Hough’s – Pittsburgh’s Brew on Premise and Craft Beer Heaven

brew kettle thumbnailLately I’ve been obsessing about the feasibility of a “Brew On Premises” operation in my locality which is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This started as an obsession of understanding the technical issues and legalities of converting a homebrewery to a nanobrewery, but the thought of using that equipment in a dual purpose setting with a Brew On Premises seemed like an interesting twist.

If you don’t know what a Brew On Premise operation is, it’s where customers come to an establishment and basically brew their beer. The proprietor provides the brewing equipment, ingredients and cleanup afterward. The customer gets to spend a few hours among their friends and other brewers cooking their beer, watching sports, and (if properly licensed) drinking beers from the attached bar.

I started to get really interested in this idea because you could effectively turn a functioning bar into a Brew On Premises with the expected amount of red tape (See Homebrewery to Nanobrewery), but this equipment could also act as a brewery to which you could distribute your own craft brews directly to your own bar!

Then I used the Google machine on the interwebs and found out someone already thought of this. The Hough Brothers (and family) own a bar in the Greenfield section of Pittsburgh and are weeks away from opening what I believe is Pittsburgh’s first Brew On Premises operation.  A news article from a year ago indicated that things were going full swing. A quick check of their website indicated nothing about a Brew On Premise. Hmmm, what does it all mean?

So we took a trip to Hough’s today and even though they didn’t open until 4, Papa Hough, as I’ll call him let us in to see the place. This is what we saw.

Brew on Premise Kettles
I Want This In My Garage!

It’s beautiful. Six 15 liter steam-fired kettles line the wall. Counterpressure bottling station on the other wall, fermentation and cooling tanks in the basement. Flat screen tv’s on the wall, tile floors. I could go on but let’s just say it was a beautiful operation. I am a straight up sucker for automation, copper, stainless steel and beer and I really wanted to stay and just start working on stuff.

Then Papa Hough upped the game by showing me their custom-made tap wall. Here it is:

tap wall
Wait, Where’s The Bud Lite?

Ok so this place was totally not what I was expecting. It’s got the dark wood English pub feel going on,  this awesome tap wall of craft brews, and a Brew On Premise operation. The friend I had with me is from the area and was completely excited to realize this was a place within walking distance of his house that he could get a decent craft brew and burger.

So in all I wanted to thank Hough’s for bringing something a little new to Pittsburgh, and for letting me into their business off-hours to poke and gawk at all their shiny things.