Across the region, there are a lot of breweries that are newly open or soon will be that you may not have been to or heard of.
One of the latest I first read about in a neighborhood newsletter is the War Streets Brewery, a nanobrewery that aims to open early next year on the first floor of an old firehouse at 1416 Arch St. in the Mexican War Streets on the North Side. Excellently named neighborhood resident Jake Bier and Zack Ingoldsby say they will offer small (half-barrel) batches of a variety of beers with hyper-local names such as Arch Street Amber Ale. If they get the zoning OK, customers will be able to drink the brews on the premises, with food from local restaurants and food trucks.
I also just last week found out about the Depot Saloon Brewery, which opened in September behind the News Depot in Greenville, Mercer County, with several brews, Pennsylvania wines and some food, Wednesday through Saturday (depotsaloon.com).
Out in New Brighton, Beaver County, 4 Brothers Brewing opened in mid-September. The space, a former Columbia Gas building, includes a tap room where customers can buy pints of up to eight different brews with snacks or ordered-in food. The beer, brewed on a 10-barrel system and draft only for now, is being served at other area watering holes, too. It’s run by two of four brothers, Steve and Dave Petrucci. Regular hours are only Friday and Saturday now, but it’ll be open from 5 p.m. to midnight tonight for a special party featuring food-truck food and live music. Learn more at fourbrothersbrewing.com.
In Butler, Reclamation Brewing Co. also opened mid-September, at 221 South Main St., with a dozen beers and a food menu. The RB crest over the back wall, where the 3.5-barrel brewhouse is, is made from 9,000 bottlecaps. It’s open Wednesday through Sunday with a food menu of starters, “sangwiches,” soups and salads, a few entrees (Irish Stew, Bangers ’n’ Mash) and locally made desserts (reclamationbrewing.com). The place is just a short walk from Butler Brew Works, which aims to open by next year. President and co-founder Nick Fazzoni said last week that they were just waiting for a glycol chiller to get hooked up “and we’ll be ready to brew” (butlerbrewworks.com).
In Harmony, Butler County, Big Rail Brewing has been contract-brewing on a 2-barrel system in the basement for the Harmony Inn, where two of its brews — The Bizzniss IPA and Some Kinda Wunderful Oatmeal Coffee Stout — debuted at the end of October. Homebrewers Bill Smith and Sean Corbett founded Big Rail back in 2013 and hope to eventually take the brand out on its own (bigrailbrewing.com).
In Rochester, Beaver County, Brixton Brewing officially started serving its beer at Hollywood Gardens Bar on Oct. 22. The brewery has been licensed since 2012 and was serving small batches on Fridays in a basement tasting room, but it’s only now that they have the new 2-barrel brewhouse really cranking (hollywoodgardensbar.com).
Also at the end of October, Clarion River Brewing opened on Main Street in Clarion. It’s putting in a 7-barrel brewhouse and expects to be serving its own brews by January or February, and in the meantime has started out serving beers from other brewers such as Voodoo in Meadville as well as wines, and a full food menu plus weekend specials, Wednesday through Sunday (clarionriverbrew.com).
Speaking of which, earlier this month, Meadville’s TimberCreek Tap & Table opened a second location at the Grove City Premium Outlets. The new place has a 10-barrel system that will make the same flagship beers as Meadville, but they’ll be able to have more on tap, along with a full food menu (timbercreektapandtable.com).
Also earlier this month, the Millcreek Brewing Co. brewpub opened in the former 1930s Millcreek Sportsman Athletic Club. It offers eight of its own beers, brewed on a 7-barrel system, plus 22 other crafts and imports as well as wine and spirits (millcreekbrew.com).
Early next month or early in the year, Stone Church Pizza House and Brewpub is to open (with a 7-barrel system) in a pretty little former church in Hermitage, Pa., says brewer and partner Jim Hicks (stonechurchbrewpub.com).
Also hoping to open yet this year is Allegheny City Brewing, a 7-barrel brewpub in the former Amani Cafe on Foreland Street in the North Side neighborhood of Deutschtown. They’ve done some tastings, including one at the Deutschtown Bar Crawl earlier this month (they’re on Facebook).
I and other craft-beer fans are following several others, including Levity and Noble Stein, mentioned above, both planning to open early in 2016 in Indiana, Pa. Other breweries planning to open next year include Couch Brewing (partner Cary Shaffer says they plan to soon sign a lease on building on Fifth Avenue in Larimer), Mindful Brewing (a brewpub and farm-to-table eatery) in Castle Shannon, Helicon Brewing (now building a new production brewery with a tasting bar in Oakdale), Fury Brewing in North Huntingdon and Cellar Works Brewing in Sarver. There are many more in the works, including Abjuration Brewing (no location yet but brewing pilot batches and refining its business plan), Doc G’s Brewing in Dubois (named for owner Dr. Jeff Gilbert and aiming for a Dec. 30 grand opening and beer debut), Nostrovia Brewing in Harborcreek and Eleventh Hour Brewing, whose owner says they are planning a party (and a special beer) to announce their location.
A couple opened this summer. I really enjoyed my visit to Crooked Tongue Brewing Co. in Edinburg, Pa., just west of New Castle on Route 422 (not Route 224). Cody Greene and his family run the colorfully decorated brewpub, which is named, sort of, after his sister’s dog. They offer local wines and cider as well as some snack foods and free popcorn. The comfy brewpub still hasn’t had a grand opening, which he says will wait until spring after they install a Stones Throwing Association course out back (crookedtonguebrewing.com).
I drove my family from there north to Sharon, where we had dinner on the back patio of Brewtus Brewing Co., which sprawls over two stories in a big Victorian storefront. The speakeasy-themed brewpub/restaurant opened in July (brewtusbrewing.com).
Even downtown Wheeling, W.Va., has a brewpub, as Wheeling Brewing opened this spring (wheelingbrewing.com). Several more are in the works over the border in Ohio.
Another new Western Pennsylvania brewing company I somehow missed, the Race Street Brew Works up in Clearfield, will be celebrating its first anniversary this weekend. Its beer is to be available on tap at some Pittsburgh bars soon (racestreetbrew.com). (I also am just catching up to the Kinzua Dam Beer Co., which has been selling beer in Warren since 2011.)
Not opening, but reopening, is Blue Canoe Brewery, which closed after a St. Patrick’s Day fire last year. The rebuilt brewpub in Titusville, Crawford County, aims to reopen late this year or early next (watch Facebook for updates).
In Altoona, Railroad City Brewing, which opened in November 2013 and closed this May, plans to reopen as a brewpub in a new location at 1415 11th Ave. in January.
Bob Batz Jr.: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.