All posts by ryan

started homebrewing around ~ 2006 with extract. now all-grain 10 gallon batches. good times.

Joe Scarlata

One of the PALE ALES most senior and respected members recently passed away, Joe Scarlata, on June 9th 2013 while visiting family in Denver. Our own Joe Bair gave a fitting eulogy during the funeral service.  The next time you have a porter, tip your glass for a true gentle and wise man.

Rest in Peace Joe. Joe Scarlata

Big Brew 2013

Another year, another Big Brew down in history… meeting again on the Suydam property in Franklin, the PALE ALES turned out 200+ gallons of homebrew! A big thanks to Paul and Robin for having us there, and everyone who showed up and had some fun! Got pictures I haven’t posted?  Send them in and I’ll add them.



March 17th – Club Competition!

Similar to previous years, we are having our club-only competition this March 17th at Pizzeria Uno in Hamilton NJ at 2 pm!  It also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day, but I hope to not see any green beer coming out of any competitor’s bottles…

As is typical, I encourage all to come out for the judging and some fun! If you want to judge, please show up a little early so that we can give some brief instructions.

You must drop off either 2 – 12 oz bottles or 1 22 oz bottle at Princeton Homebrew by March 16th.  Bottles must be labeled with brewer’s name, email address, beer name, and category number.

Like past years, this is NOT a BJCP style event.  There are 5 categories listed below to categorize your beer, and be honest!

Category 1 – Malty beers with a starting gravity below 1.060

Category 2 – Hoppy beers with a starting gravity below 1.060

Category 3 – Malty beers with a starting gravity greater than or equal to 1.060

Category 4 – Hoppy beers with a starting gravity greater than or equal to 1.060

Category 5 – Brett and/or soured beer.  No gravity spec.

Thanks to our sponsors:  Briess, Wyeast, White Labs, Brewer’s Supply Group, Blichmann Engineering

The rules: Must be a paid member of the PALE ALES.  Limit of two entries per brewer.  Must drop off either 2 – 12 oz bottles or 1 22 oz bottle at Princeton Homebrew by March 16th, bottles must be labeled with brewer’s name, email address, beer name, and category number.  There are more rules, but I don’t feel like typing them now…

February Meeting – Triumph

Matt and Brandon of Triumph New Hope had the chance to show us around Triumph New Hope.  The second brewpub built of the three in total, we got a behind-the-scenes look at what makes this location different in terms of operations.  The brewhouse has a great view, but I would guess it gets really hot in there cranking out the 10 barrel batches in the summer sun!  Also they had some interesting stories about overcoming a limited glycol chilling unit, grain and supply elevator fun, and of course shuffling bags of grain!  And of course, there were some nice brews to sample:  a slightly smoked mild on hand pump, a german pilsner that was oh-so clean, and a tasty coffee stout!

A big thanks to Matt and Brandon!

Grain storage
Grain storage
keep it clean
keep it clean
tight brewhouse
tight brewhouse
mash it!
mash it!
Paul tells a story
Paul tells a story
grain mill!
grain mill!
funny story
funny story
Brewer's table
Brewer’s table

December Meeting – Goose Island

Wade Gerhardt, the vintage ale rep from Goose Island, showed off that although the brewery was purchased by AB-Inbev, they aren’t laying eggs.  While many were quick to note they had indeed sold out, Wade also mentioned how it took 9 months for AB-Inbev to get one of the beers correct.  That’s right.  Every week, 400 barrels of beer were dumped until they perfected the outcome.  So much for the idea it’s easy to clone a beer.

The night started off with Sofie, which actually isn’t AB brewed due to the brettanomyces (AB-I refuses to let that in the brewhouse) which is a pleasant farmhouse-y beer, followed by Pepe Nero, an interesting dark ale infused with black pepper that is quite nice.  Next was Matilda, a dry and refreshing amber ale, and Pere Jacques a malty dubbel style ale.  The one that stole the show was Bourbon County Stout.  Aged in bourbon barrels for quite a while, this 14% abv ale had everyone on their toes and tongues sizzling!

A big thanks to Brian from the Firkin Tavern for hosting us!

Keystone Homebrew Club Barrel Brew Championship

On Saturday October 27th, a few choice PALE ALEs members ventured out to the Keystone Homebrew supply for a brew day.  The purpose?  To brew an entry for the Keystone Homebrew Club Barrel Brew Championship!  Keystone Homebrew supply was nice enough to allow clubs entering a choice of a freshly used whiskey or applejack barrel for aging beer.  The finished beers will be judged as an AHA club night event!  The brewday took on the feel of the big brew with more than usual going on.  Brewers from NJ and PA brought loads of equipment and brewed to fill the ~50 gallon barrels.  Iron Abbey brought in plenty of Brazilian style bbq, Free Will brewing had a few firkins, and lots of homebrew clubs were on hand to talk shop with!

Early feedback from many brewers indicate this will be a pretty tough competition!

There were also some fermentation incidents… but I’d rather call it plenty of healthy yeast!







Oktoberfest at Suydam Farms

On Friday October 12th, The Promise Culinary School, Suydam Farms, and the PALE ALES teamed up for a Farm to Table evening of local brew and seasonal foods to benefit Elijah’s Promise.  Elijah’s Promise began as a volunteer New Brunswick soup kitchen, and has evolved into a culinary school and job creation enterprise that helps to rebuild lives by not simply providing food.  Suydam Farms has been growing produce, livestock, and plants for 13 generations, not to mention helping out us PALE ALES by giving us a great meeting backdrop twice a year.  The result of this epic team?  Chef prepared local foods, paired with homebrew or local brew (Harvest Moon, Triumph).  Many compliments were passed to both brewers and chefs alike!  To say the event was a success is understatement; a sold out crowd enjoyed the best of both worlds, all for the benefit of a local charity.

A big thanks to the following:  The entire Suydam family, all of Elijah’s Promise, and the PALE ALES that participated: Andy, Ben, Chuck, Dave, Kevin, Laurie, Paul, and Steve.

Due to the success of the event, they are really looking forward to a repeat in 2013!











längste Theke der Welt (The Longest Bar in the World)

Located in North Rhine-Westphalia, the capital city of Düsseldorf lays claim to having the longest bar in the world.  Walking around casually, you see a modern and efficient German city which looks like what you might expect given that much of the city was rebuilt after being bombed quite thoroughly.  But where is such a long bar?  Tucked away in the center of the city, you will find the Altstadt (Old Town) which escaped the ruinous bombings.  Inside the area of roughly one-half square kilometer you will find ~300 bars and five breweries (Füchschen, Schumacher, Schlüssel, Uerige and the newly opened Brauerei Kürzer).  The streets are cobblestone, and the buildings show their age and design with old world charm. The breweries, which are more like brewpubs in that they have full restaurants and bars, all brew a single type of beer:  Altbier, and they are quite proud of it.  Sitting down outside of Füchschen I asked for a beer, which was met with a stern reply of “No pils.  Alt.”  This type of somewhat coarse treatment is not rude, but expected.  Some of the waiters at the other bars were more laid back, while some dialed it up either further!  Served in a 0.25L stange the altbiers of Düsseldorf are refreshing: a somewhat balanced (depending on which brewery you are at, Uerige is quite bitter) amber to brown beer, smoothed by cold lager conditioning, and medium carbonation from a gravity fed (and often wooden) keg.  It was an enjoyable time in a place I had only heard about, and has a distinct beer culture that is unique! 

Philly Pub Crawl 2012

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.  And perhaps, the greatest beer city in the US as it is now called by many.  Knowing this, we had a little pub crawl to see just how great things are going.  Starting at Nodding Head, some berliner weiss (award winning no less) was a nice and refreshing inbibe.  From there, a short wander to Monk’s which most folks know well for some interesting Belgians and a realization that it is always crowded (no surprise, great food and beer lead to that).  A little walk further, and up the stairs to the Perch Pub.  A bit newer, another great place for some great craft brews and little plates to keep thing going.  Taking a little further walk, our group ended up at Tria another well known wine and beer bar.  A cheese plate a few beers later, the suggestion was made for dinner; The Percy Street Barbeque.  Finding it turned out to be easy; you’re close when you can smell the hickory smoke!  After pork cheeks, pulled pork, brisket, ribs, and more great beers it was time to call it a night! Conclusion:  Philly is indeed a great beer city.  See it for yourself, you won’t regret it!

Big Brew 2012 – Brown ales

Across two locations (Suydam Farms and Princeton Homebrew) our homebrew club was hard brewing for National Homebrew day.  Following PALE ALES tradition, the recommended recipes from the AHA were turned down in favor of a different recipe: Brown ale threeway.  A good grist of optic malt, carapils, crystal 40L, and carafa III special laid a sturdy foundation for three styles of brown ale:  British hops and yeast to create a rich sweet brown ale, American hops and yeast to create a hoppy and sweet brown ale, and a small dose of bittering hops and a choice between a Flemish or Oud bruin yeast blends to create a sour brown ale.

Brewers came together with cars and trucks packed full of gear, showing a wide diversity of equipment and methods of churning out homebrew.

Keeping with tradition a toast for all homebrewers was held in the afternoon, followed by mint juleps in the afternoon to coincide with the Kentucky Derby!  Not to mention the variety of food and homebrews provided by members, it turned out to be another great Big Brew.  Nearly 200 gallons were made!

A big thanks goes out to the Suydam family for hosting the club at Suydam farms, and Gino for hosting the monster mash next door to Princeton Homebrew!