Watch Us In Your Living Room
Enjoy Very Local on the big screen.
Visit your favorite app store to download.

In the Sticks with Stick City Brewing

Located a stone’s throw into Butler County is Stick City Brewing. We sat down for a Q&A with head brewer Nick Salkeld to gather some tips for first time guests.

by Aadam Soorma
December 15, 2020

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

This week in beer, we’re spotlighting a brewery a bit north of Pittsburgh. Admittedly, it’s a new-to-us brewery that has yet to be featured here on Very Local.

Located in Mars — with a name that’s inspired by trips “out into the sticks” — Stick City Brewing has been building a robust portfolio of locally-brewed pale ales, IPAs and lagers from their Butler County digs.

Photo: Stick City Brewing

Led by Nick Salkeld, Stick City opened in April 2018 and — aside from their obvious focus on beer — the brewery also maintains a commitment to the environment by donating 1 percent of sales proceeds to nonprofits working to protect wildlands.

Read on to get to know Stick City Brewing.


Q&A with Nick Salkeld of Stick City Brewing

Aadam Soorma: Where is Stick City brewery located?

Stick City: Stick City is located in the small town of Mars, just north of Pittsburgh.

AS: When did the brewery open?

SC: The brewery opened in April of 2018.

AS: How did the brewery get its start?

SC: The brewery unknowingly found its beginning back in the early 1990s with my dad finding an interest in homebrewing. He returned from a work trip to Germany and England and quickly realized that the beer he had been drinking was nothing like the flavorful lagers and ales he experienced abroad. Once my brother and I got a little older (around 2009/2010 timeframe), we broke out Dad’s homebrewing equipment and we all started to brew together. We had always discussed opening a small brewery, but it was not until 2016 that the discussions, planning, and funding all started to come together.

AS: Why the name Stick City?

SC: Stick City started out as a term that the family would use to describe the place where my parents grew up, the more rural part of Butler County. We used to travel out there on the weekends after we moved into the city of Butler. We would visit family and simply just hang out in the “sticks.” Dad would often say, “we are going to Stick City!” before we would head out. The term’s meaning has grown to be much larger than just our little spot in the countryside. It is any wild and natural place, big or small, where one goes to recharge away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

AS: What’s something you would tell a first-time guest at Stick City?

SC: I am going to answer this question assuming COVID-19 is gone and we are back to operating with an indoor and outdoor taproom experience. I think the first aspect to note is that Stick City is different, from the way we operate to the beers that are offered. We do not have a kitchen (though we do have food trucks). Our taproom is integrated closely with the brewing area, it is unique. There is a large, live edge Black Walnut bar and many live-edge, wooden tables, made from locally fallen timber. Our focus is on process and how it relates to specific beers – this will be apparent from the list and how the beer is served. We aim to highlight ingredient terroir, both globally and locally sourced. You will not find fashion trend beers or a multitude of adjuncts. You will find soft beers with dynamic flavors, aromas, and balance.

It is beer for drinking, not just tasting.

AS: Are there particular beer styles that Stick City specializes in? Do you rotate in seasonals or stick to a core group of recipes?

SC: We work to specialize in bringing out the intricacies of the many varieties of hops in our Pale Ales and IPAs. We also like to take our time and dig deep into pale lager brewing. Every so often we will work on simple, non-adjunct-driven darker beers, like stouts and browns. We do not really have a set brew schedule or a core group of brands. Our beer offering list is a constant rotational exploration and experience — following more of a guideline approach in terms of styles or brands. Overall, our beers land in the more traditional area when it comes to technique and final product; albeit, we do have some interesting methods to bring big flavor and aroma while maintaining overall balance to the beer. For the future, we are investigating and planning to bring out more off-traditional beers following this mindset.

AS: Has Stick City partnered with any other local businesses or breweries?

SC: We have only done a couple collaboration beers. Most recently, we did a Triple IPA (10.5% alc/vol) with a great local craft beer bar/restaurant from Greensburg — Marino’s American Eatery. That was a fun challenge for us, and the beer was great.

Outside of that, we have been focusing on working with a few environmental non-profits who benefit from our 1% for the Planet commitment. Back in October, we worked with PA Parks & Forest Foundation, Pennsylvania DCNR, and Cook Forest Conservancy to fund and plant trees around Clear Creek State Park. As we move into 2021, we will be hedging more of our collaborative efforts in these areas. We want to find more ways for people to connect to and protect our wild places.

AS: As far as the taproom goes right now, it’s obviously a challenge with COVID. What are the best ways for folks to get your beer?

SC: The best way to get Stick City beer is to stop out during open hours. All ordering is done outside and can be as contact free as you need. You can buy the beer completely to-go or you can enjoy a beer outside, on-premises (dress accordingly) following all COVID-19 guidelines. There are hardwood burning fire pits for additional warmth, a foot operated, hand sanitizer station, filtered water tap, and restrooms all with easy access from outside. Considering the circumstances, it is still a fun experience, we have certainly been enjoying it.

AS: What are some local beers you think more people should know about?

SC: Any and all local pale lager. Drink them, appreciate them, rate them to style (if you rate beer). We are blessed to have all our local breweries – buy local beer, always!

Know Before You Go: Stick City Brewing

Location: 109 Irvine St. Mars, PA 16046

Hours of Operation: Thu + Fri (4pm to 9pm), Sat (12pm to 9pm), Sun (2pm to 7pm)

Follow Stick City Brewing on Social Media

Web: Stick City Brewing website

Facebook: Stick City Brewing Facebook page

Instagram: Stick City Brewing Instagram

Photo: Stick City Brewing

More Local Beer News


Header Photo courtesy of Stick City Brewing

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.

More Local Stories

Stitch: Inspiring Stories About Sports and Community

Sports create pockets of communities all across our country. For people of all ages who love the game, it’s more than just exercise: it can give hope, support, inspiration and a future

Tue. May 17 Primary Election Day in Pittsburgh

Tuesday is Election Day in Pittsburgh – we’ve got the details on where to vote and who is on the ballot

Eat Play Stay: Brews and Bigfoot in Portland, ME

Catch your very own lobsters, sample donuts and oysters, and take a selfie with Bigfoot in this booming New England seaport.

Friday the 13th: A guide to the history behind common superstitions

Why does a black cat mean trouble? Will your mama’s back really break if you step on a crack?

Hometown Tragedy Season 2 Premieres June 8

Hometown Tragedy’s second season investigates true crimes that rocked communities across America, exploring the impact on those left to seek justice. The cases range from cold-blooded murder to domestic abuse turned deadly.

Chef Dee Lavigne expands the only Black-owned cooking school in New Orleans

Deelightful Roux School of Cooking is the only African American-owned cooking school taught by a New Orleans native, and her class is a guide to New Orleans’ food culture.

Not your typical Asian takeout — a guide to international takeout food in Pittsburgh

Let’s talk international food from Korea, Thailand, India, Uzbekistan and more! This isn’t your typical takeout box.

Homestead’s Golden Age Beer Co. is ushering in a golden age of lagers

Homestead’s Golden Age Beer Company is in business to shine a light on the time-honored brews.

Where to Plan Your Next Picnic in Orlando

Take advantage of the weather by exploring some of these parks in the Orlando area to plan your next picnic.

Guide to Every Comic Book Store in Pittsburgh

Your complete guide to Pittsburgh comic book stores, including comics written and drawn by Pittsburgh creators.

The East End Brewing Keg Ride: Pedaling for pale ale and a good cause

We rode along during this year’s Pedal Pale Ale Keg Ride – an East End Brewing tradition. Watch for the surprise destination and hear from founder Scott Smith about how it all came to be.

ed vidunas

Get to know Ed Vidunas, Pittsburgh’s Beer Historian

Since 1794, there have been well over 100 breweries in Allegheny County. Ed Vidunas is harnessing their stories online at

Whatcha gifting? The best gifts for Pittsburgh beer lovers

We asked a handful of Pittsburgh beer enthusiasts and insiders (including a beer drinking Santa) what they plan to gift each other this holiday season.

Pittsburgh Oktoberfest beers

🍻 Prost! Guide to Oktoberfest beers from Pittsburgh Breweries

A look at Oktoberfest beers from Pittsburgh breweries.