Food & Drink

The Two Breakout Breweries That Shined in Pittsburgh Beer This Year

Published On 11/07/2016 Published On 11/07/2016
Dancing Gnome
Courtesy of Dancing Gnome

Pittsburgh is in the midst of a craft brewing renaissance. What started as a handful of small breweries churning out hoppy and malty masterpieces has turned into dozens of great choices for a growler fill. This year, several new spots have opened their doors and their barrels to the masses of brew aficionados living within the three rivers. These are the newest spots that have opened this past year that you need to know about.

Laura Zorch/Thrillist

Dancing Gnome

Sharpsburg

Sharpsburg has a brewery. Repeat: Sharpsburg has a brewery. As of October 1st, the small Pittsburgh 'burb has a craft beer scene thanks to Dancing Gnome. Owner Andrew Witchey, a home brewer turned American Brewers Guild-trained pro, found a great spot in the community after expanding his search from the city. “The borough here was incredibly supportive,” says Andrew. “It was too perfect.”

The thoroughly modern and minimalist taproom space is as cool as it comes, with clean white-tiled walls and flat-screens broadcasting the tap list. Behind the taproom lies the 10-barrel system that readies the spot’s hoppy brews.

Though hop-forward the beers may be, they also tend toward a lower ABV -- nothing goes over 6.4%. The signature brew, if Andrew had to name one, is the Lustra American Pale Ale. But the taps here are always rotating with a mix of farmhouses, IPAs, coffee-smoked stouts, and more. There is a distinct citrus slant on most of the current brews on offer, which makes the pints here quite refreshing.

With lots of fresh taps, a cool space, and a constant stream of food trucks outside the front doors, Dancing Gnome is worth a stop in Sharpsburg after all.

And what about that name? “Dancing Gnome is the identity of the brewery. It aligns with my own personality: carefree and hardworking,” explains Andrew. “Plus, I’m kind of strange; we all are.”

Laura Zorch/Thrillist

Allegheny City Brewing

Deutschtown

“We wanted to give the neighborhood a place to get to know their neighbors,” says Al Grasso, who opened Allegheny City Brewing along with his partners, Matt and Amy Yurkovich. The welcoming space provides ample opportunities for community bonding over board games at shared tables, and a laid-back attitude that exudes a “stay-around-and-kick-it” vibe.

This small brewery and tasting room opened its doors on September 28th, but the team has been testing out recipes for over a decade with their home brewing operation. The trio found inspiration in beer from their time spent living in Colorado, backpacking in the mountains.

"We loved the vibe of small tap rooms in these mountain towns and talked a lot about opening up our own space,” Grasso reflected.

After moving back to their hometown of Pittsburgh about three years ago, Grasso and the Yurkoviches knew it was time to let their brews loose on beer-loving Pittsburghers and hopefully recreate the alluring atmosphere that inspired them to open a brewery in the first place.

Within only a few months, Allegheny City Brewing operates a seven-barrel system and produces a rotating tap list that allows the team to stretch those creative brew muscles they've refined over the last decade. Playful selections like a porter brewed with graham cracker and a stout with habanero is exemplary of this team's attitude -- they inject themselves into their craft. This is good -- no -- great beer. Go greet your neighbors over a pint.

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Laura Zorch (@lzorch) never likes to be sour, but also loves a good sour. See what she did there?

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Dancing Gnome Brewery , Fox Chapel, PA

Hop-forward craft beer gives drinkers (and gnomes, who are natural drinkers) reason to dance over to this Sharpsburg brewery. A taproom housed in the industrial space allows visitors to sample the beers, which are mostly made up of pale ales, from American to Farmhouse. Subway tiles back the bar in the industrial space with high-top tables where you can watch the brewing process through large windows that look into the production area.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Allegheny City Brewing Company 507 Foreland St., Pittsburgh, PA 15606

This neighborhood brewery in Deutschtown is titled after the old city name of North Pittsburgh, brewing craft beer for the community and serving it up in their adjacent taproom. The space has a rustic, barnyard feel where you can sip eight suds on tap from the 7-barrel fermenting facility, with headlining brews that could be grapefruit Imperial IPA one week and graham cracker-flavored porter the next.

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