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John Harvard's Brew House

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John Harvard's Brew HouseJohn Harvard's Brew House
937 Ratings
John Harvard's Brew HouseJohn Harvard's Brew House

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

3466 William Penn Highway
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15235
United States

(412) 824-9440

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Ratings: 13 |  Reviews: 13
Photo of JamesS
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

I was again happy with my visit to John Harvard's, when I made it yesterday. The restaurant itself is always clean and the servers are always friendly, the one I had yesterday was even a bit knowledgable about the beer (although I think it was more to memorizing a script about the brews than true information, but it's still better than a lot of other places).

The food is good even though it's nothing special and may be a bit overpriced, but you should still never be disappointed with it.

The beer list is awesome, including having one of the beers served cask style.

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Photo of HoorayBeer
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I stopped in to John Harvard's to watch a baseball game and have a few beers. Walked into the host/hostess area and bam there is their brewery. Its very nicely set up with it all glassed in. The bar is small, only seating about 10-15. There are high tables everywhere around the bar however. It has the appearance of a nice place, lots of wood.
The service was splendid, always on point and willing to get another beer. The beer however left a little to be desired. I started with something different for me, the American Red (American Stone Ale), now, it may not have been the beer (tasted like they needed to clean the tap lines, it had a metallic or sweetened taste for a Red). It was not the best choice. I did however switch to their IPA, which was much better, had nothing wrong with the flavors. It was quite refreshing after the first bout. And I finished with their Caramel Porter. Overall the beers did not really stand out to me, they were generic brews for their style. It is a good step for this city, however, as it is hard to find places like this.
Overall it has a nice setup and a good selection of different beers. It is worth checking out in the city of Pittsburgh. I think the American Red through off the rest of my visit there.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This brewpub is located off the William Penn highway in Monroeville. It is a standalone building near a strip mall, and there is a decent-sized parking lot.

The brewpub is not much to look at from the outside, it is reminiscent of a chain-type restaurant like Bennigan's. However, on the inside it is much better. The bar is on the left side and is comfortable with a lot of dark wood and brick. The rest of the establishment is restaurant seating but the brewpub bleeds into it with fermentation tanks and growlers on the tables. The thing that stood out to me was the stained glass windows with figures that have the heads of American icons superimposed.

The beer selection here is very extensive. Everything from Golden Ale, Hefe, Altbier to a cask Dry Stout. Most of the beers are decent, and where they excel is in the unique Highland Heather Scotch ale. Experimenting is definitely something they should continue to pursue. The beers are all available in a sampler. They run growler specials for around $8 and have special edition beers occasionally.

Service here is good. All of the bartenders were interested to hear feedback on the various beers and asked about experiences at other area brewpubs, and one even wrote out directions to Red Star and recommended a visit despite it not being a planned trip.

We didn't try any food.

Overall this place is worth a look despite being a chain with a rather boring exterior.

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.1/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Drove past this place a million times and finally got to stop by on Sunday. This a really nice little brewpub. The atmosphere is classy and comfortable, with many tv's and nice woodworking. The brewhouse was behind glass, but the fermenters were out in the open. Seems like they got a pretty decent sized operation going on here. The people who worked there were really cool to us, taking care of us and constantly checking on us. Granted it wasn't that busy, I was still impressed by how nice the people there were. The food was tasty, although we didn't get to try that much (it was early after a long night of drinking, i needed beer more than food!), I was impressed. The Lobster Bisque tasted suprisingly fresh. And now the beer. The selection of brews was quite varied, ranging from Nut Brown to IPA to Stout to Munich Helles and many more. Not that many big beers though, but I was glad to see one cask conditioned brew. They had the porter on when I was there. I wasn't whole-heartedly impressed with all the brews, but the Schwarzbier and English Pale Ale were truly delicious!! Overall this is a very nice place to stop, and one I will be back to soon.

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Photo of JackTheRipper
4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Walked in here looking for a good beer and found it! This is a nice brewhouse, the atmosphere seems tailored to be friendly to beer drinkers. There were a few bottles of hard liquor behind the bar and one person drinking a stoli, but everyone else there was enjoying the well crafted brews. Nice big wooden bar with a nice footrail. Big shiny metal things to make beer in (I know, I know...), chalkboard with all the current beers on it, and a nice picture of Benjamin Franklin right at the front door where you walk in (but no black and white checkerboard floors, oh well ;) ). The selection of beers on tap was pretty good, with an outstanding fruit beer that I must have more of. Selection seemed to hit a bunch of the styles, a Scottish ale, a pale ale, and their tasty IPA were on tap the last time I was here over a year ago, they must be popular to be made so much. I thought the casked "Hoppy Amber" could have been a bit hoppier, I sampled it but didn't try a pint, hence no review of it. Prices seem ok. I didn't try the food, I had just come from having lunch somewhere else, maybe on my next visit.
I was there during working hours on a weekday, so obviously the service was exceptional. Sean (behind the bar) was quick with a sample and was very friendly and answered any question I put to him.
Very much worth visiting. They always seem to have a fruited beer on tap, which I'm very much down with. Friendly staff and good beer. What more could a person want?

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Photo of soulfly967
4/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I have been here so many times, I honestly don't know how I forgot to write a beerfly review.

It was a snowy Pittsburgh day in late April, go figure. As you walk through the front doors the kettles are visible through glass, if you walk to the right you can see the fermenting tanks. I headed left to the bar. Dark wood everywhere, a few TVs with the Pirates game on, and some fake stained glass windows with famous Americans represented.

They had a bunch of beers on tap and one cask. I had the Grand Cru and the Honey Double Bock this trip. I have never had any complaints about the beer quality or selection. The service at the bar was very good. The bartender was quick to grab me another brew and offered me a few samples of the other styles. The food was very good. I had the Yucatan Chicken Wrap. I know why I come back here time and time again. Good atmosphere, good food, good beer. What more do you need?

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Photo of beergeek279
3.85/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Atmosphere: John Harvard's is in Monroeville, in a fairly upscale development. The bar itself is fairly nice, with hardwood everywhere, and pseudo-stained windows with pictures of saints with presidents faces. The mash tun and kettle are visible right there on entry, and the 6 fermenters line the side of the dining room. The customers seem to be somewhat knowledgable about beer, as do the servers.

Quality/Selection: John Harvard's usually has 11 beers on tap, a few regulars and several seasonals, more than other area brewpubs. The quality is a little disappointing, though. Though certain beers like the IPA and Pale Ale were outstanding, most of the beers seemed to be average at best, with slightly thin mouthfeels.

Service: No complaints about the service. My sampler was served quickly and the bartender seemed friendly and willing to discuss the beers. In addition, we were given a free sampler of IPA when the Penguins scored a goal (a much-too-rare occurance nowadays, I'm afraid).

Food: The food at John Harvard's is quite good, and seems to be beyond pub fare. I've had their Thai chicken stickers on a previous visit, and were filling on the last time I drank the super-sampler.

Though the beer is good if not unspectacular, John Harvard's is still nonetheless a good place to go and have a beer, plus the food is quality as well. In the future, I hope to try the seasonal beers and more of the menu items.

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Photo of zerk
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

My wife and I were visiting a friend in Pittsburgh, and found this restaurant/brewpub located very close to where we were staying. I wasn't expecting much, considering this is a brewpub chain, but I was pleasantly surprised. The atmosphere is fairly warm, with dark wood and a hand written beer menu, along with several TV's showing sports. The beer selection is quite good... I counted at least 10 beers available, and the quality of the beer was excellent. The cask-conditioned steam beer was well worth trying, as was the Pilgrim Porter. Our waitress (Chrissy, I think) was very friendly and helpful, bringing out 3 samples to our friend, since he was having trouble making up his mind about what to drink. The food we tried (lobster bisque and foccacia) was very good, and this is a place I would definitely go to again if we're back in the area.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Atmosphere: Went in for a luncheon while waiting around for a concert down in the Strip very chilled out split into the barside complete with big screen tele and a dart board what more do you need, well I guess outstanding beer is a plus as well. What gives this could be cookie cutter establishment it’s hear and soul is the brewer Andrew Maxwell incredible guy cordial and willing to talk to any patron construction worker looking to throw down some brews or beer enthusiast keeping notes on the beer. Dark wooden bar very nice brewing equipment is within a wall with a glass window but one you walk to the bathrooms on the otherside of the bar the fermentes are lined up and open to the room. I felt at home from the second the bartender Sean took my order.

Quality: On the food I would say it’s decent and solid all around beers were fresh and chalk board gives the specs on each overlooking the room to the left of the bar.

Service: Was definitely excellent couldn’t complain about anything the bartender had his hand’s full and he still had everything together, genuine good people from my first impression I like to see the regulars mugs hanging from above the bar this proves it that the place keeps such a wide array of regulars just good to see.

Selection: 11 brews on tap at once somebody’s doing something right beers all the way across the spectrum, IPA solid year round offering while the Highland Heather Scotch Ale was simply outstanding everyone will find a beer they’re happy with here that’s guaranteed.

Food: Blackened Chicken sandwich was excellent along with the Southwest chicken and potato soup really good cant’ complain here I have had better and worse very simple dishes though, good job.

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Photo of slander
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Back in Pittsburgh again. The (now upped to) "19 weeks in work exile in Western Pennsylvania stint" is winding down, and beerflies need to be done.
I was expecting the cookie cutter chain beers that I've heard about, but this was not to be the case. Upon entrance, the bar is straight ahead of you riddled with a small dozen bar tables. There are a few TV's and chalkboards listing the beer's vitals (ABV's, gravity, tap dates, etc). The restaurant area is off to the right, with a decent sized seating area overlooking a row of fermenters, and an additional seating area behind that, with a small banquet/party room behind that. As I passed by and took a peek on in, I thought to myself that the little shindig going on in there was remniscent of the last supper paintings you see, except, you know, none of them apostle people were there.
I opted for the super sampler and was surprised to find the placemat for the sampler listing 11 spots to house beers. They only poured me 10 of the 11 however because the Highland Heather Scotch Ale is too costly to produce. A few of the beers were just so-so. I wasn't crazy about the All American Light Lager, the Oatmeal Stout was a disappointment, maybe the nitro killed it, I dunno, and the Strawberry Blonde was just wrong although the bartender claims that it's the most popular beer amongst the ladies. Now, the Scottish Ale was smooth and wonderfully peaty and malty, the Baja Blonde was clean and pleasant, the IPA was outstanding, clearly the best in the lot, hoppy, hoppy, and oh, did I mention hoppy, citrusy, floral, and surprisingly so, and the cask offering, the Nut Brown Ale was rich and smooth with a pleasant bite. On another visit they had a cask porter which was just wonderful. Likewise, a very nice and malty Bavarin Black Lager.
Talking a little "How'd you find us?" with the bartender, and let me tell you,... you mention this website called BeerAdvocate.com where they review beers and bars and beer stores and brewpubs and the bartender decides "you ain't getting out of here without trying our Highland Heather Scotch Ale" and pours me one. Outstanding. A scotch ale gone all candy like. Unusual in a "Heather instead of hops kind of way" but good stuff.
They had a standard pub/restaurant fare menu. I went with the chicken pot pie. It was damn good. Service was good and attentative.
Aaron's right, the bathroom's are located ridiculously far from the bar but otherwise...

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Photo of aaronh
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

While John Harvard's reminds me more of a restaurant than a Pub, the beers are still noteworthy. The establishment is separated into two sections, the "Pub" section and the "restaurant" section (my terminology). The Pub side has a smallish bar surrounded by a couple dozen high-top tables. The available beers are clearly displayed behind the bar, with more detailed information on the wall towards the back of the pub area. They have some very knowledgeable satff members, and all of them seemed pleasantly cheerful. 11 beers on tap when I stopped in, and I hear this is the norm. While none of the beers I tried were truly exceptional, none were truly disappointing either. And there is a nice selection of brews, including a cask conditioned offering. Worth a visit if you're in the area. One minor irritation: the facilities are located on the opposite side of the building, away from the bar.

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Photo of QXSTER1
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

What makes this place for me is the brewer Andrew Maxwell.
I've met him at a few brewfests and he'll talk beer all night long. The guy cares about what he brews and it shows in the quality of his beers. Although the place is a chain, the brewer has some leeway to tailor to local tastes. I've tried some single hop beers as well as Imperial Stouts aged in oak barrels and numerous other adventurous styles. This is not a cookie cutter establishment. The food is a cut above and reasonably priced. If your not a franchise kind of person don't pass this place up. I think you'll enjoy your visit.

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Photo of psugrad98
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Good brewpub chain, with decent food, beer, and service. They offer many year round brews, as well as seasonal beers. They offer a sampling plate where you can try 5-10 different beers in small 5 ounce glasses. Food is decent and moderately priced. Try the black forest sandwitch, a hot ham and cheese stuffed in a pretzel.

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John Harvard's Brew House in Pittsburgh, PA
Brewery rating: 3.58 out of 5 with 937 ratings
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