While the festival had a very solid selection of craft beer from across the country, local Pittsburgh area breweries were the real stars at last weekend’s Pittsburgh Winter Beerfest.
With the festival held in the spacious David L. Lawrence Convention Center, you often had to search out the locals, whose taps were mixed in between the fancier tents and trailers of the New Belgiums, Deschutes, Uintas, Averys, Bells, and the like. But it was worth it.
Breweries from Pennsylvania accounted for about a quarter of all breweries in attendance. While local market sales reps staffed many tents of the big national/regional craft breweries, the actual brewers and brewery owners worked many of the local Pennsylvania brewery taps. That afforded festival attendees a special experience. You could actually talk to the folks who make the beer.
Finding all these local breweries in one place made walking around the football-field-sized floor of the convention center well with the effort. Even if you live in Pittsburgh proper, you probably don’t get out to all the Western PA breweries that poured at the festival.
The Pittsburgh region’s brewery scene has exploded over the past few years. It is now extending out from Allegheny County to other counties bordering West Virginia. Washington County today has at least four breweries. including one (Coal Tipple Brewing) no more than 10 minutes from downtown Weirton.
Breweries from the western half of PA at Beerfest
- 412 Brewery, Pittsburgh
- Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh
- Clarion River Brewing, Clarion
- Coal Tipple Brewery, Burgettstown
- Doc G’s Brewing, DuBois
- East End Brewing, Pittsburgh
- Full Pint Brewing, Pittsburgh
- Hofbräuhaus, Pittsburgh
- Helltown Brewing, Mount Pleasant
- Hop Farm Brewing, Lawrenceville
- Lavery Brewing, Erie
- North Country Brewing, Slippery Rock
- Rivertowne Brewing, Export
- Rooney’s Beer Company, Pittsburgh
- Rusty Rail Brewing, Pittsburgh
- Voodoo Brewing, Meadville
- War Streets Brewery, Pittsburgh
- Yellow Bridge Brewing, Delmont
- Artisanal Cider, Pittsburgh
Breweries from the eastern half of PA at Beerfest
- Bullfrog Brewery, Williamsport
- Evil Genius Brewing, West Grove
- Lancaster Brewing, Lancaster
- Neshaminy Creek Brewing, Croydon
- Straub Brewing, St. Marys
- Stoudts Brewing, Adamstown
- Spring House Brewing, Lancaster
- Sly Fox Brewing, Pottstown
- Troëgs Brewing, Hershey
- Victory Brewing, Downingtown
- Weyerbacher Brewing, Easton
- Yards Brewing, Philadelphia
- Yuengling Brewing, Pottstown
- Jacks Cider, Biglerville
Are you ready for a road trip
A weekend road trip to see Pittsburgh area breweries is easily done from anywhere in West Virginia. When you get to the city, stop in one of the local craft beer venues, such as The Beer Hive, Bocktown Beer & Grill, or D’s Sixpax & Dogz, and sample some local brews. Ask your bartender about the local breweries.
Also, the Pittsburgh Beerfest people do both a summer and a winter festival where you will discover a wide array of local beer. Make note of the ones you like, then venture out to visit their brewery taprooms.
Very few of these beers and breweries are available in West Virginia. The only way to try them is to get up to Pennsylvania. This northwestern end of our Appalachian region is producing some fantastic beers these days.