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Church Brew Works
Active Beers: 68
Beer Ratings: 1,044
Beer Avg: 3.66
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
3525 Liberty Ave
phone: (412) 688-8200
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 123 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
I'd heard a lot about this place, and was really excited to finally get the chance to go for a visit. So, when my wife, child, and I were in Pittsburgh for a wedding, this was our number-one destination for dinner. The church is located a few miles from downtown Pittsburgh, and it seems to be slightly north of the Pitt University area. The shock of walking through the doors is something. At first it does seem church-like...quiet and serene. Then you notice the tanks at the alter. The ceilings are high and vaulted. The stained-glass windows are amazingly beautiful when the sun is shining. There's a little outside "hop-garden" for eating in the warm weather. Simply put, the atmosphere is outstanding!
The food is much better than typical brewpub-grub. The dinner menu is diverse and very well prepared. It seemed to have a lot of untraditionally prepared seafood. I tried a soup, pierogies, and pork chops. All were very good.
The beer selection was good. The dunkel was quite tasty. Of particular note was the dopplebock, which was easily the best beer that they offered at the time of my visit.
The only downside to the visit was the service. I don't think that I'd normally give a low rating because of a single server, but this is an exception. The young man was rude, forgetful, neglected to mention all of the beers (even when I prodded), and slow. The order was screwed up and he didn't seem to care. I was so pissed of at the service that it ruined a lot of the fun. The prices are moderate to high, and you should expect competent service, even if it's not great. This service was appalling.
Still, one bad apple wouldn't prevent me from coming back. It's worth going just for the experience.
06-13-2004 22:42:00 |
More by Suds
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4
This brewpub is in a renovated church. Truely stunning interior. May be sinful to drink in these surroundings. Oh heck, the monks have been doing it for centuries. It has a brew system along with several secondary vessals at the front of the "church". They also provide a How-we-brew process guide with location pointers to the equipment at the front of the church. Very nice and educational. They have a nice $2 beer and $1 pizza happy hour!
I LOVE their beer selection especially the seasonals. Best selection and quality in Pittsburgh. Many others say the same. Bryan the Brew Meister I heard has a degree in quantum physics. He is just as scientific in his brewing. He is the master at high gravity spcial beers like imperials and Belgian Quadruples. I love his Maibock and english cast pale ales. Awesome.seasonals.
The only thing I fear from going to this place is driving home because the selection/atmosphere is so tempting. A must visit place when visiting the 'Burgh.
I heard they have a bottling system that is not quite working yet. It would be real cool to be able to purchase this fine brew in local distributors. The Dunkel on tap in my basement would be heavenly!!!!
05-05-2004 02:51:58 |
More by BruceBeerman
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
Atmosphere: Well, what can't you say about the atmosphere at the Church? Built in the old St. John the Baptist church in Lawrenceville, and restored to its former glory, CBW features beautiful stained glass windows, lovely ceiling architecture, benches and a bar made out of old pews, and copper tuns and steel fermenters against the navy blue of the top of the church. Even though I'm not the most religious man in the world, I can't help but be simply amazed every time I step in.
Quality/Selection: Church Brew Works usually offers 7 beers: 4 regular beers and 3 seasonals (including always having one high ABV offering), and a cask of one of the beers. The beers themselves are excellent. The regular beers include a light lager, so they don't have to carry macros, a low ABV pale ale (the only disappointment amongst their beers), and a fantastic dunkel and brown ale. The seasonal beers are really where the Church shines, though, especially the high ABV, which has seen imperial stouts, barleywines, tripels and even a fantastic Blackberry Quad rotate through. Church's beers may well stand as amongst the best brewpub beers in the country.
Service: I've never had any complaints about the service at CBW. Most of the staff is extremely friendly and knowledgable about the beers that they serve. I have to thank Gene in particular, though, as he was a true pleasure to drink with, and I learned quite a bit from him in the infancy of my beer knowledge.
Food: The food at CBW is just as good as the beer. Most times I've gone, I've had their delicious pizzas from their brick oven. I haven't had much else on the menu, but everything that I've heard about the rest is that it is fantastic.
With the other 2 brewpubs in Pittsburgh closing, Church Brew Works is the last remaining. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, as CBW may well have been the best of the 3. Now, the Church is known as one of the best in the country, and most BAs have this on their to-do list. A must-do on any trip to Pittsburgh.
12-28-2003 20:56:02 |
More by beergeek279
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
When I first walked in to the Church Brew Works, the first word that came to my mind is "wow!". The atmosphere is amazing, their is probably no other place in the USA where you can drink in a 100 year old church. The selection includes seven draft beers and one cask beer. The draft selections includes four full time selections, and three seasonals (which are usually better than the full time ones).While Bryan is a great brewer he just does not do hoppy beers well. The service is good; when a question is asked about a beer or the history of the church, they usually answer it or find someone that can. The food is very good, this includes the best pizza I have ever eaten.
12-22-2003 00:20:38 |
More by cupbeerman
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
As much as I hate to say it, this place is a bit overrated. Perhaps this stems from the fact that I didn't have a religious upbringing, but after a couple visits in which I tried all the beers on tap at the time, I came away unimpressed. The beers I enjoyed the most were the dunkel and the maibock, though neither were mindblowing.
The food does seem to be quite good here, especially the Cinco Fromaggio pizza that I shared with a friend on my second visit. The atmosphere is a bit unusual (as might be expected), with the huge amount of open space on the floor and the huge ceilings. I find it surprising that Pittsburghers would hang out regularly here, as it seems more of a novelty than a genuine local, especially so given the location.
I really wanted to like this place, having heard so many good things about it. I would certainly stop in again if I was ever in town (God forbid), but I did come away a bit disappointed.
08-24-2003 02:28:13 |
More by WaywardSeaman
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
Hey!! You remember at the end of "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" when Taylor meets up with Brent and they have to battle them mutants with the Alpha Omega bomb in that crazy church?? ("It's a Dooms-Day machine!!!") Yep, just before them damn dirty apes show up. Yeah, that's the first thing I thought, too, when I walked through the doors!! You know, it's amazing that we think so much alike.
An absolutely beautiful place. A huge old renovated church, high arched hand painted wood worked ceilings, stain glassed windows, church pew seating, and the huge alter in the back where the brewing vessels live. The entrance to the kitchen seems to be where you'd enter the confessionals. There's a big bar that runs a good length of the joint up the left side and an outside "Hop Garden" with tables as well
They were pouring 7 beers and a cask. They were all listed on blackboards above the bar along with ABV, Gravity and IBU numbers. The Bell Tower Brown Ale was wonderfully rich and malty, the Pious Monk Dunkel was mellow and roasty, the Heavenly Hefe was just that, and the Pipe Organ Pale Ale was very nicely hopped. They were missing one of the beers in their collection so I talked them into replacing that now open slot in my beer sampler with the 2000 Trippel, which packed in at 9% and was damn fine!!
They food menu was pretty unusual with some not so standard meat choices and the like. They have wood burning oven pizzas and pierogies galore. I had the Southwestern chicken and corn soup which was just wonderful, some barbeque wings, and wound down with a big dish of their amazing cinnamon ice cream made with beer wort. Beautiful.
I was sitting at the bar staring at the far back of the place. The whole back wall is painted a deep blue and on the raised alter sits a bunch of brewing vessels. It looks very very much like the cover of the (digitally remastered) Pink Floyd "Relics" disc, except that Church Brew Works has brewing vessels instead of a big pipe organ.
It's all good, man, it's all good.
08-02-2003 14:37:45 |
More by slander
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
Have you seen the light my friends, well there is no questioning why this is on the fifty best places to have a pint. With my first visit to Church Brew Works walking through the large double doors into the brewpub is just awe expiring. Kinda weird to see the brewing equipment just chilling on the alter, but wow this is a must see if in Pittsburgh. Seating is comfortable and if going on a weekday night very chilled out and relaxed I would dare to say that it's probably a little more crowded on the weekends. Quality of this place is unprecedented for the area, almost upper class in environment not too snobby just everything on the menu seems a bit inflated especially a pint edging almost 4 dollars. Another thing is that I have had more solid beer for less money so I can't say I would come here regularly for the beer, but it is worth the experience. Our waiter was very good to my party, he fielded questions about the availability of the Triple and offered a sample of the cask APA, can't complain there. Our pints weren't left empty too long at any time throughout the tasting session, and along with the 4 year round offerings were two summer seasonals and a cask so seven options not a huge variety but not shabby at all. They had their four year rounds offered to go in bottles so I will definitely be back to test the quality of the bottled beer, and to sample the food that I have heard so many good things about. Stopped back in about a week ago for lunch and split a pizza and pierogies with some friends everything was excellent including the bread pudding dessert a must if your ordering a dessert there, very nice.
07-24-2003 00:40:04 |
More by WVbeergeek
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4
This place is almost perfect. The first time I stepped into the cavernous interior I almost had to kneel down and say a prayer to the beer gods. Its that impressive. Every time I sample the seasonal hand pumped old English style cast conditioned ale, it has been the greatest beer I have ever tasted. The food is good, not the greatest, but the brew selection more than makes up for it. If you ever visit Pittsburgh, this is a must visit.
05-22-2003 09:59:36 |
More by keifffff
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5
I have to give this place a perfect score. This could be my Mecca.
It's a place to worship and praise beer. The two times I have visited this place were very enjoyable experiences. The beer was very good and so was the food. The pierogie pizza was awesome and they had some great salads - of course covered with fries. I wish this place was in my neighborhood. I highly recommend this place to any beer enthusiast.
03-07-2003 13:09:18 |
More by pezoids
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5
Upon entering the Church Brew Works, words cannot describe the dichotomy of feelings I experienced. Being a religious person, it felt like I was entering a grand cathedral, with the exposed wood beams and the beautiful stained glass that was revealed upon entering throught the heavy wooden doors. Then i look to my left, a see a bar with six or seven large stainless tanks, and then straight ahead to the altar with the brewing apparatus. If there is beer in heaven, this is where it will be made.
In my opinion, the quality of the food surpasses the beer. Three of the beers I tried were acceptable, one was slightly better than average, and two were good, but none would make me drive back for a second trip. However, the food is amazing. Add that to top notch service and a waiter and hostess who actually sounded sincere when saying thank you, and my wife and I will return. Fresh beer at good prices with excellent food and great service. A tough combo to beat.
11-23-2002 19:00:47 |
More by aaronh
Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh, PA
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