ABV, Craft Beer

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.

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

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On Saturday 12/14 we release our first bottle-conditioned saisons from #theFoederhouse. These beers were made in stainless in January of this year and have conditioned in the bottle since April. Their extended maturation in the presence of Brettanomyces has made them especially characterful, exhibiting significant degrees of funk, fermentation-derived tropical fruit character, and a palate-renewing dryness. There will be many more releases to come, with some of the first foederbier going into bottles next month. Please join us in celebrating this funky occasion! – Solving for Pattern – 6.0% This saison was brewed with pilsner and spelt malt and fermented with Brettanomyces clausenii and a blend of American and European saison strains before a thoughtful dry-hopping with Motueka and an extended bottle conditioning. The resulting beer is fruity, dry, funky, effervescent, and refreshing. A versatile companion to light-to-medium intensity dishes, especially grilled meat and vegetables with citrus accents. Enjoy while reading Wendell Berry's "The Gift of the Good Land." – Desert Solitaire – 5.9% This saison was brewed with pilsner and oat malt and fermented with Brettanomyces clausenii and a blend of American and European saison strains before an extended bottle conditioning. The resulting beer is exceptionally dry, funky, and effervescent. A versatile companion to medium intensity dishes, especially rich, braised meats and caramelized vegetables. Enjoy while reading Edward Abbey's autobiographical classic of the same name. – Special promo for Saturday 12/14 – buy 4 bottles get a free Foederhouse bottle tote (see tote in stories) #cinderlandsbeer #foeders #bottles #bottleservice

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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

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What’s the simplest way to express your GRATITUDE this Thanksgiving? By bringing a vintage bottle of our barleywine to that family table… whatever kind of family that might entail! We’ve got THREE different kinds of Gratitude here for you… . 1) Our most recent vintage of 2018 Gratitude, in our original throwback, hand wrapped bottles, wax dipped, signed and numbered. Possibly the most absurdly labor intensive package ever released? Hard to say. But worth it, we think. 2) Three vintage years of Gratitude bottles… 2016, 2017, & 2018. Patiently waiting here all this time for you to put on your own vertical* tasting of what the exact same recipe can mean for a beer like this one. 3) Lastly, and certainly not leastly (because leastly isn’t a thing) 16oz cans of bourbon barrel aged Gratitude Barleywine, also available across three different vintages. 4.) And because no list of THREE is complete without a fourth entrant, carefully aged, quietly kept, draft 2007 Gratitude for you to enjoy by the glass. Or hey, we’ll even fill a Growler or a Crowler of it for you… to help make this an extra special Thanksgiving for you, and all of yours!!! . * Because SCIENCE. Happy holiday kickoff season everyone!!! . . . #gratitude #thanksgiving #goodfriends #goodbeer #barleywine #vintage #beer #brewery #holidays #craftbeer #craftbrewery

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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