Beer in a Church? Yes Please!

I was in Pennsylvania for Labor Day weekend and my friend decided to show me some of the scenes of Pittsburgh. Having been there a few times I was skeptical he would show me anything new.  However, he told me that we were going to a bar in a church. I had never heard of such a bar so I was intrigued.  We had to make one stop for a Pittsburgh mainstay:

The original Primanti Bros sandwich shop.  If you haven’t heard of Primanti Bros, they have various sandwiches that come with coleslaw and fries.  The unusual aspect of these sandwiches is that the coleslaw and fries don’t come on the side; they are included in the sandwich.  I ordered a turkey and cheese and a beer, the selection was a list of all the horrible macro-brews.  I decided to go with a Yuengling; I was hoping that since it was local it would sneak in some more flavors since my last review, but it was just as it always is and probably always will be.

After dinner we headed out to the mysterious bar in a church.  We arrived and much to my surprise it was not only a bar in a church it was actually a brewery named The Church Brew Works.  Walking into the Brew Pub, which was in the main sanctuary, everything looked normal until taking a closer look.  The pews were replaced with tables and chairs with a bar along the side wall, while the alter had brewing equipment on display (sorry for the lack of pictures it was very dark in there and Mr. Grainy Cam was not cooperating).

We took a seat at the bar and I took a good look at the chalkboard beer list: the usual pilsners, ales, and stouts.  Then a beer caught my eye: Fresh Hop Harvest Ale (5.5%ABV).  The bartender took my order and smiled when I named that beer and said nice choice.  I knew I had made a good decision.

I received the beer and was surprised how dark it was, took a whiff and there was only a very slight hop smell.  At this point I thought that the bartender was being sarcastic when he said “nice choice.”  I took my first sip and I instantly knew there was no sarcasm from this bartender!  The beer was incredibly smooth with a very solid slightly bitter hop flavor and a nice finish.  I was expecting some malt flavors from the color, but none were present.  I was intrigued by this beer so I asked about the fresh hops, which were from New York and included as a part of the primary brewing/fermentation less than 24hrs from being picked.  There were also dry hops added in the secondary fermentation.  I would definitely recommend this beer and I liked it so much I bought a growler of it on the way out.  The best part was the price: just over $15 for a full growler including the growler!

My friends and I each tried some of their other beers:

Pious Monk Dunkel: looks and smells like a typical dunkel, but the flavors were mild and a bit watery.

A stout (sorry don’t remember the name): dark, slight coffee aroma and quite smooth with a hint of coffee; very solid stout.

Thunderhop IPA: light color, slightly cloudy, very smooth with a solid sweet hop flavor.  Awesome beer, but at the time of visit it was only in bottles.

Definitely visit The Church Brew Works if you are ever in Pittsburgh!

Thunderhop IPA

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