Homestead is getting a Mediterranean-flavored brewery and restaurant — complete with its own bowling alley — and later this summer or fall, West Homestead will welcome another new brewery’s taproom. Both will be on Eighth Avenue, the main drag that unites the two boroughs.
More than three years in the works, the Homestead brewery will be located in the former Levine Bros. Hardware building at 337 E. Eighth Ave. The original name, Trios Brewing Co., was challenged as a trademark violation by a Chilean wine company, so it was changed it to Enix Brewing Co.
It’s the project of brothers Victor and David Rodriguez, the latter of whom started two brewpubs in Madrid, Spain. Their grandfather was Spanish, but the Rodriguezes were born and raised in the U.S. and came to Pittsburgh to work for the family development company, A.M. Rodriguez.
Enix is the name of the street where their grandfather grew up in Andalusia, and now it’s the name of the brewery and restaurant, which will serve a range of Mediterranean-inspired fare.
“I do have Spanish citizenship,” David Rodriguez said as he and his wife, Lavinia Oancea, and their 2-year-old son led a tour of the unfinished space. He designed the spaces and beers for both Madrid brewpubs — Mad Brewing and Fábrica Maravillas — while living in Spain, on and off, over a decade.
They liked the sensibility in Spain, where families take their children with them to bars on weekends. So they’re going to encourage that by including a separate area for kids to play in the front of the building, adjacent to tables and the bar. There’s an outdoor beer garden in what had been a vacant lot to the west and, abutting that, an open kitchen with a wood-fired oven for everything from flatbreads to slow-roasted meats.
The menu of small and big plates from Spain and its neighbors will be overseen by Sean Skerette, a Trinidadian who is coming from a St. Croix restaurant, Balter, that’s co-owned by a Pittsburgher.
“His connection to Pittsburgh is he loves the Steelers,” Ms. Oancea says.
The 15-barrel, German BrauKon brewhouse arrived at the end of April and was hooked up last month. There, her husband is making a wide range of beer styles and experiments. He hopes to open with at least eight and go from there. Eventually, he’d like to offer 10 draft beers and two draft soft drinks, including a ginger beer. They’ll also be serving wines and spirits, which the couple also enjoy.
But the most unusual feature of this brewpub is the eight-lane bowling alley on the second floor, which the brothers bought. What had been Club Lanes has continued to operate as a league venue, but the brothers want to open it to the public.
The building’s wow factor comes from the storefront’s huge arched windows and the exposed cast-iron columns that run from the top to bottom.
Mr. Rodriguez installed a four-tap system to dispense some of his house beers upstairs. On the main floor, he’ll tap some small kegs to flesh out the offerings from eight serving tanks in the basement.
They expect to open sometime in July. Follow their progress on their website, https://enix.beer, and on social media.
“It will be a unique brewing experience,” he says, and one that, especially due to its European influences will be different enough to find its own niche in Pittsburgh’s scene. As she puts it, “We see the boom in breweries as complementary to ourselves.”
Rogan Brewing Co.
The other new place to drink craft beer is the taproom of Rogan Brewing Co. in West Homestead. Longtime homebrewer Rick Morgan, a native of the nearby neighborhood of Lincoln Place, looked long and hard for a building in this business district and found one at 214 W. Eighth Ave., where he is building a taproom to serve pints and selling growlers to go.
He needed more space to do the brewing so he rented a building in Duquesne where he will brew on a 10-barrel system he’s pieced together. He’s planning a wide variety of ales — “a little bit of something for everybody” — including a signature American pale ale made with rye and cracked black pepper.
The taproom, which he aims to open this summer or fall, will have a hockey theme, as does the name of the place. He explains that when he was a defenseman at Duquesne University, his friend and then-sportswriter Mark Madden wrote a story in which his last name somehow was typo-ed as “Rogan,” and from that day on, Mr. Morgan had a new nickname.
All these years later, after his wife gave her blessing to open a brewery, their two grown daughters told him he had to name it Rogan.
Now a resident of Jefferson Hills and a veteran in the financial services industry, Mr. Morgan is starting up this new venture mostly by himself. He’s not planning to do his own food, but as many taprooms do, he’ll host mobile food vendors.
“I want to be very symbiotic with all the Homestead restaurants,” allowing people to bring in their food.
His website will be roganbrewing.com.
He’s excited about Enix opening up nearby in Homestead, which also is home to several bars and restaurants that serve craft beer, including Blue Dust, a taproom of Voodoo Brewery, and Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery at 171 E. Bridge St. in the Waterfront -— where head brewer Meg Evans this spring released her first cans of Uppity Jagoff IPA.
For fellow beer lovers and their families, who also can enjoy restaurants, shopping, Sandcastle Water Park, Kennywood Amusement Park and more, “it’s almost like a long week’s vacation if you market it right,” said Mr. Morgan.
Voodoo, which opened in 2015 just off Eighth Avenue in the borough’s former fire and police station, is going to keep growing and transforming, says co-owner Jake Voelker. Last month, he signed a contract to demolish the former theater next door on East Ninth Avenue. He has grants to begin transforming it into the “Homestead Community Garden,” a courtyard local groups could use.
Meanwhile, he’s also pushing forward plans to fix up the pub building, with a second-floor hydroponic community garden and other uses. It may be a ways off, but he has a vision for the “Mother Jones’ Makers Union,” named for the labor activist who spent time in the building’s jail cell.
“I think a lot of businesses talk about doing really transformative things for their communities,” he says. “We’re doing it.”
Lots of other development has been happening in the area, which includes the busy Waterfront development. A.M. Rodriguez Associates built, and its sister company CMS manages, an apartment building with ground-floor shop space in the 100 block of East Eighth Avenue as well as townhomes along Amity Street.
Bob Batz Jr.: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.