Fox Chapel Trails & Old Thunder Brewing

Blawnox, PA

Guys, I can’t believe the trail network around Fox Chapel and O’Hara Township! There’s so much going on but honestly not a lot of good info out there about it. We were confused about what trails were open to the public and which needed a permit to access. SO we started at the O’Hara community park and just worked our way up! This is a great way to check out this area because you can go as long as you want and you don’t have to worry about getting the permit for the Fox Chapel trails. Plus the community park is so close to Old Thunder Brewing in Blawnox which is definitely worth a visit. They’ve got delicious beers in a very cool old post office building. I’ve got your next hiking day planned out!

THE HIKE: O’Hara Community Park & Salamander Trail

Length: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 200ft
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 2 hours
Trail use: Hiking, No Pets
Parking: Large lot at community park
H&H: 3/5

This hiking outing is perfect for anyone that needs some time outdoors but doesn’t have the energy or time for a big excursion. Somedays you just need a flat, easy path and this is a pretty good one! Although there are many interwoven trails in the Fox Chapel trail system, I knew that some required permit access. However, it wasn’t very clear from information available online which parking areas were permit-only. IT seems that permits are obtained easily enough by going to the public library to get one, but that does require some advance planning especially if hiking on a day when the library is closed! It also appears that the permits are free, you just need to fill out a form prior to your hike. If anyone has any further info about hiking in Fox Chapel, please let me know! 

Entrance to the Salamander Trail

Because of the confusing permits, we decided to start our hike at the O’Hara Community Park which is a lovely park with playgrounds, sports courts, and a paved walking trail. This is the trail we started on and it’s great for all abilities. You follow the paved path along the small creek and start heading out of the park. The paved trail ends and you head towards the treeline where there is a sign for the Salamander trail. This is a natural wooded path and probably more like the trails you’re used to walking. It runs along a creek for a delightful babbling to accompany your trek. Just remember your bug spray, this area can get a bit buggy! There’s a small loop on this section of the trail so we took the high road on the way out and the lower creekside on the way back. 

As you’re hiking along, be aware that the trail crosses over the road a few times. BE very careful on these crossings! After the Salamander Trail, the trail meanders along a road towards towards McCahill Park. This was probably my least favorite section, as I’m not a big fan of hiking along the road. Thankfully, the road was quiet and very few cars drove past. Eventually it turns back into the woods at Scott Park where it continues along the creek. This was a great spot with some benches to sit and have our lunch! Finally we followed the trail to the Riding Meadow Park which was where we decided to turn around. If you like longer hikes, it’s very easy to cross the road here and continue to Riding Meadow. There are a lot more trail systems in this area that will eventually lead all the way to the Audubon Society’s Beechwood Farms. Just make sure to leave enough energy to make it back to your car! 

It’s hard for me to rate this trail because on one hand I enjoyed all of the wooded areas where it was quiet and peaceful. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the sections along the road and the final connecting trail to Riding Meadow was pretty overgrown. I always check for ticks after hiking, but I was especially careful this time! This felt more like a nature walk than a hike, which is totally fine as long as that’s what you’re in for! And I do wish the Fox Chapel areas were more accessible. It makes me sad when access to nature is blocked so only certain people can enjoy it. 

Just another quick note about these trails. You might have noticed that I omitted the name of the initial trail in O’Hara Park. This trail contains a word that First Peoples consider derogatory and offensive. There are several places that use this word that First Peoples have been advocating for a name change. In fact, a very popular resort in Lake Tahoe recently changed its name to Palisades Tahoe in acknowledgement of the racist and offensive origins of its original name. I hope that eventually this small trail in O’Hara will understand the harmful connotations of its name and make a change! 

THE BEER: Old Thunder Brewing

Address: 340 Freeport Rd, Blawnox, PA 15238
Distance from Trail Head: 2 miles, 6 mins 
Website: Oldthunderbrewing.com
Food?: BYOF & Food Trucks
Details: Outdoor seating but no pets
H&H Rating: 5/5

Okay so Old Thunder Brewing seriously blew me away! As you guys know, I go to a lot of breweries. I’ve been to the good, the bad, and everything in between. But I knew as soon as we pulled up to this venue that it was going to be something good! The Old Thunder Brewing taproom has been open for just over a year, but you wouldn’t know it by walking in! It’s in a converted post office building that has been lovingly updated while keeping much of the original features. It has a huge indoor taproom complete with bar seating and tables, as well as a patio space out front. I think my favorite feature was the original postmaster’s safe that they left on the wall!

We started out with a flight here because after viewing the menu, we knew we wanted to try a little of everything. Old Thunder offers a nice mix of Pale ales/ IPAs along with some traditional styles like their headliner 340 Lager. I think my favorite by far was the False Kingdom which, luckily for me, is another of their headliners! I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one at my local beer store! 

Old Thunder doesn’t have their own kitchen but they keep an updated list of food trucks on their website and encourage visitors to patronize other local shops by ordering takeout. This brewery also prides itself on being a family friendly place and there were lots of well-behaved kiddos when we went! Overall, I was super impressed with Old Thunder Brewing. It’s not often that you get both really good beer and a super cool building!

Our Beer:

  • False Kingdom – IPA – 6.8%
  • Reasonable Voices – Pilsner – 4.8%
  • 340 Lager – Helles – 4.8% 
  • Big Blox – DIPA – 8%
  • Featherweight Queen – Stout – 4.5%
  • Character Development #1 – Barleywine – 9.5%
  • Steps Ascending – Pale Ale – 5.2%

SUM UP: For this hike, we headed out to the Fox Chapel area to explore the long trail system. Our hike started at the O’Hara Community Park and meandered all the way to the Riding Meadow Park. This is a good trail system for nature walks and you can add as much or as little distance as wanted. Be aware that some areas of the trail require a permit to park. Afterwards, head over to Freeport Road to check out Old Thunder Brewing in Blawnox. You’ll get to have top-quality beer in a converted historic post office. All in all, a great hiking excursion!

Kane Woods Nature Area & Hitchhiker Brewing

Scott Township, PA

Between summer festivities and tackling our new house (!), we haven’t had a lot of time for hiking! Thankfully, we found that the Kane Woods Nature Area is just a few minutes away from our neighborhood. Despite being pretty small, it’s a great place for a short walk and is especially popular with dog walkers. We had a refreshing hike after a long day in the yard and capped it off with a few pints at my favorite Pittsburgh brewery, Hitchhiker’s Mt. Lebo location! Sometimes you just don’t have time to climb a mountain, so this was the perfect compromise.

THE HIKE: Kane Woods Nature Area Loop

Length: 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 230 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Time:  1 hour
Trail use: Hiking, leashed pets, NO BIKES
Parking: Small lot at trailhead
H&H: 3/5

Kane Woods Nature Area is a small greenspace in Scott Township and is managed by the Scott Conservancy. It offers a few miles of trail that are marked by different colors. On our visit, we did a big loop that included all of the trails. Although the park is small, you could combine trails to get as much or as little mileage as you want. Our favorite part of the park was the white trail along the small creek. I love a good creek trail! 

From our experience, I would not recommend taking the blue trail loop from the Whiskey Point trailhead. This trail was extremely overgrown and had seen very little foot traffic. Some of the trail was on a very steep slope and the trail was not cut in enough so we were almost slipping down the hillside. This trail was very unpleasant and I would suggest staying on the other trails if you can! 

Kane Woods might seem like your typical suburban greenspace, but it actually has a really interesting history! The land was once owned by General John Neville, who served alongside George Washington in both the French and Indian war and theAmerican Revolution. After the war, he resided at his mansion where the Kane Woods are now located! However, Neville didn’t have the best luck after the war. He was appointed tax collector after the infamous whiskey taxes were implemented by the fledgling Congress. He quickly became very unpopular with the local farmers, to the point that he was run from his home and it was burned to the ground! This led to events now known as the Whiskey Rebellion. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the Scott Conservancy’s website or the Heinz History Center! And be sure to tour Woodville Plantation, the historic plantation of the Neville Family right in Heidelberg. 

Unfortunately none of this history is apparent when you’re walking through the trails but pay attention to the trail names. They all make reference to the events of the Whiskey Rebellion. Of course, the perfect pairing to this hike would have been to go to Insurrection Aleworks (taking their name from the local uprising) buuuuuuut I had a hankering for Hitchhiker instead. Either of these breweries would be a perfect post hike beer!

THE BEER: Hitchhiker Brewing

Address: 190 Castle Shannon Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15228
Distance from Trail Head: 2.1 miles, 6 mins 
Website: http://www.hitchhikerbrewing.com/
Food?: Snacks & Food Trucks
Details: Outdoor seating & dog friendly
H&H Rating: 5/5

Okay I’m gonna make a bold claim. Hitchhiker is my favorite Pittsburgh brewery, particularly the Mt. Lebo taproom. This was actually the very first craft brewery I ever went to! My dad and I have been patrons here since they first opened and it’s been so satisfying to see the Burgh recognize their fantastic beer! 

Hitchhiker has been making quality beer since they first opened their doors in 2014 in a small store front on Castle Shannon Blvd. Since then, they have grown exponentially and moved their brewing facilities to a huge outpost in Sharpsburg which also has a taproom. This place is always hopping and I recommend a visit, but Mt. Lebo taproom always remains a favorite to me for its neighborhood vibes. There’s plenty of parking nearby and there’s a lot of foot traffic from the neighborhoods. 

On this visit, we scored our favorite table (yes we have a favorite spot) and stuck to some refreshing hoppy beers. The 15th and Canal is always one of my go-tos here and the Kolsch was a refreshing new favorite. Hitchhiker does a lot of fun experimental things in addition to some of their headliners. This time around, we got the Blackberry version of their Fruit Rush series and it was really tasty! When it’s not super hot, I also really like the Woke Breakfast Stout, if dark beers are your thing. 

Hitchhiker is always my #1 recommended brewery so I hope you get to check it out! Before you go, check out the food truck schedule or grab a snack at the bar. 

Our Beer:

  • 15th and Canal – American Pale Ale – 5.8%
  • Myrcene – Double IPA – 8.4%
  • No Added Flavor – Kolsch – 5%
  • Fruit Rush: Blackberry – Shandy – 4.8%

SUM UP: Kane Woods Nature Area is a small greenspace in Scott Township with a few miles of wooded trails. For history buffs, this area was the site of events that sparked the Whiskey Rebellion in the 1790’s. All of the trails are named for people and things surrounding this important event in Western PA history. Although small, the wooded trails along a small creek are very peaceful and it’s a great place to walk your furry friends! Afterward, enjoy a brew at a local brewery like Insurrection Aleworks or Hitchhiker Brewing! Both offer delicious beer and a neighborhood vibe.

Frick Park & East End Brewing

East Liberty, Pittsburgh, PA

The other weekend, we got to bring a furry friend on our hike! And what better place to bring a dog than Frick Park. This park is absolutely huge with miles and miles of paved and natural paths. There’s also a good sized dog park which our four-legged companion was a huge fan of! We Pittsburghers are very lucky to have such beautiful urban parks and Frick Park is the cream of the crop! Afterward, keep back and relax at the ever popular East End Brewing. Their huge patio is the perfect place to bring your pooch after a nice long walk.

THE HIKE: Frick Park Loop

Length: Variable – 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 500 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 1.5-2 hours
Trail use: Hiking, Running, Mountain bikes, Leashed Pets
Parking: Large lot at the Frick Environmental Center
H&H: 5/5

Okay so don’t get too excited, J and I did not get a dog! We were watching our friends’ sweet dog, Shiloh, while they were out of town. He’s a great walking companion and definitely had much more stamina than us! We knew that Shiloh loves the dog park at Frick Park so it seemed like the perfect place to do our weekend hike!

Frick Park was established by the bequest of Henry Clay Frick after his death in 1919. He stipulated that 151 acres of land near his Clayton Mansion (now the Frick Arts & Historical Center) should be given to the City of Pittsburgh to create a park. More land was added to the park and when it finally opened in 1927, it became the largest of the City’s regional parks.

Frick Park is very unique because of its sloping, wooded spaces that have remained relatively undisturbed, creating a rich habitat for plants and animals. This park is very popular with a variety of outdoor enthusiasts, including bikers, cyclists, and hikers. In addition to the nearly 20 miles of trail, Frick Park also boasts several playgrounds, ball fields and courts, and the previously mentioned dog park! 

For our hike, we parked at the Frick Environmental Center which is one of the few park entrances with a parking lot. If you go to another entrance, there’s usually street parking available! We were intending to follow the Frick Park Loop from Alltrails, but we mostly just let Shiloh lead the way. If you do follow this loop, be aware that it was impacted by the Fern Hollow Bridge collapse, so you will have to avoid that area. The main trails we took were the Clayton loop, Falls Ravine, and Riverview Trail. Frick Park is surprisingly woodsy and there are so many trails that it’s easy to get away from the crowds. We did a nice balance of wider trails and a few more secluded wooded tracks. Hiking with our furry nephew is always an adventure because he’s a hound so every little chipmunk or squirrel immediately puts him in hunting mode. Thankfully after 4 miles and a trip to the off-leash area, he was finally too tired to do much more than bark half-heartedly at the squirrels. I definitely think they were laughing at him. 

After a day in Frick Park, what better place to rest and relax than East End Brewing? Let’s check it out! 

THE BEER: East End Brewery

Address: 147 Julius St, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Distance from Trail Head: 2.1 miles, 6 mins
Website: http://www.eastendbrewing.com/
Food?: Full Menu
Details: Outdoor seating & dog friendly
H&H Rating: 5/5

East End Brewing has been a staple in the Pittsburgh brewing scene since it opened in 2004. Their location in East Liberty/ Larimer has a large taproom as well as plenty of outdoor seating. And no need to pack snacks, their in-house kitchen (delightfully dubbed East End Chewing) offers up the perfect doughy companions to their hoppy beers. We noshed on a pretty amazing soft pretzel! Since we had Shiloh with us, we were so happy that this brewery is proudly dog friendly! We set ourselves up in a corner, made sure to bring a blanket and Shiloh was out for the count. Honestly, I couldn’t blame him. After the top notch brews and aforementioned carbs, I would have happily dozed off. Petition to get East End to install hammocks? Or how about a BYOH (Bring Your Own Hammock) event? I digress…

Anyhow, let’s talk beer. Guys East End is good. Like real good. It was super hot the day we went so I stuck with some lighter beers (both in ABV and flavor) but that didn’t stop J from getting the Belgian Tripel. The man loves his Belgian brews! I honestly cannot say enough good things about the Watermelon Gose. I would be happy drinking that the entire summer, it’s just such a dang good porch beer! Also I really liked the Wheat Hop, it was super fruity and refreshing. I brought some home to my wheat beer-loving mom and it definitely got her stamp of approval!  

Another project of East End that I’m loving is their “You Are Here” Series. To celebrate 15 years in the brewing biz and to honor the neighborhoods of the the Burgh, they are making 90 different beers for the 90 neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. Here’s what they have to say about the project:

“We’ve been thinking a lot lately about our last 15 years of brewing beer in Pittsburgh, what it means to be a “local brewery”, what it means to brew beer for locals to enjoy, and how people become connected to this notion. Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods, each with their own identities, and fiercely loyal populations.
So to celebrate the wonderful diversity of neighborhoods that is Pittsburgh, we’ve decided to brew a brand new beer for each and every one of them. And yeah, that’s a long list. We went through a lot of back and forth with a lot of people on the number until finally the good folks at the City of Pittsburgh came to our rescue with the Official Number: 90.”

What a cool project! I didn’t even know some of these neighborhoods existed, so here’s my challenge to get to know my own city better! As of June 2022, they’re up to 65 neighborhoods. So go check out East End Brewing, and know that you’re supporting a local business that really cares about their roots!

Our Beer:

  • Stanton Heights – Belgian Tripel – 9.2%
  • Wheat Hop – Fruity Wheat Beer – 4.5%
  • Pedal Pale Ale – American Pale Ale – 5%
  • Seedless Watermelon Gose – Sour – 4.1%

SUM UP: Frick Park is a large urban park in the East End of Pittsburgh. While not the oldest park in Pittsburgh, it is the largest and best known for its woodsy trails filled with wildlife. This park is very popular for walking, bike riding, sports, birding, and more! If you like to be outside, this is the place for you! There are miles of intersecting trails for any length of trek. After you’re done soaking up the great outdoors, wander over to East End Brewing for some delicious brews and food in a neighborhood-driven environment. Hikes & Hops like this make me so happy to be back in Pittsburgh!

Rachel Carson Trail & Acrospire Brewing Co

Glenshaw, PA

Last weekend it was finally time for us to tackle the (in)famous Rachel Carson trail. This trail spans 45 miles so it’s great for tackling in sections. Many sections. For our first trek, we did a 3 mile (6 mile out-and-back) section of the trail starting in North Park and turning around at Route 8. This trail is not for the faint of heart and you WILL get your feet wet! If you’re ready for a more challenging hike without going too far outside of the city, this hike is perfect for you! Afterward, grab a beer from Acrospire Brewing’s to-go only production facility. If the weather’s nice, enjoy your beverage in their outdoor biergarten!

THE HIKE: Rachel Carson Trail (North Park to Rt. 8)

Length: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 660ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 2.5-3 hours
Trail use: Hiking, Running, Leashed Pets
Parking: Large gravel lots throughout North Park
H&H: 4/5

Okay, so like I said, the Rachel Carson Trail spans just over 45 miles in northern Allegheny County, meandering between North Park and Harrison Hills Park. The trail is named, of course, for the renowned conservationist Rachel Carson, who was born in Springdale, PA. An offshoot trail actually leads to her childhood home! I can’t wait to check that out on a future hike. There are no shelters along this trail so it’s intended for day use. However, if you’re feeling up for a challenge, once a year the Rachel Carson Trail Conservancy hosts an endurance hike where hikers have 15 hours to do 34 miles of the trail. Definitely something I’d love to work up to! 

One thing I really love about this time of year is that there’s enough daylight after work to squeeze in a hike! J and I are really lucky to work close to each other, so we made sure to pack our hiking clothes and some dinner and head out right after work! The Rachel Carson Trail runs through a large part of North Park, but we choose to start at the Beveridge shelter. There’s a large gravel lot in this area by the baseball fields. The first part of this trail is quite wide and downhill. There’s a quick road crossing and then you’ll hit your first stream crossing. And yes I said first because you’ll be crossing a lot of streams on this hike! Some have some stepping stones but I guarantee that you will get your feet wet. Nothing up to the knee though, unless you make a big mistake! 

For the most part, I LOVED this trail. It was woodsy and I loved the challenges of crossing streams and climbing up ridges. However, there was a glaring part that kept this from being a 5 star hike. At the 1 mile point, you leave the woods and have to walk along the railroad tracks and then follow along the guardrail of a road to reach the next section of the wooded trail. I totally get that this trail runs through urban areas so it can’t be woods the whole time. But walking along the train tracks and the road felt a little dicey to me. Thankfully it was only for a short time and the fantastic woods really made up for it! 

As always with hiking, it’s important to remember that, as hikers, we’re just visitors in nature’s home. Always keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like this little snake we saw! He’s just a common garter snake, but it’s important to know that we do have venomous snakes in this area and it’s best to give all wildlife the space they need! 

This will definitely be just the first of many trips on the Rachel Carson Trail for Hikes & Hops! Do you have a favorite section of this trail??

THE BEER: Acrospire Brewery Company

Address: 1650 Butler Plank Rd, Glenshaw, PA 15116
Distance from Trail Head: 6.4 miles, 16 mins 
Website: http://acrospirebrewingco.com/
Food?: BYOF
Details: Outdoor seating only & dog friendly
H&H Rating: 4/5

I really need to start venturing north of the city more often because there are so many breweries! Acrospire grabbed my attention since it’s so close to North Park! It was the perfect place for us to stop by in the evening. At first, I was worried because I didn’t realize they only did to-go sales. However, they have a nice outdoor space where you can sit and enjoy draft pours. Just be aware that there’s no covered/heated seating for those not so nice days! Acrospire seems to be quite the popular place with the locals, as we saw so many people coming to get growlers and 4-packs for the weekend. I love seeing a community really embrace their local brewery. 

On our visit, we stuck with mostly pale ales since we were craving something refreshing after our sweaty hike. My favorite of the night was the Kaleidoscope which balances a deliciously fruity flavor with some solid NEIPA hoppiness. J really liked the West Coast IPA which had a very strong pine-y flavor. I’m so glad we made it out to Acrospire and I’m looking forward to what the future brings for them. They just announced future plans to open a new production facility and taproom!

Our Beer:

  • Swamp Thing – West Coast IPA – 7.2%
  • Serendipity – IPA – 7.2%
  • Kaleidoscope – New Zealand IPA – 6%
  • Hear no Evil – Ginger Wheat Beer – 5.4%

SUM UP: The Rachel Carson Trail is a 45 mile point to point trail that runs across northern Allegheny County. It’s well known for its challenging terrain and many stream crossings. This hike tackled a small portion of the trail starting in North Park and turning around at Route 8. There’s plenty of parking at the trail head and leashed pets are welcome! After your trek, head over to Glenshaw to sample the brews at Acrospire! They’ve got a surprising variety of taps for a small operation and everything is expertly made. They don’t have a taproom, but you can get drafts to-go and sit outside on their patio! Keep an eye out for their upcoming expansion and taproom!

Urban Hike: Allegheny Cemetery & Coven Brewing

Lawrenceville, PA

Last weekend, we took our first urban hike of the season…in a cemetery! No this wasn’t a spooky Halloween themed walk. We wanted to explore the beautiful and historic Allegheny Cemetery in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh and learn more about its history. Following a self-guided tour from the cemetery’s website, we were able to find and read about more than 30 notable people buried in the cemetery! Afterward we imbibed at Pittsburgh’s newest brewery, Coven Brewing! If you’re in the mood for an urban history hike and hop, this one’s for you!

THE HIKE: Allegheny Cemetery History Hike

Length: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 450 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 3 hours
Trail use: Walking, running, biking, NO PETS
Parking: Parking at visitor center (Butler Street)
H&H: 4/5

Okay so you might be thinking that a cemetery is a weird place to take a hike. In a lot of places, it’s not normal to stroll through a cemetery; you might feel that you’re disturbing the peace! But while also a resting place, Allegheny Cemetery is also a beautiful park that is full of nature, art, and history! In fact, the cemetery encourages people to visit by preparing self-guided tours with themes like Pittsburgh Mayors, African American History, Dynamic Women, and more! We opted to do Notable People which included famous industrialists, musicians, politicians, and military heroes. To find this and other self-guided tours, follow this link: https://mobile.webcemeteries.com/allegheny/26/Tours#tourId=701

Allegheny Cemetery is one of the largest and oldest rural cemeteries in the country, encompassing over 300 acres and memorializing over 124,000 people. The cemetery was established in 1844 and some of the oldest graves are from Revolutionary War veterans. This cemetery is unique because it was built with nature in mind. It was always meant to incorporate the natural landscape so the paths between gravesites meander through trees and past ponds. It’s made to be a peaceful place of contemplation! 

J.B Ford memorial (founder of PPG)

A few things before you head out to the cemetery for a stroll. Firstly, leave your furry friends at home! Feel free to pack some snacks or a picnic but, as on any hike, leave no trace! Also please take your time and enjoy nature, but avoid sitting or leaning on graves or other memorial structures. Overall, be respectful of the dead and their families. Especially since this is still an active cemetery and you may encounter a burial service while you are there. 

When exploring the Cemetery, make sure to give yourself plenty of time. This isn’t going to be the type of walk that you finish in an hour! In fact, we spent almost 3 hours here and the only thing that stopped us was our empty water bottles! Also make sure to have fully charged phone if you’re following the self-guided tour. I found that the website drained my battery pretty quickly! 

The tours are pretty easy to follow. You can see the map with all of the key locations numbered and to navigate, just click on the directions icon and it will bring up google maps to give you walking directions. We found the website to be very easy to use! At each burial site, we took turns reading the short bio about the interned person. A few times, we weren’t able to find the exact headstone, but we made it close to the area and still read the description. I really want to give a shout out to the staff and volunteers who researched and created the self-guided tours! I learned so much and I’m so glad that this resource was created! 

Grave of Joseph Wainwright, early brewer in Pittsburgh
Grave of Vietnam War veteran Lester Madden, who favorite movie was Jaws
Grave of Stephen Foster, celebrated composer

If you’re a history buff, there are a couple of really interesting people to read about. First is Dr. Charles Avery, an abolitionist who ran a stop on the Underground Railroad in Pittsburgh! Then was the huge memorial fortress to John B. Ford, the founder of Pittsburgh Plate Glass (now a little company called PPG Industries). Another fun one was the grave for Joseph Wainwright, an early brewmaster who used wild hops that grew along the river to make his own beer! His company eventually merged with others to become the Pittsburgh Brewing Company (makers of Iron City Beer!) . There’s so many more and if you are familiar at all with Pittsburgh, you’ll definitely see some familiar names popping up again and again. Names like Mellon, Schenley, Neville, McCandless, Scaife and more! 

If you’re looking for a different type of hike, I highly encourage you to check out a self-guided tour of Allegheny Cemetery. Even if you’re not a big history person, the peace and beauty of this park is sure to satisfy you! And once you’re tired of walking, there’s no shortage of places to eat and drink outside of the cemetery walls! Let’s head over to Coven Brewing to check it out!

THE BEER: Coven Brewery

Address: 4901 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Distance from Trail Head: 0.2 miles, 5 mins walking
Website: http://covenbrewingpgh.com/
Food?: BYOF or Food Trucks
Details: Outdoor seating & dog friendly
H&H Rating: 4/5

Coven Brewing is Pittsburgh’s newest craft brewery, having only just opened at the beginning of April! Coven is owned and run by two former Dancing Gnome brewers so this brewery really knows its stuff! The new brewery has taken over the former Roundabout Brewing location on Butler Street, which has meant the duo can really hit the ground running! Although this area already has a ton of breweries, I’m particularly excited about Coven because one of the owners/brewers is a woman! Always thrilled to see more diversity in the world of beer making! 

If you’re not into beer, Coven also offers a small selection of PA-made wine, cider, and cocktails. They also frequently have food truck offerings, but you could always grab a snack from any of the many food establishments along Butler street. 

So like I said, Coven Brewing is very new so it was super popular the day we went! They have some indoor seating but it was such a beautiful day that everyone wanted to be outside. We managed to snag the corner of a picnic table right as a huge crew of cyclists pulled up. I’d say Coven is doing pretty well so far! True to form, I really liked the New England IPA, Swanky. It was refreshing with that classic NEIPA haziness. J preferred the Saison which had a nice wheatiness to it. Unfortunately, we were meeting family afterward so we weren’t able to sample anything else. But I definitely think we’ll be back!

Our Beer:

  • Swanky – NEIPA – 7.2%
  • Curses in Cursive – Saison – 7.2%

SUM UP: Allegheny Cemetery isn’t your typical hike but if you’re looking for an urban walk, I honestly suggest you check it out! Before heading out, download the cemetery’s app/website for a self-guided tour that takes you to various notable graves with a brief history of the person. We learned so much about local history and got to take in the beauty of the cemetery grounds. Your walk can be as long or as short as you want but afterwards, be sure to walk across the street to Pittsburgh’s newest craft brewery, Coven Brewing! Take a seat outside, grab something from the food truck and enjoy a delicious brew! Coven is sure to be a new favorite!