December 2002 Newsletter

ISSUE #69
December 2002

Club Competition & Holiday Party!
DATE: Monday, Dec. 9th
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
PLACE: River Horse Brewery, 80 Lambert Lane, Lambertville, NJ 08530
PHONE: (609) 397-7776

CLUB COMPETITION & HOLIDAY PARTY ON DEC. 9th @ RIVER HORSE

Our club only competition and holiday meeting is scheduled for Dec. 9th, Monday, 7:30 pm at River Horse Brewing in Lambertville.

The meeting will kick off with a talk from RH’s Jim Bryan, who will
talk about the brewery, quality control, running a brewpub and
brewery, and more. And of course, I’m sure there will be some RH
beers to sample. (BTW, I should mention I recently visited the
brewery’s Porterhouse brewpub, and the food and beer were great. In particular, the Trippel (a brewpub only offering) was delicious.)

After the meeting we will cover club business and then start the
competition. IF YOU ARE GOING TO ENTER BEERS INTO THE CLUB COMPETITION, YOU NEED TO DROP OFF YOUR ENTRY BY DEC 4. WED. You can download an entry form and the guidelines from the club website at www.paleales.org. I have included the details for the competition in this newsletter and a version of the entry form for your convenience.

POT LUCK DINNER
As has been our tradition, we are asking club members to bring a pot luck dish. This has always been a fun time, and we always get some great dishes. The club will also provide some basic food as well.

If you plan to bring a dish, please contact me at
beerguru@t… ASAP and let me know what it is.

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COMPETITION INFORMATION

PALE ALES Club Competition
December 9, 2002
GENERAL RULES

Entries must be dropped off at Princeton Homebrew by 7:00 pm on
Wednesday December 4.

Entries will be categorized as follows:

-Category 1 for beers with Original Gravity of less than 1.060.
>H for a hoppy beer.
>M for a malty beer.

-Category 2 for beers with Original Gravity of greater than or equal
to 1.060.
>H for a hoppy beer.
>M for a malty beer.

Each entry must have a completed entry form, and consist of two bottles of beer.

The bottles must contain no distinctive markings, such as labels or raised lettering.

Each bottle must have an entry label attached to it with a rubber band.

Entries become the property of PALE ALES and will be consumed at the club meeting in which the competition takes place or a future club meeting.

All decisions made by members of the club who participate in evaluating the entries are final.

ENTRY FORM

You can copy and paste and print this out.
—————————————
PALE ALES CLUB COMPETITION
DECEMBER 9, 2002
ENTRY FORM
—————————————
Brewer Name(s):

Name of the Beer:

Contact Phone Number:

E-mail:

Category of Entry:
(Give a number and a letter, e.g. 1 H.)


Give a description of the beer, e.g. the style to which it was brewed, or the ingredients used.


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DIRECTIONS TO RIVER HORSE:

I will assume everyone knows how to get to Lambertville more or less. From Trenton, take Rt 29 North. From Princeton, you can take 295 to Rt. 29 North, or take 518 through Hopewell into Rt. 29 North (a right turn). From Rt. 29, make a left into Lambertville onto Main St. (Rt. 179).

From Lambertville Take Main St. (Rt. 179) through Lambertville as if you were going across the bridge to New Hope.

Turn right on the last street before the bridge – Lambert Lane.

Go through the Stop sign. You will shortly enter into what is a
business complex. The road will appear to end here, but wraps around the building to the right.

After you go around the building, you will see the brewery smack
ahead and slightly to your left – 80 Lambert Lane.
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NOV MTG “BOCKS THE HOUSE” @ TRIUMPH

Al “Bock”ardo and Dave “Malt”bert led one of the best styles meetings yet to a highly interactive crowd of 30 plus in the upstairs of Triumph.

We sampled about 10 different examples of bock beer folks (including two homebrewed examples courtesy of Andy and Laurie and Al and Dave).

My memory is a bit foggy of the order, but some of the selections
included:

Riverhorse Bock
Einbecker Ur-Bock
Sprecher Bock
Paulaner Salvator
Ayinger Celebrator (doppelbock)
Schneider-Weiss Aventinus (weizen doppelbock)
Kulmbacher EKU 28 (an ice bock style)

In addition, we sampled some nice Bocks from Andy and Laurie, and another from Dave and Al. (If I left any beer out, I apologize).

It was a really interactive meeting, with questions flying back and
forth about brewing topics (decoction, sugar rests), styles, history,
examples and more.

Also, might I mention that Triumph did an outstanding Octoberfest
this year (although it was tapped out before the meeting unfortunately). Thanks to Tom for having us as regular guests at the pub.

Speakers, you are doing an outstanding job with these style meetings. It’s just making it tougher for the next speaker to top the previous one – but that’s not such a bad thing!
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PALEALES EMAIL BEING CHANGED

On an administrative note, we will no longer be able to use the
PALEALES@Altavista.net email address for correspondence regarding the
newsletter. Please use PALEALES@T… for the interim.

Basically, Altavista’s free email accounts were picked up by
www.mail.com probably a year ago. And now www.mail.com has decided at this point no longer to support the old “@altavista.net” addresses.

Thanks!

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WINTER WONDERFULS

Hey, it’s time for the holidays, and you know what that means – more seasonals to buy. I just though I might list a few for your reading and drinking consideration (not in any particular order):

Wild Goose Snow Goose – A great, malty warmer – perfect for the
holidays. (Steve Ashton and myself tried this at the Split Rock
festival in the Poconos).

Geary’s New Hampshire Ale – Another great malty warmer. This is such a good beer.

Anchor Our Holiday Ale – A perennial dark and spicy favorite, made to a slightly different recipe every year (for over 20 years).

Harpoon’s Winter Warmer – A holiday ale that’s on the spicier side,
but enjoyable.

Ramstein’s Winter Wheat – a weizen dunkel doppelbock in the style of Aventinus, but more chocolately.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale – Celebrate the joy of alpha acids with this hoppy delight.

Flying Fish Grand Cru – Belgian style, bigger version of the brewery’s wildly popular Farmhouse Ale. Even more Belgian this year, and slightly higher in alcohol – ready to drink NOW!

Heavyweight’s Old Salty – A great Barleywine (from a homebrew recipe BTW) in it’s third year now.

Victory’s Storm King – dark, portly and oh so delicious.

Climax brewing – Dave’s making a draft Imperial Stout for the holidays. Look for it at Old Bay and other better beer bars.

The list goes on and on… Email me as to what’s your favorite holiday beer and why.

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GARDEN STATE BREW NEWS
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If you haven’t heard, NJ took home a Gold medal from the GABF this year, making it the third year in a row the Garden State has medaled at the prestigious competition. BASIL T’S (Red Bank) took the gold in the Coffee Flavored Beer category with Maxwell’s Dry Stout. With Basil T’s recently celebrating its 500th batch of beer, this certainly comes as a nice capper to the brewpub’s achievements.

Brewer Gretchen Schmidhausler, who has worked for several NJ
breweries in her tenure as a brewer (including the defunct Red Bank, and Ship Inn brewpub), simply said: “Of course we’re very excited about it!” And of course, since it is one of the brewpub’s regular taps, you will of course be seeing it on tap at the brewpub.

On tap in the coming months, the brewpub will feature a pumpkin beer (The Bad Seed), a German Rye Beer, and a black cherry beer for the holidays.

RIVER HORSE (Lambertville) will host a Chili-Cookoff on Sunday Feb. 9th, from 12-4pm., the most popular event of a weeklong annual New Hope/Lambertville’s Winter Festival. The $15 donation at the door gets you a commemorative glass, beer, and chili. For more info on the festival check www.winterfestival.net.

According to RH co-owner Jim Bryan, business at the Porterhouse
brewpub (Lahaska), sort of a brewing satellite of RH, is boosting
retail sales for the brewery in Bucks County. “Our sales have been
increasing nicely in the Bucks Country area, and I can only attribute
it to the brewpub,” said Ryan, noting that the restaurant traffic has
resulted in some great marketing exposure for them. “I highly
recommend it (working with a brewpub) to any brewery out there. It
has been a great experience.”

In other news, RH had its coming out night in Bogota at one of ANDY’S CORNER TAVERN’S World Famous Promo Nights, bringing five of its beers on tap. Speaking of Andy’s, the pub also featured a Dogfish Head promo, Heavyweight Vertical tasting, and celebrated its tenth year of its 100 beer club.

HIGH POINT of Butler, has is released its seasonal giant, the
Ramstein Winter Wheat, which weighs in this year at 9.7% ABV, and is available while supplies last. “This year’s batch is particularly
flavorful and deep,” said owner Greg Zacardi.

Raw seafood and HefeWeizen anyone? Apparently, Slow Foods USA found the two to be a perfect duet, and paired High Point’s Ramstein Blonde with domestic caviar for one of the many food workshops featured at Slow Food’s annual Salone del Gusto event this past October in Turino, Italy. Slow Foods is a movement that supports traditional, local styles and methods of food making, and the Salone Del Gusto event is one of its biggest international events.

“Champagne is the traditional compliment with caviar, and since hefeweizen is the ‘champagne of beers, the pairing just works,” said Greg Zaccardi, President of High Point. Zaccardi also pointed out that although other American craft beers were served at the festival that paid to be there, High Point was the only US craft brew
specifically invited to the event. “It is really a huge honor for us,” he said.

Having sampled the Blond and Classic (Dark) beers at a recent Triumph beer dinner, I have to agree that these are wonderfully wheat beers, with unique yeast and malt qualities that should be savored and enjoyed.

CLIMAX BREWING (Roselle Park) will brew a limited release, draft-only Imperial Stout (est. ABV 8%) for mid-December, according to brewer Dave Hoffman, noting that he only plans to make about eight barrels. I had a chance to sample the malty, clean Octoberfest at Stoudt’s this past Oct., and was not disappointed – you would be hard-pressed to tell that this year’s version was made with an ale yeast. Speaking of lagers, Hoffman has already made his New Year’s resolution to start brewing lagers come January, putting his new 15-barrel brewhouse to task.

FLYING FISH (Cherry Hill) has released its winter seasonal Grand Cru, a spicy Belgian-style Golden Ale. This year’s version is fermented completely with Belgian ale yeast, and slightly higher in alcohol. A great seasonal, get it bottle-conditioned or on draft while it lasts.

In time for the holidays, the Fish has released another of its
holiday gift packs, featuring four different Flying Fish beers plus a
limited edition “Best Fishes for the Holidays 2002-2003” pint glass.

The beans are back in HEAVYWEIGHT’S (Ocean Township) Perkuno’s Hammer Baltic Porter. For the first batch of Perkuno’s Hammer brewed several years ago, brewer Tom Baker following the Baltic brewing tradition of using peas/beans in the mash, but had not done so since, as it was unclear what the beans actually added in terms of flavor.

According to Baker, he recently tried one of these original bottles,
decided it was delicious and wanted to try to recreate it again.

Also on the horizon for Dec./Jan., is the Old Salty Barleywine 2002
version with new labels and art by Salty Dog artist Bill Coleman.
Look for the return of Cinderbock in late January as well.

In terms of events, Heavyweight will be taking part in a beer tasting
at the Brewer’s Art (Baltimore, MD), featuring over a dozen craft
breweries from the Mid-Atlantic area. Look for a cask of the
brewery’s award-winning Cask Treacle-primed Hammer on Dec.13, as part of the infamous Friday the Firkinteenth festivities at the Grey Lodge Pub (Phila. PA). Flying Fish will be working its cask magic that night as well. Lastly, on Jan. 15, the Blind Tiger (NYC) will feature a special Heavyweight night.

TRIUMPH (Princeton) held a Gambrinus Beer Dinner this past month, co- hosted by German-style guest brewers High Point. Having not been to a Triumph beer dinner for over a year, I am happy to report that they are still as good as ever.

The dinner kicked off with assertive hors de oeuvres (boar sausage, and caviar and salmon) paired with the brewpub’s tart Berliner Weiss, wearing Woodruff syrup, Raspberry syrup, or nothing at all. Next up was a savory oxtail soup, paired with High Point’s chocolately Dunkel, followed by a wonderful beet salad coupled with the brewery’s Blonde hefeweizen. The entrĂ©e was an absolutely delicious portion of venison, paired perfectly with Triumph’s Octoberfest beer, which stood up nicely to its German ale brethren. The dinner ended with a delicious bread pudding and Triumph’s Coffee and Cream Stout. Kudos to brewer Tom Stevenson and Chef Jeffrey Harris for another great dinner.

On tap in the coming months at the brewpub will be the Snakebite
(Tart farmhouse cider blended with an equal portion of ale), the
Winter Wonder, and the peppery Jolie Blonde.

After going through several brewers already this year, the HARVEST MOON (New Brunswick) welcomes its newest brewer – Matt McCord, a graduate of the American Brewers Guild program. I spoke with Matt and he is quite enthusiastic about working there and feels he is very comfortable with the brewing system so far. Also, I’ve heard good things about his beers so far.

In addition to the Moon’s regular brews (IPA, oatmeal stout, brown,
and golden), McCord is brewing a Belgian Wit, American Pale Ale,
Porter, and a Winter Warmer.

TRAP ROCK (Berkeley Heights) is bringing out the big guns for the
holidays with an Imperial Stout and Abbey Ale in December, and a
Barleywine in Jan. The brewpub is also planning a beer dinner for
the end of January, which will be $55 per person, inclusive. For more info, call (908) 665-1755.

PIZZERIA UNO will holding a Christmas beer dinner on Dec. 9th,
featuring a great selection of Christmas beers,. Tickets are $40 in
advance. Call (732) 548-7979 for more info. Also, look for the
Oatmeal Stout as the winter seasonal. Speaking of seasonals, J.J.
BITTINGS (Woodbridge) will be bringing on its Winter Warmer, Oatmeal Stout, Pilsener, and Best Bitter for the winter.

LONG VALLEY brewpub will brew its first Strong Blonde Ale. Brewed with a non-Belgian ale yeast, this beer will have an 8% ABV and be “Duvel esque” in character, according to brewer Tim Yarrington. The Blonde will be replaced by the Celebration Ale a full-bodied hoppy ale in the vein of Sierra Nevada, according to Yarrington. Look for a dry hopped ESB on the hand pump, to be followed by the Scotch Ale.

GASLIGHT’S (So. Orange) seven-course Victorian Beer Dinner is still on tap for Dec. 11th (and possibly the 12th as well). The $75
admission is inclusive – call (973) 762-7077 for more info. The
brewpub is also looking at doing a dessert wine and beer tasting in
January, according to brewer Dan Soboti Jr. On tap, look for an Old
Ale, Oatmeal Stout, IPA, 1920’s lager, and Vienna lager.

TUN TAVERN (Atlantic City) was awarded “Best Beer Selection in
Atlantic City” by the AC Press Readers Choice Awards. And hey, with beers like the Freedom Ale Barleywine, and English style Barleywine fermented in Jack Daniels casks), it’s no wonder.

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ALES GET REAL IN PHILLY

If there were such a thing as Beer Jeopardy, the answer would read: “It’s the longest running real ale celebration in the United States and located in the ‘city of brotherly love’.” The response of course would be: “What is the Real Ale Rendezvous in Philadelphia.”

Marking its eighth year, the Real Ale Rendezvous served cask beer
from a dozen different breweries to a thirsty crowd of nearly 300 this past Oct. 12th – an all-time high for the fest . A cold drizzly Sat. afternoon found these real ale lovers nestled snugly into the bosom of Independence brewpub, located directly across from the bustle and heady aromas of the Reading Terminal market in Philadelphia, where an outdoor harvest festival was taking place.

Similar to last year’s fest, the Rendezvous featured only American- cask beers, many of which were specially commissioned for the event by organizer Jim Anderson of Beer Philadelphia (www.beerphiladelphia.com). According to Anderson, the timing of the fest this year didn’t coincide with any UK brewery’s shipments, and since, they decided to keep it local.

“Cask beer is nearly always best when fresh, so why pour something that entered the U.S. six months ago?,” pointed out Anderson, noting that there is no dearth of cask-conditioned beers locally. In fact, all of the offerings, with the exception of Anderson Valley (California) were locally brewed (i.e., Pa., Delaware, and NJ).

Beers ran the gamut, from the multi-layered fruity, hoppy potent 15% ABV Dogfish Head Old School Barleywine, to General Lafayette’s regal, deceptive 9% ABV Imperial Stout, to the lower-alcohol, high flavor (5% ABV) Yards Love Stout.

If you were looking to “get your hops on,” Nodding Head and Iron Hill had you covered, both slapped with wet, deliciously skunky one-day old hops fresh from the vine. The king of hops though was Anderson Valley’s Hop Ottin’ IPA, kicking butt in the bottle, taking no prisoners on cask.

A big fan of the dry, crustaceous Yard’s Love Stout (is there a better dry stout out there?), the cask version did not disappoint, and the “Trubbel” melded the best parts of a tripel and dubbel.

In typical fashion, Heavyweight’s (Ocean, NJ) offering stood out from the pack – with the only cask lager offering of the evening, a hoppy, herbal rendering of the German Sticke style with a fine malt back. Victory and Troegs proffered two outstanding, yet unique ESB’s, with Troegs winning out slightly with a bigger, yet balanced malt presence.

Stewarts (Bear, DE) pumped a wonderfully flavorful cask dessert – Old Percolator Coffee Porter. Speaking of porters, the Oaked Porter from Independence proclaimed its big oaky whisky presence. Stoudt’s Scotch-Style Ale (Pensylvania) finished off with a subdued malty smokiness. All in all, no bad beers here folks.

As a server, one of my favorite aspects of the festival was that the
servers were on the same side of the bar as the attendees – so it
kind of felt like you were pulling some pints for a few hundred of
your buddies! All beers were brewed, stored and dispensed according to strict CAMRA standards, according to organizer Anderson. Many casks were served in the traditional gravity method – with only a bung tapped into the front of the keg.

In chatting with some of the fest goers, one thing strikes you –
real ale is not just the province of beer geeks anymore. Regular Joe and Jane six-pack, rather than fleeing at the thought of non-chilled, low-carbonated brew, are running the opposite way – toward the firkin. If this yearly event, going stronger in its eighth year, doesn’t convince you of that, then check out the infamous Friday the Firkenteenth nights at the Grey Lodge, where ten or so casks are propped up on the bar of what ostensibly looks and feels like a local North Philly bar. (Check www.greylodge.com for an up to date beer and event list).

As Anderson puts it: “Cask beer is the sort of thing that once tasted puts other beers in a new perspective.” He also points to the availability of of cheap, reconditioned Hygene beer engines and Phila. Area brewers (for example, Flying Fish, Yards, Victory, and Heavyweight) offering cask ales.

Chalk it up to availability, heightened consumer savvy, or the beer- friendliness of Philadelphia. In any case, real ale seems to have found a home Philly, and it looks like it’s here to stay.

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Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society