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.
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.
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.
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.