Keeping it traditional at Rohrbachs

October 23, 2014

Rohrbachs owner John Urlaub
Rohrbachs owner John Urlaub

It’s never too early to taste beer, right? We stopped by Rohrbach Brewing Co. on Thursday morning and after a tour of the brewery, sat down for a chat with John Urlaub, owner of Rohrbachs. But not before a tasting of the just-filtered pumpkin ale. Oh. Boy.

“We believe in the classic style,” John says. “We literally hand-scoop the pumpkin and add it to the malted barley. It’s seasoned just right.”

“We are very, very traditional, and we’re very proud of that.”

Rohrbachs is Rochester’s first craft brewery and takes great pride in its local commitment. “Local has been part of our business plan all along. We have always focused on Rochester,” John says. “Though we sell across upstate New York, Rochester holds about 90% of our market.”

John worked at Kodak for years in California. “I was there before craft beer really started,” John says with a smile. He was transferred to New York City and then to Germany, where he fell in love with traditional German beer.

In 1991, he left Kodak and started Rohrbachs in the German House, in what is now Zeppa’s in the South Wedge. By 1995, Rohrbachs had outgrown the space and purchased their Buffalo Road location, where they also serve a full menu.

“Things happened for a reason, and by 2008 we added a second location on Railroad Street near the Public Market.”

John’s favorite beer? We asked first what his favorite Rohrbachs brew is. “I do love our Red Wing Red. It’s kind of still seasonal. You can’t get it all year. It’s such a drinkable summer beer.”

John’s favorite beer apart from Rohrbachs? “It’s definitely Anchor Steam. Because of the nostalgia!”

Our customers love Rohrbachs too. The Scotch Ale is one of the best selling items in the entire store!

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One Comment

  • We love Rohrbach’s! Its the first thing we look for when we stop at local pubs…Scotch Ale is one of our favorites, and on John’s recommendation we’ll have to give the Red Wing Red a try soon. Do you have the Red Wing Red available at the Hart’s store?

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