hello bistro
Hello Bistro

Hello Bistro opening Downtown location
Hello Bistro, the popular soup/salad/sandwich assembly-line-style lunch spot from the Eat’n Park group, will open its third location and its first in Downtown on Thursday, December 11, at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Wood Street. That’s great news for Downtown’s already thriving lunch scene, and even better news for people who have an affinity for chopped salads.

East End’s Brewpub grand opening
East End Brewery got its brewpub license more than a month ago, but will celebrate its grand opening with a series of orchestrated shenanigans beginning on Saturday, December 6, and running through Saturday, December 13. Scheduled events include yoga at the brewery, a square dance, a beer-and-cheese pairing event with Wheel & Wedge, and a guided tasting of barrel-aged beers from the brewery’s cellar.

The flagship event will be on Saturday evening when East End hosts its 10th anniversary party at the brewery, complete food pairings from Harris Grill. Tickets are still available through the event website. Proceeds from the event will help support Grow Pittsburgh and the Animal Rescue League.

For East End’s Scott Smith, the undisputed cool uncle* of Pittsburgh craft beer, it’s been a long time coming. For a full schedule of events, see East End’s events page.

Canning exchange winter food swap
If you’re a canner, pickler or some other kind of food preservationist, take heed: the Pittsburgh Canning Exchange will hold its winter Preservation Celebration on Sunday, December 7, at 1:30 p.m. at The Cloakroom (next door to the Livermore) in East Liberty.

The event will include a pickle contest, snacks, a canning swap and presentations on various food preservation techniques. Tickets are $15 and available through the event page.

Brew Gents hosting food truck roundup
The Brew Gentlemen will host a food truck roundup at their taproom in Braddock on Friday, December 6. The PGH Taco Truck, Gyros N’at, Southside BBQ Company, the Mac & Gold Truck and Street Foods will all be on hand to peddle their wares, and the Gents will have tapped their first winter seasonal, a dark and spicy oatmeal stout they’re calling Mexican Coffee.

Iron City launches Red Hot Iron
First, there was I.C. Light Mango—a fruit-flavored soda which tasted vaguely of sugar and river water and sported lower alcohol content than your run-of-the-mill off-brand mouthwash. Now, piggybacking on the popularity of cinnamon flavored spirits, the Pittsburgh Brewing Company has released Red Hot Iron (or “ahh-ern,” if you’re pronouncing at home).

Clocking in at 7.2 ABV, Red Hot Iron is “cinnamon charged” and “sets fire to your mouth,” before extinguishing said flame with a hint of apple, per Iron City’s description. While Iron City claims that “Red Hot Iron isn’t for the fearful,” we’re eager to try this particular brew and even more eager to hear what you have to say about it. Please report any and all beer-related injuries and mouth fires lasting longer than two hours to Eat/Drink before you leave for the emergency room.

Maggie’s Farm releases pear brandy
A few months ago, Bill Larkin of Arsenal Cider House and Tim Russell of Maggie’s Farm teamed up to purchase a substantial amount of fresh pear juice. Larkin used his share to produce a pear cider. Russell, on the other hand, fermented and distilled his share to produce Eau de Vie—a limited run, unaged pear brandy which went on sale at the Maggie’s Farm Distillery last weekend.

The spirit, available to consumers in 375 milliliter bottles, has an aroma similar to that of the Maggie’s Farm white rum, but retains all the earthy character of its origin fruit. It’s a pretty interesting spirit, and one which home cocktail enthusiasts should move to scoop up for use in fall and winter concoctions, as bartenders around the city have already started tinkering with it.

Wigle rolls out Mocha Porter
As we made light of a few short weeks ago, whiskey is nothing more than distilled beer. The folks at Wigle, fresh off celebrating local craft beer for a week, will release the latest installment in their Whim series on Friday when they debut a Mocha Porter whiskey.

Made with chocolate and caramel malts and aged for a year in virgin oak barrels, this fifth installment of the Whim series has heavy notes of chocolate in the aroma, followed by a sweet mouthfeel and a dry, woody finish.

*Scott hates being referred to as the godfather of Pittsburgh Craft Beer, so we’re on the hunt for a suitable title.

Matthew Wein is a local writer, editor, blogger, storyteller and proud native Pittsburgher. Once described as "a man of things," he covers city design, spirits and craft beer for NEXT, where he keeps all of the editorial meetings light-hearted and interesting. His interests include sorting books, looking at old things and candles which smell like old-growth pine forests.