Bethel Park brewpub gets council's approval

| Thursday, April 17, 2014, 7:48 a.m.

The seeds for the planned Spoonwood Brewing Co. were planted in the mid-1990s, when heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment salesman Grant Scorsone worked on a new brewpub in Lawrenceville.

“What really piqued my interest was 17 years ago, when Church Brew Works opened,” Scorsone said.

After nearly two decades of interest in the business, Scorsone and his wife, Mary Lou, are preparing their own brewpub on Baptist Road in Bethel Park, at the former site of Duke's Station restaurant.

Bethel Park Council approved the Spoonwood development on Monday, with members John Pape, Brandon Colella and Paul Dixon absent. Councilman Jim McLean abstained because his brother is the project architect.

Spoonwood, named for a Native American term for the mountain laurel, the state flower of Pennsylvania, could open in late October, Grant Scorsone said.

The brewpub will feature 10 of its own beers on draft, made by brewmaster and partner Steve Ilnicki.

Grant Scorsone said the selection will include seasonal beers and standards.

The Scorsones and Ilnicki are working on beers and are looking for inspiration from microbreweries across the country.

He said in today's craft beer market, India Pale Ale is king. “Every craft brewery needs to have a great IPA,” he said.

Ilnicki wrote in a statement that he has “a soft spot for big American IPAs and Belgian yeast,” and likes smoked-malt and wood-aged beers. Other possibilities for Spoonwood include fruit-infused wheat ales and a chocolate porter. The Brewers Association, based in Boulder, Colo., said the craft brewing industry grew 20 percent in 2013, with sales totaling $14.3 billion.

Initially, Spoonwood beers will be sold only in the brewpub. However, Scorsone said, kegs could eventually be sold to other bars and restaurants.

Spoonwood won't bottle or can its beers, he said.

Mary Lou Scorsone said Spoonwood will be the only restaurant in the area to feature draft wine, a process that cuts waste and keeps the wine fresh longer.

The business's executive chef, Rose Walther, is designing a taste menu of tapas, Italian sandwiches and wood-fired pizzas, Grant Scorsone said.

To make way for the new building, the train cars that housed the former restaurant will be moved to DuBois to be included in a park, Scorsone said.

Eric Eisert is a freelance writer.

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