East End brewpub coming soon
Though the East End Brewing Company is widely acknowledged as the godfather of Pittsburgh’s craft brewing scene, one thing the brewery hasn’t done between 10 years and two locations is sell beer by the glass. That will change in a matter of weeks.

Owner Scott Smith is in the process of obtaining a brewpub license from the state, which will allow him to sell East End pints at the Larimer brewery.

East End’s tap room will have seating for 30 and offer a variety of locally sourced cheeses, breads and pickles. Smith says he anticipates having food trucks outside the brewery regularly, though customers will be free to bring their own food.

In addition to new seating, Smith is working with an architect and contractor to redo the brewery’s entrance, widen the doors, add a handicap accessible ramp and decorate the building’s exterior.

“Maybe we’ll even get a real sign. That’d be revolutionary,” he says.

Smith acknowledges that the transition from offering only free samples and full growlers to beer by the glass may unsettle some of the regular customers who are used to sampling beer for prolonged periods of time. But he thinks he’s found a way to ease the transition.

“When you have keg rings made, there’s always the part you punch out in the middle so you can put them on each keg. I had the printer put our logo and ‘good for one free tasting’ on that part, so we’ll use those as tokens to remind folks that eventually, we’d like them to pay for their beer.”

Pittsburgh Food Swap
For a rare and specific kind of kid, the highlight of a typical elementary school day isn’t recess, but the time during lunch marked by the wheeling and dealing that turns granola bars and baggies of cereal into fruit roll ups and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

On top of being most kids’ introduction to the foundations of basic economics, the food swap is a time-honored lunchroom tradition (Eat/Drink was particularly adept at this, pioneering the concept of student-teacher trading over the black market known as art class).

Well, just because you’re not 7-to-3-ing it anymore doesn’t mean you can’t still play the game. Good Food Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Public Market are teaming up to stage the first Pittsburgh Food Swap on Saturday, September 20 from 2 to 4 p.m.

While attendees may bring any sort of homemade food they’re eager to trade or share, registration is required. As of press time, there are 25 spots left. As if you needed more incentive, Eat/Drink will be on hand with a batch of its stupidly delicious chicken chili.

Pittsburgh sommelier heading to New York wine bar
Sarah Thomas, formerly the wine director at Bar Marco and its subterranean, prix-fixe sister restaurant, The Wine Room, will move to New York City next month to work as a sommelier at a new wine bar which is an offshoot from one of the world’s most famous restaurants.

Thomas will  hone her craft at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, a new venture from the internationally renowned sommelier of three-Michelin-star restaurant Le Bernardin. Chef Eric Ripert, a four-time James Beard Award-winner, will oversee the menu.

Thomas met Sohm while dining with family at Le Bernardin last month. When he found out she was a fellow sommelier, he offered to blind taste her on a series of wines.

“I was terrified. He kind of told me if I was right or wrong, but he was more just trying to talk to me about wine. I figured he was just humoring me” she says. “When he asked if I’d move to New York if he offered me a job, I started laughing, but he wasn’t laughing.”

While she jumped at the chance to work with and learn from one of the world’s foremost wine experts, Thomas says she can’t see herself staying in New York forever.

“I’m not a big-city person and I really love living in Pittsburgh. I’d love to be able to come back here and bring what I’ve learned,” she says, adding that she hopes Pittsburghers who find themselves in New York seek her out.

“Any time I can feel that connection, I look forward to that.”

Yuenling’s Ice Cream debuts in Pittsburgh
When Prohibition halted America’s thriving alcohol industry nearly 100 years ago, breweries and distilleries either went bust or were forced to adapt to a drier United States. David Yuengling’s ancestors were among those affected.

“The brewery couldn’t produce beer. At least, not legally,” Yuengling says with a knowing chuckle.

That’s when the family, at least for appearances, went into the dessert trade. From 1920 until the mid-1980s, the Yuengling name was as identifiable with ice cream as it was with beer. When David and his siblings chose paths outside the family business, their father shut the operation down.

Thirty years later, Yuengling—a career IT professional and cousin of brewery owner Dick Yuengling—has had a change of heart. In the last few months, he’s revived the dormant brand with both old and new flavors, rolled back the recipes to include hormone-free milk and natural ingredients and started distributing around the state. Now, Yuengling’s Ice Cream has broken back into the Pittsburgh market and is available at most Giant Eagle markets.

But don’t hold out hope for any beer flavored ice cream.

“We tried that before and it just didn’t work,” Yuengling says. “We have a Black & Tan flavor, but it’s a combination of chocolate and caramel.”

There’s also the small yet crucial detail that the creamery and brewery are totally unconnected with one another, but neither side is worried about it affecting business.

“Our initial market research revealed that name recognition wasn’t going to be a problem for us,” Yuengling says.