Great Lakes Brewing News April/May 2017 : Page 1
ILLUSTRATION BY HANS GRANHEIM By Brian Meyer Clockwise from Top-Penn Brewery fascade, brewer Steve Crist examines his creation in the brewhouse, Penn's brick beer garden. ell before the term “craft beer” was in the standard lexicon there were brewer-ies producing outstanding beer with a focus on qual-ity and family, even if they didn’t have a special term for it. Pittsburgh’s example of this is Penn Brewery, or as it’s officially known, The Pennsylvania Brewing Company. Penn Brewery celebrated their 30th anniversary last year, and while the brewery went through a num-ber of changes over the years, their current offerings are the best the North Side brew-ery has ever brewed. While Penn Brewery opened their doors in 1986, their current building’s his-tory goes back quite a bit farther—it is actu-ally the original old stock house and office building of the Eberhardt and Ober Brewing Company. These buildings, built between 1879 and 1883, were part of a much larger PHOTOS COURTESY OF PENN BREWERY By Brian Meyer “Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor." -William Cowper t’s rare that you find a quote from an 18th century English poet in an article about beer, but when looking at the growth of the beer industry in and around Pittsburgh, PA there are few quotes more fitting. With more than 35 breweries active or in plan-ning, variety is one spice that Pittsburgh won’t soon run short on. 2016 marked the largest number of breweries in the United States since Prohibition, with more than 4,150 active breweries, and Pittsburgh had its share. Pittsburgh is adding a new brew-ery open about every 1-2 months on aver-age, but there is just as much excitement in the 20+ breweries in and around the Pittsburgh area that have been in opera-tion for 2 or more years. These breweries helped to fuel Pittsburgh’s thirst for great beer, and helped quite a few people dis-cover the joy that is craft beer. See Pittsburgh p.4 complex that took up the majority of the land surrounding the current Penn Brewery. The original brewery even featured a com-plex of caves and tunnels that were used for beer storage and transportation in an age before refrigeration was common. Penn Brewery began producing beer in 1986, from 1986-1989 they were actu-ally known as The Allegheny Brewery and Pub, and their beer was contract brewed first at the Pittsburgh Brewing Company and later at the Jones Brewing Company. On-site brewing at the former Eberhardt and Ober facility began in 1989 on new, imported German brewing equipment. In 1994 the brewery underwent a small make-over, changing its name to the current Penn Brewery. See Penn Brewery continued p.12 Legacies Event Calendar ............................. 2 Beer & Health ................................... 9 Homebrew ...................................... 10 Beer Beacon ............................... 11 Map/Directory.........................18-23 Import Report .............................. 31 Jolly Giant Review...................... 33 INSIDE State by State News Pennsylvania . 12 Ohio ............... 13 Wisconsin ..... 14 N. Wisconsin . 15 Illinois ........... 16 Chicago ......... 16 New York ....... 24 Central NY ..... 26 Western NY ... 28 Minnesota ...... 30 Ontario .......... 32 Indiana .......... 34 Michigan ........ 36 SW Michigan . 36 SE Michigan .. 37
Pittsburgh's Brewing Renaissance
“Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor." - William Cowper
It’s rare that you find a quote from an 18th century English poet in an article about beer, but when looking at the growth of the beer industry in and around Pittsburgh, PA there are few quotes more fitting. With more than 35 breweries active or in planning, variety is one spice that Pittsburgh won’t soon run short on. 2016 marked the largest number of breweries in the United States since Prohibition, with more than 4,150 active breweries, and Pittsburgh had its share. Pittsburgh is adding a new brewery open about every 1-2 months on average, but there is just as much excitement in the 20+ breweries in and around the Pittsburgh area that have been in operation for 2 or more years. These breweries helped to fuel Pittsburgh’s thirst for great beer, and helped quite a few people discover the joy that is craft beer.
Breweries like East End Brewing Company in East Liberty and Penn Brewery on Pittsburgh’s North Side helped to establish Pittsburgh as a town that loves craft beer, with EEBC having been a part of the community for more than 10 years and Penn recently celebrating their 30th anniversary. Lawrenceville’s Church Brew Works has been serving beer in the most spectacular brewery/bar/restaurant in Pittsburgh since 1999. Without breweries like these, the new guys would have had a much tougher time opening their doors.
While the long-term breweries may have set the footing for craft brewing in Pittsburgh, it’s the more recent class of brewers that have helped to put Pittsburgh on the map for beer lovers across the country. In the past few years breweries like Brew Gentlemen in Braddock and Roundabout Brewery in Lawrenceville have helped to set the bar for craft beer in our area.
In the case of Roundabout, head brewer Steve Sloan took his extensive brewing history and skill and applied it to his own brewery, where he and his wife Dyana make beer that’s simply outstanding. While the guys behind Brew Gentlemen may be educated in fields other than brewing, they’ve grown their Braddock brewery into a world-class brewery that sees their limited beer releases form lines around the block on a regular basis.
Coming back to Lawrenceville, the number of breweries popping up in this hot Pittsburgh neighborhood is both surprising and exciting. Along with Roundabout, recent additions include Full Pint Brewing Co.’s Wild Side Pub and Hop Farm Brewing Co. Full Pint Brewing has a production brewery outside of the city, but their Wild Side Pub is a perfect fit in Lawrenceville. From limited releases to the beers we love, the combination of great food and amazing beer makes it a definite must-visit stop on any list. Hop Farm, as their name suggests, loves to feature ingredients and food grown locally, but head brewer Matt Gouwens is also becoming known for his penchant for weird and wild brewing that results in funky, sour, and barrel-aged surprises. His level of knowledge and willingness to experiment are giving Pittsburgh some truly amazing beers.
Another Pittsburgh neighborhood with multiple breweries is the small town of Millvale. Here, Draai Laag Brewing Co. Has been brewing their wild, funky, and sour beers for longer than many are aware, but in the past few years they have truly found their niche as local patrons look for more adventurous beers to try. Draai Laag focuses on wild fermentation techniques that yield beers that range from slightly tart to incredibly sour, as well as others that are less sour, but feature a depth of character that’s hard to find anywhere else in or around Pittsburgh.
Also in Millvale is the newer Grist House Craft Brewery. Owners/brewers Brian and Kyle are consistently “grinding out great beers” on their custom, stateof- the-art brewing system that’s visible from the pub. Their patio and outdoor area are just about perfect for warm weather drinking as well as their yearly Brewer’s Olympics for Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week.
Spoonwood Brewing Co. In Bethel Park has an expansive yet welcoming location that has food as creative and amazing as their beer. Head brewer Steve Ilnicki has given Spoonwood an impressive lineup of beers from day one and continues to be a top brewery in the area. Their Good Eye Sniper IPA is one of the best you’ll have in Pittsburgh, and the light-colored Cold Drip City Coffee blond ale is both unique for its color and impressive for its taste.
Mt. Lebanon and Homestead
Skipping over to Mt. Lebanon you’ll find Hitchhiker Brewing Co. And while their brew system and pub may be small, the quality of beers consistently being released is huge. The beer lineup here is always changing, so it’s definitely a location you want to visit often. While there, get your favorite beer in a crowler, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get one of their limited design cans to keep long after the beer inside is gone.
While Homestead may have been known for its steel mills, today the town is becoming better known for their beer. Voodoo Brewery recently opened a satellite location here in an old fire house, and just as with their home base, the beers here are hard to beat. Standard beers and their occasional barrel-aged offerings are available, with special releases coming from time to time.
Also in Homestead is Rock Bottom Brewery. Head brewer Meg Evans knows her beer, and when she’s not chasing her Boston Terrier Bruce Wayne or planning the next Brewtal Beerfest, she’s coming up with amazing beers on a consistent basis. With a few house standards on tap like Uppity Jagoff IPA, as well as one-offs and collaborations, Rock Bottom should be on any beer lover’s list of must-visit locations.
Of course you can’t forget the South Side’s Hofbräuhaus when talking about Pittsburgh breweries. While this location is sometimes seen as a chain that just sells beer brewed off-site, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Except for their Oktoberfest beer that’s brewed in Munich, every beer served at Hofbräuhaus is brewed on-site by a skilled brewhouse team. For a great German beer hall experience, this is a must visit location.
Rivertowne Brewing Co. Brews out of their Export, PA location and unlike some other larger production brewery locations, there is a brewpub here that’s pretty impressive. Along with the brewery, you’ll also find their Pour House in Monroeville as well as a location in the North Shore. From easy drinking beers like their RT Lager to barrel-aged masterpieces, this pro-canning brewery has something for everyone.
Heading outside Pittsburgh’s borders a little more than we already have you’ll find ShuBrew Handcrafted Ales in Zelienople, North Country Brewing Co. In Slippery Rock, and Helltown Brewing Co. In Mount Pleasant. ShuBrew may be a smaller location but their beer and food is something that has to be tried to be believed, and their trivia night is one of co-owner and head brewer Zach Shumaker’s favorite nights of the week. North Country’s brewpub is actually located in Slippery Rock’s original coroner’s office building, and while you wouldn’t know it from seeing the interior, the coroner’s office door remains as the entrance to the brewhouse. Helltown may be a bit of a drive for most of us, but their beer is worth the trip. Thankfully we’ll have a Helltown brewpub this summer in Pittsburgh to make it easier to get the beer we love.
Finally, Beaver County is starting to have their own showing of local breweries, spreading the craft beer love beyond the borders of the ‘burgh. Four Brothers Brewing in New Brighton, Beaver Brewing Co. In Beaver Falls, and Brixton Brewing Co. In Rochester are a great example of craft beer’s attraction far and wide.
Breweries we’ve grown to love are great, but the real excitement comes from newly-opened breweries. It’s the trill of tasting that beer that’s never been sold before— at least by you—and hopefully trying many more. Thankfully, Pittsburgh has its share of new breweries to keep the feeling alive for the foreseeable future.
Sharpsburg’s Dancing Gnome Brewery focuses on hop-forward beers and tends, although the occasional stout will find its way into the lineup. Allegheny City Brewing in the North Side reminds us of the city’s history while making great beer.Yellow Bridge Brewing Co.In Delmont is new but already making a name for themselves.Mindful Brewing Company just saw their grand opening in their prodigious new building, and Helicon Brewing Co.In Oakdale, while technically open for business, will have their grand opening very soon.Quinn Brewing is also making a name for themselves with consistently great beer, as is Couch Brewery in Larimer, where they are also known as a place that’s great for relaxing and chilling out.Insurrection AleWorks in Heidelberg continues to impress as well.
While not technically new, the guys at Aurochs Brewing Co. In Emsworth have finally eliminated the troubles plaguing the brewery since their opening, and after some hefty renovation and repair, they have had their doors open consistently to the glutenfree beer lovers in our area.
And that’s not all: 2017 is looking to be the biggest year for craft beer in Pittsburgh yet, and if the number of new breweries slated to open their doors this year holds up, the fun is just beginning.Coming breweries include:
Abjuration Brewing Co. (McKees Rocks)
Cobble Haus Brewery
Eleventh Hour Brewery (Lawrenceville)
Fury Brewing (Irwin)
Southern Tier Brewing Co. (North Shore)
War Streets Brewing Co. (Northside)
Spring Hill Brewing Co. (Northside) Trio Brewing Co. (Homestead)
With the breweries currently selling beer and those in planning, Pittsburgh should have 50+ breweries operating in and around the city by the end of 2017. While not as high as some other cities, this number is huge for a town that had a handful of craft breweries only a few years ago.
Pittsburgh is quickly becoming a mustvisit beer town, offering not only amazing beer and breweries, but a city that’s clean, friendly, and full of people that would love to tell anyone that will listen about how good craft beer is in Pittsburgh today.
Read the full article at http://glbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Pittsburgh%27s+Brewing+Renaissance/2752299/396737/article.html.
Well before the term “craft beer” was in the standard lexicon there were breweries producing outstanding beer with a focus on quality and family, even if they didn’t have a special term for it. Pittsburgh’s example of this is Penn Brewery, or as it’s officially known, The Pennsylvania Brewing Company.
Penn Brewery celebrated their 30th anniversary last year, and while the brewery went through a number of changes over the years, their current offerings are the best the North Side brewery has ever brewed.
While Penn Brewery opened their doors in 1986, their current building’s history goes back quite a bit farther—it is actually the original old stock house and office building of the Eberhardt and Ober Brewing Company. These buildings, built between 1879 and 1883, were part of a much larger complex that took up the majority of the land surrounding the current Penn Brewery.The original brewery even featured a complex of caves and tunnels that were used for beer storage and transportation in an age before refrigeration was common.
Penn Brewery began producing beer in 1986, from 1986- 1989 they were actually known as The Allegheny Brewery and Pub, and their beer was contract brewed first at the Pittsburgh Brewing Company and later at the Jones Brewing Company.On-site brewing at the former Eberhardt and Ober facility began in 1989 on new, imported German brewing equipment. In 1994 the brewery underwent a small makeover, changing its name to the current Penn Brewery.
Head Brewer Nick Rosich of Penn Brewery.
Penn went on as a family-owned business until 2003 when an investment firm purchased a controlling share of the business. This change dramatically impacted both the quality of the food and the beer as well as the community’s overall view of the business.In January of 2009 the brewery was closed by the investment company, and they laid off 8 of the 10 brewery employees.Brewing was outsourced to Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, PA. With quality and trust dwindling, the once-popular brewery tapered off until the closure of the restaurant in August of 2009.
In November of that same year a team of local investors decided enough was enough and purchased the brewery and restaurant with the intention of bringing brewing back to the location, and bringing back the quality that Penn was once known for.They achieved both.
Today, a new generation of brewers have taken the traditions of German brewing that gave Penn its life and so much more. Penn Brewery now produces nearly 10,000 barrels of beer each year, and unlike the beer world when Penn first came onto the scene, the idea of a variety of beers isn’t just novel, it’s the name of the game.
Penn Brewery is led by head brewer Nick Rosich, and the lineup of beers is better than ever. The year-round stands are all here, like Penn Pilsner, Dark, Gold, and Weizen, as well as newer year-round offerings like Kaiser Pils and IPA.
Beyond the standards are seasonal favorites like Oktoberfest, Chocolate Meltdown, Tangerine Swirl, Berliner Weiss, and St. Nicholas Bock. Thanks to a focus on quality and consistency, Penn has become a standard of Pittsburgh’s craft beer scene and is on every Pittsburgh craft beer fan’s to-do list for visitors and those new to the neighborhood.
Read the full article at http://glbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Penn+Brewery/2752366/396737/article.html.