I was sort of randomly asked to take a road trip to Pittsburgh with some of my buddies from Chillicothe. I don’t get to drink with them that often so when they asked me I was very excited to go. I had never been to Pittsburgh before and I have never really heard much about their beer scene. This was a good opportunity to hang out with them and check out some new beer. We made it to 5 different breweries on a Saturday and had a great time. Here’s the five we visited.
Our first stop was Necromancer Brewing. They’ve been open for just about a year. They don’t have a kitchen but the space features a patio and comfortable taproom. They had 5 beers on tap that day and we tried all 5. Pittsburgh breweries are not big on flights which was a major bummer for me so we started with the half pour options everywhere we went. Necromancer offers plenty of options in cans for takeout. After my visit I’d recommend the Common People pilsner and the Sunspot Wheat which is great in the sunshine. Also take into consideration the most unique beer I had while I was there, Parkour a 6.7% farmhouse. It’s floral and has some subtle lemony citrus notes with light caramel sweetness and spice character to it. The taplist wasn’t that extensive but what was there was really good.
I really liked the vibe of the place and the merch to go along with it. I’m a fan of the purple and black color scheme so I bought a hat to take home with me…. More on the hat at the end.
After looking up some reviews and their social media posts I put Dancing Gnome next on our list. It’s a short Uber from Necromancer. The place is pretty big and you’re almost surprised when you walk in. The first thing you see is a giant “On Tap” menu above the bar and the ordering stations right below it. To the right is the brewhouse and to the left the taproom and patio. The whole place has a very terrestrial vibe with all of the plants lining the walls and drooping down from the shelves. Outside was the patio and food truck, pulled up outside. With this place being as big as it was all of the space was needed. It was packed during our visit. We opted for standing outside around a bourbon barrel.
Again, Pittsburgh isn’t big on flights so we went with the small pours. I started off big here and went with the Double IPA Exquisite Beast. It checks in at 8.5% with a nice balance to start and a little hop bit to finish. The other beer that stood out was the BA Black Clouds, an 11% stout aged in Buffalo Trace barrels.
Hitchhiker Brewing had to be my favorite of the five places we visited. It’s an easy walk from Dancing Gnome, the space was big and open with a very rustic/industrial feel to it. It wouldn’t surprise me if you told me it was a functioning factory not that long ago. Around back they have a spacious patio and along with plenty of seating throughout the taproom.
The tap list was probably the most diverse out of the places we visited. IPA, porters, ESB, sour IPAs and more were all options. This brewery was also the only one that did flights. You could only do three at a time and not all of the beers were able to be put in a flight. The Subsurface fruited sour was probably my favorite beer here. It’s a 7% kettle sour conditioned on boysenberries. Also look out for Press Project: Smoothie Sour w/ Strawberry, Mango, Pineapple, Milk Sugar & Vanilla. Again 7% fruited to the core and delicious. You also can’t go wrong with the Double Bane of Existence. It’s Brewed with oats and wheat, hopped with Citra and Simcoe with notes of tropical fruits, stone fruit, and mango.
By this time our group was pretty hungry and luckily Bridge City Brinery was pulled up outside of Hitchhiker. I got the Fire Meat Fries(pictured above) featuring Bulgogi ribeye. Words can not describe how good this food was. Each of us got something different and none of us were disappointed.
Arsenal Cider House
Aresenal Cider House was a random stop. One of the guys with us has his own apiary (the honey is amazing) so when we saw this on the map we had to go try to a mead and cider. I noticed the pistol-like tap handles at the bar but didn’t really give them much thought but now I realize that this place had a theme, a Civil War theme, I wish I would have paid more attention to this because I would have loved it.
Everything inside reminded me of a log cabin and the ladies behind the bar were the best we experienced the entire day. I took it easy because the ABV’s here were crazy. I had Murray’s Mead at 9% it was sweet and delicious. Not to be outdone, Isabella’s Rose cider at 9.5% was more of the same. What stole the show for me was the mead infused soft-serve ice cream, talk about nectar of the gods.
We ended our journey at Slyfox Taphouse. Our only responsibility of the day was to get our friend to Slyfox at 5:45pm for a birthday party. We failed. It turns out that Slyfox now has two locations and at 5:40 we found ourselves at the newly opened Slyfox “pop-up” location. That required a tough phone call from my friend to his wife. I’ll take full responsibility for this miscommunication since I ordered the Uber. (Sorry Meghan)
Once we got to the Slyfox that we were supposed to be at, we had a blast. This more downtown location has an awesome patio, a smaller taproom, kitchen, full bar, and solid beer list. It has a very downtown vibe to it with its sleek design and wall of windows. In terms of beer, Alex’s Raspberry Lemon ale goes great on the patio on a warm night but maybe start off with a Pikeland Pils to get you started.
After a day of drinking it was very helpful that Slyfox had a kitchen. They have you covered with anything from pizza to sandwiches to pierogis to pretzel bites. I have to say the pizza was and pretzel bites hit the spot.
Remember the hat from Necromancer? It made it about 30 minutes before it became a barrel-aged hat.
Overall, we had a blast in Pittsburgh. We had the Bearcats and Bengals well represented within our group and listening to Steelers fans talk about how the NFL was out to get them was hilarious. The beers and breweries were solid just maybe add flights as a option going forward.