January GOOD BEER News: Good Wood, Tap Takeovers, and a Can Release


GOOD WOOD is back with our pals at Wigle Whiskey

Our barrel-aged beer festival is back for the Fourth year! Pittsburgh area breweries will be sharing their best barrel-aged brews alongside a tasting of Wigle spirits. The full price ticket gets you a snifter glass for beer sampling (and to take home), barrel-aged beer sampling, Wigle spirit sampling, and you can purchase food from Justin Severino of Cure & Morcilla restaurants. Plus there's designated driver tickets available too. Get your tickets now before this one sells out...as it has each year.


On Wednesday, January 17th we'll be releasing four of our most requested beers in 16 oz cans, along with FRESH six packs of Big Hop. The beers include: PENNSYLVANIA HANDSHAKE (our Milkshake IPA collaboration with Pizza Boy Brewing), BLACK HOP(a Cascadian Dark ale, aka "Black IPA"), BIGGER HOP (Big Hop's Double IPA cousin), and BBA FATTER GARY (A bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Brown Ale). This is the first time in cans for Black Hop & BBA Fatter Gary, plus a highly anticipated return for PA Handshake and Bigger Hop DIPA. Cans go on sale WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17th at 11am at the Taproom in the Strip and 4pm at the Brewpub in Larimer. If there's a line, 1 case limit for each beer. No line, no limit. All beers available on draft on Wednesday for tasters and pints; no Growler or Crowler fills of Handshake, Bigger Hop, or Fatter Gary until the cans are sold out.


In addition to PA HANDSHAKE, BIGGER HOP, & BBA FATTER GARY, we've got plenty of new stuff happening, including:

  • LORD NORDSBERRY BELGIAN ALE 6.1% A rich, bold, reddish brown Belgian ale, lightly hopped and malty with dark chocolate notes, and a bright raspberry finish... probably because of the raspberries we added to the kettle, and in late fermentation.
  • LITTLE HOP 4.4% Our session IPA is dry-hopped with a new hop variety on every single batch. This fresh batch is brewed with Huell Melon hops. Try this new batch for a fruity, hoppy flavor and extended drinking session.

Coming soon: GRATITUDE BARLEYWINE and BOURBON BARREL-AGED GRATITUDE, with a special limited-run treat for those pining for the original Gratitude packaging. Look for these beauties to drop sometime soon, probably March.


You like food AND beer??? Perfect! We're excited to announce that we've got a bunch of great dinner partnerships and tap takeovers in January: 

We are teaming up with one of our favorite food vendors to ring in the New Year right with a 3 course beer dinner, January 7th from 6-8pm at the Brewpub. $30 gets you a 3 course meal each paired with a pint of East End Beer. Click the link to see the full menu & buy tickets.

Pork & Beans downtown is kicking off their first MEAT YOUR MAKER with us! Come drink beers with beer reps & brewmasters on FRIDAY January 12th from 5-7 PM.

It's a 5 course HUNGARIAN FEAST with our pals over at The Vandal, complete with matching East End pours for just $60 per person. Call (412) 251-0465 for reservations.

Join us at one of our favorite bars, Butterjoint, for a night of East End tap takeovering (yes, I said TAKEOVERING!), featuring some beer rarities alongside great food from the always stellar Butterjoint/Legume kitchen.

Want to learn more about how the beer is made? We've got three new options; including a low-pressure, 30 minute "Brewery 101" tour on Saturday, January 6th!


Updates and Events

TRIVIA! We've got Buzzworthy Pub Trivia here every Wednesday night at the Brewpub, starting at 7pm. Bring your pals, get a team name, and get ready to play; it's free!

TAPROOM HOURS Slight change to our schedule at the Taproom in the Strip; from now on we're closing at 5pm on Sundays. Everybody got it? Good.


  • Wednesday, Jan 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
    PUB QUIZ with Buzzworthy Pub Trivia at the Brewpub 7pm. Free!
  • Saturday, Jan 6
    Brewery 101 tour for beginnings and casual/interested beer fans. Brewpub, 1-1:30pm.
  • Sunday Jan 7
    Beer Dinner with La Palapa, 6-8pm  at the Brewpub.
  • Friday, January 12
    MEAT YOUR MAKER at Pork & Beans restaurant.
  • Sunday, January 14
    VANDAL HUNGARIAN BEER FEAST at the Vandal in Lawrenceville.
  • Tuesday, January 16
    BUTTERJOINT TAP TAKEOVER at Butterjoint Restaurant
  • Saturday, January 20
    GOOD WOOD BARREL-AGED BEER FESTIVAL with Wigle Whiskey & food by Justin Severino at the Brewpub, 6-9pm. Tickets for sale here.
  • Saturday, Jan 27  
    1-2pm at the Brewpub. More info & tickets here.
  • Sunday, Jan 28
    BEER BELLY YOGA at the Brewpub, hosted by I am Yoga Squirrel Hill with live music! 10am-noon. Tickets here.

Holiday Hours


Here's our hours for the next few weeks of holiday shenanigans. Plenty of time to stock up on cans, bottles, growlers & crawlers, bring the family for a pint, or just get away by yourself for a bit. There's no judgement in beer.



Get in the Holiday Spirit...with FRESH LOCAL BEER

We're releasing three great beers in 4 packs of 16 oz cans to help get you through the holiday season, with cans for sale at both the Brewery and Taproom. If there's a line, 1 case per customer. No line, no limit. 

Thursday, Dec 14
Snow Melt Winter Ale
On sale at 11am at the Taproom in the Strip, 4pm at the Brewpub. Our best-loved Winter Ale is a rich mahogany ale with roasty notes and a bright hop finish. At a hearty 7%, it's guaranteed to remove your frost. Available in Growlers/Crowlers too.

Friday, Dec 15
Bourbon-Barrel-Aged Toaster Imperial Stout
On sale at 11am at the Taproom in the strip, 4pm at the Brewpub. The Imperial version of our Black Strap Stout has been aged for over a year in bourbon barrels, to mellow and impress. At 9.8% this is a beer to savor by the fire with GOOD FRIENDS. Limited availability draft on-site, so no Growlers/Crowlers on this one.

Saturday, Dec 16
Farkleberry Pale Ale

On sale at 10am at the Taproom in the Strip, 12pm at the Brewpub. Our Double-dry-hopped Pale Ale hopped with Mosaic and Ekuanot (aka Equinox), and fermented with blackberry & blueberries. It's a juicy burst of hops that also invites real fruit to the party, and still just 5.8%. Available in pints, no Growler/Crowler fills until the cans sell out.


In addition to our can releases, we've got plenty of new stuff happening:

  • BLACK HOP, 7.5% A Black IPA (or more properly, a Cascadian Dark Ale) brewed with Ahtanum, Falconers Flight, and Amarillo hops, this beer has more malt character than most as it contains a fair amount of Chocolate and Black Malts, and Crystal Wheat in its grist.

  • C.R.E.A.M. ALE, 4.1% Our Cream Ale is back on draft, the perfect easy-drinking beer for anyone. Plus look for a chili-infused version along with other variations to pop up throughout winter.
  • SESSION ALE: SMALL BEER, BONSAI  This is a Belgian small beer made from the second runnings from the mash bed of our Gratitude barleywine and spiced with ginger & juniper. (Also, we just brewed Gratitude!)

In other beers news, WOW, we really blew through Pennsylvania Handshake, our Milkshake IPA collaboration with Pizza Boy Brewing. We're going to brew more, but it may take us a while. Click here to read Scott's post about why, and how you can get it in cans, or get some draft at your bar/restaurant when it comes around again. Soon, we swear!


We’re excited to grow and expand our Brewery Tour options, just in time for all of your holiday gift-giving needs! You'll now have THREE Brewery Tour options to choose from. Just do the clicking near the one you'd like to try - or gift to the fellow GOOD BEER Fan in your life:

1. Brewery 101: Don't know anything about Craft Beer? Start here! Come get a quick look around our brewing operations, snap a couple pics for your instagrams, and have a few beers. You'll get a brief run down of the history of East End Brewing, what we focus on as beer makers, and then we'll turn you loose in the taproom with a voucher good for a flight of 3 samples of your choosing. Perfect for the Craft Beer ROOKIE who knows a bit about beer, and wants to enjoy a flight in the bar.

2. Grains-To-Glass: Our most comprehensive option, this tour covers the beer making process from front to back, includes a bit of EEBC history, a sampling of 4 beers, and a $15 credit at the bar which you can apply to a round of beers, t-shirts, glassware, or some Growlers, Crowlers, Cans, or Bottles of beer to go. Great for the ENTHUSIAST, or anyone looking to get a more detailed view of how beer is made.

3. GOOD WOOD Tour: Do you have a special interest in beers that have spent time in bourbon or wine barrels? Want to learn about "sours" and beers that undergo more unusual fermentation methods? Are you a fan of the beers poured at our GOOD WOOD Festival each winter? This tour is a barrel room tasting-focused run through 4 beers from our barrel aging program, with a discussion about the processes used to make each. Have you taken our tour before and want to learn more? This is the tour for you. Best for SEASONED BEER FANS interested in learning about our barrel aging programs, and some of the more unique beer styles we brew.


This holiday season it's good to give AND receive. Buy a $100 East End Gift Card at either location and we'll give you a $10 Gift Card for you to use on yourself! Because you deserve it, gosh darn it. Yeah, I suppose you can gift it too, if you really want to. (Offer valid on-site only at either location, through December 31).


Don't know what to get for that GOOD BEER fan in your life? How about an East End hoodie? Or a Big Hop t-shirt? Or a Thermos Growler? You'll find all our stuff on sale at both locations or on the internet (we know, it's a fad) by clicking here! 


Updates and Events

Saturday December 9, join us at the Brewpub for our annual Crafts and Drafts Holiday Market, featuring local artists selling great gifts, along with crafting stations from Workshop PGH & Assemble, food from La Palapa & Leona's Ice Cream Sandwiches, and samples from Maggie's Farm Rum, Wigle Whiskey, oh and some beer from us too! Admission is free and bring the family! 12-5pm.

We want to welcome a new food vendor to the East End Brewpub, MESA, who serves delicious New Mexican cuisine here on Tuesdays & Thursdays, as well as for brunch on Saturday, Dec 16. Pairs perfectly with beer!


  • Wednesday, Dec 6 PUB QUIZ with Buzzworthy Pub Trivia and Tango Food Truck at the Brewpub 7pm. Free!
  • Saturday, Dec 9 Crafts and Drafts Holiday market  at the Brewpub, 12-5pm.
  • Sunday Dec 10 East of Liberty Screening & Discussion, 5-8pm at the Brewpub. Join filmmaker Chris Ivey for a screening of his documentary "East of Liberty" about the changing landscape of Pittsburgh and especially East Liberty. Free admission, but get here early for a seat! Food from the Mac and Gold Truck til 6pm.
  • Wednesday, Dec 13 PUB QUIZ with Buzzworthy Pub Trivia and PGH Po'Boy at the Brewpub, 7pm. Free!
  • Thursday, Dec 14 Snow Melt Winter Ale Can Release at both locations.
  • Thursday, Dec 14 Poetry & Pints at the Brewpub, 6-8pm. Do you enjoy a great pint and amazing poetry? Great local poets and fantastic beer, it’s sure to be a good time. 
  • Friday, Dec 15 Bourbon Barrel Aged Toaster Can Release at both locations.
  • Saturday, Dec 16 Farkleberry Pale Ale Can Release at both locations.
  • Sunday, Dec 17 BEER BELLY YOGA at the Brewpubhosted by I am Yoga Squirrel Hill with live music! 10am-noon, at the brewpub,  tickets here
  • Wednesday, Dec 20 PUB QUIZ with Buzzworthy Pub Trivia and Tango Food Truck at the Brewpub, 7pm. Free!
  • Wednesday, Dec 20 PUB QUIZ with Buzzworthy Pub Trivia at the Brewpub, 7pm. Free!
  • Saturday, Dec 30 Grains-to-Glass Brewery Tour 1-2pm at the Brewpub. More info & tickets here.
  • UPCOMING: Our annual GOOD WOOD Barrel-Aged Beer event with Wigle Whiskey is January 20! Tickets on sale now!

More Pennsylvania Handshake? Give us a sec, mmkay?

More Pennsylvania Handshake? Give us a sec, mmkay?

Wow, thanks everyone! We've never blown through a whole batch of beer in a week before. Well, maybe if you could count Gratitude, but that's kind of a different animal. And actually this time, we blew through TWO batches in a week: Chance A' Shahrs - a hazy hoppy pale ale, and Pennsylvania Handshake - a milkshake ipa collab with our GOOD FRIENDS over at PizzaBoy. Both sold out in cans and kegs in record time.

These beers take a bit more effort to put together, especially the Handshake. There's hops to land, fruit to source, yeast to grow up, and maybe some collaborators to wrangle. So while I'd love to tell you we'll have both back in cans and on draft next week, it's going to take a little time.

We also feel badly about how many of you (especially our draft accounts) didn't get a crack at either of these beers. I think we had to turn about 2/3 of our accounts away empty-handed. Had we known what the response was going to be like, we'd have been a little more careful about spreading it out more.

So to fix that for next time, we'll be giving priority to our high-volume EEBC draft accounts who keep a devoted tap for us, and work our way down the list from there, as our supply permits.

In the mean time, we'll also follow this allocation system with the Farkleberry Pale Ale (our Double-dry-hopped, Mosaic, Ekuanot, w/blackberries and blueberries) that we're releasing in a couple weeks in cans and in draft. So NOW would be a good time to get your keg orders in to the folks at Vecenie Distributing to make sure you get some of the limited stock of these beers that we are  distributing. There will be no floor stock - kegs available by order only.

Thanks for understanding everyone. And thanks as always for drinking, sharing, and serving our beer!

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Here's our hours for the holiday weekend, including extended hours at the Brewpub in Larimer to make it easier to get some beer before Thanksgiving. And don't forget about our Friday of Much Darkness with special beer flights, our new Saison la Seconde release, live square-dancing, tacos, and fundraising for Hearth Pittsburgh.

P(r)ints Artists


We love working with local independent artists, so for the holiday season we've got a show of great locally-made artwork hanging in our Taproom in the Strip. If you've stopped by and want to buy a print from one of the artists, or are just curious about what they're making, click on the names of the artists to be taken right to their websites. Enjoy!

Prints Paul            Homecoming & Wall
Outdated Press        61C
Go Carr Go       Laundry Day
Mark Brewer        Milk Stout
Hey Beast            Tiger is Reading Your Diary
strawberryluna        Evergreen Trees
Di-ay Batted            The Body Will Always Have a Secret Life
Christina Lee           Oxford Risograph
Mundania Horvath        Union Station
everyday balloons        Bridge Buddies
Ashley Cecil            Yellow-Headed Blackbird on Blue
Andyrama Art & Stuff    Forever
Kim Fox            City of Bridges
Baxter and the Bear    The Big Lebowski
Commonwealth Press    When Life Gives You Lemons
2-4-6-8 Kids            Pirates & Dinosaur ABC
Jeffrey Krsul        Cyanotypes
Kirsten Lowe-Rebel    Pittsburgh Beer & Monongahela Incline
Marcel Lamont Walker    Spirit of ’17: Rise Up


October GOOD BEER News


Can it! The beer, that is.

Saturday, October 14, more FRESH LOCAL BEER coming your way in cans, this time BigHop (in 12oz six packs), our new Highway to Huell Pilsner (in 16oz four packs), and an old favorite, Homewood Reserve 2017 edition (in 16 oz four packs). We searched our brains for the dumbest name we could come up with, and then went even dumber with "Okt-Can-Berfest." Cans go on sale at BOTH locations SATURDAY, 10am at the Taprooom in the Strip (102 19th St), 12pm at the Brewpub (147 Julius St).

• BigHop is our flagship Hoppy American Ale, coming in at 5.8% in a distinctive bright green can. A crowd-pleaser everywhere!
• Highway to Huell is a Czech-style beer brewed with Huell Melon hops that give the beer a light fruity/melon taste. And at 4.1% it's an easy-drinking good time for when you need to be shook all night long.
• Homewood Reserve is another favorite making its debut in cans; our Black Strap Stout is aged in Bourbon Barrels to make it that much sweeter and more complex. At 6.7% it's a perfect fireside beer.

As always, if there's no line, there's no limit on cans. If there is a line, one case each.

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Beer Updates:

In addition to Highway to Huell and Homewood Reserve, we've also got...

  • DRUNKIN NUNKIN (aka Bourbon Barrel Aged Nunkin), 6.8% We take pride in harming no pumpkins for our "pumpkin" beer made from an ale base with spices and then aged in Bourbon barrels. It's on tap now, so hurry before it's gone!
  • KRÖN'S KÖLSCH, 5.5%.  When we bring a new brewer on staff here at East End, we always like to work their name into one of their first beers. Andy Kron took the lead on Partly Clahdy but since we already had that name, we're naming our new German-style beer "Krön's Kölsch." This is a highly drinkable lager-like brew style tailored after those hailing from Cologne Germany.
  • BOURBON-BARREL AGED TOASTER, 9.8% We've got a little bit of barrel-aged Toaster, our Imperial Stout, hitting the taps. This big, flavorful beer isn't messing around.
  • COMING SOON: Snow Melt Winter Ale will be on before you know it, along with another new IPA and a surprise collaboration with our pals at Pizza Boy Brewing - we're looking to SHAKE things up for our next canning run. Stay tuned.

Updates and Events


Looking for a place to host a work event, private party, holiday event, fundraiser, or discussion?  We'd love to work with you in our Brewpub in Larimer or Taproom in the Strip. Email events@eastendbrewing.com for more information.

Are you looking for the perfect gift for a GOOD BEER fan this holiday season? How about an East End Brewing Gift card? Redeemable at both locations for East End merchandise, tours, or FRESH LOCAL BEER.

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Our spook-facular friends at Sweet Horror are returning on Sunday, October 29 for another all-vegan festival of food, treats, crafts, and more. Get a free taste of our Snow Melt Winter Ale while you sample sweet treats and load up on ghoulishly delightful artwork & crafts from local artists. RSVP here! And while you're at it, mark your calendar for our next Crafts and Drafts Holiday Market on December 9.


  • Wednesday, Oct 11 at the Brewpub: PUB QUIZ with Buzzworthy Pub Trivia and Tango Food Truck at 7pm. Free!
  • Saturday, Oct 14 at BOTH LOCATIONS, OKT-CAN-BERFEST can release. More info here
  • Saturday, Oct 14 at the Brewpub: GRAINS-TO-GLASS Brewery Tour. Tickets here.
  • Wednesday, Oct 18 at the Brewpub: PUB QUIZ with Buzzworthy Pub Trivia and PGH Po'Boy at 7pm. Free!
  • Saturday, Oct 21 at the Brewpub, 12-3pm Penn's Corner End of CSA CelebrationRegister for your free ticket now!
  • Wednesday, Oct 25 at the Brewpub: PUB QUIZ with Buzzworthy Pub Trivia and Tango Food Truck at 7pm. Free!
  • Sunday, Oct 29 at the Brewpub BEER BELLY YOGA hosted by I am Yoga Squirrel Hill with live music! 10am-noon, tickets here.
  • Sunday, Oct 29 at the Brewpub 1-4pm, SWEET HORROR crafts & vegan food & treats show. More info here!

Now Open Wednesdays in the Strip

We're adding new hours in the Strip! Starting August 16 we're open 11am-8pm WEDNESDAY at 102 19th st for all your GOOD BEER needs. And to celebrate we're tapping Seedless Watermelon Gose on draft, and serving everything with Special All-Day Pricing ($1 off). Come join us on Wednesday...in the Strip!

Fresh Can Release Week and August Events

It's a can-undrum! Can-tastic! We're throwing a can-trum of beer releases!

We've gone can crazy! Join us at the Brewpub for a FULL WEEK of FRESH LOCAL BEER can releases, starting with this lineup at the Brewpub:

Green Giant Citra IPA back in 16oz cans, packs of 4 for $12
BigHop American Ale in 6 packs for $12
Tango Food Truck here with great eats
- Trivia with Buzz Worthy Pub Trivia at 7pm
- PLUS Partly Clahdy on draft, in tasters or pints only

Seedless Watermelon Gose in 4 packs for $14, and on draft in tasters & pints for one day only.
- Billu's Indian Grill food truck

- Partly Clahdy NE Style IPA in 4 packs for $16, and on draft for tasters, pints, crawlers, & growlers.
La Palapa, Mexican Gourmet Kitchen Tacos & Quesadillas all night long

If there's a line at the register, limit one case per person; no line, no limit. Join us at the Brewpub for a can-tastic week (okay, we'll stop the puns now).

And at the Taproom in the Strip:

- We're getting limited supplies of GREEN GIANT and SEEDLESS WATERMELON GOSE in cans to share with our Strip pals. Get 'em before they sell out!


- PARTLY CLAHDY cans on sale at 11am, while supplies last.

Beer Updates:

  • PARTLY CLAHDY is finally here! Our hazy IPA been in the tank and in progress for several months now; it's our newest brewer Andy's first recipe for us and we're delighted to share the results with you. Hopped with El Dorado and Azacca hops, enjoy this juicy beer at a drinkable 6%, on tap Wednesday and in cans on Friday.
  • SEEDLESS WATERMELON GOSE hits taps and cans Thursday, July 27. A sahr (sour) made with salt and freshly juiced watermelon, this is a perfect outdoor summer beer at just 4.1%.
  • CHERRYSTOMP is our second sahr to hit the taps in one week, this one a Berliner Weisse style-beer made with real sour cherries. Intensely delicious, tart, and drinkable.
  • MONKEY BOY is gone! Or rather, it stepped away from the taps for a bit to give some other beers a chance. If you miss that delicious wheat beer flavor, try our WITTE Belgian wheat beer at 5.2% abv or our R&R Helles Lager, a perfect summer lager (5.0% ABV).
  • The next batch of LITTLE HOP, our session IPA with rotating hops, uses cascade and centennial hops; look for it to hit the taps sometime in the next week or two!

Updates and Events

Ice Cream Sundays continue through August with great ice cream and popsicle vendors here at the Brewpub for your pairing pleasure! Ask your bartender what beer to pair with your sweet treats!

Bring the family (we've got non-alcoholic housemade root beer and ginger ale) and make Sundays an Ice Cream Sunday!

Got guests in town for the summer and don't know what to do with them? Why not bring them on a BREWERY TOUR? It's a great way to learn about how the beer is made, literally Grains-to-Glass, along with samples of our beer along the way and a growler to take home filled with fresh local beer. All for just $25. Tickets are available here; our next tours are this Saturday, July 29, and August 12 & 26. 

Fourth of July Special Hours

We're open regular hours this weekend for Fourth of July, which means:

Brewpub 4pm-10pm    
Taproom 11am-10pm

Brewpub 12pm-10pm
Taproom 10am-10pm

Brewpub 12pm-5pm
Taproom 10am-7pm

And while we are CLOSED on Tuesday, July 4, we ARE open for 5 hours at the Brewpub in Larimer:

Brewpub 12-5pm

Come stock up for the fireworks!

Ice Cream and beer...together at last!

Looking for a way to cool off on our outdoor patio at the Brewpub? What about...ICE CREAM and POPSICLES? 

Starting July 9 through the end of August, we're hosting a different local ice cream or popsicle vendor outside on our patio (weather permitting). The schedule will be:

In addition, some vendors will be producing special limited-edition beer-inspired flavors, as well as serving up beer floats. And Tango Food Truck will be here every Sunday (except August 6) with Argentinian sandwiches, empanadas, and more. Bring the family (we've got non-alcoholic housemade root beer and ginger ale) and make Sundays an Ice Cream Sunday!


"Bourdain HATES craft beer!"

"Bourdain HATES craft beer!"

"Bourdain HATES craft beer!"

This is what I heard about dozen times over the last week. And while that may be the prevailing opinion on the man, based on what I personally saw on Saturday, that's not really true.

Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a Saturday Farm Dinner put on by Hilary and Justin Severino. If you're at all plugged into the local restaurant scene, you MAY have heard of these folks before. (They're kind of a big deal.) They're the duo behind the highly regarded Cure and Morcilla restaurants in Lawrenceville. Justin was inviting about 20-25 of Pittsburgh's awesomest food and drink folks to attend a meal prepared for the guest of honor, Anthony Bourdain, who was rather famously in town filming his CNN Food/Travel show, Parts Unknown. And somehow he also gave me a call.

Social media was all a-flutter last week, with Bourdain sightings, speculations, and people looking for hints so they could make a sighting of their own. So, we had to keep this whole thing hush-hush until he left town. Because… stalkers I guess. "Celebrity" can be a weird thing, which can call for certain measures I suppose.

"Should I bring some beer?" Oh yeah, Justin says. That would be great too. So I grabbed a couple of cases of freshly filled Pedal Pale Ale cans and threw them in a cooler, along with a few cans of Bourbon Barrel Aged Gratitude Barleywine cans, just in case things got silly, and off to the farm we go... a beautiful secluded spot about half an hour or so from the Brewery. After catching up with a bunch of familiar faces that I haven't seen for a while, and poking around a bit of the setup that the film crew has set up, Bourdain arrives and heads straight for the pit where Justin is doing some kind of magical thing with meat hanging over an open fire. It's hot. Did I mention that? It's like blazing hot... even more so in front of that fire.

 Meat, fire, sun, hot.

Meat, fire, sun, hot.

After a few minutes of deep food talk, they head in to the old barn where a makeshift cocktail/beer/sangria/wine bar is setup, camera crew in close pursuit. Bourdain opts for a beer, and they slap a tall boy of Pedal in his hand. He cracks it, takes a big pull, and says "Ahhh... that's nice."

"There's the guy who made it" says Justin,  pointing at me, while I'm trying to surreptitiously get a photo of this famous food guy with our beer in his hand. Without a word from me, Bourdain turns to me and, on camera, immediately launches into what seems like an often offered defensive rant. Note: These are not actual quotes, as I didn't record any of this, and he kinda busted me trying to get a picture... so I was a little rattled. But here's the gist of it:

 "I DON'T HATE CRAFT BEER! It's just that when I go into a bar, I go there to sit down, relax, drink something cold, and maybe lose a little bit of myself. And what ruins it for me is the guy sitting next to me with 12 little glasses in front of him with a pen and a notebook, fussing over every little detail, and peppering the bartender with question after question for five minutes."

Again... not actual quotes.

Well, I can't say I've never been that guy (maybe minus the notebook), but I kinda get what he's talking about. As Brewers and fans of GOOD BEER, we are people who are constantly surrounded by discussions of PROCESSES and INGREDIENTS when it comes to a beer we are excited about. We're hungry - sorry, THIRSTY to learn. Learn more about what the Brewer's intent was, to learn about processes and ingredients involved, because if we like them, we can seek them out in other beers and find more of what we like. And in some cases, we can even learn enough to try and recreate them ourselves some day, maybe with our own twist.

It's easy to get lost in all of this detail. It matters. And it matters a lot to us who love beer. But ultimately, I think it's also where our beer culture can sometimes fail.

Sure, our beer quality needs to be the best it can possibly be. And it needs to get better every year. And the decisions we make about what we choose to brew and how we choose to brew it are paramount to our success as brewers, and our industry overall. But we can't focus on this at the expense of the whole point of beer: Enjoyment.

Yeah, we can enjoy beer lots of different ways... sometimes by geeking out on completely deconstructing it, sometimes by brewing it, sometimes by sharing or trading it, and even sometimes by over indulging in it (Yes... it happens sometime. Be safe out there people.) But there are a huge portion of our population out there that just want to enjoy a beer by drinking it. They want to take a sip, say "Ahh... that's nice." and go back to their conversation. That glass (or can) will be patiently waiting for them when they want another sip, not interrupting the conversation, not insisting on telling you about its ingredients, about the way it was made. It's taking the high road and being there for you. Just like a beer should be.

Do we as beer makers, sometime get lost in the David vs Goliath "crusade" of craft beer we've been fighting all these years, missing out on bringing these people into the fold? Probably. Do we sometimes get lost in the minutiae of our beers and sometimes need to step back and just let them stand on their own? Probably. Should we do a better job of making sure Craft Beer is accessible to these people, because we NEED them drinking our beer? Yes. I think we do.

 Post meal hug-out with the production manager.

Post meal hug-out with the production manager.

Bourdain is also aware of the role that Big Beer plays in the marketplace - his marketplace. Entertainment. After dinner, after the filming was over, and after a couple more Pedal Pale Ales, he asked me if I had heard of Brew Masters, the show on Discovery Channel featuring the guys at DogfishHead. The way Anthony tells it (yes, I can call him Anthony now, having spoken with him twice at this point in the afternoon), the show was just killing it, fantastic ratings. But then the network got the call from Miller/Coors saying they'd better get it off the air or they were going to pull their advertising. The show was promptly moved to a less desirable time slot, and in another couple of weeks it was off the air completely. (This is not new news, and Eater published this piece over 6 years ago.)

So yeah, there are still these huge, hulking Goliaths out there looking to totally wipe us out, either by corruption from within, acquisition from without, or just a straight up illegal financial beatings en masse in the marketplace (some of which have been well documented). And we, as Brewers might want to consider why we have people coming into our establishments asking us for "a normal beer". It might be more about our own exclusionary beer culture than what's actually in the glass.

 See how he turned the can around so the label faced the camera? How cool was that?

See how he turned the can around so the label faced the camera? How cool was that?

Maybe that's what they actually hate?