Brewery: Old Thunder Brewing Company. 340 Freeport Road, Blawnox. oldthunderbrewing.com
Cream ales might be somewhat of an acquired taste. And by acquired taste, I mean that often you just need to put your tastebuds aside to enjoy one. Related pretty closely to a pale lager, they’re often associated with cheap, college beers you barely even register as being there.
Luckily, being from Rochester, N.Y., home of the famous Genesee Cream Ale, I’m well-versed in the ways of this style. So when I saw there was one on tap at Blawnox's new Old Thunder Brewing Company, I had to get it.
Old Thunder Brewing Company has been a hit since the moment it opened. The brewery first started selling to-go cans in late December 2020, then officially opened to the public for indoor dining in April 2021, according to Breweries in Pennsylvania. When I stopped in, it was nearly full by 5 p.m. on a Friday, cars desperately trying to maneuver around the tricky Blawnox parking lot, located directly off Freeport Road.
The building, a former Blawnox post office which has been repurposed into the spacious brewery, is gorgeous. With all high ceilings and a retro Pittsburgh feel, it’s an awesome space to go and enjoy a beer.
It helps that the beer is worth it, too. Owned and operated by three lead brewers — Zach Gordon, Rob Dillman, and Josh Taylor — Old Thunder is backed by tons of local experience. All three worked at Brew Gentlemen before starting this venture, and have a reputation for high quality beer.
It’s often hard to make a beer like Old Thunder's Streetlight Stars stand out sometimes, for fear of being lumped in with a whole host of generic, $14-for-a-30-pack light beers. But on their website, Old Thunder says they want to “remain loyal to the past, present, and future of beer.” To me, that means brewing styles that may fall by the wayside, but in ways that are fun, clean, and different. Which is exactly what they've done with Streetlight Stars.