If there’s one lesson Pittsburgh has taught the world, it’s that you can turn nearly anything into a brewery.
Expanding on that concept and adding to the resurgence in Millvale, Brian Eaton and Kyle Mientkiewicz, childhood friends who grew up in Erie, are working to open Grist House Brewing
. But it’s not in an old church, nor is it in a garage.
Their space, located at 10 Sherman Street in Millvale, was built as a slaughterhouse in the mid-1950s and was functional through the 1970s. The old meat hook-and-trolley system still hangs from the ceiling above the space that will be the pub, and a large room off to the side lined with insulated glass block was used for refrigeration.
“We’re trying to keep it kind of rustic and industrial,” Eaton says, adding that some of the walls in the pub and part of the bar are made from wood taken from a 100-year-old barn on Mientkiewicz’s family farm in Sarver.
Grist House’s brewing system, which is due to arrive from Wisconsin next week, will include a 15-barrel capacity and four fermenters. Once they begin brewing, Grist House won’t just fill growlers and pint glasses in its on-site brewpub, they’ll also be distributing to local restaurants and bars. Eaton and Mientkiewicz are planning three year-round flagship beers: a hoppy American red ale, a brown ale and a light session pale ale called Gristful Thinking.
“We’ll have ten taps in the pub which will carry the year-rounds, and we’ll be doing seasonals and one-offs — whatever we feel like brewing, we’ll put on tap,” Eaton says.
The pub will seat about 45 people indoors with an additional 20 to 30 seats available on an adjacent outdoor deck.
“What we’re going for is a big open concept. If you’re sitting in the pub, you’re really going to feel like you’re inside the brewery,” Eaton says.
Eaton and Mientkiewicz have been working on the building for about nine months, and it’s impressively close to done, especially considering they’ve handled all the renovations — from electrical and plumbing to gas and heating — entirely themselves. Grist House tentatively plans to open in late April or early May.
You can follow Grist House’s progress on Facebook
Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: Brian Eaton, Kyle Mientkiewicz