A full-time engineer, Scott Mills has been scaling up his side hustle – Cobblehaus Brewing – by sticking to traditional ales and keeping a flexible schedule. We dropped in during a brew day.
ABV is our weekly series that highlights a different beer from a local Pittsburgh brewery every week. Check out our past picks here.
“You know, I’d love to just get into a ROUTINE.”
After starting a double-batch brew day at 8:30 am, Scott Mills gazes down at his watch.
“5:45 pm. And we’re still going.”
Since opening Cobblehaus Brewing Co. in April 2017, Mills – owner and head brewer – has actually KEPT his (completely separate) day job.
“I’m a project manager at an engineering firm and brew rather flexibly,” Mills explains. “I have to adjust (my schedule) since I juggle work with the brewery. You’re catching me on a long production day (today).”
A homebrewer for over 20 years, Mills’ first exposure to craft beer was actually on a trip to visit friends.
“After finishing my engineering degree at Carnegie Mellon (in 1993), I went to visit some friends in Colorado. At that time, we called it the ‘microbrewing’ scene and it was well underway out West. We visited a few breweries and I just loved it.”
The (Actual) Cobblehaus Brewhouse
First-timers arriving at Cobblehaus can expect – as the glassware reads – ‘Olde World Styles, New World Twists.’
“What makes us different (from other breweries) is our focus on traditional styles. You probably won’t see us getting into the super modern stuff (hazy IPAs, sours, etc),” Mills explains. “We do English and German style beers in a comfy spot here in Coraopolis. We want folks to come out and have a good time.”
Brewing on a 2-barrel system, Mills walks me through his setup.
“It’s a fully electric (coil) system. When I get started on a batch, it usually needs about an hour to heat up. We yield roughly four kegs per batch of beer.”
Mills continues: “We’re young, relatively speaking. We have more space than we need and we’re seeing how things go.”
“In the future, we want to get into lagers. My next expansion will be to source lower temperature fermenters that will allow us to add that style to our portfolio of beers.”
The Cobblehaus Taproom
Step into the bar area at Cobblehaus and it’s pretty straightforward. There’s a bar (with a shiny new tap system), some high top tables and comfortable couch seating. Continue further back and there’s the deceptively LONG walk to the restrooms along with some additional seating with TVs in a side room.
Mills’ actual brewing area is through a door located behind where the bartenders stand. The entire facility is on the ground level and has plenty of space for when the time comes to expand.
What’s in the (beer) pipeline?
“I try to keep a variety on tap,” Mills explains. “Today’s first batch took about six hours (to brew). That batch was our Feeling Brut (IPA, 6.2% ABV). Batch number two (which Mills is brewing as he speaks) will be our Olde Towne Alt (Dusseldorf Alt, 5.3% ABV).”
Folks visiting Cobblehaus should absolutely give the Alt a try.
“It’s our best-seller, by far. I have to brew a new batch of the Alt every three weeks to keep up. It’s a beer that we keep on all-year-round, along with Lucky Me (Belgian Tripel, 9.9% ABV) and Black Bear (American Black IPA, 7.5% ABV).
ABV, volume XXIV
Runway – available now at Cobblehaus Brewing
Beer Name: Runway
Style / ABV: Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV
Why we recommend it:
If you’re looking to throw back a few easy-drinking beers during these long, slow, dog days of summer – the Runway is a refreshing, crispy treat.
Described as a West Coast American Pale Ale, this beer is single-hopped; in other words, the recipe does NOT contain multiple hops. The citra hop provides the aroma and flavors. You’ll taste mango, passionfruit and citrus with medium bitterness in the finish.
When is it available:
OG Cobblehaus fans might remember Runway had an early run when it hit the taps a few weeks after the brewery first opened. Since then, the brewery has upgraded its temperature control system. According to Mills, that has made all the difference. This is iteration #2 for Runway; it is available on draft now and they aim to keep it on the taplist moving forward.
How is it served:
Cobblehaus hasn’t moved toward canning beers quite yet. You’ll be getting a draft pour in the following sizes.
Sample size taster, Full pint glass, 32-oz Crowler, 32-oz Growler or 64-oz Growler
Where is it available: Cobblehaus Brewing (Coraopolis)
Honorable Mention Beer: Try the Olde Towne Alt – a Dusseldorf Alt beer (traditional German style). By far their best-selling beer, the Alt as it is commonly referred to, is a rich brown ale with an amber color and mellow finish.
Visiting Cobblehaus Brewing
Parking: use the municipal lot right next to the brewery. You can also park on the street (5th Ave), right in front of the entrance.
Food: Bring your own food or order in. Cobblehaus does not operate an in-house food program or kitchen.
Getting to Cobblehaus Brewing
Public Transit: if you make your way to the 21 bus, it drops off a block and a half away. It’s a good hike from the city so you may be better off driving or taking a rideshare out to Coraopolis.