2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: East End Brewing Company, Pittsburgh, PA (June 30, Brewery Stop #15) The 15th brewery found on the cross-country beer discovery tour (click to read about the whole trip) was East End Brewing Company located in Pittsburgh, PA. After picking our friend Joel up in rural PA at his parents farm, we headed into town to hang out with our hosts for the night, Rusty and Sara. After unpacking the car and presenting Rusty with the cases of beer we brought for him from Oregon, we sampled a few of his favorite beers and then headed out to a couple of breweries and to get dinner.
I had never been to Pittsburgh before, and didn’t realize it was so steep (hilly) and had so many bridges. I thought the west hills of Portland were bad, OMG, it’s incredibly challenging to travel around the east and north end of the city without GPS or a navigator that knows their way around. The first brewery we stopped at was in the central east part of the city, the East End Brewing production facility and taproom. It’s nessled in the back side of a larger industrial looking building and you will miss it if you don’t know where to go. I would hope that they will improve their signage as it looked pretty beat up and the door wasn’t really marked.
As it turns out, the brewery shares space with a coffee roaster and sometimes they have food carts in the parking lot. The space is pretty large inside with some of the production kettles and the cold storage there next to the bar. There aren’t a lot of tables or chairs, so if you go, hope they aren’t too busy as you may not find a spare seat around. The list of beers available on their huge blackboard along the wall next to the bar, and they do offer tasters of each beer at a reasonable price.
We were able to find a table for all 6 of us and we got the full ‘rainbow’ of 12 tasters to try including their one-off’s and seasonal specials. Most of their beers were decent to outstanding in presentation and flavor profiles. The overall vibe of the place is really neighborhood like, friendly, the owner and brewers are happy to talk to you if they are there, little pretense, just enjoyment of beer and a good time await you. The review goes from left to right in the sampler picture.
|Big Hop IPA
East End Brewing Co. • Indian Pale Ale (IPA) • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.8% • 16 SRM
Hazy draft, copper-reddish hue, nice white head that sank quickly leaving some lacing as we sipped. The nose has a strong pine and citrus (pith) dry note. The front mouth is fully dry hop forward with strong hop oils that present with a lot of pine resin, dry bitters, citrus peel and a decent malt-bread backing to support it. The back and after have a linger fuzzy mouth-feel with some pine bitters that last and last and last.
East End Brewing Co. • Hefeweizen • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.2% • 8 SRM
Cloudy pour, small bubbly head that dropped to a film, nose is really banana bread, nuts, and hints of citrus. The yeast speaks on the front mouth, slight banana esters and clove. Stronger grains on the mid and back (dry wheat) and some spice on the back.
|Fat Gary’s Nut Brown Ale
East End Brewing Co. • English Brown Ale • IBU: ?? • ABV: 3.6% • 34 SRM
Dark brown and slight haze on this draft, slight tan and frothy head with some retention and lacing. The nose is sweet and malt forward. The front mouth is a bit thick on the tongue with a solid amount of carbonation to hold the flavors. Burned toffee bitters and crusty sweet bread are on the mid to back, goes down super smooth with a slight sweet note that lingers.
|Black Strap Stout
East End Brewing Co. • American Stout • IBU: ?? • ABV: 6.2% • 40+ SRM
NOTE: Brewed with Black Strap Molasses and Brown Sugar
Super dark brown/black, tan head that dropped quickly leaving some spidery lacing. The nose is really sweet and bitter cacao and burned coffee with notes of raw nuts. The front mouth is like a shot of espresso and dark bitter chocolates. The sweet shows on the mid mouth as the burned notes fade. The malt profile shows up, but this is a thinner backed beer and bitters are not as pronounced on the mid-back as they are on the nose. The mild carbonation helps with the strong flavors.
East End Brewing Co. • American IPA • IBU: ?? • ABV: 6.2% • 16 SRM
Draft is a mid-orange amber hue, cloudy, with a white head that had nice retention. The nose is pretty sour with hits of citrus oils. The front to mid mouth is really strong with Brettanomyces and tons of lemon/orange citrus hops. The mid to back has a bit of dry hops and yeasty notes from the brett that lingers into a slight sweet malt build.
East End Brewing Co. • Winter Warmer • IBU: ?? • ABV: 7.1% • 40+ SRM
This beer pours dark brown, mid-dark small bubbly foamy head with decent retention and tons of lacing with each sip. The nose is super strong dark roasted coffee grounds and slight sweet hits. The front to back is all coffee, strong leathery, earthy, and solid body. There are hints of sweet chocolates and subtle vanilla. This finishes clean and sharp.
East End Brewing Co. • English Mild Ale • IBU: ?? • ABV: 3% • 18 SRM
Dark reddish-brown hue, hazy, slight tan head with some lacing. The nose is woodsy and bitter, almost earthy and hits of sweet. The front to mid mouth is a little thin, malty sweet breads, slight dry tannins. The mid to back mouth is thin and holds the dry characters. Back and after have some notes of dry hops and slight wort yeast notes, almost creamy.
|East End Witte
East End Brewing Co. • Witbier • IBU: ?? • ABV: 4.6% • 18 SRM
Slight cloudy, straw-yellow hue, white and light foamy head that dropped quickly. The nose has hints of fresh grass, pepper, coriander, yeast, lemon zest. The front mouth is sharper, pepper bitters, coriander and clove hints, dry nuts and blanched dry mid to back. The dry lingers to the back and after taste. The fully carbonated beer holds it’s form and lets the bitters linger well past the sip.
East End Brewing Co. • Berliner Weisse • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5% • 4 SRM
Collaboration with Pizza Boy Brewing Co.
Hazy golden hue, slight white head that didn’t show up, little to no lacing. The nose is super lemon zest and sweet grapefruit juice. The front to mid mouth is tart, lemon, puckering and fresh-hop bitters. The vegital quality of the hops and bitters shine on the mid to back. The tartness almost leaves a sweet-tart like dry powder vibe.
|Pedal Pale Ale
East End Brewing Co. • Pale Ale – American • IBU: ?? • ABV: 4.5% • 5 SRM
Nice mid-orange/golden hue, slight white foam head with ok retention and some sticky lacing. The nose is really strong with citrus hop notes. The front to mid is lots of juicy fruits, dried orange peels, and grapefruit bitter profiles. The body has decent carbonation and and overall a solid mouth-feel and generous hops.
East End Brewing Co. • Fruit/Rye Beer • IBU: ?? • ABV: 4.2% • 16 SRM
Cloudy amber/orange hue, solid white foamy head with good retention and lots of bubbly lacing. The nose is some sweet strawberries, spices, and raw grains. The front mouth has a really light creamy profile with the sweet fruit body and a solid malt backing. Crisp and mid-bodied, decent carbonation, the rye grain and subtle hop bitters are nice and balanced.
|Royal Blue Shandy
East End Brewing Co. • Herbed / Spiced Beer • IBU: ?? • ABV: 7% • 12 SRM
This pours as a nice orange/hazy draft with little head/lacing. The nose is lemon citrus, some hints of dried leaves/tea, and dried grains. The front mouth is subtle with the tea leaves and lemon zest/bitters. The citrus is pronounced to the back, finishes with a slight sweet hit.