Ale-American Summer

Iron City Brewing may have moved East, but these three city microbreweries are thriving in its wake.



Photos by Heather Mull

East End Brewing Company
East End Brewing Company’s mechanical-engineer-turned-brewer, Scott Smith, will tell you that the term “growler” was coined in the pre-Prohibition era when people would transport beer home in a metal pail. When the beer sloshed around on the journey, the escaping carbon dioxide would “growl” from underneath the lid.

Today, Smith’s version of the growler is a half-gallon glass jug that lets ale-enthusiasts take his fresh brews to-go. “We’re a microbrewery in every sense of the word, not a brew pub,” Smith says of his Homewood warehouse, which has no space for seating. That’s because nearly every square inch is used to house hardware, including a gas-fired, 10-barrel brewhouse system once owned by the defunct Foundry Ale Works in the Strip District.

You can find East End brews like the popular Smokestack Heritage Porter on tap at more than 100 bars around western PA, or you can stop by the brewery Tuesday through Saturday during “Growler Hours” (visit website for schedule) to fill up your very own reusable take-home jug ($3 for jug; $10-$13 for refill). And, no, that’s not the growler rumbling. It’s your stomach.
(6923 Susquehanna St., Homewood; eastendbrewing.com)

The Church Brew Works
With the FIFA World Cup Finals in full swing this month, why not enjoy a delicious World Cup-winning beer along with it? After all, you’re going to need something to savor while those gentlemen kick the ball to and fro and tumble around the “pitch” for two hours. If Slovenia versus Slovakia fails to enthrall you, head to The Church Brew Works for a glass of its Pious Monk Dunkel, a dark, mellow, German lager that won a bronze medal in the 2000 World Beer Cup. 

Housed in the cypress-paneled, stained-glassed confines of Lawrenceville’s old St. John the Baptist Church, built in 1902 and deconsecrated almost a century later, The Church Brew Works offers a rotating menu of internationally inspired ales delivered right to your pew (seriously).

Brewmaster Brant Dubovick is always making fresh batches in the steam-jacketed, stainless steel tanks of the towering brewhouse, which sits under the church’s original vaulted apse. Enjoy the summer specials, the Heavenly Hefe-Weizen (a German wheat beer) or the Coconut Stout in the outdoor Hop Garden.

(3525 Liberty Ave., Lawrenceville; churchbrew.com)

Penn Brewery
All of these generic, fratty commercials for watered-down corporate beers might make it seem like the industry is a “bros-only” affair, but two local female entrepreneurs are changing that perception. Last year, Penn Brewery—North Side’s venerable producer of Penn Pilsner and other Bavarian-style brews since 1986—was in serious trouble. Nearly a million dollars in debt and without its founder, Tom Pastorius, who had sold the brewery to new owners and subsequently been replaced, the Troy Hill institution was about to go under.

Then in stepped Linda Nyman and Sandy Cindrich, two hop-loving investors intent on returning the Penn Brewery to its former glory. The pair brought back barley-geek Pastorius as president and CEO, and together they reopened the brew pub’s restaurant with its German-style beer-hall tables and famed potato pancakes and even introduced a pale ale in addition to its traditional roster of malty, Munich-style dark lagers. Prost! (that’s German for cheers!).

(800 Vinial St., Troy Hill; pennbrew.com)

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Host an event in Pittsburgh’s urban sustainable homestead. Join a club for mushroom hunters. Tour a coal mine. Listen to some banjo music. We list our new favorite experiences, food, drink, personalities, stores, items and activities in the ’Burgh.
Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Fourteen years ago this month, the mighty Kinzua Viaduct met its match.
Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

The restaurant, run by Dinette’s Sonja J. Finn, boosts the dining experience at the Carnegie museums in Oakland.
Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

FASTER Pittsburghʼs Hip Hop Cardio promises to get your workout into a groove.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Marc-André Fleury Pens Loving Farewell Letter to Pittsburgh

Marc-André Fleury Pens Loving Farewell Letter to Pittsburgh

In a letter for The Players' Tribune, Fleury recounts his 14-year career as a Pittsburgh Penguin and the bittersweet weeks leading up to his departure to Las Vegas.
Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks 2017: When & Where to Watch Them

Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks 2017: When & Where to Watch Them

You can get your fill of fireworks throughout the long holiday weekend, if you know where and when to look.
See The Tiny House with Room to Grow

See The Tiny House with Room to Grow

The housing company Module, a Pittsburgh start-up, creates an alternative housing model that grows in size as you grow in income.
Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins Video Tribute to Marc-André Fleury

Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins Video Tribute to Marc-André Fleury

With a tear in our eye, we bid the “Flower” Au Revoir.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Host an event in Pittsburgh’s urban sustainable homestead. Join a club for mushroom hunters. Tour a coal mine. Listen to some banjo music. We list our new favorite experiences, food, drink, personalities, stores, items and activities in the ’Burgh.
Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Fourteen years ago this month, the mighty Kinzua Viaduct met its match.
Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

The restaurant, run by Dinette’s Sonja J. Finn, boosts the dining experience at the Carnegie museums in Oakland.
Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

FASTER Pittsburghʼs Hip Hop Cardio promises to get your workout into a groove.
Curling in Pittsburgh: ‘It's Basically Golf and Chess on Ice’

Curling in Pittsburgh: ‘It's Basically Golf and Chess on Ice’

On the eve of its largest annual event, the Pittsburgh Curling Club has plans to increase Pittsburgh’s appreciation for its intricate sport.
Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Marc-André Fleury Pens Loving Farewell Letter to Pittsburgh

Marc-André Fleury Pens Loving Farewell Letter to Pittsburgh

In a letter for The Players' Tribune, Fleury recounts his 14-year career as a Pittsburgh Penguin and the bittersweet weeks leading up to his departure to Las Vegas.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pusadee's Garden Will Close at End of Year (But Not Forever)

Pusadee's Garden Will Close at End of Year (But Not Forever)

Look for some big changes at the Upper Lawrenceville restaurant, which is expected to shutter for at least a year.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


High-Wire Acts at Carnegie Science Center

High-Wire Acts at Carnegie Science Center

The North Shore landmark's new ropes course is a draw for adults and youths alike.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pittsburgh Pirates Looking for Relief from Their Bullpen

Pittsburgh Pirates Looking for Relief from Their Bullpen

The just-completed, pivotal 10-game stretch began and ended the same way for the Pittsburgh Pirates –– with no one having an answer for the faltering bullpen.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

The Strip District-based woodworker's cutting boards can be custom made with the wood of your choice.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Buckle Up ... Again, as Cars 3 Hits Theaters

Buckle Up ... Again, as Cars 3 Hits Theaters

Reviews of "Cars 3" and "47 Meters Down," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Brewing Up Romance: A Couple Comes Together over Beer

Brewing Up Romance: A Couple Comes Together over Beer

See how this couple used their love of beer and breweries to create their special moments.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Blooming: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Hosts Town & Country Tour

Blooming: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Hosts Town & Country Tour

From a forest of Japanese maples to a rocky urban sanctuary, the annual tour covers 14 very different gardens across the East End.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Visit Thiel College for a Summer BBQ

Visit Thiel College for a Summer BBQ

On three days this summer, the college will host visit days for prospective students.

Comments

Edit Module