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Pizza Review: The Church Brew Works

Dan TallaricoComment

A few blocks away from my home is the one place that every visitor in Pittsburgh wants to go. It’s not Primanti’s, thank goodness, but the Church Brew Works. It’s schtick is that the owners desecrated a church and turned it into a brewery. They even de-holyfied the altar! What was once a beautiful building is now a beautiful building you can drink at without having to play Simon Says with a man in a robe. I suppose you could still do that, but it’s not mandatory.

The Church Brew Works boasts several large brewing cylinders behind the altar so you know they aren’t messing around. I’m sure they’re filled with the holy spirit of drinking because their beer is delicious. And once you get those spirits in you, you’re gonna want to eat something. And boy howdy, they have pizza there! Isn’t that the darndest? 

A few people, whether it’s at parties or on the Internet, have raved to me about the pizza at Church Brew Works pizza. I play coy when this happens. I shrug my shoulders and wave my hands around to distract them from my disdain, the same way a magician  does to trick his audience. The problem is that the Church Brew Works is such an institution that I don’t want to say bad things about this “critically acclaimed” pizza. But, so it goes. 

A few weeks ago my friend Dan was in town. He’s pictured above. As you can see his mouth is filled with some of The Church Brew Work’s pizza. We ordered the Portobello Pesto Pizza which was topped with portobello mushrooms, basil pesto, red onion, kalamata olives, provolone and parmesan cheese. In my mind the combination of these ingredients swirl together to create a flavor so precious and delicious that it would be an honor for tastebuds to take part. Unfortunately, when the pizza arrived it was anything but.

The ingredients teamed up to create something so salty and overpoweringly bad that getting through this pizza was a task even Hercules would refuse. It was as if a bumbling chef knocked over a container of miscellaneous ingredients onto this pizza. Instead of cleaning things up and thinking about the combination he just let it be because, “I’m not getting paid enough for this." 

The crust was okay, but I think I’m just searching for something nice to say at this point. The pizza was truly a cacophony of chaos that I wouldn’t recommend trying unless eating it was to pay off a debt or ransom. This was the same situation when I had the four-cheese pizza a year or so ago. It was just a mess that not even I could manage. I’m not sure why they can’t play it cool and offer a pizza that isn’t a combination of whatever is within reach.

I guess when you turn a place of worship into a place of dining, you’re bound to be struck with a curse. It’s a shame that the curse couldn’t have been on the fish sandwich.