German beer hall to open on South Side in January

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After fermenting longer than most beers, the third Hofbrauhaus in the United States is finally coming to a head at the SouthSide Works.

Officials plan to open the German-style beer hall on Jan. 20, more than 21/2 years after they originally had hoped and a couple of months later than the target date set early this year.

The $4 million project was nearly derailed by Allegheny County's drink tax, which caused some investors to become skittish and forced a restructuring of the financing.

It also has been held up because of disclosures required by the federal government and, more recently, by site preparation work that took longer than expected.

"There was just a lot of stuff. We think so much of the site and the city of Pittsburgh that we feel it was worth the wait," said Nick Ellison, managing member of Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh LLC.

The first Hofbrauhaus opened in Newport, Ky., near Cincinnati. The other is in Las Vegas. Both of those and the one being built in Pittsburgh are patterned after Munich's famous Hofbrauhaus, which was founded in the late 1500s.

Locally, the beer hall will feature bench-style seating for about 450 people indoors and another 600 outside. Among its amenities will be a brewery, an outdoor beer garden and terrace with a covered awning, and a bierstube for quieter dining or private parties.

"It's a whole different concept of an entertainment facility. It will be a terrific addition to the city of Pittsburgh," Mr. Ellison said.

After all the delays, construction finally is moving along. Mr. Ellison said crews hope to have the building sealed from the weather in a couple of weeks so work can start on the inside. Brewing equipment should arrive by the first week of November, in time for the January opening.

About 99 percent of the beer consumed at the Hofbrauhaus will be brewed on the premises. It will be served in one liter and half-liter glass mugs. Authentic German food and standard American fare also will be available.

Mr. Ellison said the beer making will start about a month before the Hofbrauhaus opens. A typical beer, he said, takes eight hours to brew and two to three weeks to ferment. Several beers will be available by the time the establishment opens.

Mark Belko can be reached at or 412-263-1262.


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