Critics' Corner

Foundry Ale Works, Pittsburgh, PA

By Nancy McAdams

The Foundry Ale Works advertises itself as "a Restored Turn-of-the-Century Foundry, The Strip's Newest Restaurant Brewery."  Wide variety of fresh, cold handcrafted beers on tap.  A style for every taste.  Serving Lunch & Dinner Daily Specializing in American Wood Grill Cuisine Featuring: fresh seafood, wood-fired pizzas babyback ribs, steamers (I don't know what steamers are) Made from fresh ingredients hand-picked daily by our chef in the strip.  Hours: Sun - Sat 11:00 a.m.- 2:00 a.m. * FREE PARKING *"

I was ready for a cold, industrial atmosphere and found The Foundry Ale Works to be surprisingly warm and homey.  The brick walls are accented by stone, and wooden pillars support the two-story main floor.  There is a smoking lounge with a fireplace on the first floor, glass-enclosed brew tanks and, of course, a bar area.  The second floor is a sort of loft, with table seating and another bar.

There were ten beers on January 3 when we visited The Foundry Ale Works.  The beers as described on the menu were as follows:

1. Foundry Lyte - Brewed in the spirit of American light beers.  Delicate malt and hop notes make this a refreshing beer anytime.

2. Foundry Golden Ale - Enjoy the golden hue while you drinking this well-balanced brew.  Sure to please lovers of fresh American and Canadian premium brews.

3. American Pale Ale - American malts and hops make this truly An all American brew.  Five heaping helpings of Pacific Northwest hops are added to produce a spectacular hop sensation.  A complex malt bill adds depth with sweet and nutty  flavors to perfectly compliment the hops.

4. Nut n' Honey Brown - A good dosing of orange blossom honey makes this Brown a delicious brew.  A blend of malts gives it a slight nutty flavor that compliments the Honey overtone.

5. Foundry Robust Porter - The addition of chocolate malt gives the brew a warm chocolaty flavor with a mild smoky finish balanced nicely with smooth hop character.

6. Foundry Brown Ale - A blend of caramel and chocolate malts makes this a well-balanced, smooth drinking beer.  A malty presentation with a touch of hops.

7. Dunkel Weizen - A wheat beer

8. Foundry Irish Red - Blended European caramel malts fill this beer with smooth malty goodness and a deep amber color.  A small amount of roasted malt is added to compliment the sweetness.  English hops gives this brew a zesty, satisfying finish.

9. Pitt Witt - This is a traditional Belgian wheat beer brewed with coriander and orange peels.  Served unfiltered to preserve hints of clove and banana.

10. Belgian Raspberry Ale - A unique brew fermented with whole fruit to capture the complete essence of the raspberry.  Tart and crisp.

We asked our server if samplers of the beer were available.  Jennifer explained that two samplers of five beers are available, the odd or the even numbered beers.  The three of us ordered two of one and one of the other.  Jennifer presented the samplers in numerical order along with the description of the beers, and explained that the beer selections are continually changing.

All of the beers were tasty.  Being a dark beer fan, I particularly liked the porter and the Foundry Brown Ale.  I have never seen the appeal of flavored beers, which somehow always make me think of Bartles and James wine coolers, but I have to make an exception to the Belgian Raspberry Ale.  Tart and crisp as promised, the Belgian Raspberry Ale was the first fruit-flavored beer that I would recommend.  I also liked the Foundry Golden Ale.

Jennifer, our server, was friendly, prompt and knowledgeable.  She made several suggestions about the menu and seemed well informed.  We decided on the Quesadilla appetizer, a flour tortilla, asiago and smoked gouda cheeses, grilled onions and chilis filled with one of three choices; black beans, blackened chicken and black beans and BBQ duck and papaya. We chose the blackened chicken and black beans and found the Quesadillas to be very tasty.

Of the many appealing selections on the menu, we finally settled on the Foundry Fish Sandwich, one Beer Battered and one Blackened Filets, and the Barbecued Baby Back Ribs.  I would rate the Foundry Fish Sandwich as "great" in either version.  As for the Baby Back Ribs, I am about as fond of ribs as I am of fruit-flavored beers, but these ribs are enough to make me a convert.  Tasty and so tender the meat falls from the bone.

I would give Foundry Ale Works a rating of outstanding in beer selection and quality, service and food.  I also enjoyed the atmosphere, not as elegant as the Church Brew Works but comfortable and inviting.  I would give the atmosphere a rating of very good.

I would highly recommend the Foundry Ale Works to anyone.

Foundry Ale Works
2816 Smallman Street (2 blocks past Spaghetti Warehouse)
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: (412) 281-6683

Thanks,

Nancy McAdams
Penn Hills