I’m in Pittsburgh having flown there straight from Queens. The work is still flowing, but I find myself with an afternoon to myself in which I’m not so tired I can barely think. This is it! This is the day to get out to breweries. Talking to someone at the work site, I hear tell of a church that has been converted to a brewery. Sounds interesting. Then, I have a talk with an Uber driver about breweries in the area. He knows nothing about beer, and even less about why people would visit breweries. But, he’s heard of a brewery that was converted from a church. OK. Now I have to see this place. It becomes priority numero uno on brewery afternoon in Pittsburgh. From outside, you wouldn’t even know The Church Brew Works was a brewery without looking at the sign.
When I walk through the doors, I immediately remember architecture from all those times from my youth when I actually went to church.
Ahhhh, North East Church architecture. But, then I walked into the main part of the church. Holy made for a 360 camera Batman! So much to see here!
OK. I’m calling it. The Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh was specifically designed for 360 pictures. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
Wow! I couldn’t even sit down and get a beer at first. I had to walk all over this place and get pictures of every nook and cranny.
Ahhh, but you’re talking to me again as you’re reading. You’re saying “but, is there more to this place than just pictures?” Turns out there is. I just wanted to get the pictures out of the way first as the place was just so visually stunning and photogenic.
I sat down with one of the brewers (Brian) and had a really good discussion about the story behind the brewery. Of course, my first question had to be “Is the theme based on a highly religious background on the part of the owners?” Turns out it is not. The parish was going through a lot of movement and restructuring in the area and the building itself came up for sale. The owners saw the potential that lead me to walk all over taking pictures before I even sat down for a drink and they leaped at the opportunity. It really seemed to pay off. I highly recommend reading the history page of the breweries website as there was a lot of painstaking work that went into the specifics of how this place looks.
Brian also had some interesting perspectives on brewers. Specifically, he had an observation that many brewers seem to have one of two different training styles. Many brewers are artists at heart. Their training is in the art of brewing and they tend to focus on exploration of new and unique styles and flavors. Then there are the brewers that have a primarily engineering background (like Brian). They are often chemists at heart and like to focus on perfecting existing styles and flavors. Brian’s passion is in the flavor that water adds to beer. The flavor in water comes from stuff that isn’t H2O itself such as minerals. When he is home brewing in small batches he likes to start with distilled water and then create flavors of water that complement the style of beer he is brewing. Fascinating!
And, of course, I did manage to get a bottle while I was there. They had a fantastic Belgian Tripel.
If you are ever in Pittsburgh, you NEED to get to this place. It is quite an experience.