Hey guys! As you know, Holly and I spent the Labor Day Weekend in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and of course had a great time (I mean, duh, when do we not??). We’ve been talking about making this trip for a while now, and finally just bit the bullet and made some plans! My in-laws live 20 minutes outside of downtown Pittsburgh as do two of our good friends – so it was a no-brainer for us to stay with each of them, respectively. And of course the grandparents had no issue keeping my kids for the day while we enjoyed some grown up time.
We left late Friday afternoon and stopped at a local Mexican joint El Reparo before making the 5 1/2 hour drive. A few pee breaks and a Starbucks run and we made it to our respective destinations! We crashed for the night seeing as we had a pretty long day planned. Our overall plans were to hit up a few breweries and end up at the Pirates game later that night. Holly and I have made many trips together and we tend to thrive by not having set deadlines to get to places.
Stop #1 – Mindful Brewing
My first impression was, I LOVE THE RED LETTERING. I’m really into that esthetic so I immediately knew this would be a place we would enjoy. The interior was filled with white subway tile, rustic wood and black structural accents. Definitely a vibe we appreciate. They offered three different ways to enjoy their brewery: the Restaurant, the Bottle Shop, and the Brewery. We chose to sit in the Brewery section, and since we got there right when they opened – we had great seats! The restaurant is a great option for families or patrons who enjoy sitting away from the bar. The Bottle Shop was located on the perimeter of the brewery, and offered over 1,000 different bottled beers which allowed you to create your own six-pack. We definitely would’ve taken advantage of this if we weren’t going to be away from a place to store them all day. We grabbed a light lunch while we there, I got a fancy grilled cheese and Holly ordered pirogi’s – both were really good! Our waitress / bartender was super knowledgeable about their brewed beers as well as others they offered on tap and we were able to try about ten different beers while we were there. Our strategy was to each order different things and passed them around to try.
Overall Rating – Would definitely recommend and revisit.
Stop #2 – Hitchhiker Brewing Co.
By recommendation of our bartender from Mindful (and our friends had also enjoyed previously) we decided to make the 1 1/2 mile hike to Hitchhiker Brewing Co. This was nestled in a quaint neighborhood about five miles south of downtown Pittsburgh, and the brewery itself was also very quaint. When we arrived there was only one other customer, but that didn’t deter us from marching in and seeing what they offered. Their beer menu was carefully drawn on their large chalkboard wall, which was also lined with rustic wood and industrial black piping. Again, just the kind of atmosphere we love to engulf ourselves in. We picked a few flights of beer to try and enjoyed them on the outside patio. We were a little hot from the hike over, so it was nice to sit in the cool air while enjoying our beers. They even had a large selection of board and card games to use while hanging out, if you so desired.
Overall Rating – Recommend, good pit stop location
Stop # 3 – Smallman Galley
We grabbed a Lyft from Hitchhiker to here since it was about five miles out and it was pretty busy when we arrived, but we scored awesome seats right next to the bar and all the TV’s at their long rustic high tables. Holly’s husband was quite the happy camper after learning they were going to air the Michigan Football game. By the time we sat down and grabbed some beers, which were great by the way, we were all ready for some snacks. The unique aspect of Smallman is that they offer four different restaurant options within the bar, so no one was disappointed. We grabbed BLT’s, pizzas, fried rice and soup and not a thing was bad and the service was super quick. They also offered specialty coffee for those who did not wish to drink alcohol, which we thought was pretty cool and nothing we’ve seen before. We spent a pretty significant amount of time here, enjoyed some great beers and enjoyed the Michigan game! It started down pouring while we were inside, and we tried to wait it out as long as we could.
Overall Rating – AMAZING! Would definitely frequent this place if we were locals, so many different offerings you really couldn’t go wrong.
Stop # 4 – Southern Tier Brewing Co.
We decided to get a little closer to PNC Park by getting a Lyft to Souther Tier – however a lot of the roads were already closed down so we got dropped off as close as we could. This required us to walk about half a mile in the rain, which we were prepared for as much as one could be, but it was still not ideal! When we arrived inside, we immediately knew we would have to really push to get served and definitely would not get a seat. By some grace of god, we squeezed our way into two bar seats and some standing room behind them. What struck us as odd was that kids were sitting at the bar with their parents and it was totally okay. That is something you definitely don’t see in Indiana! We each grabbed some seasonal beers (hello, pumpkin!) and braced ourselves for some crowd pushing. We sat at the bar and enjoyed our one beer before deciding it was time to go somewhere a little less crowded.
Overall Rating – Too crowded, but great beer. Would like to revisit when there isn’t a game going on!
Stop # 5 – Rivertowne North Shore
Since Southern Tier was a little too crowded for our liking, we headed across the street to Rivertowne. They have an amazing patio with a propane firepit and a great view of the Ohio River. Since it had been raining, the patio was completely empty. We pushed some chairs under the awnings and avoided the misting that was happening. At this point, most of us were a little sleepy and a little beer logged – so we grabbed some Red Bulls (my favorite is tropical) and waited there until it was time to go to the Baseball Game!
Overall Rating – Great views! If the weather was nicer, we definitely would have spent more time on the outdoor patio. Can’t rate the beers as we didn’t partake.
Stop # 6 – PNC Park
We we first started planning our trip, we knew the day would center around a Pittsburgh Pirates game. When we found out they were playing the Cincinnati Reds, we were even more excited (as Cincy is only 1 1/2 hours away from us). The game started at 7:00 p.m. so we headed over right when it was starting. When we walked in, we were handed free tshirts (score) and a scratch off. None of us really won anything on the scratch off, unless you could a free salad bar a win….We headed to the level our seats were on and grabbed the first IC Light we could get our hands on! IC stands for Iron City and is a basic light beer that’s brewed in Pittsburgh and we always drink them when we’re in the area! We headed to our seats – watched about three innings before we had enough of the constant light rain that the city was experiencing, and headed to our last destination.
Stop # 7 – Beer Head
Beer Head is directly across the street from the stadium, and I think since we popped in there before the game was actually over – we got great seats. A downfall to this stop is that they don’t offer food, and we were all starving by this time. However, they do have a stash of menus of restaurants that deliver food to their location and they allow you to bring food inside. So we ordered two pizzas, cheesy bread and wings and (im)patiently waited for it to arrive. In the meantime, we browsed the extensive beer menu to choose our favorites. We stayed, drank a few beers, ate our food and then were ready to call it a night! It had been a long day and we were all exhausted from the walking and drinking.
Overall Rating – Great location, great beer selection. Would’ve loved if they offered food too so we didn’t have to wait so long, but you can’t have it all!
Thanks for following along guys – we have another trip planned in two weeks and we’ll be sure to recap that one for you as well!