New brewery alert! I also make a point of trying to visit new breweries, especially when it’s in an area that doesn’t really have many taprooms. So I was thrilled to hear about Big Sewickley Creek Brewery! As soon as they were ready to open, I made sure to find a nearby hike so we could go to their opening weekend. Thankfully Sewickley Heights Borough Park was very closeby! This is a new area of the region for me but I was pleasantly surprised by the trails in this park. There was a great mix of natural wooded trails, as well as wider gravel paths. Be aware that some of these are equestrian trails so remember that riders have the right of way and always make your presence known near horses! This is also a popular off-leash area, so if large dogs aren’t your jam this might not be the best place for you.
THE HIKE: Sewickley Heights Borough Park
Length: 3 miles
Elevation Gain: 335 ft
Time: 1-1.5 hours
Trail use: Hiking, unleashed pets, equestrian trails
Parking: Park only in designated areas on side of road
As its name indicates, this park is located in Sewickley Heights Borough and is open to the public! It is funded mostly by generous donations from residents of the borough. Right next to this area is the Fern Hollow Conservation Area, owned and managed by the American Land Trust. This area is very popular with dog owners as the whole park is an off-leash area! So what does that mean for hikers? Well, be aware that an unknown dog might come running up to say hi! If that makes you a bit uncomfortable, you can always ask the owner to leash their pet but understand that they might not. To be honest, if you have a fear of big dogs, I would probably suggest checking out a different park. During our short walk, we probably had 4 or 5 large puppers come running up to us!
We really enjoyed this park because of the varied landscape and types of trails. We parked along Hallaway Road in the designated spots and started out our trek by meandering along the wooded trails. The trails were easy to follow but not always clear which one you were on. We saw very few blazes or signposts, but thankfully since the park isn’t too large we were able to just wander without fear of getting too lost. Most of the trails are multi-purpose but a few are hiker-only. After crossing back over Hallaway Road, we walked along the gravel road which was more open. There were a lot of trails back in this area that I didn’t even realize until looking at the map afterwards. There’s plenty of places to walk at Sewickley Heights, whether you’d like mostly flat gravel paths, or woodsy natural trails.
The park has a helpful website with maps and some rules and regulations about the park. As with most parks, you should stay on the path as much of the area is preserved for conservation. The park isn’t open to hunting at any time and groups larger than 10 should obtain a permit to visit. They also remind users that many trails are multi-purpose so know when to yield! Bikers yield to hikers and equestrians, dog walkers should lease their pets when approaching horses, hikers yield to equestrians and be aware of bikers.
Overall, I was so glad we took a chance on this borough park! The trails were much more woodsy than I expected and I was pleasantly surprised by how big the space was. Plus it was the perfect excuse to go check out Big Sewickley Creek Brewery!
THE BEER: Big Sewickley Creek Brewery
Address: 2030 Big Sewickley Creek Rd, Sewickley, PA 15143
Distance from Trail Head: 4.4 miles, 9 mins
Food?: Food Trucks or BYOF
Details: Outdoor seating with firepits, dog friendly outside,
H&H Rating: 5/5
New brewery!! I have been following the process of this brewery and I was thrilled to hear they were finally having a grand opening weekend. I have long hoped for a brewery in the Sewickley area as there are so many parks and trails around. Thankfully Big Sewickley Creek Brewery (BSCB) really knocked it out of the park. They have a decent sized taproom that was a great spot for watching the football game. Since J and I aren’t big sports fans (sorry Pittsburghers, please don’t hate us) we sat outside to get a feel for their outdoor space. Man was it nice! There’s plenty of seating on the covered patio with really unique chairs made from old barrels and large heaters to keep it toasty. The yard though was our favorite area. BSCB has made the perfect backyard hangout, complete with string lights, adirondack chairs, and firepits! No to mention the brewery’s namesake creek flowing behind the property. Honestly, I think this place was made with us in mind!
BSCB was started by two Pittsburgh brothers who retired from the medical field. Brewing beer had always been a hobby for them but as they neared retirement, they started to talk seriously about opening their dream taproom. They managed to get all the supplies ordered for the building before the pandemic put a halt in the plans. Thankfully, they were able to get construction moving and get landscapers to make the cozy backyard space. Since both of the brothers are dog owners, I’m happy to report that the taproom is VERY dog friendly! You might even find a treat for your furry friend behind the bar! During our visit, we were delighted to make the acquaintance of a little puppy on his first public outing! Also, a fun fact that I learned from the brewery’s feature in the Post-Gazette, owner Marc made all of the barrels for the outdoor seating after attending a welding training program! Is there anything these brothers can’t do?!
So let’s get to the product. Since the brewery is so new, they only had six taps flowing on their first weekend. That was perfect for us since I love being able to try everything on the taplist. Nothing like being haunted by the beer that got away! Not only was the beer crisp and delicious, I also really loved that everything was around 4% ABV. It seemed like everywhere has super boozy brews anymore and that’s just not my jam! I like to be able to sample a few before wanting to fall asleep. Bring back lower ABV beers! My favorite of the lineup was the Roasty Joe Amber. It just paired so perfectly with the campfire and was a great winter weather beer without being too heavy on the palette. But honestly all of the beers were very good and I know this won’t be the last time we visit!
- Smokey Joe Vienna – Vienna Lager – 4%
- Sewickley Pale Lager – Lager – 4%
- German Altbier – Altbier – 4%
- Roasty Joe Amber – Amber Lager – 4%
- Munich Helles – Helles – 4%
- Otto-Pils – Vienna Lager – 5%