BETHEL PARK (KDKA) — It was once a Montour Railroad junction in Bethel Park, then a diner with two railway cars, and now those cars have been shipped off to DuBois, Pennsylvania, for a children’s park.
And on the site — a glistening new micro-brewery, bar, and restaurant called Spoonwood Brewing.
It’s part of a national trend.
“It’s something like one-and-a-half breweries opening every day in the country,” notes co-owner and brew master Steve Ilnicki.
Ilnicki says craft beer made locally is doing well against those big national beer companies.
“People have an emotional response to craft beer in particular. You know it’s a much more flavorful drink than what a lot of people grew up drinking,” said Ilnicki.
Ilnicki took KDKA money editor Jon Delano behind the scenes to see the beer-making process.
“Just outside that wall we have a silo that holds about 48,000 pounds of malted barley,” he said.
The grain is mixed with hot water in a vat, and then pumped into another where hops are added to flavor the beer.
After 10 days of fermentation, the beer is stored in tanks in a 36-degree room until you drink it.
What’s really cool about these microbreweries is that the beer is finished off in these tanks, and then just 10 feet later it’s at the tap, guaranteeing freshness.
But Spoonwood is more than beer, says Jordan Miller, who runs the restaurant side — like fresh homemade pizzas.
“We flew in a brick oven from Italy that is wood fire,” said Miller. “We make our own mozzarella. We make our own sauce; make our own dough, so everything is fresh.”
The menu also includes salads and sandwiches that complement the beer.
But it’s the beer made on the spot that attracts the beer lover.