Whether you're searching for an obscure, small-batch Belgian sour, or are looking to step up from Coors Light, or simply interested in expanding your palate, New Kensington's House of 1,000 Beers has something for you.
"It's a celebration of beer here," says general manager John Lakari. "The House," as it's affectionately called by area beer aficionados, is owned by Dave and Maureen Sagrati; the former beer distributors have operated in the store's current location since 2006.
The shop is designed to encourage consumers to mix and match different bottles of beer. At a beer distributor, you have to buy a 24-pack of a single beer (or a pre-mixed arrangement). But The House operates under a restaurant license allowing consumers to buy up to 192 ounces of beer ... and leaves them free to create their own assortment. "It's a great way for people to try a number of different styles," says Lakari.
Don't expect any lavish trappings at The House. "These racks aren't fancy because we don't care about people looking at the racks. We care about people looking at the beer," says Lakari.
But if the décor isn't sophisticated, the beer selection certainly is, with obscure offerings ranging from a Firestone Walker Double IPA to a Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge, and everywhere in between. And then there are the taps — all 40 of them, offering a selection that changes frequently. Lakari says that he and his staff are more than happy to help people pick their way through unfamiliar labels.
Between bottles and taps, fans of the "Untappd" social-media app can stack up a lot capital with their friends. "It can be like a scavenger hunt for them," says Lakari.
Indeed, the "1,000 beers" advertised in the name is actually an understatement: The store seeks to carry an average of 1,200 different beers at a time.
Still, Lakari says, "No matter how many I carry, the next person walks through the door and asks for something I don't have."