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Couple building Leaning Cask Brewing in Springdale

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, 7:20 a.m.
Stefanie and Josh Lipke and pictured with pets Remi and Kimber in the new Brewhouse along Pittsburgh Street in Springdale.
Louis B. Ruediger / Tribune Review
Stefanie and Josh Lipke and pictured with pets Remi and Kimber in the new Brewhouse along Pittsburgh Street in Springdale.
A West Deer couple is bringing a brewery to the site of the former B&D Records store along Pittsburgh Street in Springdale.
A West Deer couple is bringing a brewery to the site of the former B&D Records store along Pittsburgh Street in Springdale.

A West Deer couple are bringing a spot of merry old England to Springdale.

But we're not talking about tea.

After several years as a home brewer, Josh Lipke is building an English-themed pub and brewery, The Leaning Cask Brewing Co., with his wife, Stefanie, on Pittsburgh Street. They hope to open in March or earlier.

They want the place to be rustic, inviting and warm like an English pub — but the pints will be cold, not warm like it's served across the pond.

“It will feel like walking into somebody's house,” Stefanie Lipke said.

The Lipkes, both 33, said they looked across the North Hills for a location before settling on Springdale.

“We wanted to be in a smaller community,” Josh Lipke said. “We're excited to get open. We wish it was tomorrow.”

It took them about a year to find a building. In August, they bought 850 Pittsburgh St., which for decades housed the iconic B&D Records store, and got to work right away. The inside has been gutted for the tap room on the first floor; the brewing equipment will be in the basement.

“We had so much demolition we had to do. This place has come a long way from where it was,” Josh Lipke said. “It should be changing rapidly.”

It's a first business for the couple. Josh Lipke, who worked in mortgage litigation for 10 years before being laid off a few months ago, is the brewer.

Stefanie Lipke is an elementary guidance counselor in the Fox Chapel Area School District. She's the designer, handles the website, blog and social media accounts, and helps to name the beers.

The pub is heavily influenced by their dogs — Kimber, a 3-year-old vizsla, or Hungarian pointer, and Remi, 7, a beagle.

A habit of Kimber's contributed to the name: “She likes to lean on everybody,” Josh Lipke said.

The dog influence carries on to the brews, which will be named after dogs and dog breeds — such as Mosaic Mastiff, Pointer Porter and Beagle Bitter.

The pub will be dog-friendly, at least at first while no food is being prepared on-site. There are plans for a kitchen. Until then, some food will be brought in, and Josh Lipke said he wants to partner with a food truck.

The English influence comes from their visits with family in London. They go once or twice a year.

“Our favorite thing to do is to go pub hopping. We couldn't find that here,” Stefanie Lipke said.

Josh Lipke said he started making his own beers when he couldn't find what he liked. He described his brewing as a mix of American and English methods, the English influence reflected in some beers being unfiltered and naturally fermented in the cask.

“I love both worlds,” he said.

Josh said his signature brews would be his IPAs, or India pale ales, a hoppy beer style.

“I really love to do dry hopping with my beers,” he said, explaining that it's a way of infusing more aroma and flavor into a beer by adding more hops after it ferments.

While limited at home to no more than 100 gallons per adult, per year, The Leaning Cask will produce almost 2,000 barrels per year in the brewery. Josh said he'll have 10 types available at any one time from a catalogue of 30 different beers.

If the dog-based names don't convey much, don't worry — tastings will be offered in the tap room.

“I love letting people try new things and providing a way to do it,” Josh Lipke said.

Beers will be sold in 16- and 20-ounce pints, the latter being an imperial pint served in England; in growlers to go and in kegs.

Josh Lipke said pints would be priced between $4.50 and $7. “I'm going to try to keep it as affordable for everyone as I can,” he said.

The Lipkes plan to run the place themselves at the start. If all goes well, they may employ five to 10 by the end of their first year.

In addition to a kitchen, their future plans include a rooftop beer garden.

“It will be a pretty cool place once it's all said and done,” Josh Lipke said.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701 or at brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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