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Warm up with Pittsburgh's local craft brews
Winter is here, and with that colder weather and shortened daylight. If you’re looking for a warm and cozy outing this winter, you can’t beat a visit to one of Pittsburgh’s 50+ craft breweries. These spots feature much of what Pittsburgh is known for – friendly and welcoming faces with warm, relaxed atmospheres, with every visit an exciting chance to try something new!
Whether it's from their rotating tap lists often leveraging local ingredients from the region, new food trucks or ever-evolving menu from their scratch kitchens, here are a few of our favorite winter beers in the Burgh:
Located in the South Hills, Spoonwood Brewery is a large and friendly brewery that features some of the best beer and brick oven pizza in the Steel City. With a wide-ranging tap list, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Their large space is great for group gatherings, for beers or for dinner. In addition to their rotating tap list, they also have a fresh menu, often featuring dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Spoonwood offers fresh flavors and great pairings for every palate.
Winter Beer Recommendation: Whatta Goodboy spice ale, their winter warmer made with local wildflower honey, plum puree and cinnamon
Named Pennsylvania’s best craft brewery by Thrillist, Brew Gentlemen should be at the top of your list of breweries in the Burgh to check out. Brew Gentlemen prides itself on its mission of creating balanced, elegant beers with meaningful experiences. The brewery itself is housed in a renovated electric supply store that provides all the Pittsburgh industrial vibe with an updated twist.
Winter Beer Rec: The BG Pub Stout and Monongalator, a classic German-style doppelbock, will warm any winter chill in minutes.
Pro Tip: We know it's not a winter beer, but Brew Gentleman's flagship American IPA, General Braddock's, is a MUST-TRY here. It was named one of the 25 best beers of the decade!
With two locations in Mt. Lebanon and Sharpsburg, there are two opportunities to experience the magic that is Hitchhiker Brewing. And if you’re looking for the inside track, they feature an in-depth brewery tour at their Sharpsburg location, complete with a tasting, at their 15-barrel brewhouse.
Winter Beer Rec: My personal fave is their Implement of Destruction imperial stout full of dark chocolate and coffee flavors, but don't sleep on their Triple Thick chocolate and vanilla milkshake stout, either.
Cinderlands is a craft brewery + scratch kitchen that’s all about serving Pittsburgh classics, with an elevated twist. Cinderlands challenges patrons to expand their palettes and taste buds in a comfortable atmosphere.
The food at Cinderlands is as good as any restaurant in Pittsburgh, making this the perfect stop in the Strip for your dinner or late night plans. Their maple chili brussel sprouts, low country poutine smothered in sausage gravy and pickled peppers and smashed wagyu burgers are my go-tos.
Winter Beer Rec: Their new and improved 2022 version of Blazing Crude, a coffee milk stout with added citrus, is one of my favorite sips in the Burgh.
The Pittsburgh beer scene is so exciting because amazing new breweries seem to be popping up on every corner. Take Bonafide Beer Co. in the Strip District, which just opened! This spot is a winter warmer in all aspects, from the inviting dark wood interiors and leather couches to the extensive local whiskey selections and 13 taps and three side pours of great suds.
Winter Beer Rec: At a new brewery, I always like to start with the brewers' favorite, in this case their Bona Fide Kolsch, an extra crisp German style ale with a refreshing finish, poured DIRECTLY from the serving tanks.
Specializing in spontaneous fermentation, the tap list at Strange Roots is constantly changing, week over week. They’re passionate about sourcing unique ingredients from the environment around us, and feature beers that might surprise you. This used to me the best kept secret in Pittsburgh, but now the word is out and Strange Roots has locations in Millvale, Gibsonia and New Kensington (each with different dining options) as they continue to explode in popularity, and for good reason.
Winter Beer Rec: Their yearly The Ritual release, aged in honey bourbon casks and conditioned on pecans, dark maple syrup and vanilla beans, is a permanent winter fixture in my beer fridge.
Living the gluten-free lifestyle and still want to enjoy fantastic beer? Everything Aurochs Brewing Co. brews is naturally gluten-free and big on flavor, as this brewery brings home gold medals from the Great American Beer Festival. Trust me, give this to your friends and they'll never suspect they're drinking gluten-free beer.
Winter Beer Rec: Their year-round porter stacks up against anyone's best dark beer, and their spiced Christmas Ale is a holiday favorite.
Located in the heart of Lawrenceville, Eleventh Hour is a 20-barrel brew house that prides itself on focusing on making a variety of beers that appeal to everyone. One of the best things about a visit to Eleventh Hour is the laid-back atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re at a friend’s house for game night – complete with giant Jenga and board games found at the brewery to make it a reality!
Winter Beer Rec: The Lockdown Reserve, brewed just before lockdown and aged for two-years in their barrel room, will warm you to your core with dreamy chocolate, marshmallow, vanilla, oak and rye.
And speaking of pairings, we recommend reading Mike Tysarczyk's (exec director of the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild) blog next where he uncovers even more winter beers across the Burgh.