The Best Craft Beer Spots In Pittsburgh

beertap The Best Craft Beer Spots In Pittsburgh

(Photo Credit: Thinkstock)

By Erin Marton

Recently, we sat down with Craft Pittsburgh Magazine founder Tim Russell, to discuss the rising popularity of Craft Beer, and to get his take on some of the best spots to enjoy one here in the ‘Burgh. First, we need to establish a definition of what is considered a “Craft Beer.” According to Tim, “the Brewers Association, defines a craft brewer as being small (less than 6 million barrels of production per year), independent (must not have any more than 25% ownership by an outside interest that is not a craft brewer) and traditional (they can’t use non-traditional ingredients that aren’t contributing to the flavor, such as corn or rice; however, they’re free to use just about anything that does contribute to flavor).” He also further explains that within the craft beer category, there are several sub-categories, not the least of which is a “microbrew,” a term which may be more familiar to the average beer drinker. A microbrewery would be considered one that has the smallest distribution amongst the craft beer population.

Here in Pittsburgh, we are growing fond of our craft brews, with the opening of numerous locations specializing in beers from this category. Tim relates the renaissance of our city and its recent economic growth to this rise in popularity. “People can make better decisions about the products they buy and they’re willing to spend extra money for better quality. They’re smart enough to see past gimmicks. Philadelphia is probably one of the best craft beer cities in the country. Some regional sales reps for craft brewers that I know have told me what they saw in Philly a few years ago is what they’re starting to see now in Pittsburgh.”

Since that statement brought out our competitive spirit, we proudly present some of Pittsburgh’s best spots to enjoy a Craft Brew.

beer bocktown The Best Craft Beer Spots In Pittsburgh

(Photo Credit: Bocktown Beer and Grill Website -

Bocktown Beer and Grill

690 Chauvet Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15275
(412) 788-2333
Hours: Mon to Thurs, Sun 11am-1am; Fri to Sat 11am-2am

Great food and great beer in one spot is harder to find that you may think, but Bocktown has it nailed. Their menu even says so! Founder and proprietor Chris Dilla is a bit of a legend in local craft beer circles, and her foresight and hard work has put Bocktown at the top of our list. Their selection is breathtaking, with 16 craft beers on tap, and over 400 bottles to choose from. Of course, you will always be able to find some of Chris’ favorites, which she says are the “regional hoppy beers, when they are at their freshest.” Bocktown features a Wednesday night tasting session from 6-8pm, and on Thursday, they add an infused beer to their taps, which usually lasts until sometime on Saturday. At the time of writing this article, Chris was anticipating the opening of their second location in the Beaver Valley Mall. You can visit their website for more information.

D’s Sixpax & Dogz

1118 S Braddock Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
(412) 241-4666
Hours: Mon to Wed 11am-11pm; Thurs to Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-10pm

Don’t let the name scare you away, because D’s is much more than Beer and Hot Dogs. What started out as a small restaurant serving up a mean Chicago dog and boasting a somewhat impressive “beer cave”, has now grown to mammoth proportions and seems to take over most of the block at its central Regent Square location. Since the early days, the “beer cave” has nearly doubled in size, with a selection that will make your head spin. The knowledgeable staff is there to help you get your bearings and make some great selections. Oh yeah, they still are the local destination for a Chicago Dog, but their menu has also expanded to offer a wide range of good eats. We recommend giving the wings a try.


563 Greenfield Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15207
Bar: Mon – Sat, 4pm – 2am
Kitchen: Mon – Sat, 4pm-10pm
Steeler games: 1 1/2 hours prior

One of the most interesting things about craft beer spots in the ‘Burgh, is that they seem to be spread around the city in such a way that at least one is convenient to any neighborhood. For you east-enders, there is Hough’s in Greenfield. Characterizing themselves as a “Sports Bar”, Hough’s is the best of these selections to catch a good game of darts, settle in to watch a Pens game, or nosh on some traditional bar fare. They generally feature a brewery of the month, and special events include tastings and trivia nights.

Piper’s Pub

1828 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh PA 15203
Hours: Mon to Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 9am-10pm

The South Side is home to many specialty craft beer locations, but Piper’s Pub is a local favorite. They take their cask system very seriously. According to owner Drew, “We have a traditional Firkin Only dispense English cask system with a dedicated Cellar and a four handpull beer engine. 80% of those beers are from local brewers within 90 miles of Pittsburgh”. Pipers is a traditional British pub, and on Sundays, you can enjoy a hearty brunch with selections focusing on Irish and British fare (Bangers and Mash anyone?). According to Drew, you will find the brunch “highly addictive”, so be warned! It is also worth a mention that Pipers has an impressive Scotch list, for aficionados of that particular spirit, and they are a Soccer Pub as well, showing English and International matches live all year.

Pittsburgh Public Market

East End Brewing Company – Pittsburgh Public Market
Terminal Building in the Strip District
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Hours: Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm (Market opens at 10am)

Wait, what? It’s true, if you want to fill a growler up and enjoy your craft beer from the comfort of your living room, then East End Brewing Company’s booth at the Pittsburgh Public Market is the place to go. The Public Market has been open here in Pittsburgh for just about a year now, and the announcement that East End Brewing was participating was likely their most exciting to date. Generally four beers are offered, and the brewery tries to stay true to this formula; one dark, one light, one seasonal, and one hoppy. Be forewarned, if you are a hop-head, then head over early because that one is likely to tap out the fastest. The booth also carries other East End merchandise including hats, t-shirts and more. If you fall in love with the brews, you can visit their main location to purchase bottles and kegs. Be sure to visit the website first, as the booth hours change seasonally. While you are at the market, you can also stop by the Pittsburgh Marshmallow Factory’s booth, where they offer East End’s “Big Hop” in the convenience of a bite sized marshmallow. Yum.

sharp edge The Best Craft Beer Spots In Pittsburgh

(Source: Sharp Edge Website -

Honorable Mention:

The Sharp Edge Bistro
302 South St. Clair Street
Friendship Area
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Hours: Mon to Thurs 11am-midnight; Fri to Sat 11am-1am, kitchen closes at midnight; Sun noon-10pm

Sharp Edge is the hands-down master in Belgian Beers in the ‘Burgh, and debatably, as Chris Dilla from Bocktown points out, Belgian beers are craft beers in Belgium! However, a few beers that follow the traditional definition of “Craft”, do make an appearance on their list, including some selections from Dogfish Head, Great Lakes and Troegs. We would be remiss to leave Sharp Edge off of the list due to a technicality, since they were one of the first to offer an enormous draft selection in the city, and they hold a special place in Pittsburgh beer-lovers’ hearts.

Trend alert: Bocktown’s Chris Dilla also pointed out some trends in the Craft Beer movement to keep an eye on: Canning has become a little more prevalent of late, thanks to lower cost and easier storage. Growlers, like the ones provided at East End Brewing Booth at the Public Market, are starting to pop up everywhere, and, due to dietary trends, there has been an increase in gluten-free selections.

Erin Marton is a REALTOR® and the Social Media and Marketing Director for PPM Realty in Pittsburgh. She is also the author of the ‘Burgh Living Blog. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

  • robert klopfenstein

    Bocktown is the BEST!! It is a bright spot just a few minutes from the airport and not far from Pittsburgh ,,,a must drink in!!

  • derf

    You guys are way off . Try smokin joes on the southside they have more beer than most.

    • Barret Ries

      I was wondering how they could have forgotten Smokin Joes…. far better than Bocktown for selections.

  • Bobert Bodeen

    On Wednesday, Sharp Edge Beer Emporium has 1/2 off all Craft Brews. And they have a lot of them (same amount as Piper’s Pub). Also, who forgot to mention FatHeads? Very big selection of Craft Brews and they have chargrilled wings, which are very tasty. As for Smokin’ Hoes, you are way off!

  • oiznop

    You guys have only scratched the surface:

    Fatheads–South Side
    Smokin Joes–South Side
    Hofbrauhaus–South Side Works
    Penn Brewery–Deutschtown
    Church BrewWorks–Lawerenceville
    Barley and Hops–Bethel Park
    Brews Brothers –Mt.Lebanon
    The Pittsburgh Bottle Shop–Heidelberg

    Everybody is on this bandwagon and has been for at least 10 years now. Do a little reasearch!

  • Random

    Pittsburgh’s craft beer scene is poor at best. Go to another big city and check out their selections. Max’s in Baltimore has been serving 75+ craft beers on tap since I lived there in 1997.

    • NO JOKE

      No place in the world can compare to Max’s on Broadway. Ever been to the Belgium festival?

  • Seriously

    No Mad Mex, Fatheads and a number of other spots mentioned above and others that haven’t? Guess they only had a limited amount of space for the article as this barely scratches the surface

  • Jordan

    Fat Heads, Double Wide, Smoking Joes, Harris Bar and Grill, Bites and Brews, Beer Nutz, Carnivores, Any Mad Mex

  • PGH2PDX2DCShawn

    For an unreal craft brew selection, no city I’ve ever been to beats Portland, OR. It doesn’t hurt that there are roughly 25 or so craft brewers within the city limits, but the entire city is very beer, wine, and coffee centric.

    Not to be outdone (I know this is a PGH list), is Headkeepers in Greensburg, PA. It’s a hike if you’re in the city, but they have a really great beer selection and a pretty good selection of rotating beers on tap. I’ve been there over a few hour period and saw taps change out . Limited quantities of great stuff. Southern Teirs Imperial Pumpking is going to be on tap soon (they just ran out of the first keg).

  • Rich W

    I know its not “in the city” but North Country Brewery in Slippery Rock must be added to this discussion.

    • Diane

      @Rich – I have to agree, their food is fantastic too!

  • Robert Sette

    Hofbrauhaus? Not micro, certainly not craft. Definitely a tourist trap.

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