LagerBurgh

LagerBurgh

Those who may wonder whether talk of this being “the year of the lager” is hype or reality need only visit a typical Pittsburgh brewery taproom for the answer.

Well before the venerable Wall Street Journal touted the return of “the Humble Lager” in a February Life & Arts section feature, no fewer than five Pittsburgh breweries were pouring a Schwarzbier, a black lager with German roots that had typically been hard to find in these parts.

The Schwarzbier frenzy serves as just one example of local lager love. Hop Farm Brewing in Lawrenceville and 412 Brewery in North Side often have Mexican Lagers on tap, and four different lagers recently filled the draft lines at Trace Brewing in Bloomfield, including a kellerbier aged in a foeder (large oak barrel). Not to be outdone, Newcomer Golden Age Beer is dedicating much of its tank space to lagers. 

Before we dive deeper, though, a brief primer on lager liquid. Beer comes in two major styles: ales and lagers. Ales, which are brewed with yeast that ferments at higher temperatures, are often known for sweet, fruity or complex flavor profiles. 

Lagers, on the other hand, ferment at lower temperatures and are then typically stored - lager is German for storage - for several weeks at 32 to 36 degrees. The result is often a clean, crisp, quenching beer. 

Most notably, the North Side’s Penn Brewery, one of Pittsburgh’s original craft breweries, typically carries four German-style lagers year round. Try the award-winning Penn Gold, a refreshing Munich Helles, alongside some potato pancakes. Want a unique take? Head to Abjuration Brewing in McKees Rocks for its Ice Lager, a 5.9 percent alcohol by volume beer that is conditioned for an extended period of time at below freezing temperature to produce a super clean crusher.  

You also can’t go wrong at Church Brew Works, where the Pious Monk Dunkel - a dark, slightly sweet German lager - has earned numerous awards over the years. Headley’s Brewing in Heidelberg - which has pick up hours each Friday and Saturday - now offers Quiet Little Life, a spring Marzen (Oktoberfest-style lager).

You also can’t go wrong at Church Brew Works, where the Pious Monk Dunkel - a dark, slightly sweet German lager - has earned numerous awards over the years. Headley’s Brewing in Heidelberg - which has pick up hours each Friday and Saturday - now offers Quiet Little Life, a spring Marzen (Oktoberfest-style lager).

Want to try a variety of lagers all at once? Allegheny City Brewing in North Side has you covered. Its Logger Jam celebration on April 30, 2022, will feature its own lagers as well as others from some of the aforementioned breweries and Cinderlands, Dancing Gnome, East End, Eleventh Hour, Fermenta, Grist House, Hitchhiker, Inner Groove, Leaning Cask, Two Frays and Union Brothers. Visit the Allegheny City website for ticket information. 

Four Points Brewing, which has a North Side taproom, and the Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh South Side location also have their share of lagers. In fact, there are too many options to mention in this little blog. Have no fear, though, just visit pittsburghbreweries.com to learn more about our scene. While there you can check out the store and pick up some cool Three Rivers Beer Week merch or a Pittsburgh Brewery Guide, the passport to Pittsburgh beer. 


Please drink responsibly. 

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