As the name implies, Church Brew Works, located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, calls a century-old church home. Construction on St. John the Baptist began in 1902 and the building remained an active parish until 1993 when the church was put under an act of suppression by the Bishop of Pittsburgh. Just three years later after extensive renovation and restoration, Church Brew Works opened its doors.
Much of the church's original architecture was salvaged and meticulously restored in the conversion from church to brewery. Pews were cut and reassembled to make benched seating along salvaged oak tables for the brew pub, original lanterns were restored along with the original Douglas Fir floors. Stained glass windows, including the beautiful rose window are still in tact, but the centerpiece remains in the apse, where steel and copper tanks have replaced the alter. It's from these tanks that Church Brew Works produces its delicious beers, two of which we sampled for this tasting.
Though this beer appears darker than the IPA, Pious Monk Dunkel also pours nice and clear with little head. A light malt sweetness hits the nose along with toasty caramel notes in this true to style German brew. The toasty sweetness is also present in the flavor, which is rich but not too strong. And at 4.3% ABV, Pious Monk is a great example of a darker beer that doesn't taste too heavy.
Pouring a crystal clear mahogany with a small head, this IPA smelled lovely, bright and citrusy. Aromas of crisp grapefruit and hop bitterness radiate from the glass. The flavor follows the nose, tasting delightfully bitter, just like a ruby red grapefruit. We found ourselves wanting more after the bottle was drained.
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