October 27, 2008

A Visit to Pittsburgh, part 2

If you are a regular churchgoer, or a lapsed one, you are familiar with the mindset of going to church. You approach the large building, with its imposing architecture and intricate stained glass windows. You mentally and spiritually prepare yourself for the ceremony and ritual the next hour or so will hold. Now imagine that when you enter, and look ahead to the altar, you see this:
That's the beginning of The Church Brew Works experience. Where the altar once stood are the glowing brew vessels. The pews have been re-purposed as seating for the tables. The area off to the side of the altar, where the choir would have been, is the server's station. It's a very creative and adaptive use of the former St. John the Baptist's Church, and the renovation was done with painstaking attention to detail. Here's the view looking back towards the door:

And the view to the side:

I am happy to report that the beer they are making there is worthy of the setting. I am a bit of a beer snob and do not make this endorsement lightly! I enjoyed a Pious Monk Dunkel, which was excellent, and tasted a few others, including the Oktoberfest and a unique and intriguing Mexican Mole Stout, which had a heat that snuck up on the taste buds. The food was good as well.

I'll round out my Pittsburgh saga with a view from inside Heinz Stadium, taken at a Pitt game. When a touchdown is scored the neon bottles of Heinz ketchup on the signboard flip on their sides and pour out virtual ketchup. I have added witnessing this to my life list of interesting and unique experiences. I am not normally a big sports enthusiast, but in Pittsburgh it's a big part of the ambiance. It seems like everyone is a Steelers fan, and/or a Penquins fan, and/or a Pirates fan, and/or a Pitt fan, and it gives the big city a sort of small town, we're-all-in-this-together feel. Go if you get the chance!


Brenda said...

Aha! I see what you mean Sue, you were one step ahead of me! By the way, my husband is a great beer afficionado. Whenever we travel to Pennysylvanian Dutch Country, we always stop at Lancaster Brewing Company. And his current favourite brew is Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.

Kimberly said...

Oh Sue! Wonderful travelogue of Pittsburgh. How I love it there. RE: your comments about Pittsburgh feeling like a small town...that's it exactly. I always feel welcomed there. After we were married, DH and I took a mini-honeymoon to Pgh (we met there). One afternoon we walked down the Strip telling everyone we were on our honeymoon...we got so many "presents"...free cheese, bread, a candle, a Christmas ornament. So sweet...and so Pittsburgh.

Thanks for sharing!

Sue Reno said...

Brenda, I live near Lancaster, so I'm very familiar with Lancaster Brewing Co. Next time you're in the area, try the new Iron Hill Brewery, both the food and the beer are great. Better still, contact me and we can meet and raise a glass!

Kim, thanks for your nice comment, I'm happy to share when I have such an appreciative audience!