So, you’re back in Oakland for another semester and looking for a good beer. The usual places around campus have begun to feel a bit played out. Never boring, but maybe somewhat traveled upon. You need a new place to get your beer fix, one to break the routine and shake things up a little bit.
Fortunately, you’re in the right city. Pittsburgh has many places to explore new craft beer, most of them easily accessible by bus or car for any student of requisite age. Whether you are looking to get something on draft that you’ve never had before or cobble together an eclectic six pack, there is something in town to satisfy every beer-soaked desire.
The Beer Emporium
The Beer Emporium, owned by Sharp Edge and located in Friendship, is one of best places in the city to try new and exciting brews. And with 70 taps and more than 250 bottles, it lives up to its name.
The staff at Sharp Edge is a friendly, knowledgeable bunch that, when there are upwards of 300 constantly rotating beers to choose from, really comes in handy. Generous with its deals, Sharp Edge offers half-priced Belgian drafts from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, while also offering a similar half-price special on all craft brews on tap Wednesdays.
In addition to the overwhelming beer selection, the food holds up its end of the bargain. So be sure to take advantage of the 50-cent wings and half-priced pizzas and appetizers after 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The Beer Market
The Beer Market, located across from PNC Park on Federal Street, is a newcomer to the Pittsburgh beer scene, but is a competitor to be reckoned with. Sporting a beer menu longer than my senior seminar paper, it is clear that The Beer Market does not mess around when it comes to its selections.
Requiring its own index, the 50-page menu covers everything from Abbey Leffe Blonde all the way to Zatec Pilsner and just about everything in between.
If you’re into wine, The Beer Market offers eight high-quality varieties to satisfy lovers of both white and red. Whatever you do at Beer Market, don’t go looking for a food menu. You won’t find one.
The Beer Market serves no food whatsoever, choosing to concentrate on libations. What they will do, however, is order food for you from just about anywhere in town that delivers. Also, you are more than welcome to bring your own, should you so desire. I have seen everything there from grilled steaks to Pop Tarts—all foods are welcome.
More importantly, though, just about any beer one could ask for is present and accounted for.
D’s Six Pax and Dogz
Finally, a must for any Pittsburgh beer lover is D’s Six Pax and Dogz, located on Braddock Avenue in Swissvale. Although the food, mostly a selection of typical bar fare, is decent and the draft selection is respectable, the real reason to go to D’s is for the famous “beer cave.” It’s an affectionate name for the back room behind the main seating area, which contains more than 1,000 varieties of bottled beer.
Guests can create their own custom four or six pack or even make their own case, all at their leisure. Choosing what you want from the beer cave is not an easy task, and it is definitely not one to be taken lightly. When spoiled for choice, as one usually is at D’s, even the most snobbish beer connoisseur might feel some beer anxiety, panicking over the pressure of choosing the perfect brew.
Still, that is a pretty good problem to have. In an effort to make your shopping experience less stressful, the beer cave is organized by nation, with American offerings broken down by state. A smattering of seasonal varieties is usually available as well. Even with all of the beer hot spots around the city, anyone who misses out on D’s Six Pax and Dogz has had an incomplete Pittsburgh beer experience.
It is indeed comforting to know that, when Oakland starts to feel small, there are beer Meccas aplenty to carry the torch. So get out and explore what Pittsburgh has to offer.