Sunday, December 14, 2008
The color red means the beer is waiting
GREENSBURG, Pa. – Red Star Brewery & Grille’s name spells great beer in more than one way.
In old Bavaria, a barkeep would hang a red star outside his business when the beer was done brewing and ready to tap. And, at Red Star in Greensburg, Pa., the large beer tanks inside the glass enclosed foyer serve as another reminder to those in the know about that tradition that this establishment takes brewing seriously.
I won’t pretend to be a beer snob because, once at the bar, I order a glass of India Pale Ale, thinking it will be on the light side. It arrives dark yet mellow enough to not qualify it as Guinness, one of the few beers that I hate more than Iron City.
So then I decide on the New England lobster salad arranged on a bed of thin-sliced tomatoes with mayonnaise dressing. It comes with a small loaf of bread and honey-flavored butter. The sweetness of the butter, combined with the beer and lobster, make for a palate pleaser unique to this fantastic bar and restaurant.
Suddenly convinced that this is my new favorite beer, I turn to the drink menu to read its description. It turns out that India Pale Ale was developed to preserve beer for long voyages from England to British troops stationed in India. To survive the three-month trip, it had to have a lot of hops and extra alcohol.
“Ours has enough hops so you can’t really tell how malty it is and enough malt so you can’t tell how hoppy it is and an extra dash at the end of hops to push the balance right over the edge,” the menu reads.
The extra hops cannot be in the mix to preserve the beer because this is one busy restaurant in a 98-year-old beautifully restored train station at 101 Ehalt St. The last two times that I stopped by this year there wasn’t a seat to be found.
The business has survived the test of time, though, because it is celebrating it 10th anniversary in a Victorian ticket room beside a rail line where trains still stop to pick up passengers.