Bill Brock of Straub Brewery Gets Draughted

December 30, 2016

Straub is one of only a handful of breweries that can claim the designation American Legacy Brewery™ which celebrates the family’s 145 years of fierce brewing independence. Most importantly though, the designation represents Straub’s historic contribution to the production of authentic, American lagers and its commitment to the preservation of a way of life where brewing beer is the soul of a community.

The brewery’s flagship beer, Straub American Lager, won a gold medal at the 2016 U.S. Open Beer Championship. In honor of that accomplishment, Draught Lines reached out to CEO Bill Brock – the fifth generation of his family to run the brewery, to find out how a 21st century brewery stays true to its heritage, its region and its history.


D.L. How did it feel to take home a gold medal?

B.B. Great! Straub American Lager is made using the same recipe (and the same brewing process) Peter Straub perfected in the 1870s. It’s hand-crafted with 100% natural ingredients – no sugars, no salts, no preservatives. But hey, you forgot to congratulate us on the bronze Straub Light won at the same competition.

D.L. Sorry about that. Congratulations! Now tell us about Straub American Lager. The beer has historic significance.

B.B. Straub’s history, my family’s history, is essentially the story of lager beer in America. British colonists drank ales. German immigrants, like Peter Straub, brought lagers to the new world. And then they had to learn how to make them without the malts available to them in Europe. That’s why some lagers contain adjuncts like corn. It wasn’t about substituting cheaper ingredients; it was about trying to get it to taste like the beer brewed in Germany.

D.L. Didn’t Straub Kölsch win a bronze at the last World Beer Cup, too?

B.B. 2016 was a pretty good year for us. Out of 75 beers entered, our Kölsch style ale did get the bronze. We make about 15 different styles of beer – all firmly rooted in the German brewing traditions we are known for. This one is a great summer beer, very refreshing and sessionable. [5% ABV]

D.L. Are your beers really handcrafted?

B.B. Oh, yeah. Our brewery isn’t uber-mechanized. The system is still gravity fed and much of the work is done manually. By the time a consumer gets one of our beers, it’s been touched by five or six employees. And we are going to keep it that way because people need jobs.

D. L. What makes Straub a “legacy” brewery?

B.B. Like Yuengling, it’s a brewery founded before Prohibition that has always been family owned and operated. We all started as regional breweries back in the 1800s when our German ancestors came to this country and began brewing the lagers they enjoyed back home.

D.L. Why did they settle in St. Marys?

B.B. A group of German Catholics had settled in another part of this country – somewhere in the south. They feared that they would not be able to practice their religion freely so they bought the land, sight unseen, and settled in Pennsylvania. Luckily the water here is great for making beer.

Read the full interview here:


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