Industrial ‘Steel City’ is largest inland port, connecting Allegheny and Monongahela waterways with the Ohio River. Initially visited red brick macrobrew mainstay Pittsburgh Brewing Company (Iron City Beer/ I.C. Light) and vital microbrewery Pennsylvania Brewery, December ’03.

Adjacent to Pittsburgh Brewing in the Lawrenceville section was most intriguing THE CHURCH BREW WORKS. Converted from St. John’s Church to a detailed brewpub, The Church had unique altar vats, stain glass windows, Douglas fir floors, an outdoor rectory patio, and exemplary food.

Brews consumed on afternoon sojourn with family included maize-dried pumpernickel-spiced citric-soured barnyard-wafted Celestial Gold; perfumed hop-spiced caramel-malted citric-quince-embittered Pipe Organ Pale Ale; sedate pecan-buttered vanilla-chocolate-y chicory-dabbed Pious Monk Dunkel; bittersweet chocolate-almond-tinged dry body Bell Tower Brown Ale; and delicately lingering mocha-cocoa embittered Lawrenceville Pride.

During August ’06 revisit, ate onion soup and cod sandwich while quaffing off-dry sourdough-buttered banana-clove-tingled Heavenly Hefeweizen, lemony tart grassy-bottomed lightweight Belgian Half Wit, soft whiskey-fronted apple-fig acerbity English Old Ale, and dusky milk chocolate-y walnut-chestnut-centered oat-toasted malt-smoked Blast Furnace Stout.

Best bet: seasonal cask-conditioned Burly Friar Barleywine, with its solemn bruised cherry, overripe banana, pureed raisin, and pecan-butterscotch illusions gliding to surefire brandy-sherry finish.


At Thornburg Bridge, fine restaurant-brewery Sharp Edge had great Belgian draft selection, classy microbrews, and lavish imports. Got to try several Belgian Wits during December ’03 jaunt, but dinner was out of the question because it was so packed there was a two-hour wait. So I took family to nearby burger joint.