BYOB: where to pick up a classy bottle of beer for dinner

Here are four Pittsburgh breweries with a thoughtful selection of beer in bottles. Pick one up for that BYOB spot or a special dinner date.

by Aadam Soorma
February 11, 2020

ABV is our weekly series that highlights a different beer from a local Pittsburgh brewery every week. Check out our past picks here.

99 bottles of beer on the wall…

For this week’s Very Local beer spotlight, we’re showcasing FOUR of our favorite spots where you can take home a thoughtful bottle of craft beer.

Cans are cool, too

What’s wrong with aluminum 4-packs? Honestly, nothing at all. Cans are actually how I buy most of my carry-out beer. Our choice to highlight 500mL and 750mL glass bottles comes from:

One – many of these beers are purposefully bottle conditioned ales (i.e. Strange Roots) that are not a good fit for aluminum cans.

Two – it’s Valentine’s Day on Friday. Let’s keep it classy.

Below are four (Pittsburgh) breweries you can visit and browse a selection of carry-out beer available in tall bottles. These beers are meant for off-site consumption; with a few (rare) exceptions, guests are not permitted to open bottles at Pittsburgh area breweries.

Strange Roots has an expansive, wide ranging availability of bottles depending on the time of year and their bottle release schedule. Photo: Cory Morton

ABV, volume LIV

Cinderlands Foederhouse // Lawrenceville

What Are They Known For: Oak-fermented lagers, saisons, IPAs.

Some Notable Bottles: Desert Solitaire, oat saison (500mL)

Why We Recommend Stopping Here: The original Cinderlands location in Lawrenceville pivoted at the end of 2019 to focus on creativity and experimentation. By honing in on oak-fermented lagers and various forms of saisons, the team aims to complement their mainstay beers brewed 11 blocks away at Cinderlands Warehouse (Strip District).

We highly recommend trying the Desert Solitaire. Aged in bottles since April 2019, this farmhouse style saison is available for purchase at Cinderlands Foederhouse.

How Are Bottles Sold: Individually at the Foederhouse (500mL bottles)

East End Brewing // Larimer

What Are They Known For: East End regularly brews several styles of craft beer including IPAs, stouts, porters, pale ales, hefeweizens, lagers, pilsners, etc. Their Big Hop (American Ale) is a flagship, mainstay beer that is distributed to craft beer bars and restaurants throughout the region.

Some Notable Bottles: Gratitude (American Barleywine)

Why We Recommend Stopping Here: The big win for East End is twofold; their longevity (15 years as a microbrewery in Pittsburgh) and brewing exceptionally high quality beers that span a diverse array of styles. Their American Barleywine (Gratitude) is what you’ll find in bottles at East End.  It is a strong, hoppy, bitter, wine-esque beer that is released annually. Great for folks who naturally lean toward preferring wine over beer, the entire Gratitude collection is a unique, East End-specific series that fans of the brewery recommend year after year. It is especially popular around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

How Are Bottles Sold: Individually at East End’s brewpub in Larimer. You’ll find a tall cooler to the left of the bar with their complete selection. Be sure to note the different colored wax indicators on the tops of the bottles; many of the bottles have been carefully aged and designated by year. Read the labels for some interesting conversation catalysts too.

Brew Gentlemen // Braddock

What Are They Known For: Brew Gentlemen’s hop-forward, balanced beers have attracted regional and national attention. They are the only brewery in Braddock.

Some Notable Bottles: Their anniversary series is indicated by roman numerals (I, II, III, IV) and the V (five) imperial porter was aged in bourbon barrels before being bottled and released to time up with Brew Gentlemen’s anniversary.

Why We Recommend Stopping Here: Since launching in 2014, Brew Gentlemen has focused on making soft, elegant, balanced beers from their Braddock-based digs. General Braddock’s IPA has won numerous awards and their seasonal releases have built up a strong, loyal following.

How Are Bottles Sold: You can pre-order online OR stop by the brewery in Braddock, depending on the bottle release.

Strange Roots // Millvale and Gibsonia

What Are They Known For: Wild ales, Belgian sours, spontaneously fermented ales, naturally aged ales

Some Notable Bottles: Ragnarok, the Foraged series, the Spontaneous Roots series

Why We Recommend Stopping Here: Strange Roots is Pittsburgh’s leading brewery for wild ales and spontaneously fermented beer. Led by Dennis Hock and his team, you can pick up these tart, aromatic, funky tasting beers at either the Millvale (taproom) location OR the Gibsonia (brewery) location. You can even order Strange Roots beer online through their website.

How Are Bottles Sold: Online or in-person at either location.



Header Photo: Cory Morton

In 2012, Aadam moved to Pittsburgh. He's currently parked (sans chair) in Lawrenceville and plans to stay a while. On the weekends, you'll find him driving a small green bus (Porter Tours) as he leads tours at local breweries. Got a fun story idea? DMs are open: @asoorma.

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