ABV is our weekly series that highlights a different beer from a local Pittsburgh brewery every week. Check out our past picks here.
Currently open for takeout is Headley’s Brewing in Heidelberg. A relatively newer Pittsburgh-area brewery, the Headley team plans to debut a taproom in the post-COVID future.
Headley’s operates in the basement level of Kim’s Dog House – an animal grooming shop. When the building lease changes hands this October, Headley’s will operate the whole building – that also marks the timeframe for outfitting a taproom on the storefront level. They will continue brewing onsite in the basement level.
Good news for folks west of downtown Pittsburgh: if you frequent Insurrection Ale Works, you can conveniently add one more stop to your weekend beer run.
[Insurrection is one of the breweries recommended by Lauren Hughes, assistant head brewer at Penn Brewery, on our podcast]
Headley’s Brewing – located one-tenth of a mile up the road from Insurrection – offers the Heidelberg community a second option for hyper-locally manufactured craft beer.
How Did Headley’s Get Started?
Co-founders Jamie Headley and Matt Sembrat met through their day jobs in the IT industry.
“Jamie was actually my client,” Sembrat explains. “Over the last nine years, we’ve become friends and I knew he was a passionate homebrewer. Jamie would brew these fantastic beers for our IT group and every year, he’d make a memorable batch of beer for our Oktoberfest party.”
From time to time, the pair would throw around ideas that included scaling up Jamie’s side hustle into a legitimate brewing business.
“I remember we were having beers at Alexion’s in the West End,” Headley says. “We looked at each other and said ‘Let’s do this’ and Matt began the paperwork for our LLC and operating license.”
The duo chuckles when talking about coming up with a name for the brewery.
“Well, Jamie’s last name (Headley) sounds a heck of a lot better than ‘Sembrat Brewing,’” Sembrat says. “So, we went with that and built out the space and started getting our sea legs.”
What Beers are Available at Headley’s Brewing?
The mainstay, year-round offerings at Headley’s are approachable, middle-of-the-road beers that are easy to drink and sessionable. You won’t find any super high-ABV or exotic palette crushers on the menu.
Headley’s five flagship beers include:
Bad Dog Mae: IPA, 6.4% ABV // A balanced IPA inspired by co-founder Matt Sembrat’s neighbor’s dog – Mae, an Airedale known to have an attitude.
Heidelberg Race Track: Red Ale, 5.9% ABV // Sweet, full-bodied ale with a red tone and lightly hopped. Named after a local half-mile dirt track that hosted auto racing in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Squeaky Blonde: Golden Ale, 4.9% ABV // Smooth, easy drinking ale that’s light and straw in color.
Flash Lightning Speed: Porter, 5.2% ABV // Rich, creamy mouthfeel with distinctive chocolate and coffee notes. Relatively low-ABV porter.
Frankie Z’s Easy Summer: Wheat Ale, 5.1% ABV // Very light wheat ale brewed using Munich Carapils Hops and Hersbrucker Saaz. Soft mouthfeel and perfect for summer.
Headley’s small batch brews go into (16-oz) cans and kegs every week. Check the Headley’s website for the latest offerings and availability.
Scoring Early with ‘Hop Spur’ – a special collaboration beer
Before the onset of COVID-19, Headley’s brewed a special IPA for the Harmarville Hot Spurs – a local soccer team.
“The director of their athletic group basically came to us and said, ‘We’d love for you to brew a beer for our soccer club. We have some English guys that really like IPAs.’”
Headley’s went to work on a session IPA and came up with Hop Spur – a clever collab in which a portion of sales proceeds are donated back to the soccer team.
Know Before You Order: Headley’s Brewing
The ordering process for Headley’s is pretty straightforward. Head to their website to select your beer for either delivery or curbside pickup. You can also pull into the parking lot and call to place an order.
Headley’s beers are available in:
- 16 oz cans (4-packs)
Pickup & Delivery:
- You can order beer for curbside pickup or delivery
- Headley’s will deliver within 8 miles of the brewery ($5.00 delivery fee)
If you need a new growler, Headley’s has you covered. Sitting on some extra growlers at home? They’ll happily rinse and fill those for you as well.
Hours of Operation at Headley’s (for now)
For now, you can visit Headley’s on Fridays and Saturdays. Check their site and social for changes to hours of operation.
Friday: 5.30pm to 8.30pm // Saturday: 1pm to 4pm