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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com
30 November, 2017

Brewing news USA, PA: Cinderlands Beer Co. to open officially on December 2

Cinderlands Beer Co., which opens in Lawrenceville on December 2, is named as a playful nod to Pittsburgh’s smoky-city past, but it aims to give customers the best kind of up-to-date brewpub experience, the Pittsburg Post-Gazette reported on November 30.

Unlike many area breweries that have opened kitchenless taprooms in the past year or so, Cinderlands is not only brewing its own beer, but also serving its own food, made in what’s now a really open kitchen. Customers can sit on stools that look to be an extension of the tile-backed bar and watch the cooking staff finish their dishes, many of which will be made with different forms of the house beer.

That’s the niche of this place, which formerly and briefly was Roasted Barrelhouse & Eatery and, before that, Eclipse Lounge.

Owner (with his brother Steve) Jamie Warden says, “We make our own food, we make our own beer and we find unique ways for them to work together.”

For instance, chef Joe Kiefer (formerly of Meat & Potatoes) and his sous, Hunter McCarthy (formerly of täko) this past week fine-tuned their take on chicharrones — pork rinds, but made not with pork but with spent grains from the brewing process and India pale ale, which also infuses the dipping cheese (they’re vegan if you don’t use the cheese). There’s also beer in the jelly served with the spent-grain beer bread with the grilled bone marrow. And that bread will go into the bread pudding, served with vanilla ice cream and topped by a caramel made by boiling down brewing wort.

Mr. Kiefer describes the small menu as creative, house-made pub fare like that, everything from salads (though he doesn’t like that word and “I don’t know why”) to his take on haluski and a fish-and-chips dish that is old-school smelts, “the best fish stick you can get,” finished with citrus salt.

The kitchen has been collaborating very closely with brewer Paul Schneider, who got married in September and then moved in October to Pittsburgh for this job from his old one at Solemn Oath Brewing in Naperville, Ill.

Working on a brand-new, three-barrel brewhouse in the basement — where there’s a three-barrel and a seven-barrel fermenter — he’s got five beers for opening: Cobra Toes Kolsch (4.6 percent alcohol by volume); Cobra Tonic Tea Kolsch made with turmeric, lemon, lime and ginger (4.2 percent ABV); Passionfruit Whipper Berliner Weisse (4.8 percent ABV); Blazing Crude Coffee Milk Stout (7.5 percent ABV); and Test Piece New England IPA.

That last trendy, hazy one is “a little brighter than people might be used to. You can almost see through it,” he says with a laugh. “I’m a big fan of getting bright flavors into all of our beers.” Hence the hint of orange peel in the stout.

They’re planning to sell everything they make here from the taps — as many as eight different brews at once — and by the glass, though they may eventually add crowlers to go.

Mr. Warden describes himself as a formerly casual craft beer fan who got more of a fever for it during a visit with his wife, Joanna, to the mecca that is Asheville, N.C., so they went back to Los Angeles, did a lot of research and drew up a business plan. It’s come to fruition with the help of Good Beer Hunting, a well-known Chicago marketing and branding company. That was the genesis for the giant “Cinderlands” painted on one exposed brick wall with a big “PITT” and “PENN.”

He’s no longer working his day job as a web developer, but he also has a daughter who’s not yet four months old. Joanna Warden is helping with social media; Mr. Schneider’s wife, Emily, is running the bar, which will also serve cocktails, Pennsylvania wines and Arsenal ciders. General manager (and Mr. Warden’s cousin) is Matt Cook.

There’s seating for almost 90 people. The front of the house is meant for walk-ins and beer drinkers; the dining room, brightened not just with a paint job but also a skylight, is in the back; and in between is a cozy mezzanine, close to the tin ceiling and overlooking the bar, with a repurposed wood communal table, two drink rails and board games.

Mr. Warden confirms that Cinderlands aims to open a second brewery as part of the resurrection of the former Spaghetti Warehouse just 11 long blocks away in the Strip District, but that project is a ways off.

Meanwhile, Cinderlands is located at 3705 Butler St., Pittsburgh, PA 15201, just a block from 11th Hour Brewing Co., which opened on Charlotte Street in August. Hours are starting out as 4 to 11 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m. to midnight Fri. and Sat. and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sun.


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