April 2003 Newsletter

April 2003

Pale Ales Style Meeting
DATE: Monday, April 21st
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
PLACE: Triumph, 138 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542
PHONE: (609) 924-7855


This month’s meeting on April 21st continues our style meetings with none other than that style that inspired the very moniker of our club – PALE ALES.

Club secretary and newsletter editor (yours truly) will host along with member-at-large Chuck DiSanto. Chuck and I will present on the history of this most drinkable of styles, which originated in Britain, but has also found a home across the waves in the US.

Needless to say there will be many commercial examples of this outstanding style (including some homebrewed examples of course). With springtime here, it’s the perfect time for drinking this hoppy session beer.

Please join us in celebrating this beer beloved on both sides of the Atlantic.


In case you missed it, March’s meeting (dedicated to perhaps the most universal of beverages – sake) was a big hit!

Ron Fischer of B. United International (importer of quality beers, meads and sakes) presented a half dozen different premium sakes from Japan’s Kiichi sakery.

Attendees were treated to half a dozen different exquisite sakes, of varying complexity and flavours, ranging from bourbon-like smokiness, to Sauvignon Blanc-like fruitiness.

These were literally some of the best quality sakes sold in the US, with some of the bottles fetching $50-$100 or more retail. Check
http://www.bunitedint.com/ for more info on B. United and its excellent beer and sake portfolio.

Ron provided commentary and a brochure on the different sakes, in addition to a special video on the brewing process.

Homebrewing sake guru (and club member) Bruce Hammell provided commentary on homebrewing and brewing. Some club members brought their homebrew samples as well, including a tasty Nigori sake.

Best of all, being in a Japanese restaurant allowed for the perfect pairing of sushi and sake! All in all, one of the best speciality club
meetings we have had in a while. Special thanks to Bruce Hammell for putting together a great meeting.


What do you get when you mix several thousand years of Asian antiquities, a Michael Jackson tutored tasting, and a great selection of microbrews? The University of Pennsylvania Archeological museum’s 13th Annual Beer Tasting with Michael Jackson, held this past March 22nd in the Chinese Rotunda section of the museum. (This event is part of Philly’s annual Book and
Cook festival, which features various food, beer and wine-related events held over a two-week span.)

As the theme of this years festival was “Homebrewing: An Ancient Craft Lives On,” this year’s festival (for the first time) featured homebrewed beer served alongside the microbrews. Homebrews were served appropriately enough at the Home Sweet Homebrew table, province of local homebrewing guru and legend, George Hummel. Beers ranged from a well-balanced heavy Belgian Amber
to a pleasantly grainy, low-alcohol Dark Mild. Certainly, many great brewers have come from the world of homebrewing, and you had only to taste these beers to see why, as many of them compared favorably to their commercial brethren.

Jackon’s tutored tasting eschewed a homebrewing focus as well – breweries with homebrewed beginnings. (Although, when you think about it, what professional brewers weren’t homebrewers themselves once!) Some tasting highlights included new offerings from Ommegang – the malty, spicy “Three Philosophers,” and Victory – the complex and delicious V-12. The Live Oak Pilz from Live Oak Brewing in Austin, Texas was a real show-stealer, aromatically pungent and fresh tasting, simply a great example of a Pilsner.

In the general tasting, the usual beer suspects were all present – Victory, Dogfish Head, Heavyweight, Rogue, Climax and many more – over 30 breweries and distributors in all. Always pushing the limits of style, Dogfish Head unveiled a still fermenting version of its “Shock and Awe 120-minute IPA. Packing over 120 IBUs
(another world record Sam?), this IPA was weighing in at a shocking and awesome 20% ABV. Perhaps most amazing was the fact, that this grapefruity, puckeringly, spritzy concoction, maintained an underlying sweetness that made it fairly drinkable. It sure makes one wonder what the finished product will taste like!

Troeg’s Hopback Amber proved itself one of the best, most balanced ESB style beers you’ll find. Climax poured its Hoffman Ur-Pilsner, hoppy and pleasantly grainy, and an Imperial Stout that tasted bigger and richer than the less than 8% ABV would have you believe. Or how about Unibroue’s, subtle, creamy, spicy 11? Or perhaps the pleasantly drinkable Double White from newcomer McKenzie Brew House (Glens Mills, PA)? Baltimore Brewing poured a great, characterful Weizen, while several breweries (General Lafayette in particular) served up a nice malty Scotch Ales. With nearly 100 beers to choose from, the biggest problem is how to consume them all in a two-hour period.


Here is a quick list/recap of the club’s events for the year. Note that some of these are tentative, but this gives you a good idea of what
we are planning for the upcoming year:

* JANUARY – Barleywine styles meeting

* FEBRUARY 24TH – Beers of Harvest Moon

* MARCH 10TH – Sake meeting

APRIL 21st – Styles meeting – Pale Ales

MAY – Big Brew (We’re tossing round the idea of a
California Red, with each person using a
different yeast).

JUNE – Summer Ales

JULY 12TH (tentative) – Annual NYC Pub Crawl

SEPTEMBER – Focus on hops (hop picking, hoppy

OCTOBER – Cooking with beer


DECEMBER – Club’s Hoppiest Show on Earth AHA
competition (yes, we are doing it this year

*Past meeting


Garden state beer geeks mark June 29th, Sunday on your calendar for NJ’s biggest beer event – the Garden State Craft Brewer’s Guild festival.

Although details are still being ironed as of press time, the festival will be held again at the spacious venue of historic Waterloo Village in Stanhope, NJ, and will likely run from 1-5 pm, according to Guild President, Tom Baker.

Beer will be poured from 14 different NJ breweries and brewpubs, accompanied by performances from live bands, local restaurants,
and purveyors of beer-related goods (cigars, jerky, homebrew supplies and more).

For more information on tickets and pricing information contact the Waterloo Village box office at (973) 347-0900, or talk to someone at your local brewpub.

With St. Patrick’s day just having come and gone, it seems apropos to mention a Caldwell Irish gem worth checking out – the Cloverleaf Tavern. Currently in its 70th year, the family-owned bar
was the first license after Prohibition in county. Most importantly, for you beer geeks, the bar will be christening its new beer engine on
April 20th with a cask-conditioned American Pale Ale brewed specially for them by NJ’s newest micro, Cricket Hill (Fairfield).

In addition to being one of the few bars in the state with a handpump, Cloverlead sports 16 taps, which feature some NJ locals including Cricket Hill and Flying Fish, not to mention a selection of over 100 bottles. The bar has recently renovated, and now features a second floor for dining as well, not to mention a spiffy patio.

Look for a beer dinner from the bar in April, according to second-generation owner Rich Dorchak, who runs the bar with his son. Call 973- 226-9812 or check out www.cloverleaftavern.com for more info.

Triumph (Princeton) brewpub will become the only brewpub in NJ to open a second location outside of the state. The new brewpub is scheduled to open in New Hope, Pa. by the end of April, in the
newly built, upscale Union Square Complex, a short walk from the main drag in town.
A late April opening would capitalize on tourist season in bustling New Hope, specifically the Lambertville Shad Festival on April 26-27th, which attracts thousands to the area. As of press time, the brewpub equipment is being setup and should be ready for brewing by the end of March, according to brewer Jack Hill. (Having all eight taps full at opening may be a bit more of a
challenge though!).

Hill has been prepping for the big day as best he can, working alongside brewer Tom Stevenson at the Princeton pub, learning the ropes of the brewing system, which is virtually identical to the New Hope one. Before coming to Princeton (his wife is a teacher at the university), Hill established his brewing roots in the New England
area, working at Ipswich brewery (Ipswich, Mass.) and consulting at Flying Goose (New London, New Hampshire).

The brewpub menu and beers will be similar to the original Triumph’s, with some differences. The brewpub’s beer schedule will feature Triumph’s three regulars (honey wheat, amber, and IPA), a
rotating Stout or Porter, and three seasonals (one being a lager). The brewpub will also bring a beer engine on, although probably not by the opening date.

The space of the New Hope location is “more intimate” and will feature a deck that overlooks the New Hope Lambertville railroad line, according to Eric Nutt, manager at Triumph. Richardson Smith, the designer and architect of the original Triumph, will be responsible for the look of the new brewpub.

Right across the river in Lambertville, River Horse is gearing up for some beer lineup, packaging changes, and of course the Shad
Festival on April 26-27 – Lambertville’s annual tribute to the tiny Shad fish.

In the beginning of April, RH plans to release its first new beer since 1999 – a seasonal Summer Blonde Ale, to be available in bottles and draft. The brewery has been testing out the new beer out at the Porterhouse pub in Lahaska (where RH brews all of the beer) and the response has been quite good. “It outsells the other stuff by a 4 to 1 margin,” according to co-owner, Jim Bryan.

In a related move, RH will pull its Roebling Bock for the time being while marketing the new beer. The brewery will follow up the Blonde with a winter seasonal in September. The new beer coincides with a new distribution market in upstate NY, and a packaging rehaul for all product lines, similar in nature to the retro look of the brewery’s Hop Hazard ale, according to Bryan.

In other news, RH will host its two-day beer garden and BBQ during the Shadfest weekend, which typically hosts 5,000 people. Admission is free, with participants paying for beer and food as they go.

Heavyweight (Ocean) will be releasing its seasonal Gruit Ale in the beginning of April. Always experimental, Brewer Tom Baker bumped up the herbs in this year’s version, and used his biere de garde lager yeast instead of an ale yeast, feeling that the combination will make the herbs even more prominent.

Baker will also be doing a special draft brew exclusively for the Blind Tiger (NYC) – details still to be worked out. Lastly, the brewery has all but completed its expansion work. Two 10- barrel fermenters have been added, effectively doubling fermentation space. Final work on a tasting room and gift shop area should be done by the end of April, Baker said.

On April 24th, Heavyweight will be doing a tasting at Shoreline (www.shorelinebeverage.com) beverage in Huntingdon, Long Island, which boasts the largest beer selection in New York. As the
brewery expands its sales into the Massachusetts area, it has been doing some Boston area events as well – Beer Advocate’s “Art of Beer” (May 24), Boston Beer Summit (April 5th), and NERAX Real
Ale exhibit (April 30th).

Banking on the taxpaying public’s collective need for a beer, High Point (Butler) released its on Ramstein Maibock on April 15, according to owner Greg Zaccardi. Weighing in at 7.5% ABV, the
draft-only bock will be made with European malts, hops, and a lager yeast from a Bavarian monastery.

Speaking of seasonals, Flying Fish released its Farmhouse Summer Ale on April 1st in draft and bottles. Made with pale malt, a small percentage of wheat, Styrian Golding hops, the addition of a
sour mash gives this Belgian-style beer a nice dollop of sourness and dryness, while the 4.6% ABV makes it a good session beer.

Dave Hoffman of Climax (Roselle Park) was just kegging his Pilsener when we chatted last month. The bad news is that due to time and production constraints, Hoffman will not be making his
Maibock this year. The good news is that you can look for an Octoberfest and a Dunkel lager in the summertime.

In late April, Trap Rock (Berkeley Heights) will gear up for its second beer dinner with Sierra Nevada. Upcoming beers will include a Roggen, a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone, a Maibock, Coffee Stout, and the Trappist Rock Ale (8% ABV).


The Upsate New York Homebrewers Association is pleased to be once again hosting the AHA Northeast Regionals.

Judging will be held Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27 in lovely Rochester, New York. Judging will be held at Rohrbach Brewing Company, 3859 Buffalo Road, Rochester NY 14624. Sessions will begin at 9:00 Am and 1:00 PM both days. Lunch will be served at the brewpub.

Come on out and help us judge and/or steward. We have an online registration form to make things easy.

Go to www.unyha.com/2003_nhc_first_round.htm and click on the on-line registration link. Or drop me an email at webmaster@u….

Hope to see many of you there!

Mike Kidulich
Upstate New York Homebrewers Association

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Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society