RIP Tom Pastorius, Pennsylvania’s first microbrewer.

The Philadelphia region in the mid-90s became the focal point of Pennsylvania’s emerging craft beer industry, and given our tendency to ignore the other side of the state, it is too rarely mentioned around here that the opening of Penn Brewery in Pittsburgh in 1986 by Tom Pastorius and his wife marked the first microbrewery in the state. Stoudts became the first brewpub a few months later).

Pastorius succumbed to cancer on September 6. His impact on craft beer in these parts is hard to overstate. The  embracing of German style lager beers by both Penn and Stoudts  helped set a standard for those brews that remains unmatched elsewhere in the country. The birth of Stoudts Microbrew Festival in 1991 and the Penn Microfest three years later also established the primary tradition by which early craft brewers were able to share their beers with the public and strengthened the cooperative we’re-all-in-this-together spirit which is still at the heart of the industry.

We lost a good one last Thursday and we lost him way too early. Raise a pint of good lager in his honor first chance you get.

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