Feb. 25 is Gratitude Day, when East End Brewing releases Gratitude Barleywine. Photo courtesy of East End Brewing Company.

East End Brewing, one of the city’s most venerable local craft breweries, approaches its 19th anniversary with a longtime tradition and a brand-new start.

Feb. 25 is Gratitude Day, a yearly celebration and release of East End’s Gratitude Barleywine, which currently boasts a rating of 95/100, or “world-class,” on BeerAdvocate

Varieties abound: in addition to the classic, enthusiasts can choose from Gratitude aged in bourbon, rye whiskey and rum barrels (it’s the first time for the rum barrels). 

East End will open at 11 a.m. to offer plenty of time for Gratitude. If you can’t make it to Larimer, more than a dozen local breweries and bars will also have it on draft.   

In addition, East End’s long-awaited Mt. Lebanon taproom is set to open in March. The location, at 651 Washington Road in the heart of Uptown, will feature a full spread of East End beers on tap and in cans, as well as their cider, Barmy Soda products and some NA beverages. Pennsylvania-based wine and cocktails will be offered as well. Food selections will be the same as at the flagship brewpub, including their East End Chewing Pizza of the Week

Dry any day

Tina’s Bar & Bottle Shop in Bloomfield is planning an evening of “thoughtful consumption” on Feb. 28 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Along with The Open Road‘s owner Mel Babitz, Tina’s beverage director Ashley Smith will lead a non-alcoholic spirits tasting and cocktail-making workshop. Specialty NA cocktails will be available to order. 

There’ll be pizza by Daniele Brenci as well (Bloomfield Saturday Market shoppers might be familiar with Brenci’s beautiful bread and Roman pizza). Tickets are available here, but walk-ins are welcome too.

The cookie table, but for drinking

Tickets are still available for Drink the Cookie Table on March 4 at Necromancer Brewing. It’s put on by Fueled by Hops. They’ll have not only pastry stouts and other dessert beers, but actual cookies, which is an unbeatable combo. 

Arboretum Trail Brewing will be pouring Black Tie, Red Shoes — a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout with blackberries — a key lime pie sour, and Wake and Cake, a “pineapple upside down cake inspired” double hazy IPA that’s a collaboration with Akron’s Magic City Brewing

And that’s just one brewery — more than 20 will be on hand. 

Jigging and swigging

Is St. Patrick’s Day the best drinking holiday of the year? It may actually be the worst, unless you like waiting in line on the South Side to buy green Coors Light. The best drinking holiday of the year is any warm evening sitting outside on a picnic bench, beer in hand, at one of our wonderful local breweries. But I digress.

Irish-themed drinking opportunities are perennially appealing though. Jigs & Swigs brings an Irish dance workout right to a brewery, which makes the swigs part easy, if not compulsory. 

The local chapter’s first get-together in February brought a good crowd to Altered Genius Brewing Co. in Ambridge. And since ‘tis the season, two events are scheduled for March: on the 12th at Recon Brewing’s Cranberry location and March 18 at Strange Roots Experimental Ales in Millvale. Both events start at 11 a.m., and if that seems a bit early for a beer, remember, it’ll be 5 p.m. in Dublin when you’re done. (You’re also welcome to jig without swigging.) 

Attendance is limited to the first 15 paid signups, which you can do here.

Annette Bassett is a freelance writer and grant writer living in Bloomfield. She likes visiting local breweries, going to concerts and walking the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh while listening to audiobooks. She prefers wired earbuds.