MBDA’s 2012 Convention started with a daylong tour of craft breweries around the Pittsburgh area. Forty-four members of MBDA had the pleasure of being driven around town by driver supreme Dave, who while traversing Pittsburgh’s narrow, curving streets proclaimed that “he wasn’t a bus driver, but he had stayed at a Holiday Inn that night,” setting the tone for an enjoyable, interesting, and even suspenseful afternoon of brewery hopping.
Full Pint Brewery
First up was the Full Pint Brewery in North Versailles, where owner Sean McIntyre served up samples of the small brewer’s distinctive line of hand-brewed beers. Founded in 2009, the not-so fledgling brewery now offers 12 different brands or varieties of beer, each of which are made in small batches to preserve flavors. Full Pint’s hospitality was very warm and the touring distributors enjoyed the samples Sean served up in their new ‘tasting’ room.
Visit Full Pint Brewery at www.fullpintbrewing.com
Church Brew Works
MBDA members are obviously some of the most well-versed beer aficionados in the state, making for a tough crowd to impress when touring small breweries. Even the most jaded distributors were left slack-jawed and awed by the impressive and historic Church Brew Works in the city’s Lawrenceville neighborhood. Driver Dave circumvented the narrow, curving streets to deliver us at the front door of the former St. John’s the Baptist Catholic church, school and convent, which had to be desanctified by a Catholic Bishop before its conversion into a highly acclaimed brewpub.
Church Brew Works graciously provided lunch for the touring MBDA-ers with a delicious buffet repast. The distinctive restaurant is well known for its culinary offerings, with lunch and dinner served seven days a week. Saturday’s visit proved the popularity of the attraction as lines of diners waited outside in a steady downpour for seating.
Church Brew Works owners undertook a painstaking reproduction and rehabilitation of the long vacant site before opening to the public in 1996. The winner of numerous local, state and national architectural, redevelopment and brewing awards, most of Saturday’s tour attendees declared Church Brew Works the most amazing venue for a brewery they had ever seen. A must-see on your next visit to Pittsburgh – www.churchbrew.com
Penn Brewing Company
The final stop of the day was the historic Penn Brewing Company in the city’s Deutschtown (German) section. Housed at the site of the former E&O Brewery, the Penn Brewing Company first began operations at the site in 1986, and today has grown to become Pittsburgh’s largest hometown brewer.
Open for lunch and dinner Mondays through Saturdays, diners sit next to the glass-enclosed main brewing area amidst a beautifully restored 19th Century brewery. Recent excavations have uncovered an extensive cave network that was once used as a cold storage area for kegs by the former E&O Brewery.
Visit the Penn Brewing Company at www.pennbrew.com
MBDA-ers who participated in Saturday’s brewery tour are still raving about the hospitality of the hosting breweries, and encourage beer lovers throughout the state to take the time to visit these unique breweries the next time they’re in Pittsburgh.