More brewpubs and breweries joining those that opened last year
March 1, 2016 12:00 AM
The local beer scene continues to furiously ferment. Pictured: A beer at War Streets Brewery on the North Side.
Matt Yurkovich, left, his sister, Amy Yurkovich, and Al Grasso, owners of the Allegheny Brewery on the North Side.
Matt Messer, left, co-owner of Insurrection AleWorks and Brad Primozic his partner, at their bar in Heidelberg.
War Streets Brewery on the North Side.
Jake Bier, owner of War Streets Brewery, tastes his beer.
Meadville's Voodoo Brewery in the old Homestead municipal building.
Owner Alan Quinn, left, and his brother, brew master Arty Quinn, inside Quinn Brewing Co. in North Huntingdon.
Bob Batz Jr./Post-Gazette
A flight of beers at Crooked Tongue Brewing near New Castle.
By Bob Batz Jr. / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
You may not always drink beer, but when you do, you have some interesting new ones to drink and the most interesting places to drink them in.
Last year saw the opening of several new brewpubs and breweries across the region, and several more plan to open in 2016. Actual opening dates always hinge on state and federal licensing, construction, funding and other factors, and delays are common. But even before opening, brewers participate in tastings and other events, and most are good about updating their progress on the web and social media.
One of the most recent ones I’ve learned about is Yellow Bridge Brewing Co. The name couldn’t be more Pittsburghy, but it turns out this 7-barrel brewery and taproom is to open in a former interior-design store on Route 66 just north of Route 22 in Delmont. Its owner/brewer is a Pittsburgher, 32-year-old Ian Staab, who, when he couldn’t find the right space on the North Side where he lives, decided to go out to the eastern suburbs where he and his brother, Trevor, grew up. He’s planning to open in July.
Just today, my colleague Mark Belko broke the news that Western New York’s Southern Tier Brewing Co. plans to open a brewpub on the North Shore this summer.
Two of three other new breweries planned for the city’s North Side were hoping to open this month. The wonderfully named Jake Bier and his friend Zach Ingoldsby planned to open War Streets Brewery in an 1877 fire station they’ve rented on Arch Street in that North Side neighborhood. They received the city zoning variance in late January to proceed with plans to turn it into a cozy neighborhood brewpub, where they will serve brews named for neighborhood streets — Monterey IPA, anyone? — in a cozy pub atmosphere.
Also hoping to open this spring is Allegheny City Brewing, which is coming together in a former coffeehouse on Foreland Street in Deutschtown. In January, the three partners — Al Grasso and North Side natives Matt Yurkovich and his sister Amy Yurkovich — were excited to take delivery of their brewpub’s seven-barrel brewing system. When they’re up and running, they plan to do sours and other edgy brews as well as more mainstream ones.
The third North Side place, Spring Hill Brewing, could open this fall. Greg Kamerdze, who likes to brew beer based on farmhouse brewing traditions, started looking for spaces to open a small brewery about a year ago. He happened to meet Bill Brittain, co-owner of Shadyside Nursery, who’s planning to open an urban agriculture business at a former social hall on a sprawling lot on Varley Street atop Spring Hill. Mr. Kamerdze says he will brew in part of the brick structure there with hops, honey and fruit grown on site, and he’ll serve brews from a taproom in that building. He hoped to finish construction by late spring.
Also hoping to open soon is Helicon Brewing Co. in the western suburb of Oakdale. Former homebrewer Chris Brunetti is starting this up with his friend Andy Weigel in the former Joy dog food building, which is to be mostly a production brewery featuring a small taproom. The 15-barrel brewing system was scheduled to be unloaded on Feb. 29.
Dancing Gnome Beer announced that it had found a home in a storefront at 925 Main St. in Sharpsburg in December, when Andrew Witchey ordered a 10-barrel brewing system for his brewery and taproom. He plans to can beer there soon after he opens this summer and, perhaps next year, add a kitchen and his own food.
(Helicon and Dancing Gnome are working with Mt. Pleasant’s Helltown Brewing and Insurrection AleWorks, which opened in Heidelberg in November, on a collaboration beer for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week next month. It’s called “Greenfield Bridge is Falling Down.”)
Another brewpub is coming together in Bridgeville in the landmark Tambellini’s Restaurant that closed in December. It was purchased by three Patel brothers, who run several beer distributorships in the area, and their plan was to remodel and reopen it this spring as a place serving good beer and good food. Eventually they plant to start brewing their own beer there. The name: The Railyard.
Also under construction in Canonsburg is Rusty Gold Brewing, a brewpub that E.J. Kleckner aims to open in time for that Washington County town’s famous Fourth of July celebration.
The folks behind Cellar Works Brewing Co. in Sarver, Butler County, were expecting to be doing finishing work this month, while in the county seat of Butler, Butler Brew Works was hoping to finally open and join Reclamation Brewing Co., a brewpub with a 3 1/2-barrel brewhouse that opened just up Main Street in mid-September.
In Altoona, Railroad City Brewing Co. expected to open the doors late this month or in early April on its new brewery and pub at 1415 11th Ave.
In Indiana, Pa., four partners hope to open Noble Stein Brewing Co. late this spring. That will make it the second brewpub in that college town, as Levity Brewing Co. started serving growlers on Jan. 22. Levity’s three partners were waiting on its full occupancy permit to be able to serve drinks on site, and planned to hold a grand opening later in the winter or early spring.
Others aiming to open this spring or summer include Couch Brewing, which just signed a lease at 1351 Washington Blvd. in the city’s Larimer neighborhood. The partners behind that announced last week that customers will be able to sit in couches, recliners and loveseats in a a tasting room called The Living Room and sip four year-’round beers and seasonals made on a flexible 3-barrel system.
There’s also Fury Brewing Co. on Route 30 in North Huntingdon and Mindful Brewing in Castle Shannon, where partners were set to begin construction last month.
Meanwhile, Mt. Lebanon’s Hitchhiker Brewing Co. announced in January that it had gotten a city Urban Redevelopment Authority loan to open a 10,000-square-foot production space with a 15-barrel brewhouse and tap room on Murial Street in South Side by mid- to late summer.
There are several other breweries and brewpubs that are in various stages of opening, including Eleventh Hour Brewing Co., which announced its home at 3701 Charlotte St. in Lower Lawrenceville. Matt McMahon and his partners are working toward an opening this fall. New Prosperity Brewing is two guys in Emsworth who plan to open a small production brewery with a tasting room, but they don’t know when yet.
“I would give you a date, but any date I have ever given has been missed,” Mike Holzworth emailed with a smile emoticon.
Also in Emsworth, gluten-free Aurochs Brewing recently announced that it is reopening this spring, having expanded in every way, including into 22-ounce bottles.
Some of the new ones that you may not have yet made it to include Spoonwood Brewing Co. in Bethel Park and Voodoo Brewery’s Homestead outlet, both of which opened at the very beginning of 2015. They were followed by several others, including Crooked Tongue Brewing Co. in Edinburg, just outside of New Castle, in March, and Brewtus Brewing Co., a speakeasy-themed brewpub/restaurant that opened in July and sprawls over two stories in a big Victorian storefront in Sharon. (Crooked Tongue, an exceptionally colorful and comfy brewpub, plans to hold its grand opening this spring once its Stones Throwing Association course is set up out back.)
Heidelberg’s Insurrection AleWorks, a brewpub with locally sourced food, opened in late November, and was so popular that it closed a bit in January to brew enough beer to keep up.
Quinn Brewing Co. in North Huntingdon, also fired up in November; it’s a production brewery with no taproom of its own, but it was getting its beer to more watering holes around town.
September saw the opening of Depot Saloon Brewery — with several brews, Pennsylvania wines and some food — in Greenville, Mercer County, as well as 4 Brothers Brewing, a 10-barrel brewery and taproom run by two of the Petrucci brothers in New Brighton, Beaver County. In nearby Rochester, Brixton Brewing officially started serving its beer at Hollywood Gardens Bar at the end of October.
Around that same time, Big Rail Brewing began serving the brews that it’s contract-brewing at the Harmony Inn in Harmony, Butler County.
Also at the end of October, Clarion River Brewing opened on Main Street in Clarion. It was putting in a seven-barrel brewhouse so it could sell its own beers early this year.
November saw the opening of a Grove City Premium Outlets, well, outlet of Meadville’s TimberCreek Tap & Table, as well as the Millcreek Brewing Co. brewpub in the Erie suburb of Millcreek, followed in December by the opening of Stone Church Pizza House and Brewpub (with a seven-barrel system) in a pretty little former church in Hermitage, Pa. Also at the very end of last year, Doc G’s Brewing opened in Dubois.
Even downtown Wheeling, W.Va., has a brewpub, as Wheeling Brewing opened last spring.
By the time you’re reading this, we’re likely to hear about more places that are brewing, so watch for updates in the Post-Gazette and at post-gazette.com.
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