Pittsburg's home of award-winning, German-style beers since 1986
Penn Brewery was founded by Tom Pastorius in 1986 at the foot of Troy Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The brewery is actually housed in a mid nineteenth century landmark, the original E&O Brewing Building that dates back to the mid 1800’s. This historical site has provided the perfect home for Penn Brewery, its brew house restaurant, and its authentic, award-winning German-style beers.
Penn Brewery was originally a contract brewing operation, in which its flagship product was brewed at the Pittsburgh Brewing Company and Jones Brewing Company facilities until 1989. This brew known as Penn Pilsner is a full-bodied, German-style beer that quickly gained popularity among Pennsylvania beer drinkers. With this creation, Pastorius also recognized the need for authentic German food in Pittsburgh.
The ethnic Pittsburgh cuisine Penn Brewery sells consists of wurst, schnitzel, pierogi, and goulash alongside contemporary favorites such as French fry salad, flatbreads, and sandwiches. All fare is made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and are served for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Tom Pastorius had serious German roots, and built Penn Brewery to celebrate that heritage with traditional lagers and Bavarian wheat beers. Many of these beers are now internationally recognized! Tom’s fascination with German beer was heightened after living in the country for twelve years, and after moving back to the United States, he wanted everyone in Pittsburgh to experience the fresh German beer he had grown to love. Tom decided to open his own brewery that would honor that traditional German style. He also recognized the demand for authentic German cuisine and opened a restaurant with traditional German food in his new brewhouse.
The site of Penn Brewery is actually in a Deutchtown neighborhood that was originally settled by German immigrants. Penn Brewery’s beers are brewed in the tradition of these immigrants and pays homage to their story. The brewery was also established to celebrate Tom’s family history, as he is the ninth descendent of Franz Daniel Pastorius who founded the first German settlement in America (Germantown) in 1683.
With the help of brewing team Andy Rich, Nick Rosich, and Rick Brown, Penn Brewery now crafts over twenty craft beers that have won numerous awards at national beer competitions.
In 2009, Penn Brewery was acquired by Linda Nyman and Sandra Cindrich, who brought extensive business, marketing, and finance backgrounds to the historic Pittsburgh brewery. They are working to expand Penn’s distribution while helping to develop new and original beer styles with the brewing team.
Lots of innovations occurred in 2010, with the installation of a new kegging line, and the start of weekly “growler hours” every Friday from 4pm to 6pm. Other updates include expanding their beer styles, now crafting IPAs and other contemporary styles such as chocolate and pumpkin beers, while still remaining true to their quality craftsmanship, brewing all beers by hand with top-tier barely and hops.
Sadly, in 2012 founder, Tom Pastorious passed away, but on a happier note, the Penn Brewery was named one of Pittsburgh’s favorite breweries by the Pittsburgh Magazine. This is not surprising, since over the years, Penn beers have won a total of twenty Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup medals.
Penn Brewery in addition to being the first “tied house” (a restaurant tied to a brewery) in Pennsylvania since the Prohibition, and the oldest, largest brewery in Pittsburgh, the Penn brewery is also one of the oldest craft breweries in the country, making Penn more than just a brewery, but rather a piece of beer history.
We hope you enjoy this month’s Penn Brewery selections in our beer of the month club subscription - the distinctive, authentic flavors of Pittsburgh. Cheers!