Debbie's and my latest overnight getaway was down to Pittsburgh, Pa to check out as many breweries/brewpubs as possible in a 24 hr period. After some research on the web we thought we knew what we were doing and where we were going...
Our first stop was planned to be the South Hills Brewing Supply Store to check the place out and possibly grab some leaf hops I was after (which they didn't have). We arrived only to find out that they are not open on Mondays which I neglected to notice on their website. Whoops. So after driving 30 minutes out of our way we went right to our next stop on the list to visit Rivertowne Pourhouse.
We were starving and very excited to try some (or all) of their 18 beers they make on-site. Right when we walked in you can see all of the mugs from the mug club and some of the fermenters they have on display. We were lucky enough to sit down at the bar next to Andrew, one of the two head brewers. He was very nice and gave us lots of samples of some of his favorite and not-so-favorite beers.
After trying probably 15 of their beers including one that is made with a ton of pineapple he gave us a tour of his operations there. They brew on a 15bbl system they acquired from Chicago and brew a wide variety of ales and lagers. Andrew then wrote us out a map of where he thought we should go try some beers. The first stop was Full Pint Brewery which is only a production brewery, not a pub. Even though the growler hours were not going to work for us he said to knock on the door, drop his name, and we were sure to get a tour and some free pints.
After getting lost we pulled into what was a cluster of warehouses one which had the small sign we were looking for. We knocked with no answer and decided to just walk right in. Sure enough someone was in there and once we explained who we were and that Andrew sent us, we were good to go since Andrew is part owner. Mark was nice enough to let us try as much of the beer as we wanted. We also got tastes of all the beers in the fermentors, one being an imperial IPA that is sure to turn out great. We left Full Pint with a variety case of the beers they make and then we were on our way to find the hotel...in rush hour.
After composing ourselves from a day full of craft beers our plan was to go have dinner at Church Brew Works which once again was closed on Mondays in January and the first week of February. We ended up at Penn Brewery which is a production brewery. The theme was very German and kind of a cool set-up...which is about all they have going for them. They didn't even have a beer list and the socially awkward server couldn't tell us about any of the expensive samples we were trying. The only beer that I might consider drinking a second time was the Rye IPA. As for the food it was almost inedible. I left there still hungry and very unsatisfied.
Before we hit the road in the morning we made our way back to Church Brew Works. As soon as we pulled in we were super excited. It is a catholic church built in 1902 or 1903 turned brewery a few years ago. The food was awesome and the beers were great too. They are continuously switching up what they have on tap and also have some specialty beers in 750ml bottles to take with you. A must see if you're in Pitt. Pa.
Overall it was a good getaway despite a few hiccups. What is your favorite brewery/brewpub? What city's do you recommend checking out with a decent population of good craft beers?