“I wanted to see the world, so I joined the army.” You may recall an uncle or maybe your Grandfather uttering this phrase during family gatherings over the years. When they said it that way, it sounded like calling the Army was like calling your local travel agent and asking for an elaborate global excursion package. Well, we’ve grown up and we understand it’s not exactly that glamorous or carefree; however, that’s not to say that cultural exposure cannot be found during overseas tours of duty. Many Americans haven’t really had the experience of tasting what beer was really intended to be (let’s just say that Budweiser, Coors, Michelob and Pabst Blue Ribbon are definitely NOT what the beer Gods had in mind when they handed down the secrets of beer brewing!) Luckily, The Beer of the Month Club is here to serve and educate. If you know someone who you think would benefit from getting their hands on some true, real, definitely non-imitation, genuine, authentic, legitimate, actual, honest-to-goodness beer, consider giving them a gift that expands their cultural horizons – a subscription to our Beer of the Month Club! Visit our website at www.monthly-clubs.com to get a gift subscription started today and play your part in spreading one of the most enjoyable cultural mores to your fellow man (and woman).
NOTE: if you don’t agree that drinking beer and learning about the multitudes of styles and varieties of malty brew out there is an example of a cultural experience, then be warned that you should put this newsletter down before it grows hands and slaps you in your blasphemous mouth!
One American we really admire came to know great beer during his overseas service in the Army. Tom Pastorius, a Pittsburgh native of German descent, discovered beer while stationed in Germany, a country that considers its “bier” as much a staple as bread. Once his service days ended, Tom returned to the states and earned his master of business administration degree at Penn State University. He later returned to Germany for some time, residing there during the 1970’s and living as the locals do by incorporating beer as a regular part of his diet. But upon moving back to the states in 1981, he began longing for good German beer. “Beer tastes better over there,” he said. “I just missed the beer.”
Dissatisfied with commercially available beverage choices, and in need of a job, Pastorius decided to start his own brewery. In 1986, he started a real estate venture to purchase a nearly 150-year-old abandoned brick and stone brewery for $225,000. A three-year, labor-intensive $4 million restoration followed, and thus, the first microbrewery in Pennsylvania was born. Talk about going to great lengths to get great beer! Tom’s goal to brew authentic German beers quickly became a reality, and these days he is considered a pioneer in the microbrewery renaissance.
The brewery, beer hall and German-themed brewpub are located in Pittsburgh. No detail was overlooked from its solid copper brewhouse imported from Germany, to its authentic German-made fermentation and aging tanks, filtration equipment, kegging and bottling equipment. Another unique facet to Pennsylvania Brewing Company’s success is that the brewery imports all of its ingredients, uses German recipes, brewing methods and even has a German brew-master! In keeping with this dedication to authenticity, all beers are made in strict accordance to the German beer purity law known as the “Rheinheitsgebot.” This means that only the four classic ingredients are used in their beer: malted barley and/or wheat, hops, yeast and of course water. It is strictly prohibited to use such common adjuncts as corn and rice. You won't find the words “preservatives” or “stabilizers” in the vocabu-lary of Penn's brewmaster. The results are certainly a treat: completely authentic, honest, all natural beer made the way it's made in the world’s brewing heartland of Germany. As Tom puts it himself, “We're trying to bring real beer back to this market. The beer you get in the kettle is the beer you get in the glass.”
For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call Mary Beth at 412-237-9400 or check out their web site at www.pennbrew.com.