April 1999 Newsletter

APRIL, 1999


DATE: Monday, April 26th
TIME: 7 p.m.
PLACE: Isaac Newtons, 18 So. State St, Newtown PA
PHONE: (215) 860-5100


This month’s meeting at Isaac Newton’s in Newtown, Pa (details above) will be a triple feature.

Headlining the meeting will be Bill Covaleski, Head Brewer at Victory. We don’t know what Bill will be bringing, but if it’s Victory, it’s got to be good!

Lew Bryson, well-known beer drinker, and beer author is up next. Lew just wrote the definitive work on breweries in Pa – Pennsylvania Breweries.” The book features information and Lew’s picks for just about every brewery and brewpub in Pa.

Dave Stuart of Cooper & Sons, Ltd. (“It’s Australian for malt, mate”) will conclude our malty extravaganza. In addition to being a maltster, Cooper & Sons Ltd. is an Australian brewery with over 125 years of brewing experience. Yes, a wealth of beer knowledge to be tapped (ouch) here!

Last, but not least, don’t forget the excellent tap selection at Isaac Newton’s, which usually features a few choice Belgians


1. Take Rt. 95 South toward Pa.
2. Take the PA-322 exit, exit number 30, towards NEWTOWN.
3. Keep RIGHT at the fork in the ramp, and merge onto NEWTOWN YARDLEY RD/SR-332 W.
4. Turn RIGHT onto SILVER LAKE RD/SR-332. (0.1 miles).
5. Stay straight to go onto SR-332. SR-332 becomes SR-332/E WASHINGTON AVE. (0.6 miles).
6. Turn LEFT onto S STATE ST.


PALE ALES held its first ever club-only competition (dubbed BYHB – Bring Yer Home Brew) this past March 28 (Sunday) at Ryck Suydam’s hop farm in Franklin Park.

Over 60 people showed up for judging and the hop talk, and there were 24 entries – an excellent showing given the weather and that this was our first go around. Best of all, we also gained several new members as a result of the competition! Kudos to the competition organizers (esp. Joe Bair).

Ryck started off things with a talk on hops and the hop farm. Ryck grows mainly Cascade and Centennial hops on his farm, and is experimenting with other types, including Hallertauer and Fuggles.

Ryck mentioned that he would be picking hops later on in the year, and invited members to come down and help harvest the crop – with payment in hops.

Additionally, Ryck’s guest (a legislator whose name eludes me), spoke on the bill currently in the NJ State Legislature which would allow farms to brew and sell beer on the premises much in the same way wineries do in many states.

I for one, would love to see such a bill passed, as it could help NJ farmers, a vanishing breed in many areas of the “Garden” state. In addition, both homebrewers and beer drinkers would benefit from fresher supplies and products.

Next, was the contest. For the contest segment, we broke into several groups. Each person in a group tasted all of the homebrews in that group, wrote comments and provided immediate verbal feedback to the brewer.

Everyone in the group then selected which beers would be promoted of those tasted. (And if you were like me, you went back and resampled all of them after judging – just to make sure!)

The winners of this round were:

1) Paul Krupa
2) Tom Flanagan
3) Rico from Cook College
4) Clay Spence
5) Rich Koch
6) Kent Brehm
7) Tom Puskar
8) Marty Sauer
9) Andrew Koontz/Laurie Harmon
10) Ryck Suydam

Some slight suggestions were made for tweaking the contest (improved instructions and organization), but for the most part, participants seemed pretty comfortable with the whole format. What did you think? Give us your feedback at the next meeting!

Although we have not worked out the specifics yet, it looks like the next round of our BYHB competition will be held in late June. More details to follow.


Contributed by Brian Rezac of the AHA

In honor of the 11th anniversary of National Homebrew Day and the 21st year of the American Homebrewers Association® (AHA), the AHA is sponsoring its second Big Brew celebration this May 1st.

Club members will start brewing at Joe’s store probably around 10 a.m or so. Whether you want to brew, watch, or share homebrews, be sure and stop by. By the way, our homebrew site is registered at the AHA site as the “Frankenstein Hut.”

In the interest of spreading the gospel of all-grain, Al Boccardo has offered to split the work and cost of his batch with any interested brewer. Contact Al at 609-584-1611 or anjifelal@e… for more info.

The AHA anticipates thousands of brewers in all 50 states will ather at hundreds of locations to brew the same beer recipe on the same day. Excitement about the event is so high that homebrewers in Japan, Australia, Canada, and Africa plan to join in the fun!

“This event is so large and so fun, it exemplifies the camaraderie of the homebrewing hobby. Not only do we get the pleasure and satisfaction of making great beer, but savoring the results isn’t a bad way to spend time either,” says Brian Rezac, AHA Administrator. “The event began last year when we were attempting to set a Guinness World Record for the most beer homebrewed simultaneously. I’m certain this year we’ll exceed last year’s record-setting attempt.” In a fitting tribute to homebrewers everywhere, the Big Brew ’99 beer recipe is for Collaborator Milk Stout. Widmer Brothers Brewing Co. in Portland, Oregon developed this commercially available beer in conjunction with the Oregon Brew Crew, a Portland area homebrew club. Now brewers around the world will be able to make and enjoy this milk stout style beer.

Ed Note: There is also a Stickebier beer recipe (like an IPA version of an Alt beer) that some of us will be using as an
alternative recipe – see Joe for more info.

In 1998, Big Brew participants brewed more than 1,350 gallons of an identical barley wine recipe — the equivalent of 14,400 12-ounce bottles. The celebration was judged a huge success by AHA officials, and 1999 looks even bigger with more than 125 sites signed as of April 14.

Big Brew festivities are designed to celebrate and call attention to the hobby of homebrewing. Congress officially recognized May 1 as National Homebrew Day in 1988. Today, an estimated one million people homebrew in the U.S

For more information about Big Brew ’99 visit the official web site at www.beertown.org/bigbrew99.


Priceless urns, works of art, anthropological treasures, and – beer drinkers? Yes, I’m talking about none other than the annual beer festival held at the University of Pennsylvania Anthropological museum.

This is typically one of my favorite festivals, I’ve attended it for almost seven years. They typically have an excellent selection of beers, it’s in a great setting (a Chinese Rotunda, filled with works of art from ancient civilizations), and the food is included in the ticket price (a non-stop buffet of pate, sausages, beer pretzels, cheeses, etc.). Throw in a tutored tasting from Michael Jackson, and you can’t beat it.

Having said that, some things have gotten worse, rather than better. For example, the price seems to jump every year. It was $40 this year, about $10 more than last year. This was done to justify the fact that food was served with the beers at the tutored tasting as well. In my opinion, leave the food in the tutored tasting out next time. It didn’t add much to the beer, and slowed the pouring process down (most importantly!).

Also, it seems like the breweries at the festival were more crowded together this year (less product space). Still, for what you pay, it’s a pretty decent event – just not as good a bargain as in previous years. Some of the highlights at the festival for me were the Stoudts Pale Ale (Surprise, surprise, yet another good beer from Stoudts) and Unibroue’s Quelque Chose -great spice and fruit flavors in a holiday ale.

Some good beers from Appalachian, Flying Fish, Rock Creek, Dogfish Head, Weyerbacher, Dock Street, and others.
(Sorry, I don’t take a lot of notes at this festival). Some other PALE ALERS (Joe Bair, Dave Corbishley, and Andy
Schmitt I think) also attended.


Who would have the good sense and judgement to resist a beer-drinking event with barley wines and a name like “Split thy Skull?” Not me! so I had no choice but to attend the fourth annual Split Thy Skull this past April 3rd (12-6 pm) at Sugar Moms bar in Phila.

I had been looking forward to this event with a mix of desire and trepidation. Sure I loved the idea of twelve different barley wines (or beers similar in alcoholic fortitude!) on tap, but, it could get ugly after five or six pints!

I can happily report that my fears were quickly laid to rest. Sugar Mom’s was chock-full of fairly well-behaved beer geeks and pubcrawlers. (However, I do recall one inebriated fellow who was particularly amused by the offering from Weyerbacher Brewing (Easton, PA) -“Blithering Idiot Barley Wine,” which he took pains to point out on the menu to several attendees, including myself. I suspect he felt a certain spiritual, transcendent kinship with that particular barley wine at that time.) Barley wines, doppelbocks, and trippels were served in 8 oz glasses, at 2.50 – a good price, and prudent serving size!

The following big beers were offered (I have included tasting notes where possible):

— Brooklyn Monster (11.7%)- Always a favorite. Outstanding hops and malt.

— Dock Street B&R (12.2%)

— Dogfish Head Zwaanend Ale (9.5%)- Didn’t taste like any barley wine, trippel, or Belgian, that I’ve had. Interesting fruitiness, pleasantly sweet (but not a malt sweetness). Date and fig flavors. I really enjoyed the unusualness of this beer.

— Schloss Eggenberg Urbock 23 (9.6%) – Wow. What a great blonde doppelbock. Malty and warming. Doesn’t taste like almost 10 percent alcohol.

— La Trappe Quadrupel (10%)

— Rogue Old Crustacean (10.36%) – I forgot how good this is! Great malt up front, fading to a wonderful hoppiness. Deceiving alcohol.

— Smuttynose Barleywine (10%) – Wonderful, nice caramelly maltiness, but without the cloying sweetness of many barley wines.

— Three Floyds Behemoth (9.5%)

— Victory Golden Monkey (9.5%) – Lovely Trippel, spicy, fruity, deceiving alcohol

— Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot (11.1%) – Almost like a Trippel Scotch Ale. Diacetyl/butterscotch very prominent.

— Yards Old Bartholomew (9%) – Deadly smooth, nice balance, oh, so creamy


J.J. Bittings (Woodbridge) hosted its First Annual Gold Metal competition this past April 11. This was an AHA-sanctioned homebrew competition and sponsored by the Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale and Lager Enthusiasts Society (WHALES).

Prizes were awarded for each category, and the winning entry will possibly be brewed by the brewpub (if feasible). I had planned to judge this event, but had to defer due to illness.

The winners list follows. Kudos to PALE ALES member Doug Hood, who took first place in the Spice/Herb/Experimental category for what looks like a sparkling mead. If I forgot anyone else, let me know!



Andrew Henckler American Pale Ale Jackson Heights, NY 1st
Jim Simpson Smoked Barley Wine Ridgewood, NJ 2nd
Arine Petersen American Brown Ale Navesink, NJ 3rd


TABLE: 1 Browns/Common

Arine Petersen American Brown Ale Navesink, NJ 1st
Ken Johnsen American Brown Ale Staten Island, NY 2nd
Michael McCormick English Brown Ale S. Plainfield, NJ 3rd


TABLE: 2 Euro Lagers

J.D. Roberts Kolsch S. Amboy, NJ 1st
Chris Gill Dusseldorf-Style Alt Long branch, NJ 2nd
John DeGeorge Munchner Helles Staten Island, NY 3rd


TABLE: 3 Spice/Herb/Experimental

Doug Hood Sparking Traditional Somerset, NJ 1st
John Bedell Fruit & Vegetable Edison, NJ 2nd
Keith Seguine Specialty Woodbridge, NJ 3rd


TABLE: 4 Scottish/Strong

Jim Simpson Classic-Style Ridgewood, NY 1st
Scott Sabre English Old Ale S. Amboy, NJ 2nd
Arine Petersen English Best/Special Navesink, NJ 3rd


TABLE: 5 Stouts/Porters

Keith Seguine Irish-style Dry Woodbridge, NJ 1st
Jim Simpson Sweet Stout Ridgewood, NY 2nd
Steve Casparie Sweet Stout Staten Island, NY 3rd


TABLE: 6 Lagers/pils/wheats

Frank Mitchell Lager/Ale-Cream Ale Lanoka Harbor, NJ 1st
Jim Simpson German Pilsener Ridgewood, NY 2nd
Jim Simpson Berliner Weisse Ridgewood, NY 3rd

TABLE: 7 Belgians

Chris Gill Belgian Strong Ale Long branch, NJ 1st
Arine Petersen White (Wit) Navesink, NJ 2nd
Keith Seguine Dubbel Woodbridge, NJ 3rd


TABLE: 8 Pale Ales

Andrew Henckler American Pale Ale Jackson Heights, NY 1st
Mark Delay India Pale Ale Trenton, NJ 2nd
Thoman Flanagan English Pale Ale Jackson, NJ 3rd


TABLE: 9 Bocks/Barley Wines

Kenny Schrader Doppelbock Edison, NJ 1st
John DeGeorge Helles / Maibock Staten Island, NY 2nd
Chuck Coronato English-Barley Wine Wyckoff, NJ 3rd


River Horse Brewing is gearing up for the big event in Lambertville – the Shad Festival on April 24-25th. The brewery will feature a pig roast and beer garten at this auspicious event.


Triumph has a great ESB on cask right now. They also have an interesting experimental brew – a Buckwheat beer. I found it to be dry, crisp and refreshing with a subtle nuttiness, and not a great deal of hop flavor or bitterness. I had expected a little more of the buckwheat grain character, also, but all in all a good light summer beer.

Also, I recently was able to find the Ramstein Winter Wheat (a weizen doppelbock) in six-packs at a liquor store near me. I was very impressed. One of the best weizen doppelbocks I have ever had. Smooth and mellow, the beer had the phenolic, clove-like flavor of a weizen, with a smokieness to it (perhaps from the dark malts and aging), and raisin and chocolate notes. And, oh yes the near 9% alcohol will sneak up on ya!

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Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society