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Fortunately, the more than 40 Pittsburgh breweries have plenty of ales and lagers to cool one off or accompany a wide range of summer meals.
When shorts and flip flops become the main attire of choice, beer fans often turn their attention to lighter, refreshing offerings. Fortunately, the more than 40 Pittsburgh breweries have plenty of ales and lagers to cool one off or accompany a wide range of summer meals.
The garden and Mother Nature serve varied purposes for many local brewers. At Trace Brewing in Bloomfield, you can find Red Petals, a 5.2 percent ABV saison conditioned on hibiscus flowers. Spoonwood Brewing in the South Hills, on the other hand, uses a popular flower derivative to provide a flavorful respite from the heat. Its 5.7 percent Honey Talks Summer Ale is brewed with wildflower honey from Hickory, Pa.’s Bedillion Farm.
If fruit is more your jam, try the Divine Thunderclap Blueberry Wheat from East End’s Couch Brewery, or the Plumbus Shaman from Grist House Craft Brewery in Millvale. This 5 percent fruited sour is conditioned on lemon juice, plumbs and berry berry tea.
Leaning Cask of Springdale leans on the tropical flavors with its Pedigree: Pineapple and Mango fruited sour. And at Penn Brewery in North Side, notes of citrus will lead you to keep sipping the 5.3 percent Tangerine Swirl. Meanwhile, Mastic Trail in Shaler offers a German-style wheat beer (SOS Sour) aged on soursop, a fruit native to the Carribean.
German styles often serve as summer refreshers at local breweries. The Kolsch style, in particular, is very popular given its lower alcohol content, crackery backbone and floral and spicy hops. Try the Dancing Gnome not always present (4.8 percent), Mindful Lo Ko (3.8 percent) or War Streets Brewery’s Carrington Street (4.7 percent) to experience this staple inspired by breweries in Cologne, Germany.
In Coraopolis, Cobblehaus offers the Lazy Daze straight Berliner Weisse, a tart way to cleanse the palate. And keep an eye out for a Radler from Braddock’s Brew Gentlemen, but in the meantime don’t miss the seventh version of Garden Party, BG’s annual cucumber wheat ale.
Of course, even with mentioning all of these distinctive beers, we’re just dipping our toes in the pool. Visit pittsburghbreweries.com to find out more about what our beer scene has to offer.
Don't forget to pick up your Pittsburgh Brewers Guide to further explore only in Pittsburgh breweries!
Mike Tysarczyk is executive director of the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild, a group of 35 breweries that call Allegheny County home. In addition to his role with the PBG, Mike works the packaging line at Dancing Gnome Brewery in Sharpsburg. A Pittsburgh native, Mike graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and worked at PNC and Citizens for 23 years before trading banking for beer.