Church Brew Works

The Church Brew Works… Brewing Up Heavenly Craft Beer!

Owner Sean Casey opened the Church Brew Works for business on the 1st of
August in 1996 and has been operational for 16 years.  It is the oldest
continuous operating brewery in the City of Pittsburgh.  The Church Brew
Works is very successful, continually growing and producing more high
quality craft beer, thanks to dedication, commitment to quality and the love
of beer Sean has!

It was quite evident to Nightwire that Sean is an amazing businessman and
the driving force at the Church Brew Works.  Sean told us, “The palate of
the consumer has changed. They are moving away from corporate beers and
definitely moving more toward much more flavorful craft beers. Celestial
Gold used to be the Church Brew Works’ number one selling beer; now, it’s
Pius Mark Dunkel.”

Sean said that the largest growing consumers of craft beer are women. Women
traditionally did not enjoy drinking beer, but what they are finding now is
that the craft beers are appealing and pleasing to their palates. Women have
come to enjoy craft beers just as much as they have in the past enjoyed a
fine glass of wine or a cocktail! I found this to be so true, as I only
drank really cold light beer. Sean said, “Well then, you probably never
really liked beer because when you drink really cold light beer, you might
as well be drinking water.” Oh yes, I have tried other beers in the past,
only to find them too bitter, too sweet, too unappealing until I started
researching and really tasting craft beers. What I found, to my surprise,
was that Sean was absolutely right and nailed it…craft beers have flavor
that you can savor and they are surprisingly refreshing.

While at the Church Brew Works, I sampled some of their craft beers and,
guess what, my favorite beer was a stout.  I have up until now hated stout
beer.  But, their Coconut Stout beer was absolutely outstanding, not bitter
at all but rather extremely refreshing and pleasing to my palate. I
absolutely loved it!  My next favorite was the Millennium Trippel, a
carbonated beer that is corked and bottled like champagne, an absolute “must
try” beer! Their current summer beers are the German Wheat Beer, Saaz
Monster, a hoppy pilsner and Coconut Stout.

Pittsburghers have grown to love the Church Brew Works beers; they are one
of the top selling Craft beers at PNC Park!

Church Brew Works was built on the foundation of brewing quality and
maintaining the consistency of their beers, which has been the key to their
success.  Sean is constantly investing money in his equipment and lab
testing facility to ensure they maintain the quality and consistency of
their beer.  Quality Control is the number one priority with the Church Brew
Works, and it certainly shows. Sean just recently purchased the old Iron
City supply house to help expand his brewery.

The Church Brew Works is an amazing structure, with the most breathtaking
element the position of the brew house on the altar. Because the altar was
built as a centerpiece of the church, the steel and copper tanks gleaming in
the celestial blue backdrop is nothing less than captivating. This
extraordinary view is only paralleled by the quality and taste of their

The following are some of the current Church Brew Works Beers as described
by their Brewmasters: Celestial Gold: This pilsner style lager is golden in
color with a light, bubbly effervescence.  From the start, you will notice a
fine hop aroma and a light malt taste.  Celestial Gold has been known to
induce Celestial Bliss!!

Pipe Organ Pale Ale: Brewed with a hefty amount of pale malt and three kinds
of American hops, this beer is a medium-bodied, dry-hopped ale with a malt
sweetness from the use of caramel malts.  Balanced and sure to please, the
Pipe Organ pale Ale finishes crisp and citrusy.

Pious Monk Dunkel: This dark style lager was first brewed in Munich, Germany
over 150 years ago.  Our version is fairly dark in color, but don’t be
afraid: the Pious Monk Dunkel is the perfect example that not all darker
beers are strong!  The body is surprisingly mellow and the alcohol content
is low.  It has a wonderful clean and roasty aroma and finishes crisp and
clean as a lager should.  This beer is a multiple medal winning lager!

The above are available by the case at participating distributers around the

Rotating Blast Furnace Stout: Today there are many different variations of
stouts all over the world.  To celebrate this diversity, we constantly
rotate our stout selections.  Our past rotations included stouts brewed with
untraditional ingredients such as espresso, vanilla, and coconut.  We might
be brewing an old favorite or experimenting with a new batch, so ask what’s
on tap.  Drink it slowly and savor the rich flavors – we know you won’t be

Millennium Trippel: Also available in bottles The Millennium Trippel is
light in color and highly carbonated.  It has a fruit – like aroma, and the
flavor is somewhat sweet and malty.  Some say it has the look and feel
similar to champagne, thus making this a great beer for celebration!

ThunderHop I.P.A.  The ThunderHop I.P.A.  has an intense hopiness, flavor
and aroma.  We chose to use two varieties of American hops in the brewing
process.  The color is copper to amber and the aroma is noticeably hoppy due
to the use of Glaciers in the dry hop process.  You will alsopick up a
complexity from fruit -like esters.  The body is big and malty with some
caramel sweetness.

Cherry Quadzilla: The Cherry Quadzilla is a full-bodied Belgian ale that is
amber in color with some red hues.  You will notice lots of fruit- like
esters and a bread – like maltiness with a lingering caramel sweetness.  As
the Cherry Quadzilla warms, the complexity increases and the flavor becomes

Herbal American Wheat: The Herbal American Wheat an American – style wheat
ale with a twist.  We added a pound of secret herbs per barrel to make the
beer extra refreshing.  The base is roughly 50% wheat malt, very lightly
hopped and fermented with our house ale yeast.  After fermentation, we
infused the finished product with herbs and made sure it was carbonated

Mad Brewer Maibock: The Mad Brewer Maibock was the Silver Medal winner in
1999 and 2000, Bronze Medal winner in 2001, and the Gold Medal Winner in
2005 at the Great American Beer Festival in the German Bock category.  A
bock beer is required by German law to start at 17 Plato.  For those who are
interested, Plato is a measurement of the sugar content before fermentation.
It is a very malty lager beer with medium hop bitterness.  A maibock is a
light to amber colored bock beer and is very similar to a Helles/pale bock.
Maibocks were originally brewed for the coming of spring, hence the name Mai
(German for May).  The Mad Brewer Maibock is medium amber in color.  Though
similar in color to our Pipe Organ Pale Ale, it is very different in
character.  Don’t let it get you though; it’s a very strong beer at about 7%
alcohol.  It has a very clean and malty nose.  The hop bitterness is
evident, but not dominant.  The Mad Brewer Maibock will finish quite full
and have a delicate sweetness.

Unholy Matrimony: How about the unnatural union of rye and wheat?  The
Unholy Matrimony pours blonde and foamy.The extra carbonation is to aid the
aroma.  You should smell spicy citrus and fresh scents.  When you taste it,
you will first notice its dry rye spiciness which yields to its smooth,
peppery citrus finish.  The wheat and citrus get along pretty well together,
and some added spelt provides some extra mouthfeel to hold all the flavors
up.  Saaz Monster: This is a Lager beer packed full of Czech Saaz hops.  We
decided to not filter this beer so as to not jeopardize the wonderful hop
flavor and aroma.  If you carefully swirl the glass and take a big whiff,
you will get a full but delicate fresh hop aroma from only the best noble
hop – Czech Saaz.  We used nearly 2 lbs of hops per barrel of beer, which is
not far off from what we use in our IPA, though this beer has half the
bitterness.  The flavor profile is spicy hops up front with a clean malt
finish and pleasing bitterness.

Coconut Stout: Our next stout in our rotating Blast Furnace Stout series is
a Coconut Stout.  We noticed in the last our years that our stout sales
decline in the summer months.  Most people don’t want to struggle with a
nice thick stout in the summer months when they are looking to cool off.  I,
however, love a nice stout in the hot months, so I felt a compromise was in
order.  When I think of summer, three things pop into my mind: baseball, the
4th of July, and coconut.  All right, maybe coconut doesn’t make me think of
summer, but I like it and I’m in charge now so let’s see if we can shake
things up a bit.  This recipe is a twist on my Milk Stout that debuted back
in November.  It is the basic recipe for the Milk Stout except I added a
considerable amount more chocolate malt and scaled back the roast barley.
The coconut comes into play in the serving tank.  I added fifty pounds of
unsweetened coconut flakes into the conditioning tank and serving tank.
When the cooling jackets are turned on, the oils from the flakes will mix
with the brew, giving the beer a subtle hint of coconut.  When tasting this
beer you will notice the chocolate malt up front on your tongue.  This will
give way to a subtle taste of coconut in the finish and in the back of your
throat.  The hop bill was kept low so that it would not overpower the
sweetness and the coconut.  I hope through this beer that everyone will
think of coconut when they think of summer.

Steve Sloan, Head Brewer Hometown: Born in Waterford/Pontiac MI, just north
of Detroit.  Favorite CBW Brew: Big Belgian fan so I would have to say the
Trippel at the moment.  Enjoy lagers too so the Gold is a nice session beer.
Brew you’d love to see us brew: A series of Saisons, with seasonal spices
and wild yeasts.  And a Polish Pils for summer.  Education: Undergrad
Kalamazoo College (Chemistry), Masters from University of Florida
(Chemistry), Diploma in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling
out of London, Brewing Microbiology Course at Siebel Institute of
Technology.  Background as a brewer: First brewing job was with Kona Brewing
Company in Hawaii as a shift brewer in 1996.  Decision to become a brewer: I
was exposed to craft beer while going to undergrad in Kalamazoo and drinking
plenty of Bell’s and spending a few summers playing and coaching American
football in Germany where I really found a passion for better beer.  After
grad school, ended up in Hawaii where I was trying my hand at teaching and
coaching.  Ended up meeting the head brewer for Kona Brewing who was looking
for help.  From day one I knew that the craft brewing industry was the
perfect fit.  Good mix of using my science background for consistency and
quality while at the same time allowing a lot of creativity in problem
solving and recipe development.  Couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  I
feel fortunate that I stumbled upon this industry, which has had such huge
growth.  Ending up at the CBW: After John Harvard’s closed in 2008, I did
some part time work with Church Brew Works before heading out to California.
I was working for a great company in Firestone Walker in a beautiful area in
CA, but when I was contacted by Sean about the position, I was very excited
since my wife and I love Pittsburgh.  The Church is one of the coolest pubs
in world, and the brand has a great deal of potential.

Matt Moninger, Assistant Brewer

Hometown:  Greene County, PA Favorite CBW Brew: Zwarte Piet’s Xmas
Education: University of Pittsburgh-Bachelors in Religious Studies
Background as a brewer: Homebrewer since 1997, CBW Bottling line /
operations Decision to become a brewer: It is the only job I can think of in
which you get to make beer!  Ending up at the CBW: Friends in high places!

Justin Viale, Brewer Hometown: Knoxville, TN Favorite CBW Brew: I go in
phases; right now it’s the ThunderHop IPA.  Education: BA in Anthropology
from the University of Tennessee Background as a brewer: Homebrewer for
three years, then volunteer at Moccasin Bend Brewing Co.  Decision to become
a brewer: First, because beer is fantastic!  Second, I like the work; after
a day of brewing, something is made that other people get to enjoy.  Ending
up at the CBW: After interviewing at breweries from (literally) coast to
coast, I was offered a part-time position that grew into full time by the
end of the first week.  I feel very fortunate at the opportunity I was given
to learn all aspects of the Brewery very quickly, and Pittsburgh has been a
great new city for me and my wife.  Steven O`Neal Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Favorite CBW Brew: Hefe Weizen Education: Taylor Allderdice High School
Background as a brewer: Homebrewer Decision to become a brewer: Love of good
beer Ending up at the CBW: At first, it was my second job as a busboy, and I
was offered a job in the brewery and have been here ever since (eight

3525 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15201 412-688-8200 ||