Bayardstown BIG Bottle -  Release Day 10/16

Bayardstown BIG Bottle - Release Day 10/16

Maybe you've heard of Bayardstown Social Club?  If not, have a look at this article which gives you a nice view of what it is, and how it came to be, thanks to our pals at DeepLocal.  And if you read that article carefully, you'll undoubtedly pick up on the special release of a Bayardstown BIG Bottle Beer, done in collaboration with a certain local brewery... Hey, that's us!

We just got the final label approvals in place for this beer TODAY, so it's time to book the release party and get the beer into your hands.  Oh, the beer... I should talk about that.

We brewed what we hope is the ultimate backyard quencher, perfect for an evening around the fire pit, with a few GOOD FRIENDS.  It's a light, crisp, hazy, wheat-based beer, brewed with a significant, tropical fruit hop character.  At a modest 4.7% abv, it's also something you can spend the day with and not hurt yourself.

I should also mention that you might know this beer under the name WheatHop, which we released on draft about a week and a half ago.  Same beer.  But of course, bottle conditioning a beer can alter the flavor profile slightly...  Hopefully, making it even better.  The Bayardstown label on it certainly makes it COOLER.

We're doing a special release for these bottles at Bayardstown Social Club, but we haven't set the date just yet.  But stay tuned, as you'll not want to miss it.  

Update: Release is 10/16/2014 at Bayardstown!

Especially if you're a Bayardstown Social Club member, because if you can prove it, you'll save a couple bucks per the Brewery, and at our Growler Shop.

Barrel Aged Beer Festival at EEBC - Nov 22

Barrel Aged Beer Festival at EEBC - Nov 22

We kicked off our Bourbon Barrel and Sour Beer Programs BIG TIME earlier this year, loading up a total of 28 barrels with beer.  Most of these are going to be ready to serve this fall, so I figured we should put something together, and invite any other local brewers who have something from a barrel that they want to bring out to serve to the Barrel-aged Beer-loving public.

Turns out, the folks at Wigle were cooking up a similar idea, what with their abundance of freshly emptied Whiskey barrels... just ASKING to be filled with beer!  So, we've decided to join forces, and do this event together.

We're still sorting out all of the details, and heck, we still need to get the formal invitation out to the other breweries!  So this is really just a "save the date" kind of thing... for now.  More when we know it!



Cacao-Cacao! ...this year's BigPour Brew on tap TODAY

Cacao-Cacao! ...this year's BigPour Brew on tap TODAY

In the last couple weeks, we've tapped WheatHop, Nunkin, and BigHop Harvest, and put two new beers into the tanks.  So it's not too surprising that I've neglected to post anything about the new beer we're tapping today at the BigPour, and at both of our locations... so let's remedy that!

On a recent visit to Brazil for the World Cup, a couple of our brewers were inspired by a cacao spiced brazilian brew.  (Yes, that's a big ol handful of Cacao Nibs in that photo!)  This year's big pour brew follows that inspiration.  A 4.8% amber aged on cocoa nibs.  We are naming it "cacao-cacao", best pronounced as a shreek across the festival floor as 'ka-kow ka-kow!!'.  Or if you're not hitting the fest, across the bar to your favorite Growler Hours hosts.

Simul-Tapping is at 1:30pm today, at all THREE locations!



Wonderful Distractions

Wonderful Distractions

For at least a year and a half now, we've been talking about getting a license in place to sell beer by the glass.  Actually, you've been asking us for a place to sit down with a pint of freshly drawn East End Brew right here, at the source... pretty much since we opened our doors nearly 10 years ago.  (TEN YEARS!)  Now that we've got the space for it, we've been working on the rest of what it will take to make this happen.

But, it's so easy to get distracted.  And by that, I mean the typical, primary priorities of safety, quality, and production that come with running a production brewery.  Settling into the new place has taken us quite a while, but it gets better every week.  And if you've been following us on twitter/fb, you know that we've also been doing some kind of construction in here EVERY SINGLE MONTH since we opened the new place.  And it's still happening. 


This past Spring we ripped out a massive internal steel structure to make way for 1600 sq feet of new concrete.  In addition to making a spot for couple new tanks, and some oak barrels, this space opens up a bunch of new possibilities for us...think CANS.  And that's just the work in the back. 

This fall, we'll turn our attention to the front of house, creating a proper entryway, complete with some serious facade improvements, reconfiguring our lot, and (gasp!)... proper signage.  And hopefully, we'll get all this in place before we're ready for our Grand Opening Week of SHENNAGINS... but more on that in another post later on. 

No, we will not be restricting parking to red, green, and white cars.


Back in December, without hardly trying, the ACHD license kind of fell into our laps.  Turns out, we just had a couple of minor things to get into place for Brewpub service, and those were easy to pull off.

The license for by-the-glass sales has proven to be a bit more elusive.  And as you might imagine, a whole lot more frustrating.  So with our licensing paperwork submitted and the orange sign hung for coming up on 2 months now, we continue to wait, and field the occasional odd question from the PLCB while they more our application... forward?  I hope!

When the time comes, we will serve REAL FOOD.  Something light and simple, something tasty that we ourselves would want to eat.  Something complimentary to the beers we will be serving.  And of course something LOCAL.  In all likelihood, we'll be partnering with local food experts to help us put together something easy to execute every day we're open.  This will satisfy the PLCB's food requirement.  And then we'll likely supplement that by enlisting the portable food pros from Pittsburgh's ever-growing Food Truck scene.

So either way, you'll definitely be able to eat well here.  (And of course there will ALWAYS be vegetarian and vegan options.)  But it won't distract from what will continue to be our reason for existing: Brewing GOOD BEER for all of our GOOD FRIENDS... who we can't wait to have over for a few pints!

Now, with most of these wonderful distractions in the rear view, if that license would just come in, we can flip the switch and get this thing started!


It's HARVEST time!

It's HARVEST time!

As you may have seen a week or so ago, we got a nice pick of super-local hops from our pals at G-tech and Garfield Farms.  That was enough to wet-hop the 3 kegs we'll be serving from at our Hoptoberfest event with them later this month at Marty's Market.  But the MOTHER LODE of hops are just coming in now... as in, they were picked yesterday morning, and they were in the beer by nightfall!  This will be enough to cover about half of the 120-160bbls of BigHopHARVEST we're brewing this season... so that's something like 240-320 kegs, depending on how it all shakes out.

So, after a busy busy weekend of two beer tests and a large Brewery Tour, Nordy and Brendan hopped in our box truck on Sunday and headed North, toward the Finger Lakes region of NY State.  Of course, they managed to work in a brewery stop and a round of disc golf along the way, as these boys know how to road trip.

So while we wait another 1.5-2 weeks for HARVEST to be ready to tap, I thought I'd share some photos of their hop run to keep your nice and thirsty:


Close up view of hops on the bine, with more hops in the background.  Also, hops!


Based on that grin, I think the hop aromas are maybe seeping into his brain.


Doesn't look like much, but here's where the hops are processed... and where you wait for the truck to come in from the field.


This is the ancient, insane, pre-prohibition era machine that separates the hop cones from the rest of the plant... with a good bit of human intervention.


Highly automated operations here, especially the tables.  (Not really.)  Weighing, bagging, more grinning... EVERYTHING here smells hoppy, and is done by hand.

Below... Hops picked, bagged, loaded in our truck, and ready to roll. Time's a wastin!


Thanks for the hops Upstate New York.  See you again in a few weeks when the other varieties are ready for picking!  By then, we'll be enjoying our first batches of HARVEST here at the brewery.  Stop by for some?

Hop Convergence #IPAday

Hop Convergence #IPAday

It's Hop Harvest time of year again, and that of course means it's time to make our long drive to the hop farms of upstate NY to bring back a thousand or so pounds of fresh-picked wet hops for our Big Hop HARVEST Ale.  We've just about got this routine down now after so many years at it... we start driving, they start picking, we arrive, they load us up, and we drive back home and get it into the tanks, and into the beer.  Easier said than done, but it's always worth it!

In addition to HARVEST, we've somewhat accidentally managed to get a bit of hoppy beer convergence here with some other beers in our lineup, and soon to be in our lineup.  Here's the full rundown:

With help from our pals at Gtech and Garfield Farms (and a number of our GOOD BEER Fans!), we've once again gotten a load of super-local wet hops that we're using to conjure up 3 wet-hopped versions of our beers for Gtech's Hoptoberfest Celebration in early September at Marty's Market.  There will be food+beer pairings to enjoy, you can meet the hop farmers, and hear all about what I believe to be the BEST way to put otherwise vacant and neglected land to use in our city...growing hops.  Watch for an announcement of this coming shortly, and a chance to get your tickets before it sells out.  (There is a limited supply of these beers.)

It's our tradition that when someone brews their first recipe here at East End Brewing, we tuck their name into the beer to ensure that they get their fair share of credit or blame, depending on how it turns out.  Well, our man Joe Green put together a 100% Citra-hopped IPA called Green Giant  that's on tap now, and quickly becoming a crowd favorite.  At this rate, it won't last forever, so get in here and get some while it's on.  And you can credit/blame him in person.

Wheat Hop returns too!  This year with a really unique mix of tropical hops that bring an amazing amount of floral fruitiness to an otherwise low alcohol, lightly flavored wheat beer.  You could call it a Session IPA, but mostly we just call it WheatHop.  Though a bit of it is also going to go into bottles for our pals at Bayardstown Social Club... bottles available to members at a discount, but also available to all of yinz as well in Growler and bottled forms.  Watch for the Bayardstown Big Bottle here in another month or so.

And of course, we've still got one more batch of Pedal Pale Ale to brew for the season.  It's hard to believe summer is winding down already, and even harder to say goodbye to this beer for the year.  But plan on seeing it here at least until Halloween, for your hoppy enjoyment, whether you've just ridden your bike or not.

Oh!  And I almost forgot (adding this about half an hour later)! We're putting a fresh batch of BiggerHop into the tank late next week, continuing to tweak and improve this double ipa recipe.  For maximum freshness, we're only going to bottle a little this time, and release the rest into the wild in draft form.  This way, we can keep our bottled stock refrigerated, fresh, and tasty.  Just like the draft.

So yeah, a hoppy convergence here at EEBC, just in time for #IPADay, which is TODAY!

Cheers, Scott

July 4th Growler Hours, at your Independent Brewery

Happy Independence Day America!  July 4th falls on a Friday this year, so to better accommodate your schedules and your thirst, we're tweaking our hours a little this week at both locations...


  • TUE 4-8pm
  • WED 4-8pm
  • THU 4-8pm
  • FRI 10-2pm

  • SAT 12-5pm
  • SUN 10-2pm


  • WED 10-4pm
  • THU 10-4pm
  • FRI 10-4pm

  • SAT 9-5pm
  • SUN 10-4pm

Crystal Schip - embracing the whoops!

Crystal Schip - embracing the whoops!

When you brew BigHop a couple times every week for nearly 10 years, eventually there will be the occasional mis-step.  We had one a couple weeks ago when we accidentally substituted the large percentage of a character malt (Munich) in the grain bill with Crystal 60L Malt.  For those that don't know what that is, Crystal Malt is a specialty malt used to create body and sweetness in a finished beer, as the sugars it brings are largely unfermentable.  In smaller amounts, this sweetness is what provides the balance to the hops in a beer like BigHop or Pedal Pale Ale.

In LARGE amounts like we got with this error, you end up with a thick, malt-bomb of a beer that's pretty out of whack, and kind of useless... that is, unless you step back and consider what you just brewed, and what you might be able to do with it.

2014 is the year we're launching our "Sour Beer" program in earnest.  We've already got 4 wine barrels full of Illustration Ale working with Brettanomyces in our tasting room, and there's plans for a batch of 100% Brettanomyces-fermented BigHop and a Lactobacillis-fermented Berliner Weisse this summer.  This year will also see the long anticipated revisiting our our "Sourdough Kvass".  (Anticipated by ME anyway!)  This is all made possible by the addition of an old dairy tank that we recently added to our fleet.  Having a devoted equipment to handle these funky beers is the best way to avoid cross contamination of these persistent fermenting agents into our "regular" lineup of beers.

So, back to our malt-bomb: The fermenting agents in a funky beer not only love regular fermentable sugars, they also eat the sugars that regular ale yeasts like ours hardly touch... sugars that come from grains like Crystal Malts.  But some of them also hate hops. But luckily we saw the problem early and saw what we could do with this beer while running off the mash.  So we were able to stop and change course to skip the large hop additions that BigHop usually gets.  Our sour beer program just got a swift kick start!

Our seat-of-the-pants-plan was this: Ferment this batch as usual with our house ale yeast, see how it tastes, and if it's the malt-bomb we expect it to be, move it into another tank and start the funky fermentation.  As it turns out, the finished beer is on the sweet side, but not nearly as crazy sweet as we expected it would be.  (Think Scottish/Scotch Ale)   So we're splitting this 20bbl batch in half and taking it down two paths to see where it leads us...

  • Crystal Ship went on tap yesterday at the brewery, and has turned out to be a nice little beer!  Especially for those liking something on the malty side, and almost completely hop-free.
  • Crystal Schip will sit for another 3-6 months on lacto and brett, and we'll see what we get from it.

For the record, that odd spelling of the name is intentional.  Crystal Ship is of course a reference to the accidental ingredient substitution, as well a musical reference.  Crystal Schip is a nod to a "Koolschip", the shallow, open-topped vessel that the Belgians use to cast their fresh wort into, inoculating it with the airborne flora of their region.

There was a third version of this name... and in fact it was the first version we used during the brew day.  We'll keep it at the ready in case things go horribly wrong and we have to dump some of this batch.  But so far, it looks like there will NOT be a beer that we have to refer to as Crystal Shit. (A more obscure musical reference.) So we've got that going for us.

Enjoy the happy accidents!



#PCBW2014 Collaboration Beers: "Steel Valley Saison" and "Rojo Ahumado"

Making beer with another brewery is one of the coolest parts of what we get to do.  It's an opportunity to step back from the day-to-day demands of brewing, share tips, techniques, equipment favorites, war stories, and of course a few beers with our local industry brethren.  It's also a great chance to learn.  And because you've got twice the number of people in the room "helping", it also works out to be a pretty light work day.

For this year's Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week, we participated in 2 Collaboration Brews with Jason and Jason from Lavery Brewing in Erie, PA.  We brewed a batch on their system a few weeks ago (3/11/14), and then the next week (3/21), they came to Pittsburgh to brew one here.  I don't think we have settled on the names for either of these beers yet, but I can tell you a little bit about them.

The Lavery Brew is a Hoppy Saison - a farmhouse ale.  It went into a 7bbl single-walled tank on wheels.  This tank has no temperature control, which means that a high-temperature tolerant Belgian yeast strain is probably about the only thing that can be used, if we want the beer to be tasty.  The fact that it's dry-hopped with 1.8# of Styrian Golding PER BARREL pretty much confirms that this will be the case.

We've brewed into a single-walled tank here in the past, usually just with low gravity second runnings beers like "Black Something" and "Bitter End", since the fermentations are brief and not so vigorous.  It's kinda like riding a bike with no hands.

Rojo Ahumado or "Red Smoke" (the beer we brewed at East End Brewing) is a Chili Smoked Amber Ale, with cherry wood smoked malt in the mash, guajillo/chipotle/pasilla/ancho peppers in the mash and the kettle.  And probably a bit more peppers to come in the fermenter or bright tank, if I had to guess.  The smoked malt smells and tastes amazing, and is very different from the german rauch malt we've handled here in the past.  It's a great fit with the peppers... which aside from bringing a little heat, will contribute some incredibly rich smokey, woody flavors.  We brewed a 20bbl batch of this one.

Our plan is to swap some kegs so that we'll be able to have BOTH beers on tap, side by side in our brewery taprooms during #PCBW.  A little of the Lavery brew will make it outside their building too, though not a huge amount, given the smaller batch size.  The East End Batch will be available through our regular distribution channels as Pgh Craft Beer Week approaches, in halves and sixtels with pricing similar to BigHop, maybe a little more.  Hopefully there will be enough for everyone who wants to run this beer,  given the batch size.  Contact the folks at Vecenie Distributing if you'd like to pre-order some of the "EastEnd/Lavery Collaboration Beer", and they'll set some aside for you when it comes in.

Meanwhile, enjoy these photos of us "working" to brew these beers for you...

#FOD: The After-MATH...

#FOD: The After-MATH...

From our social media posts Saturday night...

"Well THAT was nuts! My apologies to everyone who we had to turn away for#FOD tasting... Had no idea we'd see this turnout."

"And THANK YOU ALL for your patience today! We're still picking up the pieces, from what was clearly our busiest day EVER. #FOD "

"So yeah, even with 50 people tasting 12 beers each, that's 600 pours. And we never had less than 100 people in the room ALL DAY. #mathfail"

...and then the tour bus arrived."

You can probably connect the dots and understand that we were completely overwhelmed on Saturday.  Within 15 minutes of opening the door, we realized that we had SIGNIFICANTLY underestimated the crowd we were going to get.  100-150 people in the room for 5+ hours, each expecting 12 poured tasters... that's not really possible in the time and space we had to work with.

We did what we could to push on through, but it was NOT the experience we wanted to give you at the brewery.  I know a lot of you left frustrated, empty handed, empty Growlered.  And I am so VERY SORRY about that.

If we had known it was going to be this busy, we certainly would have set things up differently... spread the tasting stations around, used a set tasting sequence to move the line better, opened up the rest of the building.  But that will have to happen next time.

But it was not all downside.  Thanks to you, we raised $608 for Light of Life, which we will match with another $608 to help people in need, right here in Pittsburgh. (Some of you were kind enough to kick in a couple extra bucks to the cause in the midst of all the craziness, which is awesome!)

So if Saturday was your first time coming to see us, please know that it has NEVER been like that in here before.  And quite frankly, I hope it never will be again.  So do stop in and give us another try.   In fact, we still have all 12 of these #FOD beers here - just not 100% of them on draft... Making this week the perfect time to circle back.  I can guarantee a significantly better beer-to-mayhem ratio for all concerned.

Cheers - Scott


It's time we caught up with you.

It's time we caught up with you.

We're switching our 64oz Growlers over to AMBER glass from CLEAR, and the price of the container is going up a buck.  Want to learn why we're doing this?  Why we didn't do it sooner?  Read on.


At first it was clear...  About 9 years ago, back when we were first getting started, I made the decision to go with CLEAR glass Growlers.  This seemingly simple decision was the result of a long, drawn out series of debates and conversations between myself and anyone around me who cared to listen (so yeah, pretty much just me) ...about the merits of clear versus amber glass Growlers.

As I'm sure you know, clear glass is not exactly an ideal container for beer as it offers zero protection from damaging sunlight.  Maybe you've even heard me say at the brewery that a nice hoppy beer can skunk in a clear Growler in as little as 60 seconds of direct sun.  While it might be hard to imagine direct sunlight in Pittsburgh in late January, it's for real.  (And if you'd like to ruin some beer on a bright sunny day, give it a try.  Pour two pints of BigHop, keep one in the shade, put one in direct sun for a minute. It's really quite remarkable.)

A few years later, we introduced our Growler Koozies to help with problem.  They keep the light off the beer, while keeping it nicely chilled too!  (Again... it's January. Use your imagination.)  But that still doesn't explain the original decision: Why on Earth would I decide that clear glass is the way to go, when everyone knows amber is better for the beer?

Well, there's a few other reasons.  And actually, most of them are all about you...


Fill, drink, rinse, repeat... When we started filling Growlers back in 2005, these containers were still pretty new to the fresh crop of GOOD BEER Fans finding their way to our little spot in Homewood.  People didn't really know how to handle them, and some asked me why I called them Growlers, like I invented them or something.

So we did what we could to educate: I put a big paragraph on the back of the jug offering some handling tips, and we did LOTS of coaching at Growler Hours every week.  And we were thankful for that clear glass, since it's pretty easy to tell if the container we're about to fill... fill with that beer we've spent the last 2-3 weeks making sure is in absolutely tip-top shape...  It's easy to tell if that jug is clean. 

But in spite of our best efforts, we'd still see jugs come in after spending summer in the back seat of a car with 2 tablespoons of leftover beer in the bottom.  Or we'd see "clean" Growlers come back in with black fur growing inside the cap - containers that were never allowed to thoroughly dry after rinsing.  "Go ahead and fill it up.  The beer will kill that."  Umm... not really.  It's kind of the other way around.

But thankfully, it seems those days are gone for good.  While we still see dirty Growlers come in from time to time, these instances are really quite rare.  I'd like to think this as just another sign of how much the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Scene has grown over the years - and we couldn't be more thrilled about the progress!!!


Keeping up with you... Fast forward to today, 9 years after that decision, and 45,000 NEW East End Brewing Growlers later (Aside: mind blown here!), I figured it was time to make the switch to AMBER.  Heck, you've probably been ready for a long time, but we also had a new logo to work in there too.

Sure, it's not as easy to check if the jug is clean before filling (though a good sniff speaks volumes).  It's also a little trickier to tell what's in the jug if it's not marked, or see when it's nearly full when we're putting beer into it for you.  And there is the bigger downside of amber glass costing more than clear.  (Even when you buy 8 pallets at a time and sell them at cost like we do.  These go for $4 a piece, up a buck from the clear jug price.)

 But I keep coming back to this: It's better for the beer.  Every single time, its better for the beer.  Who can argue with that?

Of course, we'll continue to fill, refill, sell, buy-back, and resell our old "vintage" clear glass jugs (at $3 each) while our old stock lasts.  But thanks to you and your downright CULTURED taste in GOOD BEER by the Growler, they won't last very long.  In fact, we're pretty much sold out at the brewery already.

So here's to progress!  As usual, we couldn't have done it without you.  I mean really... 45,000 Growlers filled?  I can't even get my head around that number.  And that's not even counting refills.  Just think of all the packaging we've kept out of the waste and recycling streams!!!  But maybe I'll save that as a separate post for another day.

Thanks everyone!  As usual, you rock.

Cheers - Scott


12 Beers of Christmas... from last month.


 "Vintage" 64oz and Newfangled 32oz.


 "Vintage" and newfangled 64oz.



ALL of your refillable EEBC container options... For now. That 2nd one will soon be scarce.


Festival of Darkness: February 1, 2014

Festival of Darkness: February 1, 2014

As the days get shorter and the darkness starts to take over, we turn thoughts to a similar takeover here at the brewery.  Because nothing goes better with a chilly evening than a bunch of spectacular dark beer.

Not an actual Festival... No funnel cake, games of chance, or carny folk (though, if you are carny folk and like beer, you're certainly welcome).  We're just calling it our Festival of Darkness(TM) when we get convergence of all these black beauties we've been brewing for you, all in the same room, at the same time. 

This year, you can get a taster ALL TWELVE FOD BEERS at once on this day, if you kick $5 in cash towards the collection we're making for the Light of Life Ministries - directly helping local people in need.  (The whole Light-from-Darkness thing was accidental, I swear.)

Here's the full FOD Lineup - Some are standards, some are seasonals, and some are once in a while brews we make when we can or when the mood strikes us.  And at least one is from our deep catalog that haven't seen the light of day (or perhaps, the dark of night) for nearly five years.

Of course, we've got our standard and seasonal dark brews at the ready...

  • Fat Gary Nut Brown Ale
  • Black Strap Stout
  • Snow Melt Winter Ale

Plus, over the last few weeks, we've added...

  • Lord Nordsberry Belgian Ale
  • Illustration Ale (Big Bottles and Draft. More about this beer here.)
  • Homewood Reserve 2013 (Our BlackStrap Stout aged 9 months in Makers Mark Bourbon barrels. Big Bottles only)
  • Toaster Imperial Stout (Our BIG 4th anniversary beer... since its the 5th anniversary of our 4th anniversary. Big Bottles only)
  • Steelcut Oatmeal Stout

Then finally, these very last pieces of this black, black puzzle will all be in place for FOD on the 1st:

  • Eye Opener Coffee Porter (Big Bottles. Draft is already out)
  • Smokestack Heritage Porter (Our Smoked Porter in Big Bottles and Draft)
  • Honey Heather Ale (Draft only. Brewed with honey from the rooftop hives atop our GOOD FRIENDS at The Porch. Draft only... Just kinda black-ish, as it turns out.)
  • Chocolate Covered Cherry Stout  (Draft Only. Belgian Chocolate, American Cocoa Powder, and Michigan Sour Cherries)

We hope to see you here on the First!