In 1986, Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Top Gun was playing in theaters, a new Ford Mustang cost $7500 – and Pennsylvania’s pioneer craft beer, Penn Pilsner, was sold for the first time. After thirty years, the brand is still going strong, a testament to its quality and timeless appeal. The Brewery will celebrate its 30th anniversary with special products, packaging, and events including the Pennsylvania Microbrewers’ Festival, throughout the year.
“For a craft brewery to have thirty years under its belt is a huge accomplishment,” said Sandy Cindrich, Penn Brewery’s CEO. “We’re very proud of this brand and its longevity.”
Here are some little-known facts about Penn Brewery:
- Although Penn Brewery is based in Pittsburgh, and all of its beers are now brewed here, Penn Pilsner, Penn’s first beer offering, was actually launched in Philadelphia at the City Tavern. Why? It’s because the beer was first contract brewed by Pittsburgh Brewing, which would not allow Penn, as a competitive brand, to be sold in western Pennsylvania. Penn Pilsner was next brewed by Smithton-based Jones Brewing (owned by the family of actress Shirley Jones of Partridge family fame).
- The Penn Brewery facility, located on Pittsburgh’s North Side, did not actually open until 1989, under the name Allegheny Brewery, in the former E&O Brewery building, a brewery opened by German immigrants in the mid- nineteenth century. Penn has since grown into the oldest and largest production brewery in Pittsburgh.
- Penn was also the first “tied house” (restaurant plus brewery) to open in Pennsylvania since Prohibition ended.
Penn Brewery has hosted the annual Pennsylvania Microbrewers’ Fest since 1995. The Brewery has announced that the 2016 event will be the final fest in its present format. Penn plans to update the Fest format in the years to come to ensure that the event remains a fresh and unique attraction for its guests.
In the meantime, the 2016 Microbrewers’ Fest will salute Penn’s 30th year with a special Throwback Weekend celebrating 1986. The official birthday celebration kicks off the evening of Friday, June 3rd. Penn will turn back the clock with an 80’s biergarten bash featuring DJ Zimmie playing the best music of the era. On Saturday, June 4th, the festivities continue with the farewell installment of the Pennsylvania Microbrewers’ Fest.
Fest highlights include the following:
More than two dozen craft breweries will be pouring samples (partial list of brewers is included below). All breweries have been asked to bring at least one of their hard-to-find or exclusive beers. A partial list of attending breweries includes:
- Allegheny City Brewing Co.
- Helltown Brewing
- Reclamation Brewing Co.
- Arsenal Cider House and Wine Cellar
- Marzoni’s Brick Oven and Brewing Co.
- Rock Bottom Brewery
- Big Rail Brewing
- Millcreek Brewing Company
- Rooney’s Beer Company
- The Brewerie at Union Station
- Morgantown Brewing Company
- Spoonwood Brewing Co.
- East End Brewing Co.
- North Country Brewing Co.
- Erie Brewing Co.
- Ohio Brewing Company
- War Streets Brewery
- Fat Head’s Brewery
- Penn Brewery
- Wheeling Brewing Company
- Heavy Seas
- Quinn Brewing Company
- Wigle Whiskey
Special guests include 80’s favorites: former WDVE radio jocks Jimmy & Steve, and Norm Nardini, live. Beloved westernPennsylvania icon Punxsutawney Phil will also be on hand for a meet & greet.
Fest Tickets are available for sale at Showclix. Three ticket options are offered:
- Base ticket: includes admission from 5-8 pm, commemorative sampling glass & all beer samples, a buffet meal (sandwich, side, and beverage), and live entertainment. Price $50.
- VIP package: package includes basic ticket plus early admission at 4pm, logoed pint glass (to be picked up at exit) and appetizers. Price $65; a total of 200 VIP packages are available for sale.
- Designated Driver ticket: includes buffet meal (sandwich, side, and non-alcoholic beverage), entertainment, and a souvenir glass. Price $25.
Information updates will be posted to pennbrew.com as they become available.
Penn is also marking its 30th birthday with the rollout of two new items. For easy summertime sipping, the Brewery has launched new Tangerine Swirl Ale. Tangerine Swirl is brewed with real tangerine and Madagascar vanilla. Summit and 7C’s hops, two-row malt, and a touch of lactose make this effervescent beer a citrusy, creamy treat to beat the heat. Tangerine Swirl has 4.9% ABV and 25 IBUs. The beer is available in six-packs, 12-packs, and on draft beginning in May, 2016.
Additionally, for the first time, Penn is offering its flagship Penn Pilsner in cans . Cans are specially highlighted for the 30th Anniversary and are the perfect portable option for hiking, picnicking, and other outdoor activities. Pilsner cans are now available in 6-packs and 12-packs as well as at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.
Penn Brewery, opened in 1986, is Pittsburgh’s oldest and largest brewery. It specializes in award-winning handcrafted beers sold inPennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey, and West Virginia. The Brewery is located in Deutschtown on Pittsburgh’sNorth Side, in the mid nineteenth-century landmark E&O Brewery Building.