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Pittsburgh PA

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:22 pm
by hopdevil
I spent a week in Pittsburgh; saw Crosby, Malkin & the Penguins 3 times.
Now, have just returned from seeing the Leafs beat the Penguins and Steelers beat the Ravens.
If you like Buffalo, you'll love Pittsburgh.

In the Southside Flats:
Fat Heads: 40 taps and amazing food.
Smokin' Joe's: 60 taps
Piper's Pub: 10 - 12 taps and great food

Mad Mex: a Tex-Mex chain featuring a dozen micros on tap
Sharp Edge (2 of them ) : 15-20 Belgians on tap + some American micros
Bocktown Beer & Grille: towards the airport ( 12 -15 taps )
Church Brew Works: Brew Pub in a church

A big thing there is mix-and-match 6 packs ( and Bombers ) to go.
All of the bars have a good selection ( Joe's & Bocktown in particular )
D's Six Pax & Dogs and 3 Sons Suds & Dogs have a monstrous selection of bottles.
You pay a little more to buy singles, but it's still reasonable.

On the way home, I stopped at perhaps the best-looking Brew Pub ever, North Country Brewing, in Slippery Rock, PA.
13 brews on tap, and the place is all hand-carved wood.
Also stopped at Southern Tier, good prices on bombers.

All in all, a great week for both beer and hockey

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:09 pm
by cratez
Digging up an old thread here as I'll be heading to Pittsburgh for 5 days leading into the Civic Holiday weekend. Judging by BA and RB scores, it looks like hopdevil's list of top spots still applies, but I'm just wondering if anyone's been to the city in the last 3 years and - if so - whether you encountered any new, worthwhile bars on your trip. As always, your help is greatly appreciated! Cheers

Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:24 am
by sprague11
Looks like I'm heading down in November. Anybody recommend anywhere decent to get bottles?

Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:05 pm
by rudolf
sprague11 wrote:Looks like I'm heading down in November. Anybody recommend anywhere decent to get bottles?


Just came back from Pittsburgh two days ago.

House of 1000 beers had the best selection, but was a bit far out. D's had the second best selection I saw.

Fatheads has a small retail store upstairs that sells their own bottles & a handful of other things.

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:32 pm
by cratez
sprague11 wrote: Anybody recommend anywhere decent to get bottles?


rudolf wrote: House of 1000 beers had the best selection, but was a bit far out.


Yeah when we met up with some local BAs 1000 was the bottle shop that they recommended to us, but unfortunately it was closed on the day that we visited so we ended up going elsewhere. Looks like it's open 7 days a week now so hours shouldn't be a problem. If you're driving it's not much of a detour on the way back to Ontario; in relation to the airport it is indeed out of the way.

Posted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:15 pm
by Cass
Impromptu trip to Pittsburgh this weekend.

A really nice place, a much more picturesque city than its reputation would suggest. Went to the main spots mentioned here - Fat Heads, Pipers, Smokin Joes and Church Brew.

Fat Heads is excellent, great beers and food and a lively atmosphere. Church Brew is quite jaw-dropping, literally being a brewpub in a church. Pipers was nice, a standard pub and I found Smokin Joes to be a bit on the grimy side.

Also went to the downtown Sharp Edge which is definitely the best spot in the immediate hotel district.

There's a lot of interesting things to do in and around town, and bars having beers to go makes it pretty easy to pick up something when you're out and about.

Certainly worth consideration for a short haul driving trip. If anyone is a fan of architecture this is a great spot, with many historic buildings still surviving, along with all the bridges and of course Fallingwater not that far away.

Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:33 pm
by cratez
Cass wrote:Impromptu trip to Pittsburgh this weekend.

A really nice place, a much more picturesque city than its reputation would suggest. Went to the main spots mentioned here - Fat Heads, Pipers, Smokin Joes and Church Brew.

Fat Heads is excellent, great beers and food and a lively atmosphere. Church Brew is quite jaw-dropping, literally being a brewpub in a church. Pipers was nice, a standard pub and I found Smokin Joes to be a bit on the grimy side.

Also went to the downtown Sharp Edge which is definitely the best spot in the immediate hotel district.

There's a lot of interesting things to do in and around town, and bars having beers to go makes it pretty easy to pick up something when you're out and about.

Certainly worth consideration for a short haul driving trip. If anyone is a fan of architecture this is a great spot, with many historic buildings still surviving, along with all the bridges and of course Fallingwater not that far away.


Definitely agree with your comments regarding the scenery, architecture, and things to do, but I had different experiences at some of the bars you mentioned.

I thought Piper's was quite a bit better than standard as they had some of the best beers that I sampled in Pittsburgh along with really good food, friendly servers, and an awesome, low-key atmosphere. If it was my local, I'd be there three times a week. No doubt that Smokin' Joes is a little rough around the edges as it's basically a pool and sports bar with great beer, but the tap selection was incredible when we visited. Any place that has Sculpin IPA, Smuttynose Wheat Wine, Deviant Dale's, and a Terrapin one-off on draught at the same time gets high marks from me. Also, my girlfriend felt more comfortable there than, say, The Rhino.

The downtown Sharp Edge has a solid Belgian lineup and decent food, however our server was seriously lacking – he complained when we left a 15% tip, and said we must've been confused since we're Canadian – and we found it to be expensive even by T.O. standards ($8-9 and up for certain pints). By comparison the Creekhouse location was equally pricey but the service, selection, and vibe were much better.

Anyway, none of this negates what you've said, I just think that Piper's and Joes are right up there with Fat Head's as must-visit destinations, and we personally enjoyed the Creekhouse a lot more than the Bistro on Penn. But if your time is limited, you're staying downtown, and you don't want to cab anywhere, Sharp Edge is indeed the only walkable beer option.

Re: Pittsburgh PA

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 3:30 pm
by DeMarco
I'm driving to Pitts soon and was wondering if there are any breweries to check out on the drive, or any good stores. I was there earlier this year for a flight/hockey game and only had the ability to check out whole foods and fat head.

Re: Pittsburgh PA

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 3:53 pm
by Kish84
A little south of Erie is Meadville where Voodoo Brewing is.

Re: Pittsburgh PA

Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:32 pm
by sprague11
Some of Lavery's stuff in Erie is pretty decent.

Re: Pittsburgh PA

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:52 pm
by Coronaeus
If not worth a visit, Draai Laag has some interesting sours. Hit or miss for sure, but if you are lucky enough to find a Red, Blue or Black Briar (or set up a trade with a local through BA as I did) you will not be disappointed. I enjoyed Fat Heads. Church Brew works has a nice location, but middling beer.

It was pretty easy setting up trades in Pittsburgh for good limited release locals for Bellwoods stuff and assorted local IPAs. By and large I had good feedback from people of stuff like Headstock and Lone Pine and Thrust.

Re: Pittsburgh PA

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:41 pm
by DeMarco
Coronaeus wrote:If not worth a visit, Draai Laag has some interesting sours. Hit or miss for sure, but if you are lucky enough to find a Red, Blue or Black Briar (or set up a trade with a local through BA as I did) you will not be disappointed. I enjoyed Fat Heads. Church Brew works has a nice location, but middling beer.

It was pretty easy setting up trades in Pittsburgh for good limited release locals for Bellwoods stuff and assorted local IPAs. By and large I had good feedback from people of stuff like Headstock and Lone Pine and Thrust.


Thanks for the heads up! What are the details for Canadians bringing beer into the US? I actually haven't done that before.

Re: Pittsburgh PA

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:50 pm
by TheSevenDuffs
DeMarco wrote:
Coronaeus wrote:If not worth a visit, Draai Laag has some interesting sours. Hit or miss for sure, but if you are lucky enough to find a Red, Blue or Black Briar (or set up a trade with a local through BA as I did) you will not be disappointed. I enjoyed Fat Heads. Church Brew works has a nice location, but middling beer.

It was pretty easy setting up trades in Pittsburgh for good limited release locals for Bellwoods stuff and assorted local IPAs. By and large I had good feedback from people of stuff like Headstock and Lone Pine and Thrust.


Thanks for the heads up! What are the details for Canadians bringing beer into the US? I actually haven't done that before.

They generally don't care. They might if you had 3-4 cases but won't mind about personal amounts. I have also read that if they do charge duty on beer coming in to the US, it is very low - like $3-4 a case low.

Re: Pittsburgh PA

Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:39 am
by Coronaeus
I don't remember ever being asked about alcohol when crossing into the US border. The few times I have set up IP trades down there I have only brought down 5 or 6 bottles at most though. I think I brought down a couple Motley Crus, a couple Hellwoods and one each of Thrust, Headstock and Lone Pine. That turned into one each of the Briars from Draai Laag, 2 Blushing Monks, and a 2013 East End Gratitude.

Also, while I never made it to the place, the locals I met down there recommended Roundabout Brewery.

One of the guys I set up a trade with when i was down there in April was the Beer manager at the Whole Foods in Wexford. They had a decent selection of stuff from places like Voodoo, Fat Heads, Draai Laag, Weyerbacher, Victory, etc. I was there a couple weeks after the first release of Sunday Morning Stout and there was still lots on the shelves.

By all accounts, the best option for buying bottles to bring home would be a trip over to Boardman, Ohio to Vintage Estate Wine and Beer. The locals I met in Pittsburgh said it easily beats any of the stores in the city. I think it is about an hour west and a little north of Pittsburgh. I wasn't able to make it, but the photos on their website are a little drool inducing.

Re: Pittsburgh PA

Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:09 am
by TheSevenDuffs
Coronaeus wrote:
By all accounts, the best option for buying bottles to bring home would be a trip over to Boardman, Ohio to Vintage Estate Wine and Beer. The locals I met in Pittsburgh said it easily beats any of the stores in the city. I think it is about an hour west and a little north of Pittsburgh.
I diverted my route to hit this store on a trip to State College, PA a few years back. It is a fantastic store. I recall it being a 40-45 minute (each way) diversion of my route and well worth it. At the time, I went there to get a case of Hopslam (before it was distributed to NY). It was well worth it.