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Summer Beer Review: Pearl Street Grill and Brewery

When head brewer Chris Herr took over the reins at Pearl Street Grill and Brewery three years ago, he set out to introduce average beer drinkers to craft beer. He did this by brewing very approachable beer for those who wouldn’t normally indulge in anything outside of “big beers” like a Labatt Blue or Budweiser. Well, he accomplished his goal and today at Pearl Street you’ll find a large variety of light, medium, and dark beers to choose from. In fact, at all times they have roughly nine annuals and five seasonals on tap, so chances are there’s something you’re going to enjoy.

Chris is not only head brewer at Pearl Street, he also oversees the Pan-American Grill & Brewery and the soon to open RiverWorks Brewing Company – located at Buffalo RiverWorks inside an industrial grain silo.

RiverWorks brewery underway
RiverWorks brewery underway
RiverWorks brewery underway
RiverWorks brewery underway
RiverWorks beer garden underway
RiverWorks beer garden underway

My mission this week was to cover the summer beers at Pearl Street. I’ll be making visits to the other two breweries in the near future. Chris hopes to be brewing at Buffalo RiverWorks soon.

Getting back to Pearl Street, the second floor patio is one of my favorite places to relax during the summer with a beer. It’s one of the best places to enjoy spectacular views of our city. If you haven’t been recently, head there as soon as you can, and grab one of the following top summer picks. Enjoy!

Green Tea Beer – 5% abv

Chris tells me that this was the one of the first beers he brewed as a home brewer 10 years ago, perfecting the recipe over time. Similar to a shandy, it tastes like a combination of iced tea, lemonade, and… beer! The flavors are subtle and subdued, with hints of lemon and tea leaf. It’s brewed to be light and refreshing, and made with actual loose leaf Tazo Zen green tea!

Gin Spiced Saison – 7.2% abv

Inspired by our local gin distilleries such as Lockhouse and Tommyrotter, Chris set out to brew a beer that tastes like a gin and tonic, and, he did it! By starting with a spicy saison, and adding juniper berries, lemon peels, coriander, and cardamom, this beer is spot on. Garnished with a lime, it’s remarkably similar in taste to a gin and tonic and will amaze you. It’s so smooth and refreshing that it hides the 7% alcohol a little too well, and might go down a bit too quick if you’re not careful.

Spirit of Buffalo Kolsh – 4.7% abv

Brewed in collaboration with the Spirit of Buffalo boat tours, you’ll find this beer at the brewery and also aboard the Spirit of Buffalo schooner docked at Canalside. It’s a traditional German pale ale that incorporates locally sourced malt, grown in Batavia NY, and a pinch of New Zealand hops for a twist on a classic style. It’s easy to drink with just enough hop character to keep it approachable to light beer drinkers and hop heads alike.

Lighthouse – 4% abv

This has been a staple at Pearl Street for the last 17 years. It’s their answer to the “big beer” lagers like a Bud Light. It’s light bodied, and made with simple ingredients – malted barley, hops, yeast, and water. Although it tastes like a lager, it’s technically an ale or “blonde ale” to be more precise. If you’re looking for something really drinkable and very light, this beer is for you. Although it’s simple in makeup, the traditional ingredients give it more flavor than the typical light beers you’re used to.


Written by Adam Boyd

Adam Boyd

A true Buffalonian through and through. Adam believes in the resurgence of our great city and wishes nothing more than to help return it to glory. His devotion to Buffalo can been seen and heard every day through his work in local radio. If he’s not working, you can find him on his snowboard, out on the golf course, playing pickup hockey, or hanging out with his dogs at Lasalle Park.

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