If you are a native of Pittsburgh, I am going to assume that you have at least heard of, if not actually experienced The Church Brew Works. For all those times you got in trouble for eating during church, now you can eat AND drink in the restored landmark, St. John the Baptist Church. This restaurant receives my first post as it was one of the first places we ate at when we came to Pittsburgh looking for houses once I was hired. A wonderful colleague and her finance treated us to a memorable experience at The Church Brew Works. As soon as you walk into the brewpub you are taken back by the beauty and the detail inside the main dining room, the former sanctuary. As you stand in the back of the sanctuary your eyes are drawn down the main aisle to the beer altar at the front of the church. The microbrews served in-house are all brewed in these beautiful copper tanks. Its both beautiful and functional. Your party is seated at pews inside the main dining area. The left side wall is covered with chalk boards with information about the beers that are in rotation for that day, including ABV%s and IBUs (for the true connoisseur). One of the things I loved most about The Church Brew Works is that they cater to people like me who have a hard time deciding. So instead of having to choose one beer to try, they have a sampler that
allows you to sample 10 of the beer that are available that day. The beers come served on a chart so you know what you are drinking. It also allows you to taste, feel, and see the differences in beer styles. I found the beers to be pretty good. I enjoyed the Thunderhop IPA, as I enjoy most IPAs. It was nice and hoppy! The food was nothing memorable. I don’t exactly remember what I had, I think the Buffalo Burger. The food quickly gets over shadowed by the elaborate atmosphere and the emphasis on the beer. I do remember that the service was slow and they brought out half the table’s food first and the second half ten minutes later. I have two big pet-peeves when I am dining out. 1) When our order is delivered in shifts, with half the table waiting for the other to get the food while the half with the food waits politely, staring at their hot meals, for the foodless half to receive their food. There is always a back and forth between friends, “Go ahead and eat.” “No we don’t mind waiting.” “Please it will get cold.” The most mannered usually wait, reluctantly, while the hungrier ones will take any green light to begin digging in to their entrees. 2) My other pet peeve is when my entree is brought out seconds after I received the first course. I find this to be very annoying. I dine out not because I hate to cook or because I am lazy. I dine out because the experience is fun. When I receive my courses very close together I feel rushed and it takes away from the experience, with the food and with my company. This did not happen at The Church Brew Works; I now digress. The service at The Church Brew Works was sub-par but the restaurant is very big and it seemed as though our waitress was working a lot of tables. Overall, I found the experience to be enjoyable, the beer to be delicious, and the food to be comforting. As we were preparing to become New-burghers, this experience was a gentle nod from the city saying she will take care of our food needs once we arrive.