Just out is another notable new release from Straub: The brewery's first all-malt brew.
As mentioned in this space and The Forks blog (pgplate.com/forks) back in November, the St. Marys, Elk County, "Legacy Brewery" just released this year's limited-edition "Groundhog Brew," which, for 2013, is an altbier. The German-style beer is brewed with German ale yeast and hops and none of the flaked corn that's in other Straub brews -- just German pilsner and Vienna, and domestic Munich and black malts, says head brewer Vince Assetta. The result is a dark reddish, 5.3-percent-alcohol-by-volume brew that will keep your blood from freezing should you be personally present for this year's Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney on Feb. 2.
Last year's Groundhog Brew was Peter Straub Special Dark repackaged for the holiday, and previous ones were repackaged Straub Light.
Tony Knipling of Vecenie Distributing says the new stuff, in bottles (with new groundhog labels) and in kegs, is being delivered to area outlets now.
This is the second new seasonal offering from Straub, which started marking its 140th anniversary last year with Straub 1872. But it still contained some flaked corn. Some people and groups, such as the Brewers Association, hold their collective noses at such "adjuncts" in beer, but Straub is one of the breweries that's been pushing back, including by organizing breweries like themselves under the "American Legacy Breweries" banner.
Meanwhile, Straub plans another all-malt seasonal release early this spring: A maibock, which Mr. Assetta says will be a 6.9-percent-ABV pale bock.
Just months after he was named Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year and Lawrenceville's Church Brew Works was named Large Brewpub of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, head brewer Steve Sloan no longer is working at the Lawrenceville brewpub.
He started there about a year ago after a stint in California, where he brewed at Firestone Walker and was quality manager for Lost Coast. Church president Sean Casey lauded him for improving beer quality and consistency. Tuesday Mr. Casey declined to comment.
Mr. Sloan said in an email that it's too early to share his plans, "But I am trying to open something here in Pittsburgh."
It's always nice to hear from Andrew Rich, brewer at Penn Brewery, who emailed earlier this week to tell me he was having fun brewing not only Weizen Bock but also a new Dunkel Weizen, or dark wheat beer. "We have been meaning to do a dunkel for a while now but finally are getting around to it," he noted. It should be available by the end of the month, only on draft, and perhaps only at the North Side brewery.
The third Pour For A Cure to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, at the PPG Wintergarden, Downtown. Hosted by the Young Professionals Board of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the event showcases more than two dozen craft and imported brews from Frank B. Fuhrer. Tickets -- $50 in advance and $20 for designated drivers -- can be purchased by calling 412-395-2868, emailing email@example.com or visiting http://www.showclix.com/event/PourForaCure2013.
At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 16, Chef Anthony Zallo, with ingredients from Wild Purveyors, presents a four-course dinner paired with brews of Heavy Seas, the Maryland brewery whose founder and president Hugh Sisson will hold court. Cost is $55 plus tax and tip; reserve by calling 412-281-5013 (bigelowgrille.com).
Rivertowne Pourhouse in Monroeville is holding a five-course beer dinner to benefit the East Suburban Family YMCA at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26. Brewmaster Andrew Maxwell will preside, and the Y's executive director Larry Stormer will briefly explain how the proceeds will contribute to the organization's expansion and programming. Tickets are $60 per person ($450 for up to eight people at a corporate table) and are available at the Pourhouse or call 412-372-8199 (myrivertowne.com).
Bob Batz Jr.: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.