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Pittsburgh Area Brewpubs & Microbreweries

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Pittsburgh was a major brewing center prior to prohibition, but following the repeal of prohibition in 1933 the city never really returned to the craft. Home brewing became legal in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County in 1977 and brewpubs not until about 1989. Since then, a number of brewpubs and microbreweries have come and gone in Pittsburgh. There are, however, quite a few currently in operation where you can sit down and enjoy a good local brew.

1. Penn Brewery

Opened in 1989 as the Allegheny Brewery & Pub, the Penn Brewery in Pittsburgh's Troy Hill neighborhood on the North Side was the first brewpub to open in Pennsylvania. The beautiful brewing kettles made in Germany and assembled on-site by German craftsman are viewable from the restaurant through a glass wall. As you might expect from its German origins, Penn Brewery is known for its authentic German beers and also features a restaurant. The brewery almost closed down in 2009, but original owner Tom Pastorius and a small group of investors were able to reaquire the facility and resumed brewing on December 30, 2009.

2. Church Brew Works

This beautiful brewpub produces tasty microbrews in the beautifully restored former St. John the Baptist church. Stained glass windows and the brew house situated on what was once the altar offer a breathtaking backdrop for your meal. The award-winning beer, produced on the premises and available for take-out, generally includes ales, lagers and seasonal specialty beers.

3. East End Brewing Company

They bill themselves as the "MICRO-est microbrewery" in Pittsburgh, and they excel at just that. East End Brewing Company is a true microbrewery and not a brewpub - they don't serve up food or beer, instead they just focus on the brewing. East End microbrews are served up at establishments around Pittsburgh, and they also offer an insider's look at their "Growler Hours" with short tours and Growler jugs of beer available for takeout.

4. Pittsburgh Hofbräuhaus

Pennsylvania's first authentic Hofbräuhaus - modeled after the legendary 400+ year-old Hofbräuhaus in Munich, Germany - brews its beer on site and serves up excellent German fare to go with it. The Pittsburgh Hofbräuhaus located in Pittsburgh's South Side Works, features a traditional German Bier Hall and a festive riverfront Bier Garden among its dining areas. Beers include traditional German lagers, wheat beer, pilsners, bocks and doppelbocks.

5. Rivertowne Pour House

Brewers Andrew Maxwell from the closed John Harvard's Brew House and former head brewer Barrett Goddard from Johnstown Brewing, opened this brewpub in Monroeville in 2007. Rivertowne Pour House serves up a nice selection of ales, lagers and wheat beers, with about 18-20 house-made craft brews on tap. Their beer is also served up at Rivertowne Inn in Verona and Rivertowne Pub & Grill in North Huntingdon, as well as a new Rivertowne location set to open on the North Shore in Spring 2010.

6. Rock Bottom Brewery

Handcrafted beers, lagers and ales are the primary focus of this brewpub at the Waterfront in Homestead. This is a restaurant chain, but the beers are still brewed on site. English ale is the predominant focus, but they also make nice German and Continental beers.

7. Iron City Brewing Company

The only pre-prohibition brewery still in operation in the city, Iron City Brewing (1861) holds the distinction of being the first brewery in America to produce lager beer and is also known for its innovation of the"snap top" can (1962) and twist-off resealable bottle top (1963). Iron City Brewery was located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh until August 2009, but is currently producing its beer in the Latrobe facility once used to produce Rolling Rock. Among Pittsburghers, "Ahrn" is a tradition nearly as sacred as the Steelers.

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