I Traveled into Pittsburgh on highway 60 to 279 through the beautiful rolling hills of Pennsylvania and on to the center of town. I came to Liberty Avenue in the Oakland section of the city. Pittsburgh seemed like a ghost town on the weekend a great time to see the city without the traffic.
I arrived at the Church Brew Works Brewery, which is nestled in the historic neighborhood of Lawrenceville. The Church Brew Works brewpub is located in an old Catholic Church and school. The former St. John the Baptist church built in 1902 in the Northern Italian architectural style.
The Church Works Brewery is all red brick facade building with enormous solid wood doors that lead into the great expanse of the church the size and beauty of it awed me. There were the hand painted cypress beams on the vaulted ceiling and the intricate European-style stained glass windows that cast a beautiful celestial light to the place. The 30’ foot high pillars with massive arches lead you down the center isle to the altar where the 15 barrel brew system sat. (I almost got down on my knees and prayed, for beer that is.)
The brewery usually has 8 beers on tap, which include Celestial Gold a light lager beer for the masses. It has an alcohol content of 4.2% a.b.v. (Alcohol by Volume) and 18 IBUs (international Bittering Units). The Pious Monk Dunkel a Munich Dunkel style beer with a 5.2% a.b.v. and 18 IBUs. This beer was a fine example with a good maltiness and subdued hop bitterness and well balanced. The Vienna Lager was a light copper color with a nice dry finish 28 IBUs and 5.8% a.b.v. which is on the higher end of the style. The Bell Tower Brown Ale drawn from an English beer engine was awesome. It was a Southern English style brown ale with a 5% a.b.v. and 18 IBUs. The flavor had a great malty sweetness with hints of caramel nut. Thou there were two beers that impressed me the most the first beer the Toasted Oatmeal Stout that had a wonderful rich sweet roasty flavor, creamy mouth feel and a clean finish. The second beer an Old English Ale the first I had ever tasted at a brewpub, this beer was heaven, and it had a nice malty aroma with an intense malty flavor with hints of dried fruit at almost 8% a.b.v. and 45 IBUs it got my full attention.
Church brew works has won a number of award and medals from regional and national competitions and the Great American Beer Festival. The food was outstanding the service was great. The beers they served were all fine examples of their style.
In all Pittsburgh is a great beer destination with a number of great breweries. Located across the street from the Church Brew Works is The Old Pittsburgh Brewery where Iron City beer is brewed. At the Southside Works Market place along the river is the newer German Hofbräuhaus, where it is Oktoberfest every day. You can experience the true Oktoberfest adventure with Oompah bands, communal seating, classic German food and Hofbräuhaus beers from Hofbräu Original, Lager, Munich Dunkel, Hefe Weizen and seasonal beers. Across town is the famous Pennsylvania Brewing Company the first craft brewhouse in Pennsylvania from 1986. The brewery is on the site of the former Eberhardt and Ober Brewery founded in 1848. Penn Brewery also has a wide selection of great beers from Penn Pilsner, Penn Dark and St. Nicholas Bock.
I can go on forever with the Steel City’s breweries, beer and history, but that is for another story. If you happen to go and experience the great city of Pittsburgh and it breweries, guaranteed they will definitely quench that thirst for great beer. Prost!