A few weeks ago, I took a little jaunt to Pittsburgh to hang out with friends and explore some of the local beer spots. Stop number one would beÂ The Church Brew Works. I have heard so much about this place from my friends in the area - largely due to their unique beer and ambiance. Needless to say, I was eager to check it out.Not always a brewery,Â The Church Brew WorksÂ was indeed a church at one point in its life. In 1902 the foundation was laid for the St. John the Baptist Church, which would have its ups and downs throughout the years (it was eventually put under an act of suppression by the Bishop of Pittsburgh). In 1996 St. John the Baptist would re-open its doors after a massive overhaul and become one of the most unique breweries in the country.
I don't know if this blasphemous, sacrilegious, or what, but I can get behind it. Please don't send me to hell (good luck with that one - ed).
Unlike your typical church. the main aisle at The Church Brew Works leads to all the brewing equipment. The mash tun, mill. and fermentation tanks are all in place of what used to be an altar.
Â I am used to seeing all this gear spread out throughout a warehouse of some sorts. It's impressive how they packed all of the brewing equipment in this tight little spot.
The Church Brew Works has won many awards for a variety of beers including their best seller, Pious Monk Dunkel.
After walking around snapping some pictures I decided to hit the bar and have a chat with Brewmaster Matt Monninger regarding the brewery and a few of their beers.
Very simple tap handles but they get the point across.
Matt immediately started pouring me samples as we chatted, starting me off with a Cask IPA which was brewed with licorice leaves growing in the brewery garden. I thought it was unique and enjoyable for a cask IPA but others seem to disagree, as Matt told me it was moving very slowly and they still had two firkins left to tap.
The second drink he poured me was their Pumpkin Stout which they brew every year in the fall. It was damn good and I can't believe I missed them serving it out of a big-ass pumpkin the night before.
After chatting with Matt for a bit I decided to crack open the beer menu. Inside were detailed descriptions off all the house beers. Some can be found on draft, while others are strictly bottled. I started out with the Pipe Organ Pale Ale and picked a six pack of the Thunderhop IPA which I will touch on later next week.
If you are a beer drinker in Pittsburgh or heading to the area, you owe it to yourself to check out The Church Brew Works. Good beer, great food, and an awesome atmosphere that is enjoyable for all.