The Scoop Behind Alcohol Content In Pennsylvania Beer

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This is one time when Pennsylvania is ahead of the game.

While Ohio has just lifted the alcohol limits in beer, Pennsylvania never had them.

“There is a demand for high alcohol beers, and I’m sure all those guys in Ohio are really celebrating today,” said Matt Gouwens, owner and brew master of Hop Farm Brewery in Lawrenceville.

Gouwens told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday that there’s definite differences in alcohol content in beer.

“Some folks are used to Budweiser that’s maybe three, three and half percent, maybe four,” noted Gouwens.

But the craft beers brewed locally are stronger.

“An average would be six or seven percent. Most beers fall within that range,” he said.

Sean Casey, owner and brew master at the Church Brew Works, says some beer lovers want even stronger beer.

“There’s definitely a group of beer connoisseurs, let’s call them beer geeks or beer snobs, just like you have the wine snobs that like the port wine and the ice wine — there’s a segment like that in the beer industry that like the bigger beers,” added Casey.

Hop Farm posts the alcohol content of each of its beers for customers to see.

At 8 percent alcohol content, the Sweaty Monk has more alcohol than most craft beers, which is why it is served in a 12 ounce glass as opposed to a 16 ounce glass.

That makes them roughly equivalent when it comes to alcohol.

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Of course, more alcoholic beer is available locally, especially when stored in barrels that once contained bourbon, like the Pumpkin Imperial Stout sold at the Church Brew Works.

“This is 11 and a half percent,” said Casey. “It’s not on draft yet, but we think for Octoberfest in about three more weeks, we’ll be bringing it out after aging for a year.”

Brew masters say you can definitely tell the difference.

“You’ll get a slight warming sensation as it goes down the back of your throat,” said Casey.

But if you like high alcohol beers, get a designated driver.

“Say you had one at five percent. Now you had one at 12 percent. We’re talking over the limit there,” warned Casey.

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