February 1999 Newsletter



DATE: Monday, Feb. 22nd
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
PLACE: Joe’s Mill Hill Saloon
PHONE: 609-394-7222


Andy Schuessler, brewmaster at Joe’s Mill Hill Saloon (Trenton) will be our featured speaker at the Feb. 22nd meeting.

As a native Trentonian, 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 pint).

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? The small batch size also gives Schuessler a chance to experiment. 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, and the new hockey arena, and the War Memorial).

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 that 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 and park in the bank lot.

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


(Thanks to Joe Bair for providing many of the details!)

Start your kettles brewing folks! March 28th (Sunday) will mark the initial round of our first club-only, no-styles competition. The “Bring Yer Own Homebrew” (BYHB) competition will be held from 4-7 PM at Suydam Farm in Franklin Park.

Ryke Suydam will give a talk on hops (which he grows) and tour of the farm first, followed by the competition. Everyone is welcome to attend the talk. The competition will be held rain or shine, as Suydam has several structures which will accommodate us.

As stated previously, the goal of the competition is to help you evaluate your brews, without excessive paperwork, style guesswork, special bottles or delay – all at no cost to you.

This will be the first of a four-round competition (the other three rounds will be in May, August and Nov.) Winners in the first three rounds will be entered in the Grand Finals. In addition to determining the overall winners of the competition, the finals will also represent the best party that our club can throw!


Anyone can bring their beers to the competition, however, only PALE ALES members will be eligible to win. If you qualify, you must immediately become a member of PALE ALES or lose your spot for the finals and for prizes – which everyone who advances will get. Additionally, each member can advance only one homebrew to the finals.

Bring 36 oz. of your own homebrew in any container. As one of the goals of this competition is to engage evaluators and entrants in dialog, keep in mind that you will be presenting your beer and may be answering questions about it.

To enter the competition you must pre-register via e-mail (schd@p…) or contact Joe Bair (609-252-1800) by March 24 – the earlier the better.

Your pre-registration should include the following info:

— Original Gravity
— Maltiness/hoppiness of beer
— Fruit, spices, unusual adjuncts or yeasts used

(This information will be used to facilitate grouping/managing entries).


All of those present will serve as evaluators, identifying any sanitation or fermentation defects, and writing down their general impressions.

Evaluators will be split-up into five or more groups. Participants will taste and fill out an evaluation sheet for each beer, and then make a decision as to which ones will advance.

PALE ALES members will be assigned to each group to facilitate the evaluation and feedback.

Participants are looking for a fresh homebrew taste, free of defects. Identifying flaws and suggesting improvements are done solely for the purpose of helping your fellow brewer. A good rule of thumb is don’t write anything that you wouldn’t say face to face. Needless to say, off-flavor beers will not advance.

As an administrative point of note, former and current PALE ALES officers have final say in the competition, and will thus settle tiebreakers and resolve any other disputes.


The Suydam Farm is located on the corner of Skillman Lane and Route 27 in Franklin Park (just SW of New Brunswick.

As you are driving up Rt. 27 North, look for the WAWA entrance. Right across the street is the entrance to the farm.


The 300-acres farm has been held in the Suydam family for 300+ years. Only about an acre is devoted to hops, but that will expand to two acres this year. The farm also produces hay, straw, Christmas trees, specialty pork products (organic), turkeys and chickens.

It has a pond, natural spring, and at least 15 old farm buildings (including two modern large metal buildings that they store hay and straw in, which will be where the competition is held.)

In addition, Ryke plans to open a microbrewery there, provided a currently proposed bill for farm breweries passes. Their goal is to produce their own hops and barley and make beer. Ryke also restores farm tractors, and has an antique collection that he uses regularly.

Needless to say, everyone should treat the property and environs respectfully as we are guests. Most importantly NO SMOKING is permitted in the hay barn (no Mrs. O’Leary cows incidents, to quote Joe)!


Anyone wishing to help out with the competition can contact me (see back of newsletter), or any of the other club officers. Specifically, we need artwork for the competition – if you have any ideas/sketches, bring them to the Feb. meeting.

To help you jump start your brewing, Princeton Homebrew is offering a special sale till March 1 – 5% off everything, available to everyone who knows the store’s original name. Dues-paying current PALE ALE members will get 10% off.

More competition details to follow in this month’s email newsletter and in next month’s printed newsletter.


Last month’s meeting was a winning combination of a knowledgeable speaker, a great turnout, and excellent beers.

Steve Nordahl, VP of Brewing Operations for Frederick Brewing (Maryland) was our featured speaker last month – and given the consensus, one of our best.

Steve was an excellent, engaging speaker who could talk equally well about brewing techniques, styles, and marketing. In fact, Steve’s explanation of how they make the traditional style Stone beer may possibly inspire some of us to brew one.

And of course, Steve and wife Vicki brought some great beers: Blue Ridge’s Sublimator Doppelbock, Wild Goose IPA, Porter, Snow Goose, and Oatmeal Stout, and Brimstone Brewing’s Stone Beer, to name a few. (Doppelbock and Porter were two of my faves). In short, we would love to have them back again!

A special thanks to Tom at the A&B for hosting us and picking up the tab for Steve and Vicki’s dinner. Also, thanks to Roland for getting such a great speaker.

For more information about Frederick, check out their web page at www.frederickbrewing.com.


Elections were held at our Feb. meeting. Steve Rowley (who many of you may know as the “Beer Doctor”) was elected as President. He replaces Roland Pena, who will be taking over as Special Events Coordinator (you can thank Roland for last month’s great speaker).

Dave Corbishley was re-elected as Vice President. Unfortunately, Dave just accepted a job in Houston and will be leaving us in the next few months. Interested parties can announce their candidacy at the March or April meeting.

Steve Ashton, an experienced judge and brewer, will step up as Treasurer, replacing Al Boccardo. Thanks for the great work you’ve done for the past two years Al! And also, thanks to Roland for his work this past year as President.

And since, you weren’t able to get rid of yours truly (Kevin Trayner) as Secretary/ Newsletter Editor, here I am again!


Last year’s Big Brew 98 event on May 1st was so popular, that it looks like the AHA will be doing it again. Last year homebrewers all over the US joined together that day and brewed the “Big 10/20” barley wine recipe. Many of us gathered at Joe’s store to share some homebrews and brew barley wine – it was a great time!

So keep your calendars open for Big Brew ’99. More details to follow. (The rumor is that an Abbey Trippel may be the brew of choice this year).


I recently attended the NJ-based Beers International’s 16th anniversary party this past Feb. 7th at the Teaneck VFW. My Ale Street News cronies were in attendance – editor Tony Forder and manager Jack Babin. And of course, the founder of Beers International, the famous Richie Stolarz (Rogue did an anniversary ale which featured his face on the bottle). I also spoke with several NJ brewers (all past speakers at our meetings). Greg Zacardi from High Point was serving a great blonde weizen, Dave Hoffman from Climax serving the Porter and Cream Ale, and Gene Muller from Flying Fish serving a variety of bottles. Many excellent bottled beers were in attendance as well Rodenbach Grand Cru, Ommegang’s beers, Westmalle Trippel, Abita Bock, and many others. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I tried Black and Red (Brooklyn Chocolate and Linneman’s Lambic) – pretty tasty!

Tim Schaeffer, who does the Chef’s column for ASN made a killer hunter’s stew with caribou, elk, bear, and other large furry beasts.

Afterwards, we went to Andy’s Corner in Bogota, right around the corner from Teaneck. Andy’s is a friendly neighborhood bar with an excellent selection of beers. Owner George Gray tended bar – and you won’t find a more amiable bartender around.

Andys’ featured a Flying Fish cask-conditioned Abbey Dubbel which was out of this world. With the delicacy of a cask beer, great aromatics from dry-hopping, and wonderful malt and almond/apricot fruitiness, this is one of the best I’ve had from the Fish – kind of a cross between a bitter and an abbey ale. Well done Gene!

Another of the many great beers on tap was a cask-conditioned RCH Pitchfork – the Best Bitter winner in the Champion Beer of Britain festival. It was absolutely one of the best bitters I’ve ever quaffed. I’ve heard a lot about how cask- conditioned beer just doesn’t taste as good when it travels. Well, if this beer tastes any better in England, I think I’ll have to move there!

If you want to find out more about Beers International and their upcoming events, check out their website at www.beersinternational.com.


As you may know, homebrew legend Charlie Papazian is making a good will tour of the East Coast this month. Well, your club did its best to try to coax Charlie to come to Princeton and speak at one of our meetings – but as his schedule is pretty booked, it was not to be. If you’re still interested in seeking Charlie out, you can find him at several events this month:

So. Orange’s Gaslight Brewery is featuring a beer tasting event on Feb. 26th, featuring Papazian. The beer tasting will feature beers from the brewpub, and also compare homebrewed versions and commercial examples of particular styles. Call the brewpub at (973) 762-7077 for more information.

Papazian will also be attending a beer dinner at Mug’s Ale House in NYC, which will be held after the Brooklyn Brew.

Check out http://members.aol.com/MaltyDog/bob99.html for more details about the competition.


I recently attended the War of the Worts competition sponsored by the Keystone Hops homebrewers this past January. A well-run competition, with a great deal of prizes – literally, every judge and steward received a prize!!

The competition was held at Buckingham Brewery in Lahaska, Pa. Al Folsom did a great job as competition director (Al has also judged at our last two annual homebrew competitions). There were a great deal of prizes, and the beers I judged were on the whole pretty good also.

I encourage everyone to attend competitions held outside of the club, as it’s a good way to network with other brewers and see how other people do things.

Speaking of which, the Best of Brooklyn (details below) competition is coming soon. You can still enter beers up until the 20th. Yours truly is going to try to judge there – if they’ll have me!

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Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society