A few weeks ago I reviewed Yuengling Traditional Lager, which got me wondering what other historic brews are available from Pennsylvania. The answer that quickly came to my mind is Straub, so I grabbed a case of their beer to try.
Straub Brewery was founded by Peter Straub in 1872 when he bought the Benzinger Spring Brewery from his father-in-law, Francis Xavier Sorg. Peter Straub was born in Felldorf, Germany to Anton Straub, a noted local brewer who had his son trained as a cooper, or barrel maker. In 1869 Peter set out for the United States, where he learned the brewers’ trade under John Straub (no relation), who had a standing pledge to forfeit $1,000 if any of his beer was found to be corrupted with impurities or adjuncts. Straub has remained a family business over the years and now holds the distinction of being the smallest pre-prohibition brewery still operational in the U.S. and the only brewery still utilizing refillable long-neck glass bottles.
The beer poured a brilliantly clear, beautiful light golden color — not nearly as dark as Yuengling or as light as Bud, Miller or Coors. One finger of white head formed with a medium-sized bubble texture, although this dissipated quickly. The aroma was a much more muddled combination than Yuengling, with a much more dominant wheat and yeast component.
A significant bitter and sulfuric component was present in the aroma. This is not particularly surprising, given that this is a golden lager. Lagers made with significant amounts of pilsner malt typically contain some dimethyl sulfide, and if any is left after the boil, it can produce a sulfuric smell in the beer. This isn’t necessarily a terrible flaw, especially in low amounts like in this beer, but isn’t terribly appealing either.
The mouthfeel was fairly thick with moderately low carbonation. The taste had a fairly significant bitterness up front, which quickly gave way to a mild, wheaty, yeasty taste. The finish had a very nice, light, sweet character with a slightly fruity component to it.
Straub Beer is an American lager, and as such is generally served in either a pint glass or a pilsner glass. I find that this beer pairs well with a lot of things, although it is perfect with pizza or classic pub grub and barbecue. Sharp cheeses will pair well, especially cheddar or pepper jack.
Overall, I enjoyed this beer. It really reminds me of a lighter, wheatier version of Yuengling. I am planning on keeping this beer on hand, as it pairs easily. Most anyone who likes beer will enjoy this brew. I would recommend giving this beer a try, especially as it’s a historic brewery here in Pennsylvania.