Southern Tier Brewing Co. opens on the North Shore

David Harries’ highly anticipated new brewpub is opening, and his beer isn’t ready.

But Mr. Harries is chill about it. The brewmaster for Southern Tier Brewing Co. Pittsburgh has plenty of beer to flow into the place’s 30 taps, including several from the mother brewery near Lakewood, N.Y., on the south shore of Chautauqua Lake.

Southern Tier’s first satellite brewpub, on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, started opening for dinner service Tuesday, with plans to gradually open for lunch this week as well. And there was plenty of beer to choose from, including a long lineup of drafts from the Western New York brewery and several from Victory Brewing Co., which is owned by the same company.

Where Mr. Harries comes in — well, you’ll see that when you come in, when you’re met at the entrance by eight tall stainless steel tanks. Four are fermenters for the beers he’s making in the brewhouse, located back by the kitchen, and the other four flow right to the taps, so the place can serve at least four beers made by the house brewmaster. He gets to drive the silver German sports car of a Krones Micro Cube system that can make 10 hectoliters -— about 8.5 barrels — at a time.

He started, as soon as the equipment was ready the second week of January, with a blonde ale -— “Something that should be easy to brew and easy to drink.” Next he brewed a bitter, and, this week, a session (lower-alcohol) oatmeal stout that could be poured with the first beer as a “black-and-gold.” Next could be an unfiltered IPA, he says. “We’re going to see and learn” — what local customers like that Southern Tier doesn’t already make. As he puts it, “We’re not going to reinvent the wheel.”

Some Pittsburgh beers might wind up being made on a much bigger scale at Lakewood, which also will send down special brews. It’s not that far away, and, as Mr. Harries points out, after Buffalo, “Pittsburgh is our second biggest market,” for which they’ve brewed a beer-week brew called Pittsburgh Left.

One brew to be served here soon will be the collaboration spicy brown ale that 30-plus Pittsburgh brewers helped with during an overnight trip to the main brewery in November. They’ve dubbed it “Pittsburgh Speed Date.” But Mr. Harries promises that wasn’t a one-night stand, as more such collaborations are likely to happen in Pittsburgh, too. “We’re very grateful that people have been so supportive.”

The new brewpub is a beauty, decorated with lots of wood and reminiscent of the Lakewood pub. It’s lit by chandeliers made from barrel staves and retro lightbulbs. Details include a marker on one end of the long concrete-topped bar showing the location of the left field foul line of the 1890 Exposition Park, site of the first World Series played in 1903 between the Pittsburg Pirates and the Boston Americans. There’s room for about 150 diners and drinkers inside. If you need to run to a game, coolers in front are full of bottled beer to go.

Through the garage doors on either side of the bar, you can see that this spring will become a 10,000-square-foot outdoor beer garden, anchored by a mirror of the inside bar, that will more than double the brewpub’s customer capacity for game days and other big events.

Like Southern Tier’s beer logos, the food menu is clean and simple — a single page including Snacks & Apps, Sandwiches and Burgers. Overseen by executive chef Jamie Sola (Spoon, Allegheny Country Club), some items come through the kitchen’s smoker, including several styles of wings ($12) and the pulled-pork sandwich ($11, served with fries, chips or the daily salad). More substantial plates range from Open Faced Smoked Meatloaf ($11) to Grilled Portabella Fettuccini ($14). Both desserts, Apple Bread Pudding and Triple Choklat Cake ($6 and $7), are served with “sidecars” of special Southern Tier Blackwater Series beers.

“The focus is on the beer,” says Mr. Harries, whose own special brews will be ready soon enough. If the plumbing goes as planned, the blonde ale could be pouring by the start of February.

“It’s pretty appealing to come in and help build a brewery,” says the Virginia native, who worked in Lakewood from 2011 to 2013 before coming to Pittsburgh and working for two years as a Wigle Whiskey distiller and production manager before getting hired for this gig.

He figures he’ll be doing a lot of outside events, of which the brewpub already has several planned. For instance, Southern Tier will join other neighborhood breweries and businesses at this Saturday’s Imbibe Northside tasting at the Mattress Factory ($35 or $45 at the door). On Monday, Downtown’s Pork & Beans is holding a five-course Southern Tier dinner ($85 per person).

Southern Tier Brewing Co. Pittsburgh, at 316 N. Shore Drive, will be open 4-10 p.m. today; regular hours will be 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. For more, visit its Facebook page or call 412-301-2337.

Bob Batz Jr.:, 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.


Hot Topic