Beer: Straub brewery takes a walk on the dark side with new brew

Straub Brewery -- the little old independent brewery in St. Marys, Elk County, somewhat famed for its light lager -- has released a new dark beer named for the guy who went from what's now Pittsburgh's North Side and bought the brewery.

The first bottles of Peter Straub's Special Dark arrived in Pittsburgh, Straub's biggest market, last week. It's also available at several area watering holes on draft, which is the only way it initially was to be sold.

"Dark" is a bit of a misnomer, as the brew is an amber. Not an all-malt brew, it's still light of body and of flavor and as drinkable as regular Straub and Straub Light; think Yuengling, that brew from another independent old Pennsylvania brewery.

Straub "wanted to add a dark option to our existing brands," brewmaster Tom Straub said in a news release about the new "amber lager," named "in honor of our founding father, Peter Straub, who started brewing Straub Beer here in St. Marys in 1872."

Before that, Peter Straub worked for Eberhardt & Ober in the city of Allegheny across from Pittsburgh and for a couple of other breweries. He'd emigrated at the age of 19 from Felldorf, Wurttemberg, Germany, in 1869.

In 1872, he moved to St. Marys, where he became brewmaster of Capt. Charles C. Volk's Lager Beer and Eating Saloon. Peter Straub bought that outfit in 1876, moved it to its present site in St. Marys and ran his Benzinger Spring Brewery until he died in 1912, when it was taken over by his son, Anthony, and renamed the "Peter Straub Sons' Brewery."

Another independent but much younger brewer has released a new beer to mark its third birthday: Homewood's East End Brewing Co., which makes mostly draft brews, is selling bottles of its third anniversary ale, "Three."

"Appropriately enough, it's a Belgian trippel/triple/tripel," quips brewer Scott Smith, who notes that it is made with three malts -- Belgian aromatic, torrified wheat and "lots and lots" of North American pilsen -- and three hops: nugget (U.S.), Saaz (Czech) and East Kent Goldings (U.K.)

The 33.8-ounce bottles, adorned with labels by his Columbus "Uncle Chuck" Siple, are available at the brewery during its "growler hours" for $15 plus $3 bottle deposit or, for the rest of this month, three for $40 (plus deposits). He's only made 800 of them. For more, visit

Mr. Smith reports that East End's recent open house raised $7,321 for PLEA, which helps autistic children and their families.

-- Bob Batz Jr.

First Published December 27, 2007 5:00 AM


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