Hops & The City is an exploration of beer in Pittsburgh by our resident craft beer enthusiast, Angelica Ross. Angelica is pitting beers against each other and honing her taste skills simultaneously while providing you with her unique opinions on the brews in front of her. It’s like Carrie dishing about men and learning about which guy suits her best…except for Angelica, it’s beer. Follow Angelica on Twitter @syntaxxerrorrr
First, an apology. I’m sorry I didn’t know that Commonplace Coffee had a location inside East End Brewing Company. If I had known that, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to get here. Beer and coffee? I can be bribed and now you know how.
I walked in, told Terry I wanted to do a flight hitting the high points of EEBC, and he left me with five fantastic tastes: Cream Ale, Pedal Pale Ale, Fat Gary, Green Giant, and Moonstomp, a collaboration with Pizza Boy Brewing.
I’ve had 2 / 5 of those before and as I’ve said before, it changes when you have to consider the beer.
Corn malt gives this a slightly sweet taste, but it wasn’t overpowering. I was hoping for something a little more velvety, like a cream soda but, y’know, with alcohol. Instead, it was sweet with just a touch of an acidic bite. I could barely discern anything on the nose.
As Terry put it, it tastes like beer. That’s pretty much it. It tastes like beer.
Pedal Pale Ale
I’ve never done the Keg Ride (me on a bike…no) but I’d follow these guys to a mysterious tapping place for a glass of this.
For a pale ale, this is a little more bitter than I was expecting, but it’s just right. It gives it some interest without being overbearing and it carries over to the finish. I wish I would be able to identify hops in this because it’s one of those beers to which I’d love to compare other pale ales.
For the record: my money is on “by the river” when it comes to the mysterious tapping place.
Fat Gary Nut Brown Ale
If beers could be teddy bears, this is how I picture Fat Gary. It is sweet, feels full but not heavy, and has a fun name. There’s a light, sweet scent that almost reminds me of prune with a taste that’s reminiscent of Penn Brewery’s Nut Roll.
This would be great to bake into banana bread. If only I had a recipe…oh wait, Pennies, Pints, Pittsburgh does! Theirs is baked with Monkey’s Uncle; I’m no expert, but I’d say this nutty brew would be a safe substitution.
Of course, this would be a contender for my favorite in the flight. It smells hoppy, tastes hoppy, and generally came into this world announcing its hoppiness with crazy jazz hands.
I could easily taste (and smell) the citra hops. I’ve gotten familiar enough with IPAs at this point to pick them out, mostly in the citrus aspect of them; however, I wish I could get a little more of that tropical fruit in the aroma. That would go a long way to keeping this interesting.
I can see how a pint of it would get a little like Braveheart – starts out exciting, gets a little more-of-the-same at the end. That won’t stop me from being all about the hops here, though. Next time I go back, I’m putting this head-to-head with Bigger Hop.
Moonstomp Berliner Weisse
Moonstomp was the highlight for me at East End. I haven’t explored many sour beers, but I love this one. Giant, heart-eye-emoji love this one.
It smells tart and tangy and (to me) appley. If something could be pleasantly sour, this is it. It isn’t a puckering, hit-you-in-the-face sour. There’s a quality to this that’s almost like cider, minus any sweetness.
To an untrained (for now) sour beer tongue, I’d say Moonstomp is pretty well-rounded. East End notes they hopped it for bitterness, which probably explains why it isn’t as sour as I thought it would be.
What’s your favorite East End Brewing Co. beer?