Pittsburgh Brewing Scene Continues to Expand
Mar 30, 2019 11:18AM
By Kathleen Ganster
Dancing Gnome. Photo by Paul Sauers
In 2000, there were an estimated 1,566 breweries in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association. At the end of 2018, there were approximately 7,000.
Like the rest of the country, craft breweries have popped up everywhere in Pittsburgh, which now has more than 50 in the region. The North Hills has their share of the growing industry and while it is impossible to list all of them, here are a few bringing new jobs and visitors—along with some great beers—to the area.
Millvale boasts two of the “older” breweries including The Grist House Craft Brewery, which opened its doors in 2014 when best friends and brothers-in-law Kyle Mientkiewicz and Brian Eaton decided to move from home brewing to becoming brewery owners. Located along the creek, Grist House has an informal feel with a large outdoor space and is dog friendly—plus, on most days, there is a food truck outside. Grist House is located at 10 E. Sherman St. in Pittsburgh and recently announced that they would be opening a new location at the former Nike site in Collier Township. (www.gristhouse.com)
A few blocks away is Strange Roots Experimental Ales. Originally Draai Laag, the brewery opened in 2012 and featured sour beers, like those popular in Belgium. Last year, they changed their name and expanded their offerings. They also welcomed a satellite location in Gibsonia where most of their beer is now produced. The original location offers food made on-site while the Gibsonia location has limited hours with food trucks. The original location is at 501 E. Ohio St. in Millvale; the north location is located at 4399 Gibsonia Road, Gibsonia. (www.strangerootsbeer.com)
Nearby Sharpsburg is home to two other popular breweries, Dancing Gnome and Hitchhiker.
Dancing Gnome, the first brewery in Sharpsburg since Fort Pitt Brewing Company closed its doors in 1957, is known for its IPAs and hoppy beers. But don’t let that scare you away if that isn’t your brew choice. They offer a variety of other beers with a wealth of rotating food trucks right outside the front door. Guests can view the brewing machinery through the large windows adjacent to the bar. Dancing Gnome often sells out during can releases, so go early. Dancing Gnome is located at 925 Main Street, Sharpsburg. (www.dancinggnomebeer.com)
A few short blocks away, Hitchhiker Brewing Company opened their brewery and taproom in Sharpsburg in June 2017. The original location opened in 2014 in Mt. Lebanon and still serves as a pub with a small food menu. The Sharpsburg location at 1500 South Canal Street used to be home to the Fort Pitt Brewing Company and has ample space for large group gatherings—often there will be friends enjoying a brew while playing cards, a board game or just visiting. Brewery tours are offered ($25) on the first Saturday of each month. Hitchhiker has food trucks outside the brewery on a rotating basis. (www.hitchhiker.beer)
Aurochs Brewing Company features gluten-free beer, and you’ve got to try it to believe it. Partners Ryan Bove and Doug Foster both enjoyed good beer, but were gluten intolerant. Aurochs’ beer is brewed with various roasts of quinoa, malted millet and buckwheat. Stop by and try their session IPA and see if you can tell it is gluten-free! Aurochs hosts events at the tasting room including dinners and trivia night. Visit 8321 Ohio River Blvd. in Emsworth or www.aurochsbrewing.com.
Further up north, ShuBrew brewery and restaurant entered the scene in 2013 with their original location in Zelienople. They feature scratch-to-table seasonal foods along with great beer. ShuBrew prides itself on local partnerships, so in addition to serving food from local sources, it offers local wines, cider, mead and cocktails made from local spirits. Their taproom location opened in 2016 and has limited, seasonal hours with food trucks. ShuBrew is located at 210 S. Main Street in Zelienople; the taproom is located at 733 Spring St. in Harmony. (www.shubrew.com)
The new kid on the block, Stick City Brewing Company, is the first brewery in Mars. The Salkeld family opened the brewery in the former fire station and it is the first craft brewery in the state to join the 1% for the Planet Movement. What does that mean?
It’s all tied into the brewery’s name and mission, according to co-owner Nick Salkeld.
“The name celebrates the ‘sticks’ or ‘Stick City’—places out in the wild or rural areas of Pennsylvania,” he said. “However, the Stick City vibe extends out much further than that. It is anywhere wild and natural, a place where folks go to recharge away from the bustle of everyday life.”
Many of the beer names celebrate PA’s outdoors, and that is where the Planet Movement comes in: Stick City donates 1 percent of their gross sales to local environmental nonprofits.
“It is one way for us to help support protecting wild and natural areas,” said Salkeld. “1% for the Planet allows us to make a real commitment to doing just that—donating directly to nonprofits who work every day to protect the ‘sticks.’” Stick City is located at 109 Irvine Street, Mars. (https://stickcitybeer.com)
For general information about breweries and industry growth, visit https://www.brewersassociation.org.