Great Lakes and Southern Tier to premier pickle beers at 2018 Picklesburgh | Drink | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Great Lakes and Southern Tier to premier pickle beers at 2018 Picklesburgh

Pittsburgh loves pickles. So much so, the city shuts down a bridge to celebrate everything pickled once a year.

Pittsburgh also loves drinking beer. The city has one of the highest bars per person rate in the country.

Luckily (and unsurprisingly), two regional breweries are combining those two loves.

At Picklesburgh this year, craft breweries Great Lakes Brewing (Cleveland) and Southern Tier Brewing (Lakewood, N.Y.), are debuting special pickle beers. These brews aren’t actually pickled; there is no vinegar and sugar added (do not do that). Instead, they're Gose-style beers infused with fresh dill and some spices.

Great Lakes sales director Connie Tucci says the brewery has been kicking around the idea to do a pickle beer for a few years, and is excited to debut it at a festival dedicated to pickles. Tucci says the beer shouldn’t intimate drinkers and should satisfy people looking for a refreshing brew.

“Our Gose is little salty, a little tart, and a little spicy, so we knew infusing it with dill and bay leaves would add that extra pickle kick to an already refreshing beer,” says Tucci.

Southern Tier brand manager Nathan Arnone says it took four to five attempts before brewers were satisfied with Southern Tier's pickle beer. He says they infused their Gose with peppercorns and fresh dill for a refreshing and flavorful combination.

“The idea was, ‘How do we make it taste like pickles without making it taste like pickle brine,’” says Arnone. He adds that the herbs and peppercorns complement the slightly-salty notes of the Gose.

Both beers are a limited release, so Picklesburg is the best chance to taste them. Both are easy drinking: the Southern Tier beer is 3.9 percent ABV and the Great Lakes is 4.5 percent ABV.

Arnone says Southern Tier’s pickle Gose will be available at the festival and for a short time at their pub in Pittsburgh, as well as their facilities in Lakewood, N.Y., and North Carolina. Tucci says Picklesburgh is drinkers' only chance to try the Great Lakes pickle beer.

Some breweries in the Midwest have brewed beers that taste good with a pickle dunked in the glass, but beers flavored with pickle ingredients are pretty rare.

Even with the limited release of the beers, the regional craft breweries are excited at pickle beers’ potential as a new beer trend.

“For those who love tart beers and dill, this could become a new favorite,” says Artie Wilson, a Pittsburgh salesperson for Great Lakes. “This infusion was made with pickle lovers in mind, so it’ll likely remain a limited release for Picklesburgh only. Who knows, though? Pickle beers might be the next big thing in craft!”

This year's Picklesburgh runs from July 20-22 and will be held on the Roberto Clemente Bridge.