Thursday, August 18, 2011

Destinations: East End Brewery

Located inside the sampling area.  No signs were visible outside of the brewery.
Last Friday, your PghBlastFurnace made its official visit to the East End Brewery.  And although it was our first to the brewery itself, it will most likely be the last at this location.  That is because the brewery is moving, and will no longer be located in Homewood as of March / April 2012.

This information was delivered by the lone bar keep working the 'bar' inside the brewery.  It is a bar in the literal sense, with a small bar located directly past the entrance, which is also unusual in itself.  This is because it is a microbrewery, and not a brewpub.

Left: The building where the brewery resides. 
Right:  The actual entrance to the brewery.
When we first pulled up to the East End Brewery, only those of us who had visited before knew what to expect.  There is no grand entrance like Anheuser Busch or restaurant area like Penn Brewery; merely a nondescript door left ajar at the bottom of a plain, red building.  Resembling an extremely large barn, it is less than spectacular in appearance.  Absent are any signs of what -- if any -- business resides in the building, and there are no signs advertising the presence of a brewery as visitors drive up the lonely gravel road towards the building.  Once you stumble upon the entrance, it is simple to see why it could be easily overlooked.

Upon entering the brewery, visitors are packed into a small tasting area.  The bar is to the right when entering, and all of the taps are lined up on a refrigerated room behind the bar, where all of the kegs are kept inside.  On the day we were there, eight different delicious varieties were available, along with a ginger ale and root beer for the kids.

Left: The entrance to the refrigerated room for the kegs; the barkeep.
Right:  Taps showing the different varieties available.
All of us took turns sampling every flavor, while the barkeep described the various ways each was crafted.  It was truly amazing how fully flavored each beer tasted.  Each of us had a great time sampling every flavor, and in the end, all of us had a different favorite flavor.  My personal favorite was Big Hop, which is a very hoppy, full tasting beer.  If you still like the bitterness, but not the hoppyness of a full flavored IPA, the Best Dressed Chicken may be the right choice for you.  More of a Stout guy?  The smooth taste of the Black Strap Stout will leave your mouth watering; and the delicious aftertaste will make other stouts seem tasteless.  The hefeweizen 'Monkey Boy' was also great, with a more robust taste than others, and is a favorite of many East End visitors.  Personally I do not like hefeweizen types, but this one tasted great.

Each of the remaining flavors were just as pleasurable as well.  These included: Pedal Pale Ale, Fat Gary Nut Brown Ale, BlueberRye Ale and Chicoree Red.  I could go on at lengths describing the flavors, but in no way would be able to do them justice.  To really understand just how great each craft brew tasted, the experience must be made first hand.  No second hand account is truly sufficient.  Also, each visitor has the opportunity to take home a Growler of their favorite beer.  A Growler holds 64 oz of beer -- a half gallon -- and is priced anywhere from $10 - $15, depending on the beer.  Even after adding the surcharge of $3 for the actual glass bottle, it is still a great deal, and much cheaper than a beer at a bar.  Next time a visitor comes back, the growler can be refilled, and the $3 charge is avoided.

East End Growler filled with beer.  The bottle is clear glass.
After finishing the samples, we were encouraged to look around the brewery.  It doesn't take long to enter the brewing room, because the entrance to the room is about ten feet down the hallway from the bar.  In fact, upon entering the brewery and passing the bar on the right, visitors walk through a small gift shop where they reach the open-air doorway to the brewing room.

Various East End apparel located in the Gift Shop area
The brewing room contains numerous vats, all brewing different varieties of beer.  All of the vats are controlled by a centrally located panel, which is seen below.  There are also many kegs located in the back - some empty, some full - all ready to deliver the beer to its final destination.  Some will go into the refrigerated room for sampling and growler purchasing, which was what brought us to the East End Brewery in the first place.

Vats in Brewing room

Central Area with Control Panel

Kegs ready to go!!
We all had a great time visiting the East End Brewery, and look forward to the many new beers it will brew in its long future.  We also look forward to checking out the new location.  My rating: 5 out of 6 Irons.

What is your favorite???

For more information, visit the East End Brewery website.  Descriptions of each beer are available on the website.  And remember, it's a microbrewery, not a brewpub!

Opportunities to 'invest' in the brewery is also available on the East End website.

East End Brewery is also on Facebook and Twitter.  For more pictures of our journey to the East End Brewery, check out PghBlastFurnace on Facebook.


  1. Pills said...

    Great post steller! I would have to totally agree with everything stated. For me, the charm of the brewery was the fact that it was so non-descript. It was like the neighborhood's hidden secret that only mature veterans know about and kids wonder what happens inside. I am sure I will be stopping in to refill my growler for a long time.

    My favorite was definitely the Chicoree Red. There was something just so delicious about it and I can't remember tasting something similar. I hope that this continues to be brewed.

    Also, The Monkey Boy was great and I tasted a bit of banana (not sure if this was due to the name or if that was the real taste) and I also do not particulary enjoy hefeweizens either.

    Keep up the good work East End!

  2. R Korn said....

    I really enjoyed my visit to the Brewery, I can't believe it took me so long to stop in. I also liked how a Molly's Trolley pulled up to visit.

    My favorite beers were Fat Gary and Best Dressed Chicken. The Stout wasn't bad either.