Robert Chambers Jr. first opened the joint in Homewood in the late 1980s and moved it to this roadside spot a decade ago.
The region gets it next brewery Friday as Cobblehaus Brewing Co. holds its grand opening on the main drag of Fifth Avenue in Coraopolis.
Owner and brewer Scott Mills says that as a longtime home brewer, he was influenced and inspired by having worked in Europe, where he became a big fan of German and Belgian beers. His spin is “Olde World Styles, New World Twists.”
For a surprise soft opening on Saturday, one beer he was serving is a German-style alt. But he also was pouring something dubbed “the X,” which was an experimental mashup of a Belgian-style triple and a farmhouse ale.
Other brews ready to pour from the eight tasting room taps are a triple, hefeweizen, Belgian-style wit, imperial stout and black IPA, with a brown ale to follow shortly.
“Basically, [I’m] taking the traditionals and trying to modernize them a bit,” says the 46-year-old Moon resident, who was looking at the western suburbs as soon as he started seriously planning this brewery two-plus years ago. Last year he signed the lease on this space, which originally was a furniture store, but had been an office for a company in the oil and gas industry. That’s the industry where he still works as a project manager for an engineering firm.
In his free time, he remodeled this space, painting the walls a deep green, lining the ceiling with repurposed wood and stringing it with antique-looking Edison-style lightbulbs. For the grand opening, he promises there will be tables that he didn’t have on Saturday. The steady crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves nonetheless.
He brews on a one-barrel system in a brewhouse visible through a window, doing double batches to fill his three fermenters, and says getting more of those is a priority as he gets going, so he can hold more brews and age them for longer.
The tap room doesn’t serve food, but he’s already working with nearby restaurants so customers can order food and have it delivered to them, and in the meantime, customers are welcome to bring in their own. “If you want to pack a picnic lunch and bring it, bring it.”
That sounds, like the place’s name, a little European, but also with a modern tweak that other local brewpubs are trying, in sort of partnering with neighboring restaurants to provide the food.
How does Mr. Miller find his niche in the burgeoning brewery scene? “Part of my niche is focusing on some traditional styles,” he says. “There aren’t that many people who actually do that.”
To start, he’s selling beer only and only by the glass. Eventually, he’ll add growlers to go, but until he sees how much demand there is in-house, “I don’t want everything walking out the door.” Eventually, he’d like to sell his beer to other watering holes, too. And at some point, he’d like to also offer customers wine, cider and maybe spirits.
To start, Cobblehaus is open 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays, noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays, and 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, although those hours could change. It’s located at 1021 Fifth Ave., Coraopolis, PA 15108 (412-264-7000 and cobblehaus.com).
Sip Away Tax Day
If the approach of Tax Day makes you thirsty for a drink, the Washington Wild Things have you covered.
On Saturday, the Frontier League baseball team is opening its stadium to local breweries, wineries -— including makers of cider and mead — and distilleries, including at least one moonshiner, plus some food and other vendors.
They’re calling it “Sip Away Tax Day,” although this year, the tax deadline is pushed back to April 18. (Normally, when April 15 falls on a weekend, the deadline is moved to the following Monday, but this Monday is the Washington, D.C., Emancipation Day holiday so last-minute filers get until Tuesday.)
Team assistant general manager Jordan Millorino says he started out wanting to do a beer festival, but grew the event when other booze producers wanted to participate.
For $20 (or $25 that day) festgoers get unlimited tastes from most vendors and a 16-ounce souvenir drinking glass. Designated drivers and people younger than 21 get in free. While some food trucks and mobile food vendors will be handing out samples (including of Leona’s and Millie’s ice creams), others will be selling meals.
The Wild Things plan to debut the new brisket that they’ll be smoking for every home game.
Tickets available online here. There you can also see the list of participating vendors, which include a nearby brewery that isn’t open yet — Rust Gold Brewing of Canonsburg. Mr. Millorino says the team might do similar event in September, perhaps with an apple theme.
Meanwhile, the Wild Things’ home opener is Friday, May 19, vs. the Windy City Thunderbolts. For more information, visit washingtonwildthings.com.
Brewing up a ball
Looking ahead one week, the Brewers Ball on April 21 is the 10th annual fancy fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The craft beer, food and other fun — including an epic silent auction — run from 7 to 11 p.m. at the IBEW Local No. 5 union hall in SouthSide Works. Tickets (partly tax-deductible) are $95 or $105 at the door ($115 VIP tickets get you early admission) and are available at pghbrewersball.eventscff.org.
Britsburgh Beer Society debuts
April 23 is both St. George’s Day, which honors England’s patron saint, and the birthday of William Shakespeare. So that’s the day Britsburgh is launching its Britsburgh Beer Society. Tony Knipling of Vecenie Distributing will lead a tasting comparing four British beers with four American counterparts brewed in British style. There will be English food to nibble on, too, at the event, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Northern Beer Traders in Ross. They’re calling it “Shakesbeer” because actors from “Mrs Shakespeare” and Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks will perform for adults and children as part of their “Week of Will.” The beer society, one of several Britsburgh societies devoted to specific topics, plans to meet at least every other month. Admission to this event for nonmembers is $12 advance online registration or $20 at the door; monthly membership starts at $6 per individual or $8 per family. For details, visit the website of British-American Connections Pittsburgh at bacpgh.com.
Bob Batz Jr.: email@example.com, 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.