|East End Brewing Company
147 Julius Street | Pittsburgh, PA 15206
East End Brewing Company, located in the Larimer neighborhood of Pittsburgh’s East End, was founded by owner Scott Smith in December 2004. The brewery moved to their current location in November 2012, increasing their production from 2,500 barrels to 5,000 barrels brewed per year.
As you enter the brewery, you notice the delicious smell of coffee. Did I enter the correct spot? Yes, East End shares their tasting room space with a Commonplace Coffee Company. Commonplace roasts coffee and operates a small shop on site.
The large bar in the tasting room offers plenty of standing room to hang out, chat with locals, eat pretzels, and attempt to sample every brew on tap. A chalkboard on the wall gives growler prices for all of the beers on tap (both 32 and 64 ounces), as well as bottle prices. Below the chalkboard stood 4 beautiful barrels fermenting something wonderful. Oh yeah, they have root beer and ginger ale on tap, too.
Of course I tried all 11 brews on tap:
- East End Witte – 4.6% ABV Belgian-Style Wit Beer
- Monkey Boy – 5.2% ABV Hefeweizen
- Cream Ale – 4.5% ABV Cream Ale
- Fat Gary Nut Brown Ale – 3.7% ABV Southern English Brown Ale
- Crystal Schip – a 4.9% ABV Experimental Ale
- Rojo Ahumado – 5.5% ABV Smoked Red Ale
- The Bitter End – 4.2% ABV Small Beer – like a pale ale with a light body
- Pedal Pale Ale – 4.7% ABV American Pale Ale
- Big Hop IPA – 5.8% ABV India Pale Ale
- Snow Melt Winter Ale – 7.0% ABV Winter Ale
- Steel Cut Oatmeal Stout – 5.6% ABV Hoppy Oatmeal Stout
One of my favorites was the Pedal Pale Ale. Available from May to October, this American Pale Ale is crisp and hoppy with light malt sweetness, fruity esters, and very mild bitterness, despite being hopped four times.
I also loved the Fat Gary Nut Brown Ale. This year round beer is deep brown in color, light in body, and low in alcohol. The dark malt character, light sweetness and modest alcohol content make it a beer you can drink over and over!
My favorite of the lineup was Rojo Ahumado. This beer was one of two collaboration brews done with with Jason and Jason from Lavery Brewing in Erie, PA. Rojo Ahumado or “Red Smoke” is a Chili Smoked Amber Ale, with cherry wood smoked malt in the mash, and peppers added in the mash, kettle, and fermenter including: guajillo, chipotle, pasilla, and ancho peppers. The beer was smoky and woody with a touch of spice. Delish.
Crystal Schip has an interesting story behind it. They were brewing BigHop but accidentally substituted the large percentage of Munich malt with Crystal 60L Malt, creating a thick, malt-bomb of a beer. Solution? Skip the crazy hop schedule and ferment this batch as usual with their house ale yeast, see how it tastes. The end product is Crystal Ship – similar to a Scotch Ale.
Crystal Schip, on the other hand, sat for another 3-6 months on lacto and brett. The spelling Crystal Schip, by the way, is a nod to a “Koolschip”.
East End offers a variety of swag for purchase including knit caps, water bottles, glassware, hats, t-shirts… even onesies reading “Little Hop”. I picked up an armful of bottles to take home and share with friends including the Coffee Porter, Monkey’s Uncle, and Smokestack Porter.
If you visit, you can enjoy a $25 tour which includes a sampling of four East End Brews, a guided Grains-to-Glass brewery tour during which you’ll taste ingredients, and a FREE growler of beer! Tours last about an hour.
If you happen to be in the Strip District, there is also an East End Growler Shop on Penn Avenue!