Beer drinkers might not be the only ones haunting The Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville.
Last summer, the paranormal investigation team from “Ghost Hunters” visited the brewery. The spine-tingling episode will air on Saturday, Jan. 15, on discovery+, the long-running show’s new home. The season started on Jan. 1, with new installments being released weekly through March.
The former St. John the Baptist Church on Liberty Avenue was built in 1902. Sean Casey took over the deconsecrated building and surrounding property in 1994 and, after two years of renovations, opened the doors to one of Pittsburgh’s first brewpubs.
“You get certain vibes,” Casey says. “You set something down and then it goes missing or unplug something at night and it’s plugged in the next morning. You sort of shake your head and move on.”
The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), the organization featured on “Ghost Hunters” since its debut in 2004, reached out to the brewery after investigating a Pittsburgh residence during the show’s first season, but the timing didn’t work out.
With more brewery staff reporting strange phenomena over the past year, Casey contacted the boo crew — Jason Hawes, Steve Gonsalves, Dave Tango and Shari DeBenedetti — to help him understand why things are going bump in the night … and even during the day.
In June, TAPS spent three nights investigating the property, which includes a rectory and school. The Church Brew Works taps weren’t flowing during the hunt, but the visitors still felt a certain kind of buzz.
“The size and scope of the property made for a challenging and exciting investigation in the time frame we had,” says Ryan Aughtry, a producer with Hollywood-based Pilgrim Media Group. “With so many reports of activity to follow up on, TAPS had their hands full with this one.”
Boos and beer are a familiar combo for TAPS. Armed with electromagnetic field detectors and infrared cameras, they’ve explored Moon River Brewing in Savannah, Georgia, and Bube’s Brewery in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania.
Casey says some of the original artwork in the sanctuary is creepy, complete with a beheading scene and a skeleton impaled by a sword. He quietly honors the spirits of the past with brews such as Celestial Gold and Pious Monk Dunkel, which won a gold medal at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival.
Casey says when it comes to reality TV, he’s more of an “American Pickers” fan but he tries to keep an open mind. “I haven’t seen any poltergeists, but I am experiencing some things I just can’t explain.”