My visit to Church Brew Works was one of the culinary tourism features in my Destination Guide The Problem with Pittsburgh.
Nestled in Pittsburgh’s historic Lawrenceville neighbourhood, The Church Brew Works opened in 1996 as the first and only Brew Pub in America to be located in a historic church. Craft beer fans and Christian historians gather in the pubs holy dining room to indulge in a thirst quench and cheers to their own personal Pittsburgh pilgrimage.
Renovations to the 8,000 square foot former St. John the Baptist Church breathed new life into this turn-of-the-century architectural wonder. The refurbishment was so impressive that Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation bestowed an Award of Merit upon the Church Brew Works for its adaptive reuse of the space. The original Douglas Fir floors, stained glass windows and hand-painted cypress ceiling were all painstakingly renovated to showcase their original beauty. CBW has also been awarded “Best Large Brewpub in America” at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival, firmly planting itself in America’s brewers Hall of Fame.
The sanctuary of the church now resonates with the combination of aromas courtesy of a menu focussing on eclectic Americana cuisine and the sweet smell of wort emanating from a choir of steel brewing vessels. Year round beer fans have the opportunity to sample four signatures award winning brews – two ales and two lagers: Celestial Gold, Pipe Organ Pale Ale, Pious Monk Dunkel and Thunderhop IPA. During your visit be sure to inquire about what speciality brews are available as the CBW brewmaster offers a rotation of seasonal suds and authentic cask conditioned ales throughout the year.
While the pubs beer offering is clearly the biggest draw, casual fare coming out of the kitchen offers an opportunity to indulge in an essential snack. One expects pierogies to be on the menu, a tip of the hat to the city’s Polish immigrant heritage. The plump dumplings fried in onions and slathered in sour cream pair well with a bitter brew. A whimsical selection of pizza’s are perfect for sharing and crisped in the kitchens wood fired oven. The chefs signature Buffalo Meatloaf is one of the menus heartier dishes, served on creamy smoked gouda grits. The perfect comfort food should you wish to enjoy your own fine feast while slugging back a parade of sud-sloshed pints.
Special thanks to Visit Pittsburgh for hosting me as their guest. The Feast:
potato and cheese pierogies, sauteed onions, butter, sour cream
Wild Boar BBQ Pizza
pulled wild boar, pious monk dunkel bbq sauce, red onion, corn, mozzarella, provolone
Cinco Fromaggio Pizza
mozzarella, provolone, jack, feta, parmesan cheeses, olive oil, garlic, basil, toasted almonds