Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Penn Brewery closes. Time to start the deathwatch?

Got the news from a Bob Batz story in the Post-Gazette: the Penn Brewery restaurant has closed its doors. The remaining staff were told yesterday (a reader tells me "they showed up to work today only to find the doors locked").

Let's not mince words: this ain't good. The restaurant is closed. The beer's all being made under contract at The Lion (nothing against The Lion, but it's just not the same as when it's made in the Penn Brewery). The principals involved don't have a history of working well together. It's been dragging on for months, almost a year. No clear resolution is in sight.

Don't you just wish you could smack people sometimes?

12 comments:

tim said...

This stinks.

Penn was the one brewery that Pittsburgh had (besides Rivertowne, which doesn't bottle)that I liked as much as the EPA ones (Troegs, ABC, Victory, Lancaster).

Huge bummer. This will affect my fall tailgating.

JJ Wainwright said...

Dont fear-- I heard that genius Tim Hickman is going to step in and save the company...

jp said...

lock doors are never a good sign But this has been back and forth for a while now I would not call the undertaker just yet, smells like tactical posturing to me.

Ryan_PA said...

Wow, that stinks. I would have liked to have gone there on my last trip, but didn't for one reason or another.

There is a hidden gem in East End Brewing out in Pittsburgh. Not the same scale as Penn though.

Looks like the economy is about to claim a new victim.

santillom said...

To Tim...

Rivertowne may some start canning soon. Andrew Maxwell announced during Mug Club party in June he was scouting a location and hoped to be in the building by Sept/Oct. This would be great for SWP and could be our Sly Fox of Western PA.

Definitely would ease the pain of Penn Closing.

Bill G. said...

If the beer coming out of Lion continues to be as bad as it has been (the 2008 GABF Gold Kaiser Pils had no hop bite whatsoever), then maybe it might be a good thing for the once-mighty Penn to die.

I REALLY hope that Tom comes through and purchases everything out for a return to REAL Penn.

(To be fair, I don't want to impugn the Lion in any way, because I've had plenty of good Stegmaier beers and Lionshead is better than the price indicates. In fact, I can't imagine them being very happy with the way their name has been dragged down amongst Penn fans who haven't had a Southampton.)

Darel Matthews said...

The Lion did not brew any beers for Penn in 2008. We just did our first test batch in December.

Lew Bryson said...

Thank you, Darel. Always good to have some factual responses.

Erin Dei Cas said...

I worked at the Penn Brewery for 3 years (2005-2008) and can only say that I am very upset that the place has closed indefinately.

That place was one of a kind, and the beer and food was top of the line. I remember working Oktoberfest, St. Nik Boch parties and many more special events. It was an amazing place for a college kid to have a job (decent money and free beer after your shift was over!) and I will miss it dearly.

I met my husband at the Penn Brewery, he worked there too. Now we are happily married for nearly a year and have a beautiful son, so I can definately say that I took away something amazing from that place.

It's such a shame that Birchmere took over that place and ran it into the ground. It closed before it's time.

Bill G. said...

Eek...that didn't come out quite the way I wanted it to, and I apologize.

My point was that Pittsburgh-brewed Kaiser Pils WAS the 2008 GABF Gold Medal Winner in the pilsner category (and incidentally, the #2 ranked pils right behind Prima in Eric Asimov's recent NY Times piece on pilsners).

However, I had a sample at the Millvale brew festival, and it was not even close to the beer that I remembered....no sharp hoppiness whatsoever. Once again, I don't want to blame the Lion, as I know they are quality brewers; however, I want to blame Birchmere 100% for the downturn in Kaiser Pils' quality.

My comment was meant to be a compare and contrast based upon recent acclaim, and apparently did not come across that way.

jaygeekray said...

It's BAAAAAAACK !!!! I went down for Tom's Sneak Peak Preview and it was awesome. The Keller Pilsner (still immature and delicate) may have been the best beer I have ever tasted. When fully lagered it should be even better. Not too excited with the Allegheny Pale Ale but understand the need for them to cater to the vast number of Americans that love their craft brews with plenty of bite. I even bought a champagne bottle of the St Nikolaus Bock to ring in the New Year !!! With the Hofbrauhaus on the South Side and the Penn Brewery back on the North Side life is very good in the 'burgh !!!!

Lew Bryson said...

Ain't dat great news!