Pittsburgh, the city of steel, bridges ... and beer? Though Pittsburgh is a city known for many things, beer doesn't always come up at the top of that list. But several great craft breweries in the city are working to change that. We sampled a few lighter beers from two of Pittsburgh's craft breweries: Full Pint Brewing and Penn Brewery.
Full Pint Brewing started a few years ago when several brewers working separately decided to combine their efforts and open up a brewery that would try to redefine Pittsburgh beer with inventive flavors and a collaborative, forward-thinking mindset.
Penn Brewery, on the other hand, has been brewing and bottling in its current form since 1986 (though it can trace its roots back to 1848 when a group of Germans settled in what is now Pittsburgh's Northside). Although Penn Brewery still adheres to many of those German brewing traditions, it has since also developed many exciting beers that it's been sharing with the rest of the country.
A Belgian-Style White Ale, White Lightning is brewed with sweet orange peel, coriander, and grains of paradise for this light but flavorful beer that pours with little carbonation in a very light but slightly hazy yellow color. The combination of special ingredients gives the White Lightning scents of lemon and clove and slight yet deep meaty notes. This complexity carries over to the taste which is quite manageable for a 6.0% beer.
Another light beer from Full Pint, the Rumpelpilsen is, in many ways, a classic pilsner with crisp aromas and clean but full tasting notes. Pouring in a light, golden color with just a tinge of green and plenty of fluffy, white head, the Rumpelpilsen exhibits scents of wet lemons and a refreshing earthy sweetness. The flavors pick up on these scents, but with healthy dose of hoppiness and malt flavor to balance the beer out for a crisp mouthful.
Brewed in the tradition of a Vienna lager, Penn Brewery's Pilsner—the brewery's flagship beer–has an inviting appearance of golden sunshine with vibrant orange hues and solid carbonation. Sweet and malty aroma notes conjure up comparisons to artisan-made candy while toasty flavors of bread, sourdough, and malt round out classic pilsner flavors.
The brewery's most decorated beer (with 10 major awards), this Bavarian-Style Wheat Beer is a pleasantly light beer with surprising smells and tastes. With plenty of carbonation in this very light yellow and hazy brew, the Weizen exhibits scents of pine, cloves, spice, and, believe it or not, a smack of meaty spiced ham. This ham flavor also comes up in the taste, which is smokey and slightly dry but well balanced.