Straub Brewery: One of America's Oldest Lager Beers and Home of the Eternal Tap
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
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
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
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 (Spring/Summer)
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.
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%)
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.
Straub Limited Edition Legacy BeersClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
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
What do you think of Straub Beer?
© 2012 Mark Shulkosky