The Deutschtown microbrewery opened on Sept. 28 2016 and continues to be offer patrons a sensible, comforting atmosphere to unwind in
By: Neil Strebig
Immediately as you stroll into the taproom at 507 Foreland Street you realize this isn’t your typical microbrewery.
Sure, one of Pittsburgh’s many food trucks may be situated outside – a trivial taproom staple in this town – but stepping off the sidewalk coming face-to-face with a sea of smiles from fellow neighbors and patrons, an impromptu canine cuddle or being yanked into a round of Trivial Pursuit you realize this feels more like a lounge than an actual bar.
“First and foremost we want to focus on our neighbors here on the Northside,” said Allegheny City Brewing co-owner, Al Grasso. “Knowing people’s first name, knowing their story, that’s what is fun for us – to be a part of Deutschtown.”
Grasso and siblings Amy and Matt Yurkovich opened ACB in September 2016. After returning to their native Pittsburgh in 2013 the trio was inspired to replicate the communal beer scene they had fallen in love with in Colorado.
They made it a point to offers guests a place where they could enjoy more than just a pint of craft beer.
“[It has] a nice neighborhood vibe that all neighborhoods need,” said bartender Alexa Fitting.
Fitting works part-time with the ACB trio and admits that she was a customer before she was an employee.
“Even before I worked here, someone is always saying ‘Hi.’ It is like Cheers, everyone knows your name.”
While replicating infamous Boston bar is a nice sentiment, the notion still is there. Capturing the congenial essence of a local tavern is exactly what Grasso and the Yurkovichs were aiming for.
As Grasso mentions the “consistency of getting to know people and seeing them continuing to come back” is vital. He values what he calls “familiar faces,” patrons, neighbors or first-time visitors who frequent the property for around, a food truck order or just to offer a friendly salutation.
Since their inception, a year ago ACB has been offering a hodgepodge of options with their 11-taps, another staple towards the Deutschtown trinity’s success.
“Our approach to our brewhouse in general, is we kind of want to have a good bit of variety. The main driving force behind that is that anyone who comes in here from the neighborhood or anywhere, we want to have something that will appeal to them,” said Grasso.
Grasso mentions that they offer a few staples or “flagships” as he calls them like the Deutschtown Brown or Morning Dew IPA, but the crew enjoys implementing a little diversity with their tap selections. Last autumn the team had a Habanero Stout on and they’ll be running a chocolate-espresso fused nightcap of sorts with their 1795 Stout through early October.
Although Grasso jokes that since ACB’s opening the brewing process has matured over the first year of business.
“At this point, it is an objective evaluation of what we think is a quality beer or not versus what we personally like,” said Grasso. “It is a balance of brewing for what our clients are requesting and want and what sells, mixed with brewing what we all personally like. We want to brew things we’re proud of.”
With September 28 marking their one-year anniversary and a a week-long pairing of scheduled events to follow, the threesome can certainly be proud of their achievement.
“I think a year is a significant milestone. We wanted to let people know how much we appreciate them,” Grasso said about the celebration and the value of being a “true part of the neighborhood.”
“[We’re] trying to do well enough here to make a living off it, but we also want to make sure we are giving back to the neighborhood in a way that is responsible to the neighborhood.”
Cover photo (left to right) Co-owners of Allegheny City Brewing in Deutschtown Matt Yurkovich, Amy Yurkovich, and Al Grasso. Photo credit: Alyse Horn
The Local Marketplace Section is supported by PNC Community Development Banking with funding from the PNC Foundation.