In Pittsburgh, beer season runs 365 days a year, but there’s something about the holidays that makes enjoying our region’s breweries even more special. And that won’t change just because it’s 2020.
Whether you’re looking for great seasonal offerings, easy to-go options, indoor/outdoor seating, home delivery or unique beers, Pittsburgh breweries have it covered – all while practicing proper social distancing and following the latest health and safety guidance.
Many of the nearly 40 breweries that call Allegheny County home offer winter or holiday seasonal beers. That includes two of Pittsburgh’s original craft breweries, Penn Brewery and East End Brewing Company.
Penn Brewery, which primarily features German-style beers at its historical North Side location, and has for more than 30 years now, releases its Nut Roll Ale each fall. This semi-sweet nut brown ale spiced with cinnamon and vanilla is sure to comfort you on a chilly night. Try it at the brewery or find it in many retail locations.
East End Brewing Company’s Snow Melt, a rich, roasty winter ale, is one of many styles the 16-year-old brewery located in the city’s East End offers. Order it or many of their other beers for pick-up or delivery online.
Couch Brewery will kick off the holiday season with “Black Aht 2020” – a weekend long festival event beginning Black Friday, November 27, that will feature 10 stouts on tap brewed by Couch Brewery.
Want a safe and savory dining experience or delicious take options with a wide array of beer options? In the heart of the city – in Pittsburgh’s Strip District – try the spent grain chicharrones while sipping on a crisp lager at Cinderlands Warehouse, a less than two-year-old brewery and restaurant that occupies an old Spaghetti Warehouse location.
You’ll also find two great options in Pittsburgh’s South Hills.
Order locally sourced food from the diverse menu at Mindful Brewing and quaff on ales or lagers from its expansive beer list. In warmer months, check out the spacious outdoor seating area they’ve fashioned right next to the Castle Shannon brewery. A short drive away sits Spoonwood Brewing, another family-friendly location with both indoor and outdoor seating.
With three rivers, dozens of bridges and miles of rolling hills, Pittsburgh is known for the diverse and welcoming neighborhoods as well as the surrounding boroughs. Many local breweries have made these special neighborhoods home.
Inner Groove in Verona – a town along the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs – has quickly parlayed its cozy location, wide range of beers and warm service to become a community staple. Try the Gingerbell Rock, a gingerbread cookie brown ale they brew each holiday season.
Not far away in McKees Rocks, Abjuration Brewing is putting its unique twist on traditional and newer style ales (the Strawberry Milkshake Ale is just one of many examples).
Of course, creativity and innovation are nothing new when it comes to beer in Pittsburgh.
Aurochs Brewing in Emsworth has been brewing only gluten free beers since its inception. The diligent approach it takes has paid off as Aurochs earned a gold medal in the gluten free category of the 2020 Great American Beer Festival, one of the largest beer competitions in the country.
If sours are more your thing, head north to Gibsonia and visit Strange Roots, which blends traditional farmhouse brewing methods with locally-driven experimentation.
For those looking to enjoy Pittsburgh’s breweries from the comfort of home, the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild, a collection of 35 breweries that call Allegheny County home, plans to offer a series of virtual tastings. Visit pittsburghbreweries.com or follow the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild to for details.
Of course, our region is also fortunate to attract breweries from other parts of state and country. Voodoo, a Meadville, Pa.-based brewery known for its barrel-aged stouts, operates a taproom at a former fire department in Homestead. And Sly Fox, an Eastern Pennsylvania-based brewery, opened a taproom downtown looking out into the entrance of Point State Park.
When it comes to breweries and the holiday season the options are nearly endless. So do yourself a favor and grab a beer in the ‘burgh.
Mike Tysarczyk is executive director of the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild, a group of 35 breweries that call Allegheny County home. In addition to his role with the PBG, Mike works the packaging line at Dancing Gnome Brewery in Sharpsburg. A Pittsburgh native, Mike graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and worked at PNC and Citizens for 23 years before trading banking for beer.