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Straub Brewery: One of America's Oldest Lager Beers and Home of the Eternal Tap

My wife and I lived in St. Marys for four years and still enjoy going back and visiting our "hometown" brewery and the Eternal Tap.

Straub Beer New Labels

Straub Beer New Labels

Brewing Since 1872 in St. Marys, PA

Operating in the same location in Saint Marys, PA, since the 1870s, this American legacy brewery has been using essentially the same brewing process, unchanged, since Peter Straub originally perfected it. Handcrafted and using only grains, hops, yeast, and mountain spring water—no salts, sugars, or preservatives—Straub produces a 100% natural amber lager beer.

As a craft brewery, or small macrobrewery, Straub Brewery is still owned and operated by its founding family. Based on 2010 beer sales volume, the Brewers Association ranked Straub Brewery number 50 on its list of top brewing companies.

Straub is a great American lager-style beer. Each year they create a special, seasonal brew called Groundhog Brew to celebrate, what else, Groundhog Day. In honor of their 140th anniversary, a limited edition called Straub 1872 Lager was created, or more correctly, re-created. This throwback to pre-Prohibition lagers resurrects old lager recipes with more taste, body, malt and hops.

Continuing to brew their old recipes, Straub recently limited-released specialty beers including Straub Maibock, an all-malt pale bock brew; Straub India Pale Lager (IPL); Straub Havest IPL; Straubtoberfest (Oktoberfest); and Straubator Doppelbock, a special winter bock.

In April, 2012, Straub Brewery changed its labels but not its recipes. They feel the new labels more accurately reflect the primary style of beers they produce - American Lagers. While they previously referred to Peter Straub Special as a dark beer (compared to their regular lager beer), the rest of the world referred to it as an amber lager. The new labels reflect how everyone else refers to the Straub Brewery styles of beer.

Even newer labels are due out in late 2019. Stay tuned.

New tap room and visitor center, 444 Bruselles St., St. Marys, PA

New tap room and visitor center, 444 Bruselles St., St. Marys, PA

New Tap Room and Visitor Center

In 2019, the former Straub Family home of past brewery president, Anthony (Tony) Straub was remodeled and converted into a brand new visitor center and tap room. Originally built in 1917 and located at 444 Brusselles St, it is only 100 feet down the hill from the brewery. In addition to a 12 tap draft system, the tap room will offer sit-down meals and feature an outside beer garden area and gift shop.

Tap Room IPA, the first IPA brewed at Straub, along with Tap Room 444, a house ale, and Tap Razz, a summer berry flavored beer, are only available in the new tap room. Stop in and try one soon!

Visitor Center and Tap Room Hours:

  • Monday-Thursday: 11AM-7PM
  • Friday and Saturday: 11AM-5PM
  • Sunday: Noon-5PM

Don't worry. The Eternal Tap will still be available in the brewery.

Old vs. New Labeling: April 2012 and 2019

OLD LABELING:NEW LABELING:

Straub (Beer) Premium

Straub American Lager

Straub (Beer) Light

Straub American Light Lager

Peter Straub Special Dark

Straub American Amber Lager

Bud is Bud and Light is Light, But, Straub's is Pennslyvania.

— Gov. Robert P. Casey

The Traditional Brews

Like its recipe, Straub keeps the numbers of its brews simple. Available year-round are Straub American Lager, Straub American Light Lager and Straub American Amber Lager. Only recently did I realize that they actually produce one "seasonal" brew, Groundhog Brew. A special edition amber lager that is made to celebrate February 2nd. (What else would you expect from a brewery not far from Punxsutawney, PA?)

Straub American Lager (Straub [Beer] Premium)

Classic Straub beer is an American lager handcrafted with 100% natural ingredients and using essentially the same recipe perfected by Peter Straub over 140 years ago.

Straub American Light Lager (Straub [Beer] Light)

This award-winning light beer has 3.2% alcohol with only 96 calories and 7.6 grams of carbohydrates.

Straub American Amber Lager (Peter Straub's Special Dark)

Only available since 2007, and not really dark but amber in color, Straub American Amber Lager (formerly Peter Straub's Special Dark) is not an all-malt beer. It is similar in taste and body to Yuengling. (IBU: 8 ABV: 4.1%)

"Olympics of Beer": Award-Winning Kolsch

Competing against 74 other entries in the "German-Style Kolsch" category, Straub Kolsch was the Bronze Award winner at the 2016 World Beer Cup. The Kolsch style of beer originated in Cologne, Germany, in 1918. Straub Kolsch was first launched as part of the brewery's annual Sunshine Sampler of spring and summer seasonal craft beers.

  • ABV: 5%
  • IBU: 25
  • Color: Pale and straw-like
  • Flavor/Finish: Light and refreshing with grassy notes
  • Hop: Aroma and flavor is medium, with a little spicy floral aroma
  • Suggested Glass: Stange, a thin cylindrical glass
2014 Straub Groundhog Altbier

2014 Straub Groundhog Altbier

Seasonal Specialty Brews

Special Edition Groundhog Brew (Winter)

This special edition beer is released in January of each year. Only brewed since 2000, each year's edition is marked by a new label. Deviating from their traditional lager beers and continuing with a style began in 2013, the 2014 Groundhog Brew is again a German style Altbier. This ale is made with imported German hops and ale yeast. A copper-colored brew, it presents with a pronounced malt flavor and a firm bitter hop edge. It is the perfect warmer against the winter cold. (IBU: 40 ABV: 5.4%)

Be sure and mark your calendar to check out next year's Ground Hog Brew! Like the movie, Ground Hog Day can't come soon enough and often enough.

Straub Maibock (Spring)

This is the third in Straub's effort to expand their limited-release specialty beers. For spring 2013 we had the pleasure of first enjoying this German all-malt pale bock. Compared to their regular line of beers, Straub Maibock weighs in with a relatively hefty 6.9% alcohol by volume. (ABV: 6.9%)

Straub Straubweizen (Hefeweizen) (Summer)

Made with 2/3 wheat and 1/3 malt, this traditional German Weissbier has the flavor and aroma of bananas. Beeradvocate Score: 87 (Very Good) (Golden Yellow, IBU: 15, ABV 5.5%)

Oktoberfest (Straubtoberfest) (Fall)
A tribute to the Straub German heritage, this all-malt lager provides a classic "festbier" experience. Deep amber in color and a white foamy head, this seasonal brew has a malty aroma with hints of dried fruit, a bready taste and a finish with only a mild hop bitterness. (Color: Amber, IBU: 24 , ABV: 5.7%)

Sunshine sampler brews for summer: Straub Hefeweizen and Pilsner 2014

Sunshine sampler brews for summer: Straub Hefeweizen and Pilsner 2014

Sunshine Sampler (Spring/Summer)

Straub Pilsner

This throwback brew to the 1951 Pilsner, "Straub Fine Beer," has a light floral aroma and a mildly malty, sweet flavor with a crisp hop finish. Beeradvocate Score: 86 (Very Good) (Pale Gold, IBU: 35, ABV: 5.5%)

Packaged with the Straub Straubweizen (Hefeweizen), Straub Viena Lager and Straub Kolsch, these beers of summer are sold as the Straub Sunshine Sampler.

140th anniversary brew: Straub 1872 Lager

140th anniversary brew: Straub 1872 Lager

Limited Edition Legacy Brews

Straub 1872 Lager

This special edition 140th anniversary brew uses a recipe similar to those of pre-Prohibition lagers. With more malt and hops than their regular beers, Straub 1872 has about 3 times the international bitterness units (IBUS) than their traditional brews. If you a looking for a hoppier lager, Straub 1872 is for you. Beeradvocate Score: 80 (Good) (Gold, IBU: 30 ABV: 5.4%)

Straubator

Warm up this winter with Straub's Dopplebock, a recreation of Peter Straub's 19th century Ulmar Salvator. This winter bock is rich and malty with hints of roasted caramel and sweet toffee. (IBV:22 ABV:7%)

Packaged with the Straub Helles and Straub Dunkel, these beers are sold as the Straub Legacy Sampler.

2013 Straub IPL and Straub Harvest IPL

Continuing to expand on their line of specialty brews, Straub introduced an India Pale Lager (IPL) in the Summer of 2013 as well as a Harvest IPL in the late Fall. Adding their lager brewing techniques to traditional IPA malts and American hops, these limited edition beers present the bitterness of an IPA with an intensity not common to other Straub beers. The Havest IPL is a blend of freshly harvested American hops providing citrus, spice and floral aromas with a clean refreshing lager finish. The hop flavor in these brews exceed even that of the 1872 Lager (IPL: Beeradvocate Score: 85 (Very Good) Deep Gold, IBU: 63, ABV: 5.6% and Harvest IPL IBU: 50 ABV: 6%).


Next time you are in Pennsylvania, ask your bartender for a Straub and let me know what you think.

The Brewery

The brewery is located in the same location in Saint Marys, PA, since 1878. Brewery tours are free and open to the public (over age 12) on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 11:30AM and Sunday at 1:00PM. There are two daily tours on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 11:30AM and1:00PM. You can register online or by calling (814) 834-2876, ext. 401. All tours start at the new tap room and visitor center, 444 Brusselles Street. Check-in prior to the tour is required.

Straub Brewery, Saint Mary's, PA

Straub Brewery, Saint Mary's, PA

The Eternal Tap in all of its glory!

The Eternal Tap in all of its glory!

Home of the Eternal Tap

This is the part you have been waiting for, free beer! Straub Brewery is home to the Eternal Tap. If you are over the age of 21, Monday through Friday 9AM to 4:30PM and on Saturday until 1PM, you can enjoy a cold Straub beer on the house. The honor system is used to limit you to 2 glasses, but the practicality is that there is no place to sit in the tasting area, so you sort of limit yourself.

The Good Old (Label) Days

The Straub Beers: Light, Regular, and Special Dark, The Past Labels

The Straub Beers: Light, Regular, and Special Dark, The Past Labels

© 2012 Mark Shulkosky

Comments

Mark Shulkosky (author) from Pennsylvania on May 23, 2015:

I think that is what it is all about Jeff. It only matters if it is a beer you like. I like the Pilsner also, but don't care for the hopiness of an IPL. My son is a beer snob and, surprisingly, his favorite is Straub Light. Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend. Chicken on the grill, Straub beer, friends, and family, what more could you want? Cheers!

Jeff on May 23, 2015:

Straubs is pretty much all I drink. I don't know anything about beer or why I should think it is good beer other than it tastes good. I particularly like the Pilsner and the IPL. Cooking chicken on the grill and pounding IPls is a pleasant experience.

Mark Shulkosky (author) from Pennsylvania on September 25, 2014:

jennabee25, thanks for stopping by and commenting. It is a lot like Yuengling, just not as well marketed and distributed. I moved from St. Marys so it is a little harder for me to get it also. I often take some with me when I visit Maine. I think I'll have one now. Cheers!

Jenn Dixon from PA on September 25, 2014:

Ah, Straubs! My dad used to like Straubs beer. It's sort of hard to get in my part of PA, mostly because we're closer to the Yuengling plant. I do like it, too!

TheHoleStory from Parsons, West Virginia on April 28, 2012:

I enjoyed your hub bankscottage on your hometown Straub Brewery, however I'm sorry but this wasn't the answer to mystery beer question #1. The correct answer believe it or not is Miller-Coors brewing company. I also have 6 more unanswered mystery beer questions waiting for you and your sons to answer. Hope to see you there soon :)

Mark Shulkosky (author) from Pennsylvania on March 10, 2012:

Straub, unlike Yuenling, doesn't seem to promote itself much out of the area. But, they rank #50 in volume of beer produced. I guess there are a lot of local folks who drink a lot of beer!

Dan Human from Niagara Falls, NY on March 10, 2012:

I just had to check this out and look up the Straub Groundhog Brew. Next year, I'll get my hands on one for a proper Groundhog Day party.

Oddly enough, living only a state away in NY, I never heard of Straub. Of course, it took me years to discover Yuengling too.

Mark Shulkosky (author) from Pennsylvania on March 04, 2012:

Thanks for commenting. You are absolutely right. It is not complex, just clean and refreshing. The kind of beer you would like have on a hot day after you just finished cutting the grass.

My son was here from Maine for a few days. He took a couple of cases back to share with his friends at Nocturnem Draft Haus (in Bangor) and Novare Res Bier Cafe (in Portland). These places have beer from all over the world, but like you, can't get Straub.

Tom Vogler from The Shenandoah Valley on March 04, 2012:

My brother and his family lived in Saint Mary's in the 1990s. I hadn't had any in about 15 years, but someone gave my brother a case of it about 2 months ago and he gave me about 8 bottles. I just finished drinking the last one about two weeks ago. I have not seen it here in Virginia and I miss it. It has a clean taste, not bitter and no aftertaste.

Budman610 from Ohio on February 19, 2012:

I I will give a Straub a try! I love Yuengling! Nice beer hub!