Sunday, November 15, 2015

200 Years of Pittsburgh Brewing by Dick Ober

If you ever paid a visit to the Penn Brewery in Pittsburgh’s North Side you may (or may not) be aware that is was a brewery from the mid 1800’s. It was the Eberhardt & Ober Brewery at the time. The F. L. Ober Brother Brewery was next door alon Vinial Street.  The Eberhardt & Ober families controlled the breweries until 1899 when they merged with newly formed Pittsburgh Brewing Company of Iron City Beer fame. Family members continued working in the new company but the E & O closed in the early 1950’s. Richard (Dick) Ober, from Beaver County comes from the Ober family and although not a brewery he is a well-established brewery historian. His new book is out: 200 Years of Brewing in Allegheny County from 1760 to 1960 by Richard Ober and Robert Musson: Zepp Publications, 2015.

The book chronicles Allegheny County’s rich history in brewing. Mr. Ober spent over twenty years gathering material for the book and Dr. Musson provided much of the illustrations. There are many photographs of not only the breweries but of the people who owned and worked in them.

Read about the early history of the Iron City Brewing Company when it started out in the Strip District. How exciting would life be today if the breweries in the village of Oakland were still operating only steps from the Pitt campus. How were the football games in the 1930’s when tailgaters were drinking Rooney’s Ale? But by far the book illustrates how industrious Pittsburgh was. There were small brewers in almost every community because there was opportunity in Pittsburgh.  This book shines light on an often-missed part of Pittsburgh’s past manufacturing history. If you have the slightest interest in Pittsburgh history or beer then you will enjoy this book.