From imperial stouts to hoppy IPAs, there’s no better way to kick back on the weekend than with a good brew. And when it comes to my hometown Pittsburgh? The brewery scene is one of the best in the region. Not just for the variety of unique flavors but the craftsmanship and passion behind the science of brewing. Sip on sweet Vienna-style lagers. Sample a flight of dark amber ales. Or, try a selection of pale ales and stouts.
If you’re looking for dynamite craft beer while visiting Pittsburgh, these ten craft breweries are my first-round draft picks.
1. Cinderlands Warehouse
If you’re looking for creativity, culture and banger beer, The Strip District in Pittsburgh is where it’s at. I always make it a point to visit Cinderlands on Smallman Street. It has the three things I am looking for: great food, beer made from locally sourced ingredients and a relaxed atmosphere. Housed in a warehouse-style building with red-brick walls and massive lagering tanks, Cinderlands is a great spot to hang out on the weekend.
I usually order the French Onion Dip served with malt vinegar chips and the smashed wagyu burger. Pair that with Cinderlands’ flagship beer, Squish, a hazy pale ale with hints of citrus, and you have a 10/10 experience.
2. Dancing Gnome Brewery
Dancing Gnome is a household name for us Pittsburghers and a must-try for any out-of-towners. As soon as you step into the Sharpsburg taproom, located on Main Street right next to the Allegheny River, you feel right at home thanks to the super friendly and welcoming staff.
I’ve been hard-pressed to find a more balanced and flavorful pale ale than DG’s flagship, Lustra. It’s an elegant cross between a hazy and American pale ale with floral aromas and citrus flavor. You’ll likely catch a food truck during your visit, too – Benvenuti’s Pizza Factory And Los Gallitos are two of my favorites.
3. Grist House Craft Brewery
Grist House in Millvale on East Sherman Street is the perfect mix of low-key and upbeat. With a roomy indoor space and plenty of outdoor seating, the brewery welcomes people (and their dogs) with friendly faces and a remarkable beer selection. It also hosts food trucks throughout the week for any hungry beer drinkers.
I enjoy hitting up this brewery in the summer with my friends for their pillow soft, mango-forward Hazedelic Juice Grenade or one of the brewery’s many Sour beer options like the Ruby Shaman with hints of lemon, lime and herbal berry tea.
4. Hitchhiker Brewing
Hitchhiker has been one of my go-to locations lately. Located just up the street from Dancing Gnome, it’s not uncommon for beer connoisseurs to bounce between these two Sharpsburg breweries. The Mt. Lebanon location is an excellent spot for suburban Pittsburgh locals, and the Sharpsburg taproom has everything you need for a day-long indulgence in some of the finest craft beer the city has to offer.
Hitchhiker’s flagship IPA Bane of Existence–with its gentle mouthfeel and passionfruit, mango, and stone fruit flavors–is a hit among anyone who drinks craft beer in Pittsburgh. Even better, each of Hitchhiker’s locations has snackable food options – try the local beer jerky or the Amish hard pretzels.
5. Eleventh Hour Brewing Co.
Eleventh Hour is seated in Lower Lawrenceville among a handful of other breweries. It’s just across the river from Grist House, and it’s a short walk from Cinderlands Foederhouse if you’re up for an afternoon of brewery hopping.
Eleventh Hour has a vast selection of different beer styles, including New England IPAs Robojack and New Cult, as well as Eleven Eleven, a light American lager with a crisp body and finish. For me, the best part is the curbside food trucks–shoutout to Alberta’s Pizza for its Jabroni pizza–and board games like Cards Against Humanity courtesy of the brewery.
6. Coven Brewing
The yeast experts at Coven Brewing are known for brewing up traditional and contemporary takes on farmhouse ales. The draft list always has a Saison or two on it, followed by an enticing list of modern beer styles. Another Lawrenceville spot, Coven Brewing, is located on the corner of 49th street in an unassuming building with rusted siding. If you’re having trouble finding it, look for a curbside food truck out front.
Beers like Swanky, a New England IPA, and Dramatic Escape, a Chai-flavored Saison, are among other rotating picks that never fail to please my buddies and me.
7. Arboretum Trail Brewing
Arboretum Trail Brewing started as two guys brewing beer in their garage. In 2022, the duo opened a tap room on Washington Boulevard in Larimer just outside of East Liberty. The taproom features a natural and earthy aesthetic, reflecting founder Ben Steffen’s love for the great outdoors. Even the name pay honors this avid outdoorsman’s passion and is an homage to the Pleasant Hills Arboretum, a forest of trees and shrubs that have remained untouched for centuries. I’ve never had a beer here that I didn’t like. The Perkules, a coffee porter, is a must-grab for me when I see it on shelves or on tap.
8. Hop Farm Brewing Company
Hop Farm Brewing Company is a Lawrenceville gem and an ideal drinking, eating, and overall hangout spot with its massive open dining area and cozy bar space near the main entrance. The welcoming staff and atmosphere complement its extensive portfolio of craft beers. The floral and hoppy Pittsburgh Pale Ale and King Lumi, an American IPA, are my top two choices.
The food is delectable, too. I’m typically a fan of weekly specials like the Cowboy Smash Burger or a mainstay Hot Sausage Hoagie.
9. The Church Brew Works
The craft beer served at the Church Brew Works is nothing short of heavenly. Located in what was once St. John’s the Baptist parish in Lower Lawrenceville, this brewery’s atmosphere is enhanced by the church’s stained-glass windows and historical architecture. The dining area is massive, housing tables, booths, and high tops.
Not to mention, the beer and food are great, too. Pious Monk Dunkel lager and Celestial Gold pilsner are two of the most popular with locals. The brewery also offers up a menu featuring German and Polish cuisine, such as pierogies and German chicken slaw.
10. Penn Brewery
Penn Brewery is Pittsburgh’s oldest and largest brewery on Vinial Street along the North Shore in Troy Hill. Originally opened in 1986, it’s one of the pioneering craft beer breweries in Pittsburgh. It hosts tours and live music with a German-style beer and food menu – we Pittsburghers love the wurst, schnitzel, pierogies, and goulash.
Penn Brewery’s most notable beer and prized possession, Penn Pilsner, is a Vienna lager full of malty caramel and toffee notes. Seasonals like Penn Oktoberfest make their way into the taps on-location throughout the year.