Kyle Mientkiewicz and Brian Eaton, owners of Grist House Brewing, are hoping that there's no truth to the old meme about Pittsburghers not crossing a river for an evening out. "Millvale is really just seconds away from Lawrenceville," says Mientkiewicz.
The two began drawing up the plans for Grist House nearly four years ago, after spending years brewing beer and attending festivals together. Mientkiewicz says the two of them felt their homebrew was at least as good as was being offered at the festivals — and besides, "Neither of us wanted to be desk jockeys our whole lives."
They're still working their day jobs, but if the weeks since their brewery's May 24 opening are any indication, it might not be too long before they can live their dream. "So far we've been slamming through beer," says Mientkiewicz.
The four current offerings (American red ale, session pale ale, brown ale, American wheat with apricots) are all highly drinkable; the brown ale is especially delightful. More styles are on the way, too; the roasty dark rye IPA looks quite enticing.
Equally enticing is the space. The Grist House owners refurbished an old slaughterhouse — you can still see a meat hook on a line — into an inviting place to knock back a few with your friends.
The mellow, park-like beer garden cozies up to Girty's Run. On weekends, they'll break out the old cornhole, a band or two might play, and there will be a rotation of food trucks.
The brewers are currently selling pints and growlers only on site, but say they've been approached by a number of area bars. Once they settle into a steady production schedule, you can expect to see their beer on tap (with nifty tap designs by Red Star Ironworks) all around town.
If everything goes as planned, Mientkiewicz says, "We're going to need a lot more fermenters." And maybe a conversation with their current employers.