Collaboratin' Left and Right for #PCBW

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The best part of PCBW for us is that we get to mix it up in the brewery with some new people... exchange a bit of brewing knowledge, share a bit of beer, split a few pizzas, and come up with something totally new. 

This year for PCBW, we decided to do 2 Collaboration Beers!


50 Shades of GRAIN:

While this beer was a collaboration with CoStar Brewing, Spoonwood, and East End, the naming credit for this one all goes to Steve from Spoonwood. Usually at EEBC, we go around and around a dozen times, trying to land a name for a beer that's going on tap in 3 days... so when Steve sent this name out on an email right at the beginning, mostly as a joke, we immediately lashed to the bedposts and claimed it as our own.

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In collaborating on this brew, we decided to take an approach more traditional to the Roggenbier style, a style you don’t see all that often. We took a fistful of malts from our collective malt stores, holding to the namesake for this beer. We pushed the limits for ABV and hopping rates for the style, but we landed in the realm of traditional using a german weizen yeast. This brew landed at roughly 6.2%, contains around 45% rye malts. For a twist, we spiced it with a just noticeable amount of fresh Juniper berries. 

You'll  find 50 Shades of Grain on tap around town, and of course at BOTH East End locations, all during Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week...and beyond.

But if you'd like to come hang out with the crew that made this beer, we're doing a special tapping of it at Spoonwood on 4/22. You've been looking for an excuse to go check them out, right?



EAST CaliENDe Hop Slice:

Dinosaur free malt

Dinosaur free malt

Caliente approached us about doing a collaboration for PCBW, and Matt Moninger was the messenger.  We've know Matt for years from his time at Church Brew Works, and now that he's at Caliente, he makes an excellent beer ambassador to broker these kinds of things... or at least he knows why it takes so long for us to answer an email.

CRAZY amounts of hop residue covering the brewhouse floor, as we keg the last of this beer up.

CRAZY amounts of hop residue covering the brewhouse floor, as we keg the last of this beer up.

So, the Caliente crew came out to the Brewery, mixed it up with the EEBC crew, and we all decided to brew a great big double IPA. The base of the beer would be all pils malt and we'd add a bit of cane sugar to more thoroughly dry it out, while bumping up the abv a bit in the process.  All of this to get the keep the malt character very mild, and out of the way, so the hops can shine through.We landed at a 9% abv with a pitch of our house ale yeast.  Hop we added were "first wort" Simcoe, a MASSIVE whirlpool addition of a newer hop we've been playing with here lately called Lemon Drop, and then, a touch of dry hopping with more Simcoe and some Amarillo in the fermenter, to give a nice boost in hoppy aromatics.


We're REALLY happy with this beer, and hope that you'll enjoy it.  And if you like hoppy, light bodied beer (what some would call West Coast IPAs), I'm pretty sure you will!

This beer will go on tap during #PCBW too, but only at 4 locations: Caliente Bloomfield, Caliente Hampton, at our Growler Shop, and here at the Brewery.

Giving you what you really want.

Giving you what you really want.

Every few years it's important to step back, take a long hard look, and make sure that you aren't letting the world pass you by.  Tastes change, palates evolve, and a once new and exciting lineup of beer styles can become dated.  So we've decided to make a BIG change here to make sure that never happens at East End Brewing.

Hoppy beers have always been our most popular offerings, as evidenced by the popularity of our flagship BigHop.  And now, after months of work, we've finally readied ourselves to bring some changes that we think you'll be very excited about...

We're changing to an all IPA Brewery.

You'll still see some familiar names here, but all with a new twist.  So starting TODAY, here's our tap list:

Black Strap Stout IPA

Chocolate Covered Cherry Stout IPA

Crystal Schip (wine barrel aged, sour brown) IPA

Joe Melt IPA

Monkey Boy Hefeweizen IPA

Fat Gary Nut Brown Ale IPA

Snow Melt Winter Ale IPA

East End Witte IPA

Barmy Root Beer IPA

Barmy Ginger Ale IPA

Steel Cut Oatmeal Stout IPA

The Lemon Project #727 IPA

Big Hop IPA IPA

 

And later this Spring and Summer, we'll have beers like... 

Pedal Pale Ale IPA

Green Giant IPA IPA

Bigger Hop Double IPA IPA

Big Hop Harvest Ale IPA

...

But please don't worry. We're not changing the recipe for any of these beers. Just the names. Because we know that's what you want. Some of them already lean somewhat hoppy. Others not so much. But now they'll all be loved equally with these new names.

Now, when is IPA day again? Because I can't wait to find some people who hate hoppy beers, and introduce them to all of these special IPAs on that day!

Gratitude - post release update

Gratitude - post release update

Well HEY, that was fun! Thanks for coming over on Saturday for Gratitude Release Day everyone!

I've been getting a lot of questions about a lot of Gratitude-related things, including what's left. So I figured an update is in order.  Here's the rundown...

  • 2014 Bourbon Barrel Aged Gratitude has sold out.
  • 2014 Gratitude Barleywine is still available, and will be in stock at BOTH our locations for the next few weeks... in my estimation it will last at least this long.
  • There's still 2008A "flawed" in stock at the Brewery, and it's tasting better than ever!
  • There's still a couple full cases of Flatitude available at the Brewery.

 

 

 

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If you want to enjoy some Gratitude in our tap room at the Brewery, there's also some bottles of these left, chilled and ready to open. All you need to do is ask:

  • 2006 Gratitude (unlabeled)
  • 2008A Gratitude
  • 2009 Gratitude (unlabeled)
  • 2010 Gratitude (unlabeled)
  • 2014 Gratitude
  • 2014 Bourbon Barrel Aged Gratitude (unlabeled)

SO, THANKS!

Now that's that bit of business is covered, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who came out on Saturday. This release has grown each year for us, and every year, I'm shocked to hear how long you guys have been waiting outside for us to open our doors so that you can get this beer - and this year, it was in the rain, starting at something like 6am... And that's for a noon opening!

Given the amount and nature of the beers involved (yes, barleywine is strong), it was really a remarkably well-behaved bunch.  (Especially when you consider that it was also St. Patrick's Day Parade Day.)  So thank you also for that too!

And thank you for spending your hard earned money with us! This day allows us to pay a lot of bills, and do things that we simply couldn't manage to do in the timing that we would like to do them. Stuff like... Improve our Beer, improve our Brewery, and hire more staff. Put another way, it allows us to GROW. So thanks!

But mostly, I'm happy with how smoothly everything went. Putting on a fun, fair, and civilized event is always our goal for these, and the fact that every single person in line had a chance to purchase their limit of each beer (which we set at one case, and were able to hold to as the line was depleted), tells me that this goal was reached. Which is a HUGE RELIEF!

GRATITUDE VERTICALS:

Now, there is the matter of the Charity Auction for the (nearly) complete Gratitude Vertical that Fat Gary so kindly donated. And now... let's add to that a SECOND nearly complete Gratitude Vertical that was donated by Al from PizzaBoy, out of his personal stash!

(I think the 2005 is absent from Al's set, because I saw him open it at a release day a couple years ago, pour himself a sample, and unceremoniously pass the rest out to everyone standing around him. Seriously, how classy a move is that???)

So, it's going to take me a little bit to figure out how to auction beer, as I don't think ebay does this anymore. But if you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear it!

Cheers - Scott (and ALL of your Gratitude Release Day Crew)

 

Expanding Our Brewpub Hours

Expanding Our Brewpub Hours

Operating a Brewpub that closes at 5pm on Saturdays and 2pm on Sundays is probably one of the silliest things we're doing right now. And given the amount of silliness around here, that's really saying something. So, starting this Sunday, we're extending our weekend Growler Hours at the Brewery to this:

  • TUE 4-8pm
  • WED 4-8pm
  • THU 4-8pm
  • FRI 4-8pm
  • SAT 12-8pm
  • SUN 12-5pm

It'll take us a while to get this info updated in every place it's kept on the interwebs and IRL, but trust me. It's starting this Sunday, March 8th.

ShenaniGONE!

ShenaniGONE!

Scott and Terry are BOTH sad to see the week end.

New beers on tap, LAST CALLS, and new draft and bottles ahead.

New beers on tap, LAST CALLS, and new draft and bottles ahead.

NEW BEERS ON TAP NOW:

We released a couple of new beers at the Brewery lately, and with little fanfare. Mostly because we were all fanfared out with our Brewpub Grand Opening.  So here's a little rundown on them, as well as some new ones on the horizon:

  • Boire Avec Moi - This is a Belgian Table Beer.  The loose translation to local dialect would be something like "Hey Yinz, Drink with me!"  Traditionally, this style was a beer of very low abv (1-2% alcohol by volume) brewed to be enjoyed at the dinner table by adults and children alike. But we brewed this at 4.2% (Imperial Table Beer???), and it's just for Grown Ups. Nordy brewed this beer.
  • Black Hop - This is a "cascadian dark ale", since black ipa is a bit of an oxymoron. It's a different recipe than last time we brewed it, when it was our BigPourBrew.  Hop supply being the main contributor to the change, as well as our desire to tinker and improve whenever we can. 6.0% abv. Brendan brewed this beer.

Ingredients and other info for these beers and lots of others can be found on our mobile tap list site, which we update every week: m.eastendbrewing.com You can add it to your smartphone by just clicking on that link and adding a shortcut. (It's really just a website, not an app that eats up any space.)

LAST CALL FOR THESE BEERS:

Over the next couple of weeks, we expect to see the following beers run out:

  • BigHop HARVEST Ale (Our wet-hopped BigHop)
  • Brett Hop (100% Brettanomyces fermented BigHop, coming back in big bottles in 2015!)
  • Along Came a Cider (returning in a couple weeks as the new batch finishes up)
  • ElderberRye Ale (Rye beer with fresh elderberries added post-fermentation)

NEW BEERS COMING ON DRAFT IN THE WEEKS AHEAD:

  • Steelcut Oatmeal Stout
  • The Bitter End
  • Sketchy (Illustration Ale aged in wine barrels on brett)
  • Old Nebby Stock Ale

NEW BEERS COMING IN BOTTLES IN EARLY 2015:

We're going to try and roll all of these into one or two bottle release days here, so there will be a chance to get some of each.  But ultimately, we're at the mercy of the beers and their readiness, trying to coordinate this.

  • Gratitude Barleywine
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Gratitude Barelywine
  • Homewood Reserve 2014 (Bourbon Barrel Aged Black Strap Stout)
  • Old Knobby (Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Nebby)
  • Brett Hop (100% Brett fermented BigHop)
  • Sketchy  (Illustration Ale aged in wine barrels on brett)
  • Crystal Schip (A unique big brown ale, aged in wine barrels on brett)

BREWPUB Grand Opening Specials ABOUND!

BREWPUB Grand Opening Specials ABOUND!

As if a full week of Shenanigans isn't enough, to further celebrate our Brewpub's Grand Opening (and to gently cajole you into stopping by for a pint or a bit of holiday shopping), we're sweetening the deal with a bunch of specials, running for the entire month of December.  So, come get your Growler/Shopping/GOOD BEER on with us!

Starting NOW:

  • All vintage EEBC Ball caps (the ones with the sewn on patch) are now just $10.
  • All vintage EEBC Logo Tshirts (with the pint/sun logo on the front) are now just $10.
  • Nearly all of our BIG BOTTLES are 2 bucks off:
    • Toaster Imperial Stout
    • Monkey's Uncle Weizenbock
    • Eye Opener Coffee Porter
    • Smokestack Heritage Porter
  • Session Beer Special: MonkeyGirl Dunkelweizen 64oz Growler fill is just 6 bucks. Yep, same price as a 32oz fill!

The fine print:

To invoke these discounts, you need to utter the magical phrase  "Happy BREWPUB GRAND OPENING!" to your barkeep. He will undoubtedly grin, and promptly make the necessary adjustments to your tab.

These specials are for the Brewery Location  - or as we say now, THE BREWPUB LOCATION!!! ...and will run as long as supplies last. Or until we decide that you've had enough super awesomeness for one month... Or maybe two months.  After that, it's back to plain old regular awesomeness around here.

Happy BREWPUB GRAND OPENING everyone!

 

Quick Gratitude Barleywine Update

Quick Gratitude Barleywine Update

It's that time of year again, when I start fielding calls and emails about our Gratitude Barleywine, and when it will be released.  We poured some Bourbon Barrel Aged Gratitude at our GOOD WOOD Fest last night, so I figure it's time to formally lay our what our plan is.

Since it's our 10th Anniversary, we're releasing TWO versions of Gratitude this time around:

  • Gratitude that's been aging in Bourbon Barrels since March of 2014 (10th Anniversary Edition!)
  • Regular old boring Gratitude Barleywine

So as we've said before, this beer isn't going away, but the elaborate paper overwrap is.  It's just too much for us to pull off every year, and since we completed the ROY G. BIV spectrum with it, it seems like the right time to make that packaging change.

We'll be releasing BOTH of these beers in the standard 750ml bottles that we've been using for a couple years now, and we're currently expecting that to happen in (Update) MARCH 2015.  Yes, we've done it with this very timing before, and yes, we're still calling it "2014 Gratitude" because that's when the beer was brewed... or in the case of the "regular" version, WILL be brewed, later this month.

There will be a small amount of draft packaged for each of these beers, mostly for the Hell With The Lid Off Barleywine Festival, and it will appear on our tap list for by-the-glass sales in our newly opened BREWPUB at some point, but I don't expect we will offer it in Growler form.

When we get closer to picking a release date, I'll post more details about what that will all look like.  But plan on having some Gratitude to lighten up those long, cold, dark days of winter.

One last thing: Our very own Fat Gary (the guy, not the beer) has been squirreling away a bottle of Gratitude every year since we opened.  While he certainly likes barleywine, he's thinking that there are probably people out there who would appreciate a full vertical more than he would.  So he's decided to do something cool with it, with us... Auction it off, and donate all of the proceeds to a charity.  I need to see how we can do this legally and legitimately, and once I do, I'll add that info to the bottle release announcement.  So stay tuned for all of that stuff.

1/27/2015 Update: Looking like a release day will happen in March. More when we know it.

12/15/2014 Update: If you've been to our Gratitude Release Day before, you know we make EVERY POSSIBLE EFFORT to ensure that this all happens as fairly as humanly possible. So please don't ask me to reserve you some, to sell you some to pick up later, to ship you some (which we legally can't do), or try to convince me that your particular personal need for this beer is an extraordinary situation that I just HAVE to accommodate... because we won't do that. We CAN'T do that. Because playing favorites isn't fair, and...see the first sentence of this paragraph.

I hope you can understand this.  I think it's always been pretty clear that if you'd like to get some Gratitude, your best bet it to come to the Brewery on the day we release it.  Just like everyone else.  And of course, I also hope you'll do just that!

So, we made the paper recently: The Wall Street Journal

JOURNAL REPORTS: LEADERSHIP

How a Brewing Hobby Became a Business

Scott Smith Talks About Growing His Beer Sales—but Not Too Much

By JAMES R. HAGERTY Oct. 19, 2014 4:52 p.m. ET

‘As craft beer grows, it’s taking share away from the big multinational brands,’ Mr. Smith says. JAMES R. HAGERTY

‘As craft beer grows, it’s taking share away from the big multinational brands,’ Mr. Smith says. JAMES R. HAGERTY

Scott A. Smith has survived as a craft brewer through frugality, humor and improvisation.

A decade ago, when Mr. Smith was looking at a vacant building to rent for his new brewing business, the owner promised to remove all the dead rats. Mr. Smith didn’t mind the rodents. “Every rat I see, the rent’s coming down,” he recalls thinking.

Using his family’s savings, he bought used brewing equipment and made do without any employees for the first several years. His sign was a piece of cardboard held to the door with duct tape.

JOURNAL REPORT

The 48-year-old mechanical engineer, a vegetarian and father of two, spent 13 years working as a manufacturing and information-technology manager at bleach maker Clorox Co. before abruptly quitting the corporate world when he was in his late 30s to turn his home-brewing hobby into a business.

His company, East End Brewing Co., is now one of Pittsburgh’s best-known craft beer makers, and today Mr. Smith can afford to pay four full-time and five part-time employees.

When he expanded capacity and bought a building in a better neighborhood three years ago, he raised $100,000 by persuading 100 people to pay in advance for $1,000 of beer and other merchandise—effectively a zero- interest loan. He has avoided bank loans, except for a second mortgage on his home to help finance the expansion.

He spoke recently with The Wall Street Journal. Here are edited excerpts:

The Personal Touch

WSJ: What were your goals when you started out?

MR. SMITH: I didn’t want to take over the world or become a beer mogul. I just wanted to be able to do something interesting. I like doing things with my hands and seeing the physical results of effort. The initial vision was just me in a building, making beer and delivering kegs around town.

WSJ: How have your goals changed over the years?

MR. SMITH: We don’t really do the corporate “Hey, what should we be in five years or 10 years?” We usually have our head down and we’re trying to figure out the goals for the week. Right now, the goal is getting the doors open on our new brewpub.

WSJ: How do you decide how big a craft business should grow?

MR. SMITH: That’s something my wife, Julie, and I spend a lot of time talking about. How big is too big? [Maybe] it’s when you become an administrator instead of a beer maker. Our focus is going to continue to be local. I don’t see us shipping beer across the country. The farther the beer gets away from the brewery, the harder it is to control the quality, and then it becomes a commodity. I don’t want to lose the personal feel.

WSJ: How do you evaluate potential employees?

MR. SMITH: We don’t have a whole lot in the way of a formal hiring practice. Generally, we’ll have somebody help out for a period and see how it works out. We get feedback from everybody in the room, and ask if this is the right fit. I value the feedback from the rest of the crew more than my own.

WSJ: Why have you avoided borrowing money from banks?

MR. SMITH: There’s probably a bunch of businesspeople out there with M.B.A.s who would look at that and say, “Do you know how cheap money is right now? You could get a loan and do X, Y, Z.” It’s probably foolish, but it’s never been part of our mind-set here.

It’s my way of managing risk, so that if for some reason the business goes south, I’m not beholden to the bank to make a monthly payment. I don’t have that hanging over me.

Braving the Crowd

WSJ: What’s the biggest threat to your business?

MR. SMITH: Not paying attention. We just went through a process of looking through our costs in excruciating detail. We were actually selling one brand, Fat Gary Nut Brown Ale, below cost. From an ingredient basis, it’s the cheapest beer we make, so I was charging less for it. But ingredient cost is such a small portion of the cost of beer. Labor and overhead are much bigger. I didn’t have a [precise] number for any of the costs at all; I just made a wild guess.

The baseline financial planning when we started was, “Hey, is there more money in the bank account than there was last month?” If so, great! I think we might be doing something right, so keep doing that.

WSJ: How important is social media?

MR. SMITH: It’s become a huge part of what we do. I can talk about a new beer on Twitter and have people show up at the brewery for that beer that evening.

WSJ: Is the craft brew market getting too crowded?

MR. SMITH: It definitely gives me pause when I see all these new guys coming out, and a lot of them are making fantastic beer. It energizes us to make sure we are on top of our quality. But I don’t think the craft beer market is overcrowded.

As craft beer grows, it’s taking share away from the big multinational brands. And we’re pushing the idea that this is something that’s made in your backyard. Local beer is fresh beer.

Seeking a Sign

WSJ: What’s your advice for people setting up a business like yours?

MR. SMITH: Find your identity, and then throw everything you have behind that, because that’s going to be the most honest and genuine way to connect with people. If you’re trying to be something that you’re not, it will show. Embrace your flaws—and call them character, if you need to.

WSJ: What flaws do you embrace?

MR. SMITH: We still don’t have a sign on the front of our building. This is the year it’s finally going to happen, I swear. It’s become kind of a running gag, but at the same time I’m completely embarrassed by it.

WSJ: Selling beer usually involves quirky humor. Could you run this type of business without a sense of humor?

MR. SMITH: If you’re in the beer business and you don’t have a sense of humor, why are you in the beer business? I mean, it’s fun. By nature, it’s intoxicating.

Mr. Hagerty is news editor for The Wall Street Journal in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at bob.hagerty@wsj.com

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