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Tapping Expertise at Full Pint 

Too many cooks may spoil the soup. But beer is another matter -- at least at Full Pint Brewing Co. in North Versailles.

"We have five brewers here with an enormous amount of experience," Mark Kegg, the aptly-named partner who handles the company's finances and lends a hand in the brewery. "It'd be really hard for these guys to make a bad beer."

Despite occasional arguments about hops and malts, Kegg says, his partners -- Sean Hallisey, Barrett Goddard, Andrew Maxwell and Sean McIntyre -- concoct recipes collectively, with 50 years of brewing experience between them (and some help from an apprentice).

Since Full Pint officially opened its two-room warehouse at 1963 Lincoln Highway last May, it's produced nine craft beers. The latest release is a mellow coffee porter, aged with Guatemalan coffee beans from Squirrel Hill's Commonplace Coffee Co. Playfully called "Perc E Bust," the new brew isn't as heavy-on-the-tongue or as acidic as many porters, and hints of chocolate and caramel compliment its smooth coffee base.

Look for the porter in bars throughout Pittsburgh, like South Side's Smoking Joe's or Fatheads, both of which regularly pour Full Pint products. Bottles of Perc E Bust won't be available until March, but the company has revamped its label for the beer, replacing its earlier nondescript labels with a design fashioned by a South Side tattoo artist. The "Full Pint" label will feature a busty cartoon female wearing a Bavarian dirndl and holding a steaming cup of coffee. (Get it?)

To sample Full Pint's product line, you can visit the brewery's new growler room, which is open Monday through Saturday, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Patrons can buy 64-ounce Full Pint growlers for $15 (cash only).

I recommend the popular holiday seasonal "Festivus." Spiced with vanilla, cinnamon and mace (which is made from the shell of a nutmeg seed), "Festivus" is a subtly sweet and light alternative to winter beers, which tend to be nutty and overpowering.

click to enlarge HEATHER MULL

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