Dave Cerminara, founder of Apis Mead & Winery in Carnegie.

Apis Mead & Winery opens in Carnegie
You’ve read about it in Beowulf, but now you can get it in Pittsburgh.

Banksville native Dave Cerminara, formerly the assistant head brewer at Penn Brewery, opened Apis Mead & Winery in Carnegie on Saturday, offering six varieties of the honey-based wine which traces its roots back roughly 4,000 years as one of mankind’s oldest alcoholic beverages.

“I’ve been brewing mead as long, if not longer than I’ve been brewing beer,” Cerminara says. “There are so many great breweries here, why not do something different? It’s something that nobody else here does.”

Cerminara’s initial line includes three flagship varieties of mead—Florea, Mellifera and Dorsata—which vary not only in their levels of alcohol but in how they’ll be seasonally flavored. Florea, the lightest variety, clocks in at 7 percent alcohol by volume, drinks like a semi-sweet sauvignon blanc and comes either plain or finished with flavors of peaches and apricots.

“The Florea is meant to be a nice session mead,” Cerminara says. “You can just drink it while you cut the grass, though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that.”

The Mellifera and Dorsata varieties, which range between 10 and 14 percent by volume, are also finished with different fruits, including one flavored with blackberries and raspberries and another with Sangiovese grapes.

“If I gave you that one and didn’t tell you it was made from honey, you might just think it’s a dry red wine,” Cerminara says of the Apis Dorsata, a sack mead which is currently his strongest offering.

All of Apis’s products are made from local honey which Cerminara gets from Bedillion Honey Farm in Burgettstown, which also produces. Though he’s only using wildflower honey right now, he plans to branch out into meads made from orange blossom, knotweed and lavender honeys.

“I’d like to stick with the basic stuff in the beginning, especially while we’re just trying to show people what these are, so we can say that it’s just one type of honey and just one or two kinds of yeast,” Cerminara says. “As we grow and get into different seasonals and stuff like that, we’ll try other honeys.”

Expect to see mead from Apis available in local restaurants and bars within the next few months. Until then, you can purchase it both by the bottle and the glass from Apis’s cozy and rustic tasting room at 212 E. Main Street in Carnegie.

What do you get when you mix a can with a growler?
No, not an aluminum growler, but that’s a totally reasonable guess. The answer we were looking for is Crowler. Get it? Because it’s a can and a…never mind.

Hough’s, the popular Greenfield sports bar which is also home to Copper Kettle Brewing Company where customers can brew and bottle their own beer, is bringing the Crowler to Pittsburgh.

The creation of the Ball Corporation, manufacturers of America’s favorite mason jar (because surely we have a national preference on such things) has devised a way for bars to package and sell beer in 32-ounce cans using an odd-looking device you’ll now see adorning the bar at Hough’s.

While growlers, a retail mainstay in the craft brewing community, are made of glass and usually hold 64 ounces of beer (four Imperial pints), Crowlers offer drinkers smaller portions for the same price as two beers you’d have at the bar.

The logic goes that cans are easier to recycle than glass bottles and offer portability that growlers don’t. Additionally, a great number of people in the craft beer community have come to prefer cans for their ability to keep brews sealed off from light and oxygen, leading to longer shelf-life.

Asiatique coming to Bakery Square
Until 2012, The Green Mango was a hot spot on the map for all lovers of Thai food in Pittsburgh’s East End. That’s when the location on Braddock Avenue in Regent Square closed, leaving only the Monroeville location as diners’ porthole to owners Mark and Ling Robinson’s celebrated Asian cuisine.

Despair no more, East Enders—The Green Mango is coming back. Sort of.

The Robinsons have partnered with Walnut Capital to open a new restaurant, Asiatique, at 102 Bakery Square Boulevard this fall.

The 48-seat, BYOB restaurant is scheduled to open in mid-September.

Don’t take our word for it…
As a quick follow-up to Drew Cranisky’s awesome exploration of Pittsburgh’s barbecue scene: I was chatting with Hootie of Blowfish BBQ last week, and he told me about his favorite customer so far.

While cooking at an event in a parking lot earlier this year, Hootie gave a guy a free sample of his smoked mac & cheese and redskin potatoes in a container to go. The man got into his car, drove about 10 feet, screeched to a halt, rolled down his window and yelled, “You didn’t make this. Someone’s mamma made this!”

“He didn’t buy anything, but he’s easily my favorite customer so far,” Hootie says.

Matthew Wein

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.