Pittsburgh breweries

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by stapp101, Oct 30, 2018.

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  1. stapp101

    stapp101 Devotee (325) Feb 21, 2018 Pennsylvania

    Beer enthusiasts,
    I'm heading to Pittsburgh from the Philly area in a few weeks and want to hit, maybe, 6-8 breweries in the 2.5 days. I did a similar trip 4-5 years ago, but I'm guessing a lot has changed. Would love to get some thoughts on places I need to go.

    My favorite styles are sours (esp. barrel aged), dark stuff (esp. stouts), hazy/juicy IPA (but, honestly, only the really good ones since Tired Hands spoils me), & funky saisons/ anything weird. So far, my only musts are:

    - Strange Roots - It was Draai Laag last time, but I'm a big fan. Is it worth hitting the location in Gibsonia, in addition to Millvale?

    - Dancing Gnome - Awesome reviews and I met one of the co-owners when he was bartending at Avery in CO, so I definitely wanna check it out.

    The other ones I'm thinking of right now are: Cinderlands, East End (any thoughts on which location?), Hop Farm, Hitchhiker (same question), maybe Helltown, maybe Mindful, maybe Grist House (went there last time - it was solid)?

    Any thoughts are super appreciated. Thanks, guys!
  2. SmitFromPitt

    SmitFromPitt Initiate (0) Dec 1, 2016 Pennsylvania

    I think that you are on the right track with your first two.

    Two that I would suggest are Brew Gentlemen in Braddock and Voodoo taproom in Homestead. BG has excellent hazy IPAs and they have some other styles, like their Mexican Coffee Stout which is on right now. Their taplist online is real time. I doubt Voodoo will have the BA stuff that sells out immediately, but they usually have some good choices on tap. The two are maybe a ten minute drive apart.

    As for the rest:
    Hitchhiker - I don't care for their IPAs, but their Hole Punch series is popular and I like their stouts. The Sharpsburg location is bigger and only about a mile from Dancing Gnome so it is easy to pop in and check their list.
    Hop Farm - They are in upper Lawrenceville, across the river only a few miles from DG/HH. Matt brews some sours and I want to say they have had some BA ones.
    East End - The main east end location has more on tap and stuff to go.
    Grist House - All of their beers are very solid and a good variety of style so you should find something that you like. It is a cool spot although it can get tight on weekends. I haven't been to the new Strange Roots location, but the old one is walkable to Grist. Millvale is also only a few miles from Sharpsburg and Lawrenceville.
    Helltown is a prefab steel barn about 60-90 minutes outside the city in Mt. Pleasant. I like their beer a lot but the taproom is small and a hike if you are tight for time. You can get their beers on tap in the city.
    Mindful - Personally, I wouldn't waste the time going here. The beer is decent, but nothing great. The place gets packed and parking is always a pain in the ass.

    A couple others to look at are Insurrection in Carnegie, just West of the city. They have some sours and haze and are upping their game. If you go try the wings. Or if you stick to that Lawrenceville / Sharpsburg / Millvale circuit, look at Roundabout, Full Pint and Eleventh Hour.
  3. glass_house

    glass_house Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2014 Ohio

    I second Insurrection. Not a huge sour guy, but the ones I've had there were excellent.

    Can't recommend Brew Gentlemen highly enough if you want the best hazy/juicy IPA's in the area.
    stapp101 likes this.
  4. EersandBeers

    EersandBeers Zealot (695) Jan 16, 2013 West Virginia

  5. 3genpanther

    3genpanther Initiate (0) May 20, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I would hit up Dancing Gnome and Hitchhiker in Sharpsburg, Grist House and Strange Roots in Millvale (no need to haul up to Gibsonia), and Brew Gentlemen and Voodoo in Braddock/Homestead. Those 6, given their quality, what you're looking for, and proximity to each other, would be musts IMO.

    From there, a Lawrenceville trip (across the river from Millvale) could be a fun venture, not only for solid brews, but good grub and a trendier vibe. In Lower Lawrenceville, I would recommend Cinderlands for both their food and beer (Eleventh Hour is right around the block too). I love Driftwood Oven too. Roundabout churns out good stuff and has a diverse list as well. Can't really speak to the Lawrenceville breweries as much though.

    I can definitely vouch for Insurrection out in Heidelberg (brews, including sours, and wings) if you're willing to make the trip out there. Agree with @SmitFromPitt on Helltown / Mindful.

    Something fun you can do is build your own brewery trail and even buy a beer passport on the website below. You can get the passport at any brewery that's part of the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild (basically all of them I think). I think the website is pretty helpful for outsiders, especially the map of everything.

    Also, if you're looking for can/bottle releases, just follow any of those top 6 + Cinderlands IG accounts. Dancing Gnome's canning schedule is online as well. http://www.dancinggnomebeer.com/can-schedule/
    #5 3genpanther, Nov 1, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
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  6. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Curiously, are you looking to visit breweries specifically/only or are you open to beer bars that have a good/great selection of local beers?

    Though the Gibsonia location is bigger and it's where they do all their brewing these days, there is really no reason to haul yourself out there. Just hit the Millvale location, then walk over to Grist House, as others have said.

    Might as well hit Hitchhiker while your there, again, as others have said.

    East End and Hop Farm are not worth going to at all, IMO. Cinderlands is cool, if you are going there primarily for the food. Helltown is WAY the fuck out of town.

    Mindful, on the other hand, is well worth the trip. Yes, it can get crowded, but they make very good beer in house and have an excellent list of guest taps, as well as lots of bottles. That said, if you're looking for local-only sours and saisons, it might not be your best bet. They do make some very good dark beers and their IPAs are solid as well.
    stapp101 likes this.
  7. stapp101

    stapp101 Devotee (325) Feb 21, 2018 Pennsylvania

    Wow. Thanks so much guys. I did see the other forum post, but wanted this tailored a bit more to what I'm specifically looking for.

    Yes. I generally do breweries specifically, unless there is something I need to try/drink while I'm there, and, for whatever reason, can't make it to. That said, if there is an awesome taproom, I'd check it out, for sure. Maybe you guys get some cool Michigan (Grand Rapids breweries? Odd Side?) or Ohio (Jackie O's?) stuff I can't get in Philly.

    Brew Gentlemen, Insurrection, and Hitchhiker, & maybe Hop Farm sound pretty awesome with lots of other great options.

    Grist House was solid and fun to sit outside last time. Wasn't blown away by the beer, but I would go back. Wanted to get to Helltown last time - might not happen again. Sigh. I wondered about Voodoo. I've had their imperial stout and its definitely good.

    Anyone been to Mellow Mink outside of Harrisburg? Might stop on the way.

    Thanks again, all.
  8. 3genpanther

    3genpanther Initiate (0) May 20, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I'm from the Mechanicsburg area but it's been a long time since I was out there... I gotta be honest, I didn't even know Mellow Mink existed. I don't think I've been to that shopping center since there was a West Coast Video on the end of it, lol. Looks like a pretty cool place though, so I'd be curious to see how it is if you go. I'm guessing you may have already been to Pizza Boy, but I always enjoy hitting that place up on my travels east.

    I love me some Jackie O's but no distro to PA. I will occasionally drive up to Vintage Estates (Boardman OH) and grab some... if you really want to stock up on midwest beers in general, at lower-than-PA prices, that's the place to go... it's a little over an hour away though.

    Best beer bars around IMO are The Independent Brewing Co (not a brewery), Bierport, and Piper's Pub with Fathead's across the street too. But I wouldn't say they have brews you couldn't get elsewhere.
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  9. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania

    I don't think you'll be disappointed with the first three. Can't see Hop Farm wowing you, but I guess you'll never know until you try.

    If you're going to BG, Voodoo, Enix, and Rock Bottom are all in the general area.

    If you like sour beers, you owe it to yourself to stop. Matt Miller, of The Sour Beer Blog fame, is one of the co-owners. He's a sour beer beast.



    I'd add Carson St. Deli to that, as well. IMO, Hofbrauhaus is worth a visit, if you like German beer and food and don't have one near to you.
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  10. stapp101

    stapp101 Devotee (325) Feb 21, 2018 Pennsylvania

    RIGHT. I've been using the Sour Beer Map for years and didn't realize how close I am to his brewery until the other day!!

    And YES - Pizza Boy is the best. The wife and I have done a few trips, the entire object of which was Selinsgrove, Pizza Boy, pool at the hotel across the street. Trip complete.

    Independent was the one taproom that stuck out to me - it came up as a brewery, but the reason it grabbed my attention is they have an OEC beer on tap.
    #10 stapp101, Nov 2, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  11. EersandBeers

    EersandBeers Zealot (695) Jan 16, 2013 West Virginia

    I know this is a Pittsburgh Beer thread but I just wanted to say that this past weekend I did a beercation in Richmond, VA. Good God. Just go. So much amazing beer I want to turn around and go back this weekend. The amount of stellar beer they are pumping out just amazes me. Just take plenty of cash and a cooler.
    3genpanther and stapp101 like this.
  12. stapp101

    stapp101 Devotee (325) Feb 21, 2018 Pennsylvania

    a friend was just talking up The Veil the other day
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  13. EersandBeers

    EersandBeers Zealot (695) Jan 16, 2013 West Virginia

    The Veil is in a class by itself. Nothing I've had in Pittsburgh compares to it.
    The Answer and Final Gravity were amazing. Triple Crossing and Hardywood, excellent. I thought Three Notch'd was terrible.
    stapp101 likes this.
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