April 2002 Newsletter

April 2002

DATE: Monday, April 29
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
PLACE:JJ Bittings, 33 Main Street Woodbridge, NJ 07095
PHONE: (732) 634-2929

For April’s meeting, we are headed on the road to one of Central
NJ’s finer brewpubs – JJ. Bittings.

As you may have read in the last issue, brewers Brad Renninger and Tom Pathrath invited the local homebrew club WHALES to compose a recipe and brew it with him. I can personally attest that it was a lot of fun and that the Dunkelweizen we brewed is now on tap at the brewpub.

Brad is going to talk a little bit about what he does, and we will be
sampling some of their beers of course as well. Also, we will talk a
little about folks’s progress on brewing brown ale for the next
style meeting, and discuss the upcoming BIG BREW on May 4th.

Try and make this one folks! I am going to send an invitation to the
WHALES club also, since it is their neck of the woods and that it
would be nice to get some cross-pollenation of homebrew. Should be fun for all!

The brewpub is right across the street from the Woodbridge train
station. You can also get directions from the brewpub’s web site


The big news in this year’s election was the election of past
president Steven “dubbel-ya” Rowley. Steve, it’s great to
have you back.

The other results are as follows:

Andrew “Kolsch” Koontz and Laurie “Hefeweizen” Harmon
– Vice President (s)

Al “Merican Bock” Boccardo = Treasurer

Kevin “I’ll drink to that” Trayner = Secretary

Dave “Imperial Stout” Albert = Events Coordinator

Betty and Joe “Stewards Extraordinairre” Scarlatta and Chuck
“Busta Hop” DiSanto = Members at Large

It is great to see these officers return and to work with folks of
this caliber. 2002 is gonna be a good year.


Ready your kettles gentlemen. The club will commence its upteenth
annual Big Brew on May 4th, Sat., 10 am at Princeton Homebrew. Always original, the club’s recipe for this year will be a sticke/alt

During the Big Brew event, homebrewers across the world will gather at local sites for a day of brewing, including a simultaneous toast at noon (CST).

Recipes (a Maibock and Old Ale) are available on the official web
site www.beertown.org. According to the AHM, last year, 2,056
registered participants gathered at 183 brewing sites worldwide,
making 5,110 gallons of homebrew.

Big Brew 2002 will also feature an Internet chat on the Brew Rat Chat site, www.brewrats.org, where participants can go on-line to chat about brew-site experiences.


Some of the upcoming events for PALE ALES for the year. Check the new website calendar at www.paleales.org for more information.

APRIL – JJ Bittings meeting (Road Trip)

MAY – Style Meeting: European Wheat Beers (Belgian and German)

MAY 4th – Big Brew, Sticke/Alt brew

JULY – NYC Pub Crawl

JUNE – Beers of High Point!!!

SEPT – Style Meeting: Bock beer

NOV – Style Meeting: Strong Ales

JAN – Style Meeting: Porters/Stouts



B.E.E.R. (Brewer’s East End Revival) homebrew club will hold its 6th Annual Brew-off and Chili cook-off on May 11th,2002. Entries for this AHA-BJCP sanctioned homebrew competition will be accepted April 22nd through May 4th,2002.

They will be accepting all mead, cider, and beer entries based on the current BJCP guidelines. Check out the club’s website at
http://hbd.org/beer/ for more info and to volunteer/judge (you can do
this online as well.)

AHA Conference
2002 AHA National Homebrewers Conference
June 20-22, 2002 – Irving, Texas

Registration form and information can be found in the March/April
issueof Zymurgy at www.beertown.org this spring. For more information contact Gary at ext. 121 or gary@aob.org.


Yes, it’s an unusual headline to be sure. My March beer month
ended on a great note, as it has for the past 10 years or so – at the
annual beer tasting held at the University of Pennslyvania
Archaelogical Museum on March 23rd. “Pissing beer hunters”
refers to the Michael Jackson tutored tasting portion of the day, during which Michael left the stage briefly to answer the call of nature.

Let me preface this all by saying that, Michael, dedicated and
fortified soul that he is, runs three tutored tastings of 10 beers or
so that day. This does not include the beers that are presented and
subsequently quaffed by him during the THREE 2.5 hour tutored
tastings that day. And there is of course the gala beer dinner the
night before, and various beer events most likely every day that
entire week.

Having said that, in all his years, Jackson has only ever had to
answer the call of nature during a speech once or twice during his
tenure as beer hunter, as he pointed out to the crowd of hundreds
before he left. I was at the middle tasting, but I understand that he
did the same during the last tasting of the day (perhaps so as not to
disappoint! – frankly, it made my day). Did I mention that he has
probably turned 60 by the time you will read this?

Finally, I must conclude, based on Michael’s awe-inspiring palate
and beer selections, that have made him a modern-day Gambrinus, writer, and teacher, that whatever he graced the lavatory of the University of Pennsylvania Archeological Museum with, is still eminently more drinkable than many commercial “omni-beers” produced today. So, please join me in toasting Michael, his liver, and of course his (now- slightly-more famous) bladder. CHEERS!

The beers and food at this event were great as always. Tried the
potent (22% ABV) Raison de Extra from Sam “I like em big”
Calagione of Dogfish Head. (Sam’s Worldwide Stout, at a slightly higher octane, is astoundingly drinkable), preceded by some of the new Dogfish Head rum. Apparently, making whopping-big beers is not enough, Sam had to get a distillery going and make some great-flavored rum. Heavyweight’s hand pumped Baltic Porter sure stood out in my mind, as did Troeg’s nicely balanced Doppelbock, and the amazingly smooth one-month old Quadrupel from Weyerbacher.

I spoke with Phil Markowski, owner of award and accolade winning
Southampton brewpub (in Southampton, LI) for a good while. Here is a brewpub making some of the best beer on the East Coast, and perhaps in the US. (Hey this guy got TWO entries in Michael Jackson’s “Best Beer” book.) He would love to have the club visit, and while it is certainly a haul for us, it would be worth the while.

The weekend after the tasting, I would again find myself in that
wonderful beer town of Philly for the annual “Split the
Skull” event, sponsored by Jim Anderson of Beer Philadelphia. This event is dedicated entirely to big beers, and I mean really big beers – barleywines, imperial stouts, trippels, etc. And of course, as these are some of my favorite beers, I am always concerned as to whether I will make it back home!

As always, this event is held in the cavern-like cellar at
Sugarmom’s bar – one of the best places to drink good beer in Philly. Some of my favorites this year were the Old Dominion Millennium Barleywine, Bardo’s White Lightnin, and local favorite Heavyweight’s Cold Salty (an “ice-bocked” version of the Barleywine). Tom was also serving a Treacle-primed hand-pumped version of his Baltic Porter, which rocked as well.

What could top such high-octane marvels of malt? Well, it turns out
that Jim Anderson, founder of Beer Philadelphia newspaper and sponsor of this and many other great beer events in Philly, held a secret tasting prior the Splitting of the Skulls. Jim kept the topic of the tasting secret for good reason – he didn’t want to scare the
shit out of the secret tasting lottery winners! Microdistillery spirits from the US was the flavor of the tasting.

We started off with the Portero small-batch rye whiskey put out by
Anchor Steam, and commented upon by Anchor Rep. (and former broadcast voice for the Phillies) Andy Musser. For my money, this rye whiskey matched up to Maker’s Mark and similar small-batch bourbons, with a touch of rye mintiness in the finish to distinguish it. This was followed up by the Dogfish Head rum, which had a somewhat alchoholic nose, but a great balanced flavor, with prominent vanilla notes. Lastly, we sampled a micro-distilled gin from Idaho. In my mind, the juniper nose of this compared favorably to Tanqueray gin, my absolute favorite gin for martinis.

Fellow beer writers Gary Monterosso, “Joe Six-Pack” from the
Daily News, Old Salty author Bill Coleman from ASN, and many others were out in force. And I chatted with one or two homebrewers as well. All in all, a taxing, but enjoyable day. Thank God for public transportation (and my understanding wife!)


Ale Street News is sponsoring a great 4-day bus excursion to the
Mondial de la biere Festival in Montreal. The bus leaves NJ Thurs.
May 30th. Returns Sun., June 2. Cost is $475, the same as last year.

This year they’ve packed the itinerary even more. Check out
www.alestreetnews.com for full itinerary. Book by April 30. We’re
expecting to sell out this year.


Don’t miss the Dinner of the Decade, Ale Street News’ 10-Year
Anniversary Beer Dinner at Oscars, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, NYC July 11. Put it on your calendar now and watch our website for beer and menu details. Unibroue, Stoudts, Brooklyn, and Ramapo Valley are on the menu so far. Watch for drawing for free tickets to the dinner!

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Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society