ABV is our weekly series that highlights a different beer from a local Pittsburgh brewery every week. Check out our past picks here.
Confession: I love the great INDOORS. Climate control and Wi-Fi make me happy as a clam.
Second confession: Not everyone is like me. Many of you reading these words may enjoy camping or fishing; two activities that exclusively happen outside.
If you find yourself in the mood for a light, low-ABV beer while doing those outside things, this roundup’s for you. Check out these nine Pittsburgh-area beers that ALL register under 5% ABV.
Keep it real with these summer slammers amongst the fresh air. And the trees, bugs, mountains, rivers, sunshine, not sunshine…you get it.
I’ll be waving to y’all from inside.
ABV, volume LXXXI
Low-ABV Beers For the Summertime Outdoor Funs
Abjuration Brewing Co // McKees Rocks
Beer Name // Style // ABV: Honey Lager // Lager // 4.1% ABV
Know Before You Go: Your trip to Abjuration can take you one of two ways. Literally. The guys have their brewery setup in McKees Rocks (west) firing away with takeout service on Saturdays and Sundays. You can also head to Verona (east) and peep their new outdoor beer garden – which they plan to open 1-2 times per week – as reported by Breweries in PA. We recommend Abjuration’s Honey Lager – which has a touch of sweetness resulting from the addition of clover honey, sourced from Bedillion Honey Farm (Hickory, PA).
Spring Hill Brewing // Spring Hill, Northside
Beer Name // Style // ABV: Millennial Pink and Gold // Table Rye Ale // 3% ABV
Know Before You Go: We recently featured Spring Hill Brewing as part of our Very Local mini-documentary series. Hear from head brewer Greg Kamerdze and his focus on low-ABV, farmhouse ales. Really everything he brews at Spring Hill fits super well for your camping / outdoor activity plans. The Millennial Pink and Gold is an ultra-light table rye ale brewed using caraway, sea salt and pink peppercorn for a little added kick.
Eleventh Hour Brewing // Lawrenceville
Beer Name // Style // ABV: Bönnsch // Kolsch-Belgian Wit Beer hybrid// 4.9% ABV
Know Before You Go: Although they aren’t back on the menu at this exact moment of publication, Eleventh Hour has confirmed the return of two light, summertime favorites. Archer, their house Kolsch, and Bönnsch, which is a merger between a Kolsch and a Belgian wit beer, are both making their way back into the beer rotation at Eleventh Hour over the next few weeks, per head brewer Matt McMahon. Expect to see both – along with some other summer-centric selections – hit the draft list before the brewery’s anniversary celebrations this fall.
Hitchhiker Brewing // Sharpsburg and Mt Lebanon
Beer Name // Style // ABV: Fruit Rush – Blueberry Watermelon // Smoothie Sour Shandy // 4.8% ABV
Know Before You Go: Nothing made me happier this past week than sharing a 4-pack of Hitchhiker’s Baby Bane – a low-ABV iteration of their flagship IPA, Bane of Existence. Director of Brewing Operations Andy Kwiatkowski continues offering up diverse, varying gravities in a constantly rotating lineup of beers that always hit the mark. The Fruit Rush is an upcoming shandy that’s available starting this Friday, Aug 21. Expect to taste notes of lemon, blueberry, watermelon and lemonade in this light, fruited sour.
Leaning Cask Brewing // Springdale
Beer Name // Style // ABV: Chesky Pils // Czech-Style Pilsner // 3.8% ABV
Know Before You Go: Leaning Cask has a clean, refreshing pilsner available right now at their Springdale digs AND – best part of all – it’s super convenient to hit them up if your travels take you UP the Allegheny River. Think New Kensington, Natrona Heights, Kittanning, etc. Super easy to pop in and fuel up as you continue along Freeport Road past Pittsburgh Mills.
Grist House // Millvale and Collier
Beer Name // Style // ABV: Krisp // Kolsch-style Ale // 4.9% ABV
Know Before You Go: You’ll want to check on the availability of Krisp before you head to Grist House for curbside pickup. This is a delicious Kolsch-style ale they’ve been re-introducing semi-regularly into their beer lineup and it’s a straightforward, summertime crusher. Highly recommend pairing this with a bite to eat – particularly pizza from Iron Born if you’re visiting the Millvale location.
Cinderlands Beer Co // Strip District
Beer Name // Style // ABV: Lil Cinder // Light Lager // 4.2% ABV
Know Before You Go: From the moment they launched, Cinderlands pioneered the Dad Beer as an entire section on their menu. Their light lager is an incredibly affordable option among its craft beer brethren – coming in at just $10 for a 4-pack of 16-oz cans.
Allegheny City Brewing // Northside
Beer Name // Style // ABV: Fairwaters Pilsner // Czech Pilsner // 4.5% ABV
Know Before You Go: Here’s a previously unreleased beer from the folks at Allegheny City Brewing that strikes a lovely balance between hoppy and crisp. Fairwaters Pilsner – which IS a pilsner – was dry hopped with Citra during the latter stages of brewing to give it a little spunk. At 4.5% ABV, it maintains a low gravity and makes our list of recommendations for your outdoor activities.
Strange Roots Experimental Ales // Millvale and Gibsonia
Beer Name // Style // ABV: Lager Roots Lime // Lager, conditioned on limes // 4.9% ABV
Know Before You Go: As Strange Roots continues to diversify their offerings with IPAs and lagers, the Lager Roots series has been an absolute treat to mix into my curbside takeout runs. The lime on this iteration is NOT subtle; you will most definitely get a flavor kick and it’s palpable on the nose as well. This is your split-a-four-pack-at-the-park-watching-golden-hour-turn-to-dusk beer. And while many folks long for the days of Draai Laag – let’s call it the S.C.I.E.N.C.E. era – please know that I very much appreciate Strange Roots; even at their Crow Left of the Murder evolution.
One way or another, we all grow up. Big love.
Looking for a way to get outdoors?
- For an urban experience, take a self-guided walking tour of Downtown.
- Interested in some camping; maybe some white water kayaking? We talked to one of the owners of 3 Rivers Outdoor Co. about all of the best places to go near Pittsburgh.
- Looking for a camping compromise? These tiny houses / cabins are the perfect way to experience the great outdoors and sleep in a real bed.
Header Photo taken at the Strange Roots Experimental Ales ‘Funk Yard’ in Gibsonia, PA. Photo by Cory Morton.