Pittsburgh's Home of the German Oktoberfest
Penn Brewery, also known as the Pennsylvania Brewing Company, is a brewery and restaurant in Pittsburgh, located at 800 Vinial Street in the Troy Hill neighborhood. The Penn Brewery is best known for it's award-winning craft beers, including the flagship Penn Pilsner, and seasonal favorites such as Oktoberfest. The restaurant honors the many European nationalities whose immigrants built Pittsburgh.
Although today's Penn Brewery was incorporated in 1986, the brewery's roots lie in 1848, when the Eberhart and Ober families, immigrants from Germany, settled in the Deutschtown neighborhood of Allegheny City, now Pittsburgh’s North Side. Eberhart and Ober opened a brewery on the site where Penn Brewery exists today. The Eberhart and Ober Brewery buildings make up the core of the Penn Brewery complex.
Constructed between 1879 and 1883, the landmark brewery buildings, featuring the old stock house and office building, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They boast many fascinating and unique architectural features, including the labyrinth of stone caves and tunnels which were constructed to chill barrels of beer before the days of refrigeration.
Eberhart and Ober Brewery was in operation for several decades, eventually merging with other regional breweries to become part of Pittsburgh Brewing Company in 1899. Beer production continued at the North Side location until 1952, under such labels as E&O Pilsner and Dutch Club.
The Penn Brewery opened it's brewing operation at the renovated Eberhart and Ober site on September 12, 1989. Originally called the Allegheny Brewery and Pub, the name was changed to Penn Brewery in 1994. The facility utilizes custom built micro-brewery equipment imported from Germany.
Penn Pilsner, the company's flagship beer, is brewed in strict accordance to the German Purity Law of 1516. From 1986 through 1989, it was contract manufactured at the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, and later at the Jones Brewing Company. The full-bodied German-syle beer has become quite popular among Pennsylvania beer drinkers.
The Penn Brewery complex also features a restaurant, serving authentic German cuisine, similar to the beer halls in Germany. The menu has expanded to include fine foods from several European nationalities. Originally known as Allegheny Brewery & Pub, the restaurant was the first “tied house,” signifying a restaurant tied to a brewery, in Pennsylvania since the days of Prohibition.
Despite the success of the brewing operation and the restaurant, the Penn Brewery has not been without it's share of difficulties. In 2003 Birchmere Capital LP purchased a controlling stake in Penn Brewery. In a move that was quite unpopular among Pittsburghers, Birchmere closed the brewery and restaurant in 2009. On November 23, 2009, Penn Brewery was purchased by a group of local investors and the operation was back in business within a month.
The Penn Brewery continues to produce high-end craft beers, specializing in their authentic, award-winning German-style beers. The restaurant is well-known for it's traditional European meals, and there is no better place to gather in October, when the Brewery hosts it's annual Oktoberfest celebration ... Prost!
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