.
Old Thunder Brewing is located at 340 Freeport Road in Blawnox, PA.
The Leaning Cask Brewing Company in Springdale
Springdale's resident brewery, The Leaning Cask, has one focus: English style beer! This brewery was founded after the owners spent quite a bit of time in England where they spent quite a bit of time drinking at the pubs. They wanted to bring the experience to the USA with a modern American twist, and The Leaning Cask was born.
The line-up at this one includes creations such as a Scotch Ale, an Extra Special Bitter, a Golden Ale, several IPAs made with English hops, and even an English-style cider as well! Other more common brews (for American breweries, at least) include a nitro porter, a Belgian blonde ale, and a black IPA which hold up well to the English-inspired creations.
We tried eight beers during our visit and have to say they were all fairly solid, especially so for a new brewery. The IPAs have a lighter hop nuance which is typical of European style beers (go for the Mosaic Mastiff- a session IPA) and the Scotch Ale and Golden Ale are delicious iterations of these lesser served brews.
We're looking forward to seeing what comes next, and also sampling a beer from their cask aged series which sadly kicked right before we got there!
Dented Keg Brewing Co
Dented Keg opened in Butler County in late 2019 with a rather impressive spread of craft beer and a full kitchen menu as well.
The draft list at Dented Keg includes just about 10 beers as well as a few house-made ciders as well. I opted to try a mix of each in my flight with samplings of their East Coast and Double IPAs, wheat beer and flavored boysenberry wheat, as well as an apple cider and strawberry rhubarb cider. While the more traditional styles jumped out as being baseline entries into their respective brews, the flavored iterations jumped out with their rather robust profiles that erred on the slightly sweeter side for what you'd expect.
It is worth noting that Dented Keg uses a SmartBrew system- a more automated process where wort is prepared off-site and shipped to the brewery for final fermentation. As one of the most important steps of the brewing process is extracting all of the good stuff from grains before fermentation, I could see this being a downside to some brewing purists. That being said, the final product here is still quite drinkable beer, and we are happy to have another option for beer in the area!
Dented Keg Brewing Co is located at 700 Adams Shoppes in Mars.
Stick City Brewing in Mars
Stick City Brewing is the first brewery to open in Mars, PA, located about 30 minutes north of the city (just east of Cranberry). The brewery is located in a former firehouse and has a great indoor/outdoor vibe thanks to the large garage doors- so you'll do right by visiting this one when it is nice out!
During their initial opening in 2018, Stick City offered a spread that was focused primarily on hazy IPAs and American Pale Ales, with one offering of an English Porter served up on nitro. The standouts in our sampling were the Neptune 2000, a 7.7% hazy IPA with citrus notes and (in their words) a “feather-pillow soft mouth feel” (we'll take that) as well as the porter which was a smooth iteration with a lot of subtle flavors that do not dominate the brew.
Stick City Brewing is located at 109 Irvine Street in Mars, PA.
Cellar Works Brewing in Sarver
Cellar Works Brewing bills itself as a brewery that focuses on using “locally sourced ingredients with a farmhouse philosophy”- a moniker that shows the minute you read the tap list. While this one is fairly heavy in traditional European style ales (including Belgian blondes, Marzen, Hefeweizen, Altbier, and more), the brewery also experiments with American IPAs and other, shall we say, modern styles from time to time as well.
During my first visit I focused on the mostly European varieties including their Doppelbock, Dunkelweizen, La Fleur (saison), Hefeweiss (Hefeweizen), and Aurea (Belgian blonde). For European style brews in Pittsburgh, they were all quite drinkable with traditional flavor profiles and a clean finish. While the Hefeweizen was a bit more pronounced on the citrus flavors than I'd prefer, the Dunkelweizen had a more pronounced flavor that I highly recommend.
When visiting, also be sure to order some barbecue from Smokin' Toad's BBQ located right next door which can be ordered in the tap room directly!
Cellar Works Brewing is located at 110 S Pike Road #205 in Sarver, PA.
North Country Brewing Company at the Harmony Inn
North Country Brewing Company is based out of Slippery Rock, PA, about 50 miles north Pittsburgh. For those who do not want to make that long of the drive just for a beer, the brewery owns The Harmony Inn restaurant in Harmony, PA, which is just about half the distance and is a place we visit quite frequently for their amazing meals and delicious beer.
When we think of North Country Brewing, our first thoughts are of a brewery that produces an incredible array of beer styles, but also is not afraid to go out on a limb to try something unique.
In fact, we think the unique beer styles are the ones worth visiting North Country for, and recent favorites have included dingleberry, lavender, and margarita sour. Unusual? Yes, but you won't regret trying these. Upcoming ones we hope to try include Taco Tuesday, Ginger Snaps, and Peach Sour to name a few. So do yourself a favor and make the drive to Harmony to check out this amazing spot- you won't regret it!
ShuBrew in Zelienople
Located just around the corner from The Harmony Inn is ShuBrew, with two locations in Zelienople. Their main taproom and restaurant is located on Main Street and is fairly small, but this one makes up for its size with a decent selection of beer (four or five on draft at any given time), a massive food menu, and even beer floats!
During our first visit to ShuBrew we tried their European-inspired Dubbel and Dunkel and thought both were a bit light from the full-bodied flavor we would otherwise expect. However, ShuBrew's portfolio is quite large despite having a small draft list at this particular spot.
During our second visit to ShuBrew we visited their seasonal outdoor draft house located on Evans City Road near I79 (right next to the historic Harmony cemetery). This outdoor taproom features a dozen or so beers on draft, an outdoor fire pit, and more- perfect for those looking to unwind after a long workweek.
During this visit we were able to try two more beers: Gingers Have No Sole (a light belgian ale with hints of vanilla and ginger), as well as the El Zapato (a robust Mexican chocolate stout that has a strong kick of ancho chiles and habanero- not for the faint of heart). The latter was a marked improvement in flavors over the first samplings, and gives us a lot to look forward to in future visits!
Since then, ShuBrew has been releasing beers in their “pixelated IPA” series- themed after video games. This one is their dive into the world of New England IPAs with different variations coming out for each release. We have to say, if you're going to make the drive to check them out be sure to coincide it for a release- you won't regret it! (Just be prepared for a line if you go on release day.)
ShuBrew is located at 205 S. Main Street in Zelienople, PA with a second taproom at 733 Spring Street in Harmony, PA (seasonal hours may apply).
Union Brothers Brewing in Harmony
Union Brothers Brewing opened in Harmony, PA, in 2020 with a welcoming space, ample outdoor seating, a large draft list (~10 beers), and a fairly robust food menu as well.
During our first visit, the styles offered ran the spectrum from fruited Berliner Weisse, milk and coffee stouts, to blonde ales, red ales, and an array of IPA styles (session to imperial and everything in between). The brews offered clean flavors that do justice to their respective styles (without straying too far from the mold), and the blonde ale jumped out as a winner for us on a hot summer day with a slight sweetness jumping out in each sip.
Likewise, coffee lovers will do well to check out the coffee stout made in collaboration with nearby Wunderbar. The coffee flavors were prominent without being too intense and balanced really well with the base stout.
Union Brothers Brewing is located at 365 Mercer Road in Harmony, PA.
Missing Links in Renfrew
Missing Links Brewery is a popular spot in Renfrew, PA, just about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh.
The brewery features an impressive 18 taps with a wide variety of beer styles ranging from the Woolly Mammoth (a dark ale), to Saber Tooth IPA (a New England IPA), Barbarian Brown Ale (an English Brown), to Bigfoot ESB (Extra Special Bitters on Nitro). Naturally, all play into the theme that is so beautifully represented with two cartoon cavemen on the logo.
The brews I found most surprising at this one were a few of the European styles- namely brews made with Norwegian yeast (the Asgard IPA and Fjord of Dreams, specifically). The yeast added a nice subtlety of flavor you don't really get at other breweries nearby.
For variety's sake, I also ended up with a pour of the Avalanche Ale, a dark ale on Nitro which had an especially nice texture as far as nitro is concerned and rather strong flavors of caramel which I really appreciated.
While this one does stick to fairly conventional brews, they offer some clean flavors and a few unconventional brews thrown into the mix as well. So if you find yourself north in Butler looking for a drink, consider stopping here!
Missing Links Brewery is located at 9209/891 Evans City Road in Renfrew, PA- just outside of Butler.
Butler Brew Works in Butler and Oakmont
Butler Brew Works is a trendy brewery in Butler, PA, that operates under the theme “adventurous ales.”
The beer menu reads like most breweries and sound fairly straightforward, but the ingredients are anything but and helps this one stand out from the pack.
During our visit we tried five beers in the flight size pours: the La Noche Triste (a sweet stout made with lactose sugar and coffee from Gasoline Street Coffee, served nitro), the Tokoloshe (a chili porter made with molasses, habanero, and cocoa), the Hunker Down (a winter warmer made with cinnamon, star anise, orange peel, and brown sugar), and two beers from their experimental Adventurer's Log series (a New England IPA that had strong earthy flavors as well as a Norwegian Farmhouse IPA that was heavy on the lemon).
All things considered, the unique ingredients to the beers stood out in all except the Tokoloshe (which had little to no habanero flavor, sadly) and was quite the surprise to us! As such, when ordering here be sure to note the extra ingredients thrown in as odds are good those are the flavors will really come out here.
Butler Brew Works also has an Adventurous Ales mug club that features successive reward tiers for return visits. Those who visit 150 times get to help make a recipe to be served at the brewery (if only we could manage 150 visits any time soon).
Butler Brew Works is located at 101 S. Main Street in Butler. In 2021 they opened a second location in Oakmont at 319 Maryland Avenue.
Reclamation Brewing Co. in Butler
Reclamation Brewing is a second brewery located on the main street in Butler, PA, just a few doors down from Butler Brew Works (yes, double header!).
Unlike their neighbor, this one has less of a focus into adventurous recipes and operates under the theme of “we're not beer snobs, we just think beer shouldn't be crap”- another motto I can get behind.
During our visit we tried four beers in a flight: the Promised Land (a cream ale brewed with lactose and honey), the Double (a double IPA pegged at 100+ IBU), the Wittenburg (one of the best Witbiers we've ever had), and Sweet Christmas (a winter warmer).
Like its neighbor a few blocks away, all of the beers we sampled here were stellar; however, Angie and I had a little internal argument over whose winter warmer was better (she likes Reclamations while I liked the stronger spice at Butler Brew Works). The Promised Land had the right amount of honey without being too sweet, The Double had a nice flavor profile despite the high IBU which took us off guard (we normally don't like that bitter of a beer), and as noted above, the Wittenburg would rival any Witbier you put in front of us.
Overall, a solid spread and good combo to visit with their neighbor!
Reclamation Brewing Co. is located at 221 S. Main Street in Butler.
Recon Brewing in Butler and Cranberry
Recon Brewing is located just outside Butler, PA, and opened in early 2016. The brewery pays homage to the Bantam Reconnaisance Car (BRC) that was the first Jeep prototype created in Butler in 1940.
The brewery focuses on simple beers with drinkability, which is an apt description of their beer which follows a fairly baseline flavor profile for the styles. During our visit we tried five: the Drink Drank Drunk (a session IPA), the Raspberry Goes Ahh (a raspberry gose), the BRC (an American IPA), the Kick it One Time (double black IPA), and the Fixed the Newel (a Christmas porter).
As mentioned above, we don't have many highlights from these as they are fairly straight forward iterations to the beer styles. The highlight of the bunch was the Raspberry Goes Ahh as it was less tart as far as gose beers are concerned and tastes like raspberry juice (juice that comes at 4.7% ABV, mind you).
Recon Brewing is located at 1747 N. Main Street Ext in Butler, PA. They also have taprooms at 301 Tillary Lane in Cranberry.
Breweries East of Pittsburgh
The following are a collection of breweries you can find east of Pittsburgh (generally anything between the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers and east of the turnpike), organized by proximity to the city.
Inner Groove Brewing in Verona
Inner Groove Brewing opened in Verona, PA (about 20 minutes east of downtown Pittsburgh) in mid-2019.
At the opening, the brewery featured eight brews on tap with a varied draft list containing a single hop APA, New England IPA, New England double IPA, Hefeweizen, and more. While most of these were quite clean iterations for their styles, the biggest highlights were the Hefeweizen (for being rather full-bodied compared to most which often trend more citrusy/Wit style) and the Let the Mango Through Kettle Sour (which was a wonderful balance of raspberry in mango for a nice tropical kick).
As the brewery releases more brews like these, you can be certain we'll be back to sample more!
One of the things we love about this particular brewery, other than its variety of beer, is that you are also able to order a flight of eight beers (all of the ones available on tap in our visit)- totaling about 40 ounces for roughly $20.
Not only is this a great way to sample every creation at the spot, but it is also served via a custom record flight which highlights the brewery's theme quite well!
Inner Groove Brewing is located at 751 E Railroad Avenue in Verona, PA.
Acclamation Brewing is also located in Verona, PA, just a few blocks away from Inner Groove (driving) and opened in the summer of 2020.
We visited this one a few months after opening, and note that while small, this one had an interesting spread of six beers on tap including a few IPA, a Belgian Wit, a Psuedo Pilsner, and a Mango Milkshape IPA to name a few. As such, it is pretty easy to order a flight of everything and that is exactly what we did!
For the most part here, the brews had nice clean flavors but admittedly offered a relatively short finish. As many of the brews were in the 4-5% range, they definitely felt more sessionable than some of the more robust alternatives we've had for a few styles as other spots. Still, the Mango flavor of the milkshake IPA was quite strong on the front-end, and some of the upcoming flavored brews in the future have us excited to check them out again all the same.
Acclamation Brewing is located at 555 b Wildwood Avenue in Verona, PA.
Full Pint in North Versailles
Full Pint has made its name for itself in recent years as one of the premier breweries in western Pennsylvania, with its White Lightning (a Belgian-style wheat ale) being a staple in area bars and restaurants. For many years, Full Pint operated a Pittsburgh taproom in Lawrenceville but closed the location around the end of 2019. Our summary of the beer below was from a visit to this location, but you can still sample their beers at their main facility in North Versailles.
During our visit, we were lucky enough to sample eight different beers thanks to their $10 sampler with six generous pours of beers of your choosing ($2 surcharge for high ABV beers). The aspect of Full Pint that we really enjoyed is that their beers run the spectrum from hoppy IPA, to European wheat beers and bourbon barrel aged stouts (always a favorite), and continues to even more obscure flavored ones like the blackberry T-Funk- a sour beer you'd almost expect to find at Strange Roots. Although other breweries on this list may push the boundaries more when it comes to unusual flavor profiles, Full Pint offers an incredibly well-rounded tap list that is sure to make any visiting group happy (and ensures our return many times in the future).
Full Pint is located at 1963 Lincoln Highway in North Versailles, PA.
Fury Brewing Company in Irwin
Fury Brewing is located in a strip mall in Irwin and opened in May 2017. An unusual place for a brewery, we'll admit, but we'll go with it all the same.
The early beers here include a decent spread from a clove heavy Hefeweizen to a double IPA, a kolsch, two kinds of brown ale (American and English), and everything in between.
The Hefeweizen (called Weiss Khalifa- yes they went there), was the one I set my sites on, and I was pleasantly surprised that Fury Brewing took the clove heavy approach when other breweries tend to go so citrus loaded that it almost is a wit style. The pineapple here is faint, and we're told that in future iterations they're going to try and bump up the pineapple flavor which would make it a solid iteration.
The Ale-ementary is a decent English brown ale that has a nice malty flavor to it with a smooth finish that we absolutely enjoyed. Naturally, these two were also the bartenders favorites. From there, we also sampled the Donora Fog IPA which was a bit on the bitter side for us (if only slightly), as well as the Stealth stout which could've used a bit more body overall.
In subsequent visits to Fury and tastings at beer festivals, we have been delighted by their fruited smoothie sours as well as flavored IPAs. While we do not see these on their draft lists all the time, if you can get a chance to sample them you won't be disappointed!
Fury Brewing is also located just a mile or so down the road from Full Pint Brewing's main brewery, making these two a perfect outing for those who want to sample a few different spots!
Fury Brewing Company is located at 13380 US-30 in Irwin, PA.
Invisible Man Brewing Co. in Greensburg
Invisible Man Brewing opened in the heart of downtown Greensburg in fall 2019 and it wasn't until early 2021 that we were able to check out this great little space.
During our visit, they offered five of their own beers on tap plus a guest tap from nearby Quinn Brewing and cider from Bella Terra. Unfortunately they did not offer flights or half pours so we were only able to sample two brews on our first visit- the Cosmos NEIPA and 90 Miles to Cuba.
The Cosmos was an easy sipping New England that had a nice balance of bitterness from the hops and a mild sweetness to go with it. 90 Miles to Cuba was a Key Lime Pie Sour that honestly felt like you were drinking key lime in the glass- it was an intense key lime curd flavor with a nice tartness to match and definitely did not drink like a 6.1% beer.
We're going to have to return to this one to try more brews as we were only able to sample the two the first go around!
Invisible Man Brewing Co. is located at 132 S Pennsylvania Avenue in Greensburg.
Quinn Brewing in Irwin
If there is an award for unusual location, Quinn Brewing in Irwin would be in the running for it. This one is located in an office complex that is home to conventional businesses as well as acclaimed restaurants and other commercial entities.
When we arrived, we thought we were at their main office because it was eerily quiet, a door alarm was going off, and no one was in sight. We had to call to confirm we were in the right place, and in fact were and had to go all the way in and around the back to get to their brewery.
Once inside we were greeted with friendly hosts and an array of beer options, and we settled for four in a flight- the Grand Reserve Tripel, the Yinzensteiner Hefeweizen (a perfect name if there ever was one), the Lindencross Double IPA, and the Forth & Clyde Scotch Ale.
Most of the beers here were fairly straight forward for their styles, if not on the lighter side. I thought the tripel and the scotch ale had a bit of an off aftertaste, while Angie didn't notice it as much. In any case, the beers are easy drinking and go down quick so if you're in Irwin and looking for a pint, give this one a shot.
Quinn Brewing is located at 3000 Commercial Loop Suite 3200 in Irwin, PA
New Crescent Brewing Co. in Irwin
New Crescent opened in Irwin in early 2019 with a modest-sized taproom right in the heart of the borough.
During my first visit, the brewery offered roughly 10 beers on tap with a fairly traditional spread of beers ranging from Blonde Ales to Irish stouts, a variety of IPAs, to a German Hefeweizen and fruited wheat.
Naturally, I loaded my flight up with the Lunar Weizen (Hefeweizen), Eagle's Descent (Hazy IPA), the Blueberry Wheat, and Deimos (a DIPA). While the hop profiles of the two IPAs were quite intriguing and made me want to sample more of their IPA styles on draft, I couldn't get over the Hefeweizen as it is in the running for one of the best iterations of any local brewery we've been to so far- and as German Hefeweizen purists we do not say this lightly.
While we'll return in order to try more IPAs and other brews, we'd be lying if we didn't say that we hope the Hefeweizen will be on tap as well when that happens!
New Crescent Brewing is located at 229 Main Street in Irwin, PA.
Unity Brewing in Latrobe
Unity Brewing opened in Latrobe in early 2020 just days before the pandemic shut the world down. Thankfully, this one made it through and emerged with a large draft list, a canning line, a pretty robust kitchen menu, and more.
You'll find over a dozen drafts at this one ranging from conventional styles like numerous IPA, Pilsner, and Stouts but also some creative takes on classics like a Vanilla Blonde, Wheat Shandy, Electrolyte Sours, and even a Hard Seltzer!
Our favorite from our first visit was a Strawberry Milkshake IPA that if you smelled with your eyes closed was so intense on strawberry and lactose that you'd swear you had a milkshake in your hand. While this one was not as pronounced on the palate, it did have a well-balanced strawberry and lactose flavors that paired beautifully with the hops.
Unity Brewing is located at 3862 US-30 in Latrobe.
Conny Creek Brewing in New Kensington
Conny Creek Brewing opened in late 2017 in New Kensington, PA- about 30 minutes northeast of Pittsburgh. The brewery features roughly 16 tabs, and during my first visit featured more traditional style brews including numerous IPAs, stouts, cream ale, and more- with a solid percentage being pale ales (about 40%).
I opted for a self-made flight of six, including the CCESL (a cream ale), Short Fill (a Hazy IPA dry hopped), No Bun, Extra Pickle (Double IPA), Coffee Camp Vanilla Latte (a lactose and vanilla added coffee stout), unPEARable (Belgian Ale with Pear), and Camp Essentials (an Imperial Stout).
While most of the brews are best described as clean iterations for their styles, two things jumped out at me. First, with the IPAs (mine plus trying some a friend ordered) you can really appreciate the variance of the hops thanks to the similar base of each. For those who like to see what kind of hops you enjoy, a flight of these would do the trick. Second, the two standouts to me were the Coffee Camp Vanilla Latte and unPEARable as the added flavors added some nice subtlety to the overall beer. Not strong/primary flavors like in other breweries, but just a bit of nuance that you'll definitely notice.
In addition to beer, the brewery features a modest kitchen menu including a few small plates, personal sized pizzas, and burgers!
Conny Creek Brewing is located at 4323 Shearsburg Rd in New Kensington, PA.
Devout Brewing opened in Export, PA in late 2018 (just a few miles from Yellow Bridge Brewing, below) with an expressed focus on the “art and science” of beer.
While I would not say that this theme has been fully developed yet, what I can say is that Devout offers a dozen beers on draft which runs the gamut of styles including New England and West Coast IPA, porters and a sweet stout, cream ales and Berliner Weisse, and a nice spread of seasonal beers (which during my fall visit included a Oktoberfest Lager and a Sweet Potato spiced beer to name a few).
The base beer styles here were all quite true to their style and did not stray far from what your pre-conceived notion would be. If the art and science of beer is focusing on textbook examples of brews, then these would be it (and we say that in a good way- we really didn't dislike any in our two flights).
The highlights to us were some of the more unusual beer styles here like their Raspberry Wheat which had a rather robust flavor of rasberry juice and the Sweet Potato Spiced Ale- their take on a pumpkin ale that was more forward in the spices and balanced out with a subtle nuance from the sweet potatoes (and you may be thinking, why sweet potatoes? Well, most pumpkins simply aren't ripe for when people want pumpkin beer- logic we can fully appreciate!).
Although I'm hoping that the theme of this one develops a bit more moving forward, so far their brews did not disappoint!
Devout Brewing is located at 1301 Pontiac Ct in Export, PA.
Yellow Bridge Brewing in Delmont
Yellow Bridge Brewing is a relatively small brewery in Delmont, Pa- about 30 minutes east of downtown Pittsburgh.
The taproom offers roughly six beers on draft which during our visit included a fairly standard spread of a Summer Session, American and New England style IPAs, a nut brown ale, and a Lemondrop cream ale to name a few.
The standard styles are fairly straight forward iterations of the beers, with the nut brown being one of our favorites from our visit due to its robust roasted nut flavor and a slight malty-ness on the backend. The lemondrop was also an unusual one was, while the name would suggest it is a bit on more on the lemony side, we thought the cream ale came through a bit stronger than anticipated with a fairly solid citrus flavor coming in throughout.
Overall, Yellow Bridge Brewing was still in its early days during our visit, and we're looking forward to more unusual creations like the Lemondrop in the future!
Yellow Bridge Brewing is located at 2266 PA-66 in Delmont, PA.
All Saints Brewing Company in Greensburg
All Saints Brewing Company is located in Greensburg, PA, and offers a rotating tap list of about 8 to 10 different beers ranging from more standard brews like an Amber Ale, English IPA, and Coffee Porter to more unusual creations like a Nitro Pale Ale, Watermelon, and Blueberry Wheat to name a few.
During my visit I was able to try a flight of five different beers for $6, with the nitro pale ale and the blueberry wheat being two standouts. The nitro pale ale stands out for being one of the few non-dark nitros out there, giving the beer an interesting mouth feel, while the blueberry wheat had a light aroma of blueberries while still being a wheat beer first and foremost.
Try and visit on Thursday afternoons for their happy hour for $3 pints!
All Saints Brewing Company is located at Route 119 and Roseytown Road in Greensburg, PA.
Four Seasons Brewing Company in Latrobe
Four Seasons Brewing is the resident brewery of Latrobe, and features an impressive draft list of well over a dozen brews at any given time.
We opted to start with a flight of the Das Boot Hefeweizen (a fairly flavorful Hefeweizen that was strong on the citrus and a little less pronounced on the clove), the Belgian Tripel (a really solid iteration of the beer), their Nebulous IPA (a hazy New England), and a Nitro Dark Side of the Pint (an oatmeal stout that sadly didn't get much of a nitro blast).
For what it is worth, the brews here were all fairly solid iterations of each of their styles and play fairly closely to the conventional flavor profiles. Apart from the Dark Side of the Pint's lack of a nitro hit, the others held their own in a varied lineup which is truly impressive for a draft list this large.
We followed this one up with a pint of their Berliner Weiss with Guava and Pineapple which was a bit heavier on the tart flavors of the base brew versus the fruit it was conditioned on. Subtle hints were present, but not an overbearing flavor we were hoping for.
Overall, the draft list at Four Seasons Brewing is strong, and is the kind of place that would have something for everyone. For that, we can really appreciate it!
Four Seaosns Brewing Company is located at 745 Lloyd Avenue Exd in Latrobe
Breweries South of Pittsburgh
The following are a collection of breweries you can find south of Pittsburgh (generally anything south of the Ohio, Monongahela, and nestled between I-79 and the turnpike), organized by proximity to the city.
Headley's Brewing in Heidelberg
Headley's Brewing is a nano-brewery located in Heidelberg that is currently only open for growler fills (no pint sales yet, but a taproom is in the works in the next year or so). We, sadly, did not realize this before visiting so we were only able to get a few tastes of their IPA, red ale, and porter.
Most of the beers here are designed to be low ABV and sessionable, and the IPA was low in bitterness which we can always appreciate as it goes down quite smooth.
While we cannot say much more about this particular brewery, we can say we had a great chat with the owners and love their excitement on all things brewing and can't wait to see more from this one in the future. Just be sure to take your growler (or buy one from them when available)!
Headley's Brewing is located at 1743 E Railroad Street in Heidelberg.
Mindful Brewing Company in Castle Shannon
Mindful Brewing Company opened in January 2017 in the South Hills and is the kind of place that has something for everyone, with no stretch of that phrase in the slightest.
The reason for this is because aside from making their own beer (with about a dozen available on opening week during our visit), they also have another 60 or so drafts featuring a variety of domestic beer, draft wine, and even draft cocktails- the latter being a new one even for us.
Going further, Mindful Brewing has their own kitchen featuring a full menu, an upstairs patio and second bar with a condensed draft list, as well as a 1,000+ bottled beer and wine selection that makes this spot one of the largest alcohol-focused places in all of Pittsburgh.
As for the beer, we tried five different beers from Mindful's in-house draft list during our visit, including Shh-tick-uh (an Altbier), Putin's Revenge (A Baltic Porter), Putin's Revenge Coffee (A coffee iteration), Lime Agave Wheat (an American Pale Ale), and Redbrain (An American Amber/Red), and were not that impressed as most of the flavors were somewhat muted across the board. Our favorite by far was the Putin's Revenge Coffee which was a solid porter with very mild coffee hints, and the Lime Agave Wheat was reminiscent of a Corona or Sol with a lime wedge shoved inside.
Overall, we look forward to seeing how Mindful Brewing progresses with their beers, but even though we weren't as impressed with the in-house selection on our first visit, this one has more than enough to make up for it to warrant our return.
Spoonwood Brewing Co. in Bethel Park
Located in the South Hills in Bethel Park, Spoonwood Brewing Co, is making a name for itself not only for their wide selection of craft beers but also for their attached restaurant that serves a full menu complete with ample bar fare and perfectly executed wood-fired pizzas.
During our visit we sampled several beers, including their cream ale, Belgian strong ale, chocolate stout, and a smoked amber ale- a decent cross-section of their lower IBU offering. As far as traditional craft beer styles go, Spoonwood Brewing Co. does a great job at the essentials, with the Belgian strong ale being one of the best iterations you can find thanks to its strong fruity notes. The smoked amber ale was also a delicious offering as the smoke flavor did not overwhelm the constituent flavors as is often the case in beers of this style.
The rest of their draft list begins to push the boundaries of brewing slightly, with coffee ale made from local roasters and barleywine being two unique features on their menu. However, if you are looking for something a bit different from the standard craft beer spread you may not find it here (although if you take the time to make a visit, I'm sure you will not be disappointed in their offering in the slightest).
It is worth noting that our visit to Spoonwood Brewing Co was on a busy Saturday night that found the brewery approaching capacity, with a significant portion of the seats being occupied by young families with a lot of children. Although this was a bit unexpected for us when visiting a brewery, based on staff conversations we overheard it is a good bet for you to anticipate this being the case during your visit as the large dining room and robust menu makes this one a popular spot for families.
Spoonwood Brewing Co. is located at 5981 Baptist Road in Bethel Park.
Voodoo Brewery in Homestead (and Other Locations)
As far as breweries are concerned, Voodoo Brewery's Homestead taproom hits all of the best points: a wide selection of delicious beer, an incredible ambiance, and a decent food offering from their Foodoo food truck.
In a way, a visit to this brewery is an assault on your senses as the walls and ceilings are covered with chalk board art, the food truck design looks like something out of mural of graffiti, and I would be lying if I didn't say that I spent the first few minutes in the brewery appreciating its beauty before even considering the beer.
When it came time to order, we had a significant challenge ahead of us as Voodoo Brewery offers roughly six permanent beers as well as six seasonal beers that rotate throughout the year. We sampled several of their beers including a fruit infused Belgian tripel, a strong coffee stout that is one of the most flavorful we've ever had, a Polish lager, and a Belgian wheat ale with strong citrus flavors and spice notes.
Voodoo Brewery has everything we look for, and we look forward to returning many times in the future.
Voodoo Brewery‘s local taproom is located at 205 E 9th Avenue in Homestead. They also have locations in New Kensington and Indiana, PA.
The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company in Braddock
On the outskirts of Pittsburgh lies the city Braddock, and within it is The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company. It may be a bit of a stretch for some to make the drive out to visit this brewery, but your effort will be certainly rewarded if you make the trip. The taproom here gives an aura of sophistication with a minimalist design including a long draft line of identical spouts with no labels and a gentlemanly bar staff wearing formal button-up shirts and ties. Samplers are priced individually, with most being about $2-$3. Our selection included three wheat beers as well as the saison and coffee stout.
It is not often that an entire sampler plate get positive exclamations from us, but some how the Brew Gentlemen did it. The coffee stout had a rich, full body and a strong aroma and flavor of coffee. The saison had just enough hops for us to notice, but was immediately overtaken with floral and citrus notes as the hops flavor quickly went away (another bonus for us). The true gems of the night were White Sky, a chai infused wheat beer, and Garden Party, a seasonal cucumber infused wheat beer served with a twist of lime. Normally these descriptions are turn-offs, because more often than not you do not get the flavor that is promised. But in these you do, and when we say that the flavors of chai and cucumber are strong and in your face in their respective beers, we mean it. Neither sound like they go with beer, but for some reason, some how, it works.
Our only problem at the end of the night was to figure out which we liked more. In the end it was a draw as Angie's love of Indian chai spice and my affinity to the cucumber wheat resulted in a stalemate. A very delicious stalemate.
The Brew Gentlemen Beer Company is located at 512 Braddock Avenue in Braddock, Pa (just past the Squirrel Hill Tunnel).
Pittsburgh Bottleshop is not what we'd consider a traditional brewery, but is instead a gastropub that has a strong focus on craft beer. We are noting them in this brewery guide because, unlike other gastropubs, this one has a small brewery located on-site that produces their own hose brews in addition to their impressive draft list from other breweries!
The house-brewed draft list here is quite small (five during our visit) and most certainly errs on the side of styles you would expect from a homebrewer over a mass producer (read: somewhat basic styles). That being said, the Lucha Libre imperial stout with ancho and chipotle pepper jumped out at us in having a rather nuanced flavor with albeit only a very small amount of heat.
While we may not visit this one purely to drink their own beer, we definitely appreciate that they're going out of their way to add in house brews in addition to a line-up from other breweries!
Pittsburgh Bottleshop is located at 1597 Washington Pike in Bridgeville.
Rusty Gold Brewing in Canonsburg
Rusty Gold Brewing opened in 2017 in Canonsburg, PA- approximately 30 minutes south of Pittsburgh.
During our visit we opted to try a flight of all eight beers on draft which ran the gamut of beer styles from cream ale to IPA, red ale to barleywine, and Irish stout to gose. Suffice it to say, if you want a good spectrum of beer styles, Rusty Gold Brewing will do the trick for you.
On our visit we had several favorites, but the standout was the margarita gose that was tart, but not too sour and really tasted more like a tequila based margarita than a beer. Other standouts were the Potential Energy double IPA which had strong flavors of tropical fruits and hints of coconut, and the recessive trait Irish red ale was a more mellow version of the beer style that we can always appreciate.
Next time you find yourself south of the city on I-79 make a stop in Canonsburg to check them out!
Rusty Gold Brewing is located at 43 W Pike St in Canonsburg, PA.
Bloom Brew in West Newton
Bloom Brew in West Newton is rather unique out of all the breweries featured in this guide as during our visit after they opened they did not sell pints, nor cans, nor bottles. When we visited the tasting is free, and you can fill up a 32 oz or 64 oz growler to go- and that is it. (Thankfully, we're now told they sell pints so we are looking forward to returning and will update accordingly when we do.)
The reason for this is because Bloom Brew focuses on small batch production, with a side of experimentation, and delivers on a full two dozen beers that rotate rapidly over time. In fact, their tasting room also doubles as the production facility, aging room, and laboratory. This one is about as small batch as you can get, and run by some of the nicest guys we've met to date.
During our visit we tried a barrel aged raspberry sour, a kumquat sour, their IPA, and a sour cherry wheat. The raspberry was amazing. The kumquat not so much. But with a free tasting and two dozen options, this is part of the fun. We ultimately settled on a growler of the Dr. Yeast Love, the collaboration beer with Grist House and Helicon Brewing that we have mentioned previously in this guide. At $6 for 32 oz, we filled up our 64 oz growler for a scant $12 with a ton of free samples on the side. Win!
Now, I know what you're thinking. If I can't buy a pint, what do I do?
Well, Bloom Brew sells 32 oz growlers for a couple bucks, and most fills are $5-$6 from there. So fill the growler up, exit the store with a couple cups, and enjoy your beers!
Bloom Brew is located at 100 Riverside Drive in West Newton, PA. Their entrance is on the back side of the large warehouse, and is a bit hard to find if you don't know where you're looking.
The Washington Brewing Company in Washington
The Washington Brewing Company opened in September 2017 in the heart of downtown Washington, PA. The beer styles are fairly standard and on our visit included an amber ale, APA, IPA, double IPA, red IPA, coffee brown ale, and oatmeal stout. We tried the coffee brown ale and the red IPA, both of which were fairly straight forward iterations of the styles at large.
If you're hesitant about driving all the way down here for the beer alone, another draw to the brewery is their food menu and the fact that they are located near Washington Winery and Liberty Pole Spirits to name a few!
The Washington Brewing Company is located at 28 E Maiden St. in Washington, PA.
This one is centrally located in the city, is just steps off the 10-mile Hoodlebug Trail that we biked earlier in the day, and offers a wide menu.
What we love most about the beer at Levity, beyond it being delicious, is that their offerings run the spectrum. During our visit they had several fruited beers, numerous IPA (the Tenured Double hits you with high ABV and no shortage of bitterness), imperial stouts, and a few from their wild brewing program as well (the B-Side Acoustic Set aged in French oak offered an exceptional tartness).
Pair these with their food menu of sandwiches, tacos, and more and you have the makings of a great stop post-ride.
Levity Brewing is located at 1380 Wayne Avenue in Indiana, PA.
Noble Stein Brewing
Just down the road from Levity is another brewery that we've sampled numerous times over the years, Noble Stein, and comboing the two makes for a perfect pairing when visiting Indiana.
Here, the draft list pushes the mold ever-so-slightly. During our visit we were pleased with an array of styles available just like at Levity, but noted some unusual variations like a sour made with peach rings candy (subtle on the peach), shandy, a cappuccino stout, and a mango milkshake IPA (a favorite but with mild mango flavors that balanaced quite well with the base IPA) to name a few.
While we were drawn to the unconventional styles, they had a a pretty stellar Hefeweizen that we purchased in cans (full body on the wheat but a bit mellow on banana and clove), an easy-drinking kolsch, a Scottish Ale, and more.
Suffice it to say, whether you're looking for the unusual or something a bit more conventional, odds are Noble Stein will have what you seek.
Noble Stein Brewing Company is located at 1170 Wayne Avenue in Indiana, PA.
Breweries West of Pittsburgh
The following are a collection of breweries you can find west of Pittsburgh (generally anything south of the Ohio River and west of I-79), organized by proximity to the city.
Lincoln Avenue Brewery in Bellevue
It is kind of unusual to think about dry towns in this day and age, but Bellevue, PA (just a few minutes west of Pittsburgh) was a dry borough until 2015! Naturally, once this law was changed, a brewery popped up shortly thereafter. In July 2019, Lincoln Avenue Brewery opened its doors to be the borough's first dedicated craft beer space, and serves up an array of conventional brews from porters to wheat beers, New England IPAs to DIPAs.
With seven brews on draft, we ended up getting a flight of them all during their soft open and ultimately fell in love with the porter (a complex flavor profile with a nuanced smokiness) as well as the New England IPA (a bit less juicy than you would normally consider, but still quite flavorful from the hops). That being said, the brewery space here is quite stunning and coupled with the fact that the spot serves food, wine, and cocktails makes it a great spot for those of all libations interests!
Lincoln Avenue Brewery is located at 538 Lincoln Avenue in Bellevue, PA.
Abjuration Brewing in McKees Rocks
There is something about Abjuration Brewing that I love. It could be that their theme appeals to my background in chemistry and my recently discovered love of programming. Or perhaps it is because they are open source with their recipes, serve their beer in beakers, and release beer in version numbers based on the batch.
In any case, you don't have to be a nerd like me to enjoy Abjuration Brewing's beer (but it certainly doesn't hurt).
During our visit a few weeks after they opened we were able to try five of the seven beers on draft. Several ran the spectrum of being somewhat standard iterations of beer (like the DIPA and Session Dry-Hopped American Blonde) but others (like the Chocolate Hot Pepper Stout, Rye Brown Porter, or the Vanilla Oak Belgian Ale which clocks in at a staggering 15% abv) take a bit more chances that we are looking forward to seeing more of in the future.
The only regret we had from visiting was that we couldn't try the Almond Pecan Brown ale due to Angie's tree nut allergy, as it is supposed to be one of the best of the bunch. Don't worry, I'll have to make a return trip to this one alone to give it a go as I am already planning a return trip for more.
Abjuration Brewing is located at 644 Broadway Avenue in McKees Rocks. They are in the same building as The Parkway Theater.
Cobblehaus Brewing Company in Coraopolis
Fancy an old world beer? Cobblehaus Brewing Company in Coraopolis is the place for you! This brewery features European style beers from German Hefeweizens to Belgian Tripels and everything in between- with some new world twists thrown in along the way.
The Rising Phoenix, their take on a Belgian Tripel, is a strong entry into the beer style and at 8.8 ABV certainly packs a punch. Complementing this, during our visit the brewery was featuring a fruity Belgian Tripel in their experimental line simply known as “X” which is perhaps the best beer we tried purely because it was complex, fruity, and different from any Tripel we've had in Pittsburgh. (Note: Their “X” beer may be different by the time you visit as it is not exclusive to one beer and is a generic name for their experiments only.)
Beyond the Belgians, their Imperial Shadow, a stout, comes with a bit of hops flavor that will catch you off-guard. The IBU is 76 afterall. And, best of all, their top seller in the first few weeks after their 2017 opening is a traditional German Hefeweizen- our favorite style that we sadly missed out on because it was so popular in the brewery's initial launch.
Overall, the beers at Cobblehaus Brewing are as solid as they come. If you are fans of European style beers, especially of the German and Belgian variety, then this one is highly recommended. Although they opened in early 2017 and are still new into the commercial brewing seen, this one came out swinging and we are very excited to return in the future- for far more than just the Hefeweizen we missed.
Cobblehaus Brewing Company is located at 1021 Fifth Avenue in Coraopolis, PA
Helicon Brewing in Oakdale
Helicon Brewing is located in Oakdale, and is just steps away from the Panhandle trail that is popular for walkers, runners, and bikers.
The first thing you'll notice about Helicon when walking in is the massive facility that they own, which is clearly set up for rigorous expansion in the coming years. Although the tasting portion of the building is rather small, I'll never turn down the opportunity to drink beer in the shadows of industrial brewing equipment- one of my favorite sights.
During our visit we were able to sample six different beers, including a German style lager, Oatmeal Stout, an Imperial Red Ale, and Dr. Yeast Love (a saison/IPA hybrid created in partnership with a few other local breweries for Pittsburgh Craft Beer week).
Some of the more standard styles here fell a little flat, if only because while they were decent creations of each style, they offered very little to stand out in a sea of stellar breweries in Pittsburgh's beer scene. The more unique creations like the Dr. Yeast Love and the German lager, however, offered much more complex flavors which we greatly appreciate and hope to try more of in the future.
Ironically, as people who are not big fans of the hop train when it comes to beers, we do have to point out the irony of the more hop-forward beers being among our favorites. That truly says something!
Helicon Brewing is located at 102 Union Avenue in Oakdale, PA.
Altered Genius Brewing Co in Ambridge
Altered Genius opened in Ambridge, PA, in spring 2020 as a brewpub with house-made beer and a fairly extensive dining menu. The brewery focuses on traditional styles but with some creative expressions thrown in the mix as well- so you'll likely find a fruited sour or fruited IPA next to more traditional milk stouts, NEIPA, and more.
During my first visit, I opted for a flight of four brews including the Lando (a NEIPA), Wilde Series (a fruited sour with blueberry, passionfruit, and orange guava), Lenore (a chocolate fudge coffee stout), and The Marvelous Mrs. Fraisel (a traditional saison with strawberry and basil).
This spread highlighted the nice, clean styles of the base beer (especially with the IPA and saison) but also highlighted some of the more creative flavors you can expect to find at the brewery. While I didn't think that the chocolate in the stout or the strawberry and basil were terribly pronounced in those two beers, they offered some nice undertones to round out the flavors. The Wilde Series, on the other hand, packed a punch without being overly fruited and was my winner for a full pint shortly after finishing the flight.
Altered Genius Brewing Co is located at 411 Merchant Street in Ambridge, PA
Coal Tipple Brewery in Burgettstown
Coal Tipple Brewery opened in October 2016 at Kramer's Greenhouse located at the southern edge of Hillman State Park.
As this brewery is quite young, they only have a handful of beers on draft that follow a fairly standard spread of styles including an IPA, red ale, strong ale, wheat, and stout, to name a few. Most all of the styles here are fairly low proof, making them more of a session style and light in the body than other breweries on this list.
These beers may certainly quench your thirst after a long hike in Hillman or Raccoon Creek State Parks (as does the wine from Raccoon Creek Winery served at the same bar), but they also could stand for some improvement overall as it is a young brewery through and through.
Although some may take this as a slight, we look forward to this brewery finding their footing as they grow in the beer making business in the future!
Coal Tipple Brewery is located at 1905 Steubenville Pike in Burgettstown, PA, just outside of Hillman State Park.
Petrucci Brothers in New Brighton
Petrucci Brothers Brewing (formerly 4 Brothers Brewing) is a relatively small brewery in New Brighton, PA, that is only open Fridays and Saturdays.
During my first visit I sampled a flight of four beers and opted for a mix of their menu which ranged from Oktoberfest and winter ales to IPAs during my mid-November visit.
The 5th Avenue Blonde is their take on a typical blonde with fairly light citrus flavors and a relatively clean finish. The Uncle Barneys Brew is an interesting red ale that is aged on wood chips with some bourbon thrown in the mix for good measure- good if you like that style but a bit much to me due to the strong red ale bite. I also tried two seasonal beers, the Big Joes Winter Wassail which was almost overpowered in its smokiness for a winter ale as well as the Oktoberfest which had a moderate maltiness which let out more of the sweetness and mild hints of spices (and was probably my favorite from the visit).
One of the highlights of Petrucci Brothers is that they are also one of the cheapest breweries we've visited to date, with most pours ranging from $3.75 to $4.00 and a flight for $7.00- a hard deal to beat!
Petrucci Brothers is located at 911 5th Avenue in New Brighton, PA
Beaver Brewing Company in Beaver Falls
Beaver Brewing Company is located in the heart of Beaver Falls, PA- roughly 40 minutes northwest of downtown Pittsburgh. This small brewery has been operating for several years and has produced a line of fairly unique brews that took me by surprise.
One of the breweries mainstays, a chamomile wheat, was an interesting combination of citrus with a light floral note that oddly worked (I really could drink this one all day, if I'm being honest). Their collection from there includes the full spectrum of beer styles including a dark ESB that had a pronounced maltiness to it, relatively mild gose (including a passion fruit gose that had the right balance of sweetness to the tartness of the gose), a black and tan featuring a rotating blend, a habanero cider that had a kick that caught me off guard, and so much more!
My first flight of five was so good, in fact, that as soon as I finished them I ordered another with five new beers to bring my sampling up to ten- and then the bartender added on one more for good measure. The only regret I have from this one is that I did not get to try their best seller, Basil, an amber ale that is loaded up with pounds of basil leaves.
It sounds odd, but as I am here preaching the joys of a chamomile wheat beer, I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt.
In either case, this one is worth the drive to Beaver Falls if you can make it up for their somewhat limited operating hours.
More Southwest Pennsylvania Breweries Coming Soon!
We're continually visiting new craft breweries in Pittsburgh and will be updating this guide as we discover new ones worth your time in the city!
Know of a local brewery we need to check out still? Comment below to let us know about it!
Check Out a Beer Tour, Festival, and Other Drinking Options
Looking to catch a brewery tour or beer festival in Pittsburgh in order to hit a selection of the above in a single trip? Click the previous link or check out our review of City Brew Tours Pittsburgh to see what we thought of their organized tour!
Want a deal when drinking? Check out our Pittsburgh happy hour guide which highlights some of the best deals for local beer in the city!
Looking for more places to drink in Pittsburgh? Check out some of our favorite cocktail bars in Pittsburgh or distilleries like Wigle Whiskey, Quantum Spirits, Boyd & Blair, or Maggie's Farm Rum for amazing local spirits.
Or if you're looking for other things to do in Pittsburgh, check out some of our favorite spots at the previous link!