Behind the Scenes at Pittsburgh’s Newest Microbrewery

Full Pint’s brewery and bottle shop in North Versailles is kicking out beer that’s just like the owners – full of character.

On a frigid February afternoon in 2010, four brewers gathered at a warehouse in North Versailles and began thinking about beer. A balanced, agreeable beer, mainly—a beer that just about anyone could drink and enjoy, but with more character than a run-of-the-mill brew.

After each brewer developed a recipe, they compared their notes, tweaked the formulas, argued, and petitioned for this or that ingredient. After a consensus had been reached, they began brewing. The result was All In Amber, the first creation from Full Pint Brewing. It matches their intentions perfectly—it’s a balanced, crisp offering that boasts a ton of character without being overpowering. Like all the beer at Full Pint, it’s a labor of love, and it shows.

“They just want to make good beer,” says aptly named co-owner Mark Kegg, who handles the business side of Full Pint’s operations (but, of course, knows how to brew as well.) Three of his four co-owners—Sean McIntyre, Sean Hallisey, and Barrett Goddard—worked at the now-defunct brew pub John Harvard’s in Monroeville, and all shared a passion for brewing.

Mark knew the four from the John Harvard’s days as well, but, he says, “I met them from the other side of the bar.”

Today, they are owners and sole employees of Full Pint, which operates as a brewery and bottle shop entirely under their labor (with help from a stable of eager volunteers.) Brewing and distributing the young brand’s nine beers is the main operation of the small business, but a bar was installed in November to sell six-packs, growlers, cases, and kegs.

Full Pint’s six bottled offerings are distributed around the Western Pennsylvania area, and 150 taps in the Pittsburgh area offer their beers on draft. They recently expanded into Erie, and are now in the process of stretching as far east as State College.

Not bad for a first year of business.

They’ll begin serving food at the Brewery in July, a step that will legally allow them to sell pints over-the-counter. And when that happens, the Full Pint Brewery will instantly become one of the best bars for miles, and one of the most relaxing anywhere. Park out front, wander through the garage door that fronts the brewery, order some food and a pint, and sit down with the night air floating in, gazing out over North Versailles. It feels like a graduation party, or a particularly good cookout. Plus, you actually get to talk to the guys who made the beer you’re drinking.

Food will vary night-by-night based on which of the owners is there and what they like to make, and there will be some pretty unique (and tasty) offerings from time to time. But the main event is the beer, and every Full Pint brew is worth a try. White Lightning, another signature offering, is a remarkably refreshing Belgian-style white. Chinookie I.P.A. will please hop fans with a bold taste and a lot of subtle flavors, and those that like their beers a bit more extreme can kick it up to the intense TRI-PA. Come winter, you can sample the overwhelmingly popular Festivus red ale.

There’s also the crisp Rumpelpilsen Pilsner, a great choice any time of year. And if you look at the bottle carefully, you might recognize the merry elf-like figure on the label. In fact, he may have poured your drink for you.

Fifth co-owner Jake Kristophel, besides being the model for Rumpelpilsen, does the actual brewing for most of Full Pint’s offerings. He trained under fellow co-owner Sean McIntyre, who’s still the Brewmaster at the fabulous North Country Brewing Company in Slippery Rock, and, at age 24, is the youngest of the Full Pint fraternity.

“We make good beer,” he humbly says. “I love my job.” Jake has experienced the brew pub lifestyle at North Country, and wouldn’t at all mind having a restaurant with the Full Pint name on it. But for now, he says, he’s happy with an increasingly popular brewery and a small bar where he can pour Full Pint’s creations into the waiting mugs of loyal customers.

“I just wanted to do something simple,” he says. “My main focus is on the beer.”

(1963 Lincoln Highway, North Versailles; 412/467-6414, fullpintbrewing.com)

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Commuting Toll: How Much Do We Waste Stuck in Traffic?

Commuting Toll: How Much Do We Waste Stuck in Traffic?

Pittsburgh gridlock not only frays nerves — it dings the wallet.
Breeding Success: Alpaca Farming is Booming in Western Pa.

Breeding Success: Alpaca Farming is Booming in Western Pa.

Our rolling hills are good for more than vegetable gardens and chicken coops. Dozens of alpaca farms are located in the region.
Head North to Find the Comfiest Place in the Pittsburgh Area

Head North to Find the Comfiest Place in the Pittsburgh Area

Cranberry Township was the only western Pa. area mentioned in a nationwide list of most comfortable cities.
'We Are Family Matters' Pirates Mashup is Brilliant

'We Are Family Matters' Pirates Mashup is Brilliant

Pittsburgh viral video genius Benstonium creates another winner.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
 A Sign That This Time, It's Good to Part with the Past

A Sign That This Time, It's Good to Part with the Past

Pitt Girl explains her change of heart on what should be done with the large, decaying billboard on Mount Washington.
Oh, the Humanities - Can They be Saved?

Oh, the Humanities - Can They be Saved?

Locally and nationally, college and university students are flocking to programs they perceive to be pathways to jobs while they forego studies of languages, history, art and philosophy. But at what cost?
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module