I’ve been watching a lot of Cheers lately. I’ve learned a few things in my hours of bingeing, like the fact that Ted Danson makes a martini suspiciously quickly and that 1980s studio audiences were extremely giggly. But mostly I’ve noticed that, although the series premiered more than three decades ago, the culture and importance of the neighborhood bar has hardly changed. Though there may be more screens and taps now, folks still need a place to unwind, shoot the breeze and meet new friends.
Allegheny City Brewing is Pittsburgh’s latest watering hole to provide just that. Al Grasso, Matt Yurkovich and Amy Yurkovich opened the brewery in the North Side’s Deutschtown section late last month. They dreamt up the idea when they were living in craft-beer-soaked Colorado. Like many homebrewers, they would kick around ideas about the spot they might someday open. But according to Grasso, it was Amy (Matt’s sister and Grasso’s significant other) who really lit the fire. “She said, ‘Do it or shut up,’” says Grasso, laughing. The three Pittsburgh natives moved back home and got to work.
Allegheny City Brewing is the result. The name references the North Side’s former identity as a sister city to Pittsburgh, which annexed it (despite protests by most Allegheny City residents) in 1907. The name recalls this interesting bit of history, but it also tags Allegheny City Brewing as a place that is very much by and for the North Side. “We want to be a neighborhood place,” explains Grasso. “Somewhere you can play games, listen to music and get to know your neighbors.”
The small space is divided into two sections. One side houses the seven-barrel brewhouse, where everything from refreshing sours to barrel-aged imperial stouts are born. “One great thing about being a smaller brewhouse, we can change things up all the time depending on what’s available,” notes Grasso. In a few weeks, for instance, they will debut a serviceberry sour, a beer made with fruit foraged earlier this year from Pittsburgh’s abundant serviceberry trees.
The other side is a cozy taproom filled with rustic wooden fixtures and nods to the neighborhood’s past, like an old Duquesne Light spool painted with the Allegheny City seal. Eight taps pour a mixture of rotating seasonals and flagships, which are still being determined (an imperial grapefruit IPA and a graham-cracker porter are early contenders). Beer is available in flights and full pours, or you can grab a growler to bring home. And though the brewery doesn’t serve food, you are welcome to bring your own or get a bite from the occasional visiting food truck.
A wise man once said, “Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.” I have a hunch that a cold beer from Allegheny City Brewing sure would help a lot.
507 Foreland St., North Side. 412-904-3732 or www.alleghenycitybrewing.com