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Church Brew Works

Not Rated.
Church Brew WorksChurch Brew Works
BEER AVG
3.7/5
Based on:
71 Beers
620 Reviews
Place Score: 90
Reviews: 135
Visits: 220
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

3525 Liberty Ave
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15201
United States
phone: (412) 688-8200

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 135 | Visits: 220
Photo of MarkLinton1
4.44/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

One of the most unique breweries you will find anywhere. The beer is brewed on the alter of a 1902 Roman Catholic Church, and it is truly "holy water". Food is phenomenal. A must do when in Pittsburgh. (201 characters)

Photo of brother_rebus
3.69/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3

The beer is tasty and well made here. Awesome merchandise options. The joint was ppropriately staffed too. Unfortunately they were missing something like 4-6 of their drafts. Kind of a bummer, but warrants a trip back for sure. The thing that bothered me was the building. Now this may sound whiny and choosy. The place was probably a decrepit crumbling mess when they purchased it. It was probably super expensive to get work done there. But turning a church into a brewery is touchy; if you cant afford to do it right, maybe dont take on such an immense task. Im no religious nut or architect. But one of the roman arches of the atrium was held together with plywood and screws... The two side porticos of this beautiful old building were harryhackjobbed; door knobs ripped right out and liquid nails'd shut... C'mon meow. Hopefully these are temporary fixes. I'm surprised some historical society isn't crawling up they necks. (929 characters)

Photo of kkdowning
1.3/5  rDev -67.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 1 | food: 3

Beer that is consistently watered down, awful service, and passable food. But hey, it's in a church! That's just so wacky and different, right?

This is a place to take out of towners as they'll love the location, but if you're a local there are so many better options. Avoid. (276 characters)

Photo of indurTheB
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The place was a little empty when I visited, but then again it was about a crisp 0 degrees outside. Being a Floridian, I was "schooled" a little about the temperature at which an IPA is supposed to be served. I guess we like our IPAs to cool us off a little bit. Overall, this is a great place to visit just because of the unique vibe. (338 characters)

Photo of RyFikes
2.88/5  rDev -28.5%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.75

I took a day trip to Pittsburgh with my fiance and had dinner at CBW. I love the theme of "beer worship" and the whole set up was very tasteful. Maybe even too tasteful, I'd like to see them take it a step further. My biggest problem with the place was the acoustics. If you closed your eyes you would think you were in a school cafeteria, which for me does not promote a hang-out-and-drink vibe because if you raise your voice EVERYONE can hear you. There is not even background music, probably because it would be too echo-y. On top of that the bartender was very condescending to my fiance when she asked about the beers. Smug bartenders is something that I just don't tolerate. Aside from all that the food was great, the beers were average. (749 characters)

Photo of mikemands
4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

took the road trip in September, food was excellent, cool atmosphere like a cafeteria, decent beer. bought a mug. will return next time I'm in Pittsburgh. (154 characters)

Photo of Ozzylizard
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

After a chilly morning shopping in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, it is time for some lunch at Church BrewWorks in Lawrenceville, a couple of miles past the Strip. On the way there you can pass the historic Pittsburgh Brewing Company, former home of Iron City Beer.
The food is good and they are locally known for their wood-fired pizzas. Check on-line for their changing menus for both food and beer. They always (almost) have their core beers on tap with a rotating selection of seasonals or one-offs. Their rotating stouts are their best beers although their Pious Monk dunkel is also pretty good. There is limited availability of bottles for sale, but most beers are available in growlers. There is also a small shop with tees, glasses, and other stuff available.
The real draw here is the building itself – an old Catholic church repurposed into something useful - a tax-paying business which brings people into the area to spend money. The pews have been repurposed as seats for the tables, the altar is now the brewing area (behind Plexiglas, feel free to genuflect), the stain glass windows are mostly still there. The rest rooms are cater-cornered with the females being near the entrance and the males beside the altar. Parking can be difficult – there is a small lot behind the building and street parking can be tough, particularly during sporting events.

Note: Any beers => 8 % are served in an 8 oz glass. If this is on the beer menu, I can't find it. This can be an unpleasant surprise if you are expecting a 12 oz shaker. (1,557 characters)

Photo of Jackofallbrews
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

This place is enormous. A small brew system occupies the pulpit, with fermentation/serving tanks behind the long bar to the left of this picture. I'm not so sure about the tawdry yellow flags and signs though--it seems to detract from the majesty of this place. They also had un ugly yellow bopping hot air driven promo thing outside that I associate with cut-rate used car lots. It was crowded but not insane and our service was accurate and fast.

We had a pretty good pizza with wild boar and BBQ sauce made with one of their beers along with a side order of terribly cooked fries. My wife and I shared a sampler of all their beers. This was a mixed bag--some were good, others not as thrilling. None were outright terrible, but overall they reminded me of the brewpub beer quality from the early 1990's. My favorite was actually the light lager since it was the cleanest of the bunch. I have a hard time believing that these beers won GABF medals, but I know that things can change batch to batch and possibly brewer to brewer. I tried to look up some details on the brewer, but the garish bright blue website didn't have any information. I would certainly recommend checking this place out, but I found several better places for beer even in the same suburb. (1,278 characters)

Photo of misternebbie
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Great perogies and pizza, great aps and entrees too, albeit on the pricey side but a great dining experience in a old Catholic church, tons of great craft beers all on tap and very fresh that rotate often, you will spend Morton's/ Ruth Chris money (at least I do) but very satisfying.
Try it

Nebbie (301 characters)

Photo of drtth
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3.25

This is a place to visit for the building if nothing else. A re-purposed church the interior is impressive and the spaces are wide open and leave one with a good feeling.

The food and beverages were pretty much ordinary and good but not outstanding.

Service was just fine. (275 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.25

Stopped in here when in town for work this week. Awesome setup in an old church like nothing I have ever seen. Freaking cool as hell. Huge place with lots of setting and a large bar space. Almost too big. They had about 10 taps with regulars and rotating seasonal stuff. Bottles and growlers abailable. Tried a couple brews on draft and got some Apps and a pizza. Good was very good, but the beer left something to be desired. Definitely worth a stop in but don’t expect mind blowing brews. (492 characters)

Photo of mtnst8
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75

Wonderful building for a brewery. The old cathedral is gorgeous and a really nice feel for this purpose. The selection of beers is great and the staff was exceptionally helpful in weeding through the offerings. Beers are good, though the visit I took the odor of the brewing process in the customer area was almost overpowering. Not sure if that's an "all the time" thing. Must stop in if you're in Pittsburgh. (410 characters)

Photo of JG-90
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Church Brew works is a really cool place. Built in a huge, beautiful old church, with gigantic vats where the altar used to be - pretty sweet. Good selection of PGH and german favorites, food is all good quality and not too expensive. Its been very busy whenever I was there but the service was still very good.

I had a sampler flight last time I was their, getting to try 6 of their different beers was great. They have a bunch of great brews, and do a good job brewing to different styles. (492 characters)

Photo of poonamibaxter
3.45/5  rDev -14.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.25 | food: 3

The beer and food are just okay but it is a really cool building. Definetly worth stopping by and getting a couple beers. I couldn't stop just looking around the place and that I was sitting in a bar at an actual church. Suck it Catholic school! Cherry quad was the best of what I tried. Yes there are better beer places in Pittsburgh but none in a neater place. (362 characters)

Photo of spedprof
4.15/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Visited Church Brew Works for the first time yesterday... This is a place that you have to see believe! The brewery/restaurant/pub/hop garden is located in an old church. When you walk through the front door, you stop in your tracks and the beauty of the church and the conversion to a brewery.

The beer was excellent! We had the sampler which was gave us the opportunity to try 5 ounces of 9 different beers. There was a beer to meet everyone's taste. Then, we had a few pints of the beers that we liked. In addition to the beer, the food was terrific and our waitress was a sweetheart! All in all, an excellent experience and we hope to return real soon! (657 characters)

Photo of redmaw
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.75

My wife and I were there for lunch, obviously it is a brewery in a church, a large old church. SO the environment and pretty unique, and we liked it. It was a little dimly lit, but then we came in and went out to full sun so take that for what's it worth. The selection seemed on par with most restaurants around here for lunch, sandwiches salads, and a couple specials. I think they have a completely different menu for dinner, and there was more on it than what is listed on their website. We both got sandwiches and liked them, but they weren't really extraordinary in anyway. I also had two of their beers the st Agricola, which I can't find on BA and there Pious monk dunkel. I thought both were good, the st Agricola (a brown ale that wasn't made as intended per their description) was pretty unique in my experience, there was a lot a fruit and malt, balanced by just enough hops in the background. The price was a little more than I am used to, but it is much more "downtown" than I normally go to so it is probably average or cheap for the area.

Overall I enjoyed it and would go back, but it's not a place I would visit regularly. (1,142 characters)

Photo of jophish17
3.54/5  rDev -12.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Visited twice in the past year, both times for lunch on a Saturday afternoon.

To start with - this is an interesting concept to say the least. I am definitely one of those renovate-before-replace type of people, so I appreciate the work they did here. With that said, as cool as the idea of turning a church into a brewery is, I can't help but think that the building just doesn't do it for me in terms of a brewpub. It feels more like a German bier hall (which may be what they were going for, given the portion of the taps devoted to German style) yet doesn't bring the energy and intimacy of a German bier hall, and I can't imagine this place doing that even on the busiest of Friday nights. Church Brew Works is physically cool, but the atmosphere is a let-down.

Fortunately, the beer is hardly a let-down. I felt that most of the beers would fall into a solid "B" rating. Nothing was exceptional, but very few things were disappointing (the Pipe Organ Pale and Berliner). These guys have been in business a while now, and you can tell - the beer is predictable and well-crafted. Having the sampler twice, and a couple of pints of things that weren't on the sampler, I'd say that the Dunkel and Thunderhop were probably my favorites. I love how the offer German classics alongside American IPAs, stouts and various stouts.

Food here is a bit harder to rate than the beer - the menu *looks* good. It's an exceptionally varied menu - with words like "Thai", "Jerk", "Queso" and "Kobe" on the menu. Creative use of ingredients for some potentially outstanding dishes. However, I felt like they were just trying too hard with what they had to work with - a case of no matter how good the recipe may be, the ingredients still make the meal. I won't say the food was bad, I'd say that the more inspired dishes on the menu just could have been better. Next time, I'll stick with pierogies. I love me some pierogies.

Service is standard, and the prices are fair. All told, I've always had a good time at the Church Brew Works, but I can't seem to credit the Brew Works for being more than a meeting point with good beer. (2,120 characters)

Photo of jeonseh
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Church Brew Works is inside a huge old church in Pittsburgh. When you walk in you can see that they made very few changes to the building itself. They still have stained glass windows and the altar where the brew equipment sits. Up and down the aisle are flags from the brewery. The seats look like pews. You can spend a lot of time just looking around at the settings.

They have a pub and dinner / lunch side. We sat on the lunch side and the food was great. We had a pierogi pizza (pizza with potato puree, onions and cheese) that was really unique. Homemade sweet potato fries cooked to perfection. I had a buffalo burger special that was also really good. The waitress was really friendly, knew a lot about the menu and the beer, and made sure we never had empty glasses.

For the price, I didn't feel it was bad. We had 6 people order lunch, we had an appetizer and about 5-6 beers plus other drinkers and it was only ~$120. I don't think you'll find many places with as good of food + beer for $20 a person. (1,015 characters)

Photo of tommyguz
4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Such a unique place. A renovated catholic church turned into a brewery. It is such a neat place to visit and the food is always delicious. The beer is pretty good. I like that they have a lot of different stuff on tap and a rotating stout that seems to never be the same when I go. If there is one brewery to check out why you are in Pittsburgh, it should be Church Works. All the brewing equipment is visible from where ever you sit and the brew kettles are right there where the alter used to be. It is very affordable and it was kid friendly as well (we went with a group that had 4 kids 2 and under. (603 characters)

Photo of LukeK
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

I read the GABF list of winners and saw that this place right down the way from where I go when I visit "home" won gold for large brewpub??? I had to go.

First off, the place is great. Building is awesome inside and out. It isn't called the church to be clever, it really is/was a church.

We ordered the pizza and a few sandwiches. The pizza was very good, took a while, but definitely very fresh. Food was overall very good.

The beer in my opinion was not excellent, but nothing to scoff at either. I had the IPA and the Renegade Ale. I liked both but was expecting much more hop out of the IPA.

Overall, I think every beer lover needs to go. It is a very unique place, and also one that you can take your entire family to. (729 characters)

Photo of Sludgeman
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Visited on 1/9/13. A Wednesday. Business was slow that night.

BEER
A decent selection of beers on tap:
Gold
Pale ale
Dunkel
Stout
Ipa
Quad - 4
Winter saison - 3.25
Sour
Winter warmer - 3.25

I thought the quality was only just above average overall (for the beers I had - noted above).

FOOD
Pierogies - tasty but not cooked to my liking - served too cool - no crispiness on the outside - thought the sour cream was cheap (not sour).
3-Alarm cheesesteak - decent. Could have used a little more meat. But I was in Pitt not Phila.

SERIVCE
Was fine. I took a while to warm up to the bartender.

ATMOSPHERE
As the name implies, this place is housed in an old, very very large church. A huge space - must have been spectacular in its day. I have not been in many churches bigger than this. Just imagine what this church was back in it heyday, when steel ruled Pittsburgh! I was very impressed with the space, but thought the spaciousness made the atmosphere less than inviting. Business was slow this night, but I've been in bars when its slow. The space works against them. When it is slow there is no human interaction becuae everyone is so far away from each other.

Maybe they can do something different with the lighting (it was dark) or even create a space for better viewing of the one TV (in the corner) I saw. They have plenty of room for a big projection TV for games and other events. Some of the stained glass still seemed to be present. Some lighting for those windows would be interesting.
I sat at one end of the bar. Near a speaker, which played great music. Not sure to the degree this was piped through out the place.

All the brewing equipment was in full view, which is cool.

Though I was alone, it certainly seems like a place that would work well for the kids.

VALUE
Great! Three beers, appetizer and a big sandwich for around $30 was a little unexpected.

OVERALL
Had that rough around the edges feel. I like that. All in all, a nice place to go, but not necessarily the only craft beer place I would visit when in Pittsburgh. You should visit if you haven't. If I lived in Pittsburgh I would find my favorite beer and food on the menu and probably be some sort of regular.

(2,201 characters)

Photo of Dodo2step
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This was my first visit to CBW and i have been looking forward to it for a few years now. I have had their beer before but not their food. The outside of the church towers over everything around it. Nice back parking lot so you dont have to park on the street or pay for parking either.

I had one of their oatmeal stouts and it was tasty. Not the best oatmeal stout but better than most. I alos picked up some thunderhop and celestial so i will be reviewing those later.

The inside was amazing with the set up and how it still looks like you are going to mass. I really thought the priest was going to come out and give a sermon while we were eating. They kept the puplit and the aisle. It really feels authentic to a church.

My wife had pierogi pizza and i had the pulled pork with their BBQ sauce made from the dunkel. For dessert we had some sort of bread made from their leftover malts which eas awesome. Food was great and would love more of it. The price was ok and not bad but the selection was adverse and nice. The brick over over where Virgin Mary made the pizza tasty. (1,082 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I'm glad I finally went here. I've had the basic CBW beers and was underwhelmed, but I had a few specialties here and was very impressed. They have a ton of different beers (all their own) available and rotate a lot of them. The food is pretty excellent and the service is friendly. The location is an old converted church so the interior architecture is really something special, and the restaurant style is something approaching a German beer hall. Overall it's something everybody who comes to Pittsburgh ought to try. I now understand why everyone thinks so highly of them. (577 characters)

Photo of mtullius
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

A really cool place, and a must for visitors to Pittsburgh. There are few brewpubs that can match this place in terms of setting: a 100+ yr-old church, lovingly converted to a brewery and restaurant. The altar area houses most of the brewing equipment, and the original stained glass windows still adorn the building. Truly a stunning place.

Some reviewers term the beer "mediocre," but I'd say they're missing the point. This place seems to have chosen to brew good, solid interpretations of a wide variety of styles. I had a sampler, with 10 of their beers, and every last one was clean, close to style, and drinkable. That alone puts this place in the top 20% of brewpubs, most of which have at least a couple of stinkers. The Golden Ale was outstanding for a beer of that type; the English pale was really lovely, the oatmeal stout was very satisfying... I could go on-- every beer was well done and solid. Sure, none of them knocked my socks off, and none of them were "extreme" beers, of the sort which are prominent in many BA's esteem. But NONE OF THEM WERE BAD. And that's saying a lot. I also appreciated the serving temperatures, which were considerably warmer than average, even for a craft bar or brewpub.

Food only average. Service was fine. Prices seemed about right.

The unique venue and very good beer make this a must-see for any visitor to Pittsburgh. (1,375 characters)

Photo of jmdrpi
2.98/5  rDev -26.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

Ate lunch and had a sampler flight of 8 beers.

Very cool building and atmosphere - a huge church, and they kept all of the stained glass, stone arches, wood beams, etc. some of the seating is the old pew benches.

The beer was mediocre, really the only beer I liked was their Dunkel Lager. They had about 10 beers available, the sampler didn't include the Quad or Tripel.

Food was good but nothing special. I had the jambalaya, and my wife had a pierogi dish.
The service was a bit poor, our waiter was seemed like he hated to be there, and be had to wait forever for our check. We overheard another waiter going over the specials with another table, our never mentioned any of that.

Prices were a bit high for the quality that you got. (744 characters)

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Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh, PA
90 out of 100 based on 135 ratings.