December 1998 Newsletter



DATE: Monday, December 28th
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
PLACE: Joe’s Mill Hill Saloon, Trenton, NJ

Dec. Meeting Highlights Joe’s Mill Hill Saloon
Andy Schuessler, brewmaster at Joe’s Mill Hill Saloon (Trenton) will
be our featured speaker at the December meeting.

As a native Trentonite (I’d say “Trentonian,” but then you might
associate all of my fellow citizens with the local rag of the same
name!), I have to plug Joe’s as one of my favorite spots. You can’t
beat the location, selection of beers, freshness and price ($3 per

Andy brews ½ barrel (15 gallon) batches using a RIMS
(Recirculating Infusion Mash System), and specializes in fuller
flavored beers – where else can you get a pint of abbey ale,
imperial stout or barley wine, all on tap at the same time? Another
benefit of the small batch size is that it gives Schuessler a chance
to “get experimental” as Andy says. Past “experiments” have
included smoked beers, ginseng, and yes, even garlic.

The 120-year old building, which is home to the brewpub, is in the
historic Mill Hill district of downtown Trenton, at the intersection of
Market and Broad (about a minute from the Waterfront Park, home
of the Trenton Thunder). By next year, a new hotel, and a hockey
arena are planned for the downtown area, in addition to a re-
opening of the War Memorial building (a concert facility). All of
these are just a short walk from Mill Hill.

Join us for some choice brews and beer talk!!

Directions (from Princeton):

1. Take Rt. 1 South toward Pa.
2. Get off at the Rt.33/Market St./Train Station exit.
3. Turn left at the bottom of the exit, and quickly turn right at the
light which follows. This puts you on Market St. – Joe’s is at the
corner of Market and Broad.
4. Before you reach the next light (Broad St.), turn right into the
bank parking lot.

Joe’s Mill Hill is across the street from the lot at the corner of the

The club recently concluded its second annual “Hoppiest Show on
Earth” competition this past Dec. 5th. With over 150 entries,
competition was fierce as judges had to choose the best from the
many excellent beers offered.

The competition went off flawlessly, the setting was lovely, and the
food was excellent – what more could you ask for?

Thanks to everyone that made this event a success, although the
full list is too long for this newsletter. The truth is that everyone
involved helped make it a success

Thanks to… Sallie Hollander, for her hospitality and hearth; John
Dale, for organization; Chef Paul Karasiwiecz, for cooking; Judi
Cox, for adminstrative tasks; Joe Bair, for prize hunting; Rich Koch,
for online Web registration; and Al Boccardo; Steve Rowley; and all
the entrants, judges, stewards, volunteers, prize sponsors, and
anyone else I’ve missed.

NOTE: Competition t-shirts are still available for sale through the
club or at Princeton Homebrew,. Send an email to
paleales@a…. Most likely, some will be available at our
next meeting as well.

Without further adieu, the results:

Best of Show

Best Overall
Craig Fairchild
California Common

Runner Up
Mark Graham
Bavarian Dunkelweizen


First Place
Tom Fikar
Munich Helles

Second Place
Devin Reuther

Third Place
Richard Koch
Mixed Light Ales

First Place
Phil Clark
Export 80

Second Place
David Houseman
Blonde Ale

Third Place
Jeff Abel/ M. Baland

First Place
Doug Hood

Second Place
Alex Choma
Std. Traditional

Third Place
Doug Hood
Std. Traditional
Smoked, Spice, Fruit

First Place
David Houseman
Classic Rauchbier

Second Place
James Wagner
Herb/Spice/Vegt Beer

Third Place
James Wagner
Other Smoked Beer

First Place
Phil Clark
Strong Dark Ale

Second Place
David Houseman

Third Place
David Houseman


First Place
Tom Fikar
Strong Bitter

Second Place
Roland Peña
Strong Bitter

Third Place
Steven Ashton
Ordinary Bitter
Wheat Beer

First Place
Tom Fikar
Strong Bitter

Second Place
Roland Peña
Strong Bitter

Third Place
Steven Ashton
Ordinary Bitter

First Place
Scott Merrifeld

Second Place
Chuck Coranoto
Foreign Extra

Third Place
Laurie Harmon/ A.

First Place
Joe & Betty Scarlata

Second Place
Kent Brehm

Third Place
John Varady


First Place
Richard Koch
Traditional Bock

Second Place
James Wagner

Third Place
Richard Koch

First Place
Joe Lobby
India Pale Ale

Second Place
Tom Fikar
India Pale Ale

Third Place
Phil Sides, Jr.
India Pale Ale

Pale Ales

First Place
Craig Fairchild
California Common

Second Place
Dave Rutkowski
American Pale Ale

Third Place
Tom Flanagan
British Pale Ale
Brown Ale

First Place
James Paskert
American Brown

Second Place
Frank Mitchell
Northern Brown

Third Place
Tom Smeraldi
Northern Brown
Strong Ales

First Place
Roland Peña
Russian Imperial Stout

Second Place
Roland Peña
Strong Scotch Ale

Third Place
David Houseman

The Jan. 25th meeting is not to be missed! Steve Nordahl, VP of
Brewing Operations for Frederick Brewing (Maryland) will be our
featured speaker at the Alchemist & Barrister in Princeton.

Steve was one of the founders and the first head brewer at
Frederick. Frederick Brewing, in addition to producing the Hempen
and Blue Ridge labels, also recently acquired Wild Goose and
Brimstone Brewing.

Steve will be treating us to samples of Frederick’s Snowball’s
Chance, Wild Goose’s Snow Goose, and a selection from the
Brimstone brewing line as well.

Club members were seen publicly enjoying a Climax or two at the
November meeting in the Tap Room. That’s not too surprising,
considering that the irrepressible Dave Hoffman, brewer/president
of Climax Brewing (Roselle Park) was our speaker.

Always entertaining and honest, Hoffman spoke about the
challenges facing a small brewery in a “cutthroat industry.” Best of
all, club members got to enjoy multiple Climaxes – as Hoffman
served beer after great beer, an ESB, a Cream Ale (my fave), an
IPA, and a Nut Brown Ale.

Some pearls of wisdom from Hoffman:

With regard to the microbrewery fad “Microbrewery isn’t just
about having pretty six packs.”

With regard to distribution” “If you can’t be successful selling beer
within 50 miles of your brewery, you might as well close up shop.”

With regard to brewery water sources “If you have to treat your
water, you should be brewing someplace else.”

Hoffman brews strictly to Reinheitsgebot, using only malt, hops,
and yeast. Climax also uses only a single strain of yeast for all its
beers, and does not modify his water during the mash. Surprisingly
enough, although brewing and distributing growlers of his beer
takes most of his time, Hoffman still finds the time to homebrew
around five times a year.

For a small brewery (with a big name), Climax has certainly made
its mark: they are the only NJ brewery featured in Michael
Jackson’s latest book “Ultimate Beers,” and recently won a gold
medal at the Real Ales festival in Chicago. See Michael Jackson’s
site ( for reviews.

During the meeting, many members expressed an interest in
finding a Climax locally. Here’s a partial list of locations:

— Kingston Wine & Liquors (Rt. 27, Kingston)
— Towne Wine & Liquors (Rt. 206, Montgomery)
— The Marketplace (Rt. 1, So. Brunswick)
— Super Saver (Rt. 22 East, Somerville)

Call Climax at (908) 620-9585, or Hunterdon Brewing (distributor)
at (908) 832-0646 for more information.

We can’t promise that our club elections will be as sensational as
Clinton’s impeachment, but we’ll try our best!

Seriously though, the club officers are elected to represent you,
your needs, and the future of the club. Express your approval. Yell
your discontent. Just make sure your voice is heard!

Perhaps you have some great ideas that you want to see put into
action? Maybe you should run for a club office. Elected positions
(one-year terms), and their respective incumbents are as follows:

President: Roland Pena
Vice President: David Corbishely
Treasurer: Al Boccardo (to be vacant)
Secretary: Kevin Trayner
Special Events
Coordinator: currently unfilled

A special guest plug from our Treasurer, Al Boccardo

For the past two and half years I have been the club’s treasurer. It
has been a lot of fun-really! However, I feel that being a club officer
should not be a permanent position. It’s important we take turns so I have decided not to run again as my term is up on February 1. Anybody interested in serving should contact one of the other officers prior to the January meeting. The term of the treasurer is one year, but I am a quick phone call or e-mail away should you request any assistance. The club treasurer should keep records of dues and club expenses. We have a checking account with a bank that needs to be balanced each month (a 10 minute job at best).

The other jobs involve issuing checks and depositing checks. (This
can be done via mail) All in all, it takes about a half hour of time each month. For the computer literate, I have diskettes that make the whole process easier. Also, since we are a not for profit corporation, we need to file a short tax form in May. I’ll volunteer to take this on if requested. Being the treasurer , you will be a club officer and will have greater input over the club’s direction. Plus, the officers meetings are fun.


12/11/98 to 12/12/99, Eighth Annual Happy Holiday Homebrew
Competition, AHA Sanctioned Competition, St. Louis, MO.
Sponsored by St. Louis Brews. Entries due 11/21/98 thru 12/5/98.
$5 ea. for 1-4, $4 ea. for 5 or more entries. Contact Bob Boland at
(314)725-6688 or (314)654-6170, e-mail: rboland@a….

1/23/99, War of the Worts IV, 4th Annual Homebrew
Competition, AHA Sanctioned Competition, at Buckingham
Mountain Brewery and Restaurant, Lahaska, Pa, (215) 794-7302.
Sponsored by Keystone Hops. Entries will be accepted between
1/4/99 – 1/17/99. The entry fee is $6 for the first one, $5 for
additional entries. Contact Al Folsom at (215) 343-6851, email:

1/30/99, 2nd Annual Eastern Connecticut Homebrew Competition,
AHA Sanctioned Competition, Willimantic, CT. Sponsored by
Hop River Brewers and Willimantic Brewing/Main St. Café. Entries
due 1/23/99 with $5/entry fee. Guest Judge: TERRY FOSTER, beer
author. Contact Paul T. Zocco at (860)742-7879, e-mail:


Real ale is doing OK in the Garden State! Two New Jersey
breweries won medals at the 3rd Annual Real Ale Festival in
Chicago this past October. Climax Brewing (Roselle Park) won the
gold in the Cask-Conditioned Mild and Brown Ale category for its
Nut Brown Ale. Climax Brewing Co. Flying Fish (Cherry Hill) won
bronze and silver medals in the Cask-Conditioned and Bottle-
Conditioned Specialty Beers categories for its Abbey Dubbel.

Speaking of real ale, NY and NJ will have another chance to
sample the Champion Beer of Britain. B. United International will be
importing 15 firkins of Conniston’s Bluebird Bitter this December,
according to representative Ron Fischer. The Bitter will be available in Ginger Man and d.b.a in Manhattan.

B. United will also be importing other Great Britain Beer Festival
winners this coming month. On Jan.4th, over 14 casks of GBBF
winners, including J.W. Lees Moonraker, Gales Festival Mild,
Mordue Radgie Gadgie, and many others will be available. (I tried
Gales Mild at Monk’s Café in Phila. this past November, and it was
simply outstanding!)


New Jersey is busy with brewpubs this Holiday season! It looks like
South NJ will likely be getting a new brewpub this Christmas – Oar
Brewing of Millville.

As of press time, co-owner Brian Tomlin said that the brewpub
would be open by December, possibly even by late November.
Tomlin and partner Bill Puzak have put over $500,000 in
rennovations into the 130+ year-old building located in the center of
town. The brewpub, Cumberland County’s first, will feature a 26-
foot handmade Cherry bar with brass rails, and a copper-tin ceiling.
“It will be a typical Center City bar, with a pub style,” according to

Oar Brewing is unusual in that no beer will actually be brewed on the premises. Instead, the brewpub will contract its beer at a local brewery (Tomlin declined to give more details at this time). The brewpub will carry possibly as many as four of its own brands, he said.

In addition, to featuring 16 taps (including Dock Street, Sierra Nevada, Flying Fish, and Guiness to name a few), the brewpub will have over 100 bottled beers as well. The restaurant will feature a mixture of gourmet selections and pub grub, as Tomlin describes it. Patrons will be able to enjoy their stogies and beer in the cigar room, with cigar dinners planned for the future.

Nearby public parking will accommodate 60-70 cars, and in the warmer months, patrons will be able to enjoy beer and music in a fenced, landscaped beer garden, with seating for over 150. Millville is located in Central South Jersey, and easily accessible from Routes 49, 47, or 55. The brewpub is currently working on a web site, which will be at

Going up to the far North, work on Krogh’s (Sparta Lake) new brewpub is progressing along, although a little behind schedule, according to owner Bob Fuchs. That’s fine with Fuchs, who has no intention of rushing things. “I want to work at all of the bugs, before pushing forward with the public. I’ve been to about 50 brewpubs, and this will be one of the nicest I’ve seen,” he said. If all goes well, the brewpub still plans to open for business by the end of the year, with a grand opening in Spring.

Also, for those of you who haven’t heard yet, Maxwell’s Brewing stopped brewing this Fall when it re-opened. According to management there, the brewpub component of the restaurant was simply not making money. Maxwell’s new owners are re-emphasizing the live music component, which made the club popular.


Down south, Flying Fish is releasing a new seasonal for the holidays – the HopPhish India Pale Ale. The HopPhish will be available Dec. 1 – draft only in the half kegs and torpedo mini-kegs. The brewery also plans to release a few cask-conditioned firkins, according to Gene Muller, president of Flying Fish.

The HopPhish (6.1% ABV) uses five hop varieties (Chinook and Fuggles for bittering, Ahtanum and Goldings leaf hops for finish), which are balanced by five malts (Pale, Caramel, Belgian aromatic, Munich, and Cara Vienna) with a small percentage of wheat for an extra creamy head. It will be extensively dry-hopped for three entire weeks with Mt. Hood and Ahtanum leaf hops. After five weeks of aging, it will be lightly filtered and then keg-conditioned to add a bit of extra character. I recently tasted this brew at the brewery and found it to be well-balanced with a nice hop character.

Flying Fish is also re-introducing its variety cases for the holiday season. Each case contains all four styles – Extra Pale Ale, ESB, Porter and Abbey Dubbel.


And while we’re “down the shore,” Shore Brewing (Harvey Cedars) has added a new product – Atlantic IPA, and a new look for its packaging. “We’ve gotten good feedback from retailers and consumers about the new packaging,” according to Mike McCahon, co-owner of Shore Brewing. The brewery felt that the six- packs suggested a generic beer rather than a craft-brewed one – thus the new brighter blue-colored packaging.

The IPA has been selling pretty well in NJ and Phila, and the brewery is looking to make it the flagship beer, according to McCahon. (I recently picked up a six-pack of it and found it to be a well-balanced, somewhat light-bodied IPA).

Although Shore Brewing is available in NJ and Phila., finding the beer might be a little tough for the time being though, as all of their products (IPA, Wheat Ale, and Amber) are contract brewed through Hoboken Brewing – which has been shut down for about a month (see related story). McCahon hasn’t been able to fulfill his orders, and is currently relying on his own back supplies until/if Hoboken comes back on line.


Going north in the state, High Point is experimenting with a Kristall Wheat beer this Winter, according to owner Greg Zacardi. The brewery is taste testing different characteristics, particularly hop levels. “Experimentation is ranging from a mild Kristall to as close to a Pilsener-Urquell as you can get,” said Zacardi. Plans are to release the Kristall for the Spring in both bottles and on tap. By the way, be sure to sample a bottle of the Ramstein Winter Wheat (a portly 9% Doppelbock), available in limited quantities in NJ during the holidays.


Mike Munroe, head brewer at Pizzeria Uno in Woodbridge, has been busier than most brewers – of course that’s because he’s working at two breweries now! Munroe has recently taken on brewing responsibilities for the newly opened Gilded Otter brewpub in upstate New York (see related story).

Pizzeria Uno still plans for Munroe to continue to supervise the weekly brewing, and work with the assistant brewer, according to Regional Manager Fred Houston. Furthermore, Munroe will also continue in his role as Corporate Brewmaster for Pizzeria Uno, helping set up brewpubs for the restaurant chain.Gaslight Brewery (So. Orange) is featuring a gala of interesting dinners in January, which will pair alcohol and food, according to owner Dan Soboti. The dinners will be featured every Tuesday night, and all of the dishes will be made with the respective spirit (wine, beer, etc.).

The first week will be a wine dinner, and wine will be featured in the food offerings as well. Next week will be a beer dinner, which will feature the brewpub’s beers and some outside ones as well – of course beer-crafted dishes. The third week will host a cigar and single malt scotch dinner – with food made from scotchLastly, the fourth week will feature cigars and bourbon, and again menu items will be made with bourbon. Call the brewpub for more information at (973) 762-7077.

The brewpub has recently added a beer engine, and will be producing some cask ales for it by December, according to Soboti. Plans are brewing for a Belgian Dubbel in December as well.Scott Herscher of Jersey Jim’s (Hillsborough) has been lagering some beers recently, and experimenting with a “first wort hopping” process. With this procedure, hops normally reserved for late kettle additions are added at the beginning of the transfer of wort to the kettle. According to Herscher, this process gives a very delicate and pleasant hop aroma and flavor that is often not possible using finishing and flavoring hops only.

So far, Herscher has brewed two Lagers using this process – a Light Lager, which is currently on tap, and a Bock beer, which should be available in December. The results have been good so far, Herscher said, adding that you can expect a Doppelbock
sometime in January.

The Trappe Rock brewpub (Berkely Heights) will be brewing up a Rye Ale, according to brewer Scott Cetera. The 20% rye provides a full flavor and restrained spiceness, according to Cetera. “It’s a very interesting grain to work with. Of the cereal grains, it has the most flavor,” he said, adding that it was tough finding information on brewing with rye as it is not a popular style.

Triumph (Princeton) is featuring its usual eclectic musical acts, including electric voilin (Caryn Lin), pop, jazz, blues, and alternative rock with voilin! On Dec 20th, Triumph will feature Spiced Punch, a Dickens-era quartet which will play traditional holiday music. New Year’s eve will feature Night Train, a classic Rhythm and Blues band, $10 cover charge. And of course, Triumph will be featuring its tasty Winter Wonder holiday ale this coming month.

Basil T’s (Red Bank and Toms River) has recently updated and revamped its web page at Robert Hettmansperger, Basil T’s Head Brewer, is quite the web guru also, and has done a great job here! And if you’re more interested in drinking beer than surfing the Net, Basil T’s offers brew tours every Wed. night at 6 p.m.

The Bernardsville Stone Tavern will be featuring a New Year’s Dinner and Comedy show ($65), according to manager Nick Novello, Jr. They will also be bringing back the Stout and Porter for the Winter, in addition to a Winter Ale of course.


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Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society