February 2002 Newsletter

ISSUE #61
FEBRUARY 2002

FEB. MTG TO FEATURE RIVER HORSE
DATE: Monday, FEB. 11th
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
PLACE: Inn of the Hawke, 74 SO. UNION STREET LAMBERTVILLE, NJ 08530
PHONE: (609)397-6993 OR (609)397-9559

This meeting marks our first styles meeting, with the spotlight falling on brown ales. We will be sampling several different commercial examples of this style, including English Northern and Southern Browns, and American Brown Ale.

Steve Rowley (who has visited one or two English breweries in his
time!) will talk about these styles from a flavor and historical standpoint. Bring your palate and questions.

To re-iterate, the idea of these meeting is to learn about the style
and then, armed with that dangerous knowledge, brew a homebrewer example.

See the PALE ALES calendar which follows for the schedule for the rest of the style meetings.

NOTE – We will also be holding club elections at this meeting!

PALE ALES CALENDAR

Some of the upcoming events for PALE ALES for the year. Check the new website calendar at www.paleales.org for more information.

MAY – Style Meeting: European Wheat Beers (Belgian and German)

MAY 4th – Big Brew, Sticke/Alt brew

JULY – NYC Pub Crawl

SEPT – Style Meeting: Bock beer

NOV – Style Meeting: Strong Ales

JAN – Style Meeting: Porters/Stouts

“DUES” THE RIGHT THING

For those of you who haven’t done so yet, just a reminder that
dues were due at the beginning of the year – a mere $24.

(Only YOU can stop me from making more goofy puns like the above title.)

You can pay at our next meeting, or send in your dues (made out to
PALE ALES) to our treasurer Al Boccardo at:

4 Wesleyan Drive,
Hamilton Square, NJ 08690

BREWING SOME HISTORY: A PROHIBITION-STYLE BEER

Check out a GREAT story on brewing a PROHIBITION beer by club VPs Andrew Koontz and Laurie Harmon. The homebrew recipe came from Laurie’s great grandmother.

(Sorry I missed posting this last time guys!)

www.paleales.org/brewcorner/bc2.htm

HOME & PRO BREWERS UNITE AT JJ BITTINGS

What has 26 legs, over 500 hundred pounds of malt, and an
overwhelming urge to brew? I don’t know either, but it took over
the brewhouse at JJ Bittings this past March 8! A baker’s dozen of
mostly homebrewers, JJ Bittings’ brew team Brad Renninger and Tom Paffrath, and yours truly, converged on the brewpub to brew a batch of Dunkelweizen originating from a homebrew recipe.

Club members collaborated on every aspect of the brew – malts,
hops, mash-in and fermentation temperatures, and more. Alternating between brewing reference materials and personal experience, the club came up with its recipe: wheat and pale malts, with a hint of chocolate; Hallertauer Hersbrucker (bittering) and Saaz (flavoring) hops, and of course a Hefeweizen yeast to give the characteristic fruity flavors and aromas.

In terms of flavor and aroma characteristics, the club agreed on a
higher temperature (68 deg. F) ferment to encourage a banana flavor and aroma as opposed to the more clove-like characteristics that come from a colder ferment.

WHALES (Woodbridge Homebrewers Ales and Lagers Enthusiast Society) homebrew club, co-conspirators of this event, have made Bittings their part-time home, gathering there every third Thursday, 7:30 pm, for their monthly meetings. In fact, assistant brewer, Tom Paffrath, started as a homebrewer in WHALES (and is still an active member). Founded in 1996, the club has won 26 gold medals collectively.

Brewing is physical work, and even more so in Bitting’s, with the
workings of the brewery spread out over four floors. Things kicked of at 10 am that Saturday morning, with the milling of over 600 lbs. of grain to brew the 10-barrel batch. Club members got their hands dirty lugging the 40 lb. grain sacks to the mill on the ground floor of the brewhouse, where the crushed grain is blown up a pipe to the fourth floor (where the mash tun and brew kettle is located).

With over a dozen brewers, space was tight in the brewhouse on the fourth floor, as hoses and clamps were applied to fill the mash tun with 182 gallons of warm water to steep the grain and extract its
rich flavors, and activate the enzymes in the grain. Several hours
later, any residual liquor has been “sparged” from the grain, the
brew kettle filled with boiling water, and the first addition of hops
added.

Homebrewers gave their all during the brew – hefting sacks,
connecting hoses and clamps, hauling trash cans of spent grain, and even climbing inside a mash tun to clean it. From the boil to the
fermenter, the brew took a little over six hours. Hitting the planned
final gravity right on the nose at 13.5 Plato (1.054 SG), the
brew’s final ABV should be 5.2-5.5%.

In between, there was of course much sampling of JJ Bittings brews and homebrews. Brad broke out pitchers of the Porter and the very quaffable Bitter (a personal favorite). Later, Brad broke out an 8- month version of his Smiling Renninger – a tasty English-style
Strong Ale. Some great homebrews were quaffed as well, including several porters, scotch ale and a great, hoppy IPA. All in a day’s work! And you can expect to see the fruits of their labor sometime in mid-April

PS TO PALE ALES MEMBERS – Brewer Brad Renninger was interested extending a similar invitation to co-brew to our club!

BREWERY PROFILE: FLYING FISH

Flying Fish of Cherry Hill, NJ, is poised ironically between the beer
mecca of Philadelphia and what has been called the “beer
wasteland” of South Jersey. Of course, Flying Fish has been a little bit different from the start. They are as their website puts it, “The
first, best – and OK, the only – brewery built live on the Internet.”

Flying Fish started off as a “virtual brewery” in August
1995, selling merchandise, establishing a brand, and presence from www.flyingfish.com ¾ but with no beer to speak of. From its web beginnings, the brewery has paid attention to its branding, perhaps in no small part due to President Gene Muller’s advertising and marketing background. (Many a brewery, with great beer, but no marketing, has closed.)

And lest you think Flying Fish’s success is all due to slick
marketing, let’s talk about what makes this medium-sized craft
brewery so great – the beers. What makes Flying Fish unique is
its combination of branding, balanced brewing philosophy, and technical and stylistic innovation.

Fish’s brewing philosophy is all about balance, from the Extra
Pale Ale to the Belgian-style Dubbel. As Muller puts it, “beers should have a beginning, middle, and an end.” Michael Jackson paid the ultimate compliment to their ESB: “I could sink quite a few pints of that.” And the Farmhouse Ale is the kind of beer you want to drink all summer.

The brewery regularly produces cask versions of their beers, and has garnered a handful of medals over the years at the Chicago Real Ale festival. Casks have included a special cask-conditioned version of its Belgian-style Dubbel fermented with cherries, a Porter and Extra Pale Ale combo dubbed “Blackfish” You’ll find FF casks at Andy’s Corner Tavern (Bogota, NJ), and Grey Lodge, and McGlinchey’s in Phila. every month. In a related vein, FF is one of the few breweries in the US that produces bottle-conditioned beers on a regular basis (it won them two medals at the Real Ale fest this year.)

In terms of stylistic innovation, Flying Fish was a trailblazer for
Belgian-style ales in the region, pre-dating those of Victory, Yards,
Brooklyn Brewing, Dogfish Head, and others. Make no mistake though, FF does not blindly follow style, but blends American craft brew with traditional sensibilities – the Belgian Dubbel and Farmhouse Ale being great examples. What more could a beer-lover ask for – casks, Belgian/English/American style, and drinkability, all wrapped up in a catchy logo, in the heart of Coors Light country!

A QUICK SNAPSHOT

Flying Fish Brewing Company
18 Olney Avenue,
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
(856) 489-0061
www.flyingfish.com
gene@flyingfish.com

OPENED: April 1996
PRESIDENT: Gene Muller
SYSTEM: 20-barrel, two-vessel system. Annual capacity of 10,500
barrels.
EMPLOYEES: Nine full-time employees. Three part-time employees.
BEERS/YEAR ROUND: Porter, XPA (Extra Pale Ale), Belgian-style Dubbel,
ESB (Extra Special Bitter)
BEERS/SEASONAL: Belgian-style Farmhouse Ale and Grand Cru, and HopPhish IPA. LovePhish (Belgian Dubbel fermented with cherries) for Valentine’s Day

HOMEBREW NEWS:

UNIQUE BEER AND FOOD COMPETITION

You drink it. You brew it. And, if you’re like a lot of us you
cook with it, too. Yep. We’re talking about beer, friends.

Greetings from your homebrewing and beer appreciating friends of
FOSSILS ” Fermenters of Special Southern Indiana Libations Society ” in New Albany, Indiana. We come bearing tidings of cheer and to introduce a new word into the vocabulary of our kindred spirits across the country. BrewFood! We should explain.

In looking for a new club event for 2002, the idea of initiating a
contest for cooking with beer bubbled to the surface. Hence, was
born the term BrewFood. Then we took the idea further (obviously after a pint of two at our favorite local pub) and thought we could compile the recipes into a BrewFood cookbook for all to enjoy! But,
that’s a lot of recipes and so calling in reinforcements was obviously in order.

That’s where you come in. We’re inviting homebrew and beer
appreciation clubs from across the nation to include a BrewFood
competition in their 2002 agendas. Competition parameters include: Utilization of beer as an integral ingredient in a recipe.

Any category of food, from appetizer to dessert, breakfast to
midnight munchies.

The beer used should be either a readily available commercial brand or style (for ease of recipe replication) or, if an esoteric homebrew, the beer’s recipe included. Special category for creative use of brewing ingredients (malt, spent grains, etc.) in a recipe.

What participating clubs will receive from the FOSSILS BrewFood Crew:

Proposed contest plan.

*Recommended judging criteria and suggested prizes for your contest.

*Examples of recipes for inspiration.

How the cookbook will be created:

*Participating clubs are asked to submit all recipes for cookbook
consideration, indicating which recipes were contest winners.

*Recipes will be selected and tested by FOSSILS BrewFood Crew and club members.

*The source of each recipe chosen will be given credit by name,
club, city and state.

*The BrewFood cookbook will be edited under the direction of Maggie Oster, author of six cookbooks (including a James Beard Award finalist) and member of FOSSILS.

*Any club represented by a recipe selected for publication in the
BrewFood cookbook will receive a copy of the published BrewFood book for their club. Additional copies may be purchased, of course.

We’re requesting that all contest be held by December 31, 2002,
with recipes submitted to the FOSSILS BrewFood Crew by January 25, 2003.

Target publication date for the BrewFood cookbook is during the third quarter of 2003 ” making books available for purchase during the 2003 holiday gift-buying season.

If you or your club would like to join this BrewFood adventure,
please contact us (info below) by March 31, 2002 or shortly thereafter for additional details.

And, finally, feel free to pass this message along to any other beer
aficionados you may know ” whether in a brewing club or not. As long as beer’s involved, it’s all good for BrewFood! Cheers!

Beth Howard (beersnobs@msn.com)
Recording Secretary and BrewFood Crew Member
F.O.S.S.I.L.S.
Fermenters of Special Southern Indiana Libations Society
New Albany, IN.
www.FOSSILS.org

CRAFT BREWERS CONFERENCE AND BREWEXPO AMERICA 2002

Beer, rock n’ roll and Michael Jackson will unite in Cleveland, Ohio
to celebrate the Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America on April 10-13, 2002. Look for conference information in your
January/February issue of The New Brewer, your mailbox and on our website http://www.beertown.org/IBS/CBC2002/index.htm.

Start making plans now to attend. Contact the AOB for information on advertising, sponsoring, exhibiting and attending.

AHA Competition
2002 AHA National Homebrew Competition
Entries due April 3-12, 2002.
Site map, entry form and other information can be found in the
March/April issue of Zymurgy and at
http://www.beertown.org/AHA/NHC/index.htm. The finals will be held at the National Homebrewers Conference in Texas. For
more information contact Gary at ext. 121 or gary@aob.org.

AHA Conference
2002 AHA National Homebrewers Conference
June 20-22, 2002 – Irving, Texas.
Registration form and information can be found in the March/April
issue of Zymurgy at www.beertown.org this spring. For more information contact
Gary at ext. 121 or gary@aob.org.

REMINDER: HOMEBREW SAKE COMPETITION APPROACHETH

Just a reminder that the first ever Sake homebrew competition on May 4th 2002 at the Righa Royal Hotel in New York City.

The competition is being run by PALE ALES member Bruce Hammel. Contact Bruce at OudBruin@aol.com for more information.

GARDEN STATE BEER NEWS

As of press time, members of the Garden State Brewers Guild were still working out the details for this year’s Garden State Craft
Brewer’s festival. The festival, the only one of its kind in NJ,
features beers from the majority of state brewpubs and breweries, and is typically held in the last week of June. Last year’s
celebration was held indoors at the Sovereign Bank arena in Trenton, while previous festivals were held outdoors at Waterloo Village in Stanhope.

This year the guild is potentially looking at yet another change of
venue this year. The current leader for location is the Blue Claw
minor league baseball stadium in Lakewood, and the current leader for the date is June 9th, according to guild officer Gene Muller, noting that these were NOT definite yet. Personally, I liked having the festival in Trenton, and in any case I’m not sure that it
benefits the festival to move around yet again. Stay posted for more details in the June/July issue.

The Porterhouse Restaurant and Brew Pub in Lahaska, Pa recently held its grand opening celebration this past March 16th, and should be open for business by the time you read this. River Horse
(Lambertville), specifically brewer Matt Howard, is running the
brewing end of things.

The new Porter and Stout, both firsts for the brewery, debuted at the grand opening – both well-balanced and very drinkable beers. In addition, all of River Horse’s products, including the tasty new
draft-only Trippel, were also on tap. With four serving tanks, the
brewery will be able to brew a quartet of on-premise beers in
addition to their list of regulars.

In terms of the space itself, it looks quite different now from the
Buckingham brewpub I remember. Throughout, the brewpub sports a more elegant look, especially the upstairs, which features a great view of the mountain in back. The brewpub also took out the four serving tanks behind the bar, and opened up that area to allow seating on both sides of the bar – giving a much more open feel to the space.

Good marks for beer and décor, and as the new owners all have
culinary backgrounds, the food should be equally enjoyable.

High Point (Butler) is making somewhat of a major move, shedding its niche status as a German-style wheat beer producer for the broader label of “German ale and lager” brewer. As of May 1st, High Point is taking the “wheat” out of its name and will become simply “High Point Brewing Co., Inc.” To commemorate this event, High Point will release a brand new draft-only lager – Ramstein Munich Amber, with the first kegs to be available at Andy’s Corner (Bogota) tavern on May 11.

The new focus on lagers was motivated in part by the success of the brewery’s Octoberfest lager and a need to expand markets
locally. “Making only wheat beers limited our market. We were a
niche within a niche,” said Zacardi, referring to the brewery’s
unique status as a German Wheat beer brewer. The brewery has actually been dabbling in lagers for the past three years, starting with the Octoberfest, and then the Pilsener-esque Kristall beer. “We are definitely still specializing in Weiss beer though,” Zacardi
noted, emphasizing that the brewery will remain true to its German craft brew roots.

In a related lager vein, High Point is also brewing a draft-only
Helles style lager for Trap Rock brewpub (based on the brewpub’s
award-winning Ghost Pony Helles recipe). Thanks to NJ’s strange
beer laws, Trap Rock cannot legally sell its beer to its sister restaurant (Huntley Taverne), and thus contracted it out.

Climax (Roselle Park) is looking at a major increase in production,
according to owner Dave Hoffman. With the purchase of the 15-barrel brewhouse from the defunct Jersey Jim’s, the 3-barrel brewery will quintuple its production, raising maximum capacity to 3500 barrels per year. The system, which Hoffman got “for a song”,
includes four 15-barrel unit tanks and six 15-barrel bottling tanks.

It’s simply a matter of keeping up with production, as the
brewery has gotten 85 new bottle accounts and 20 new draft accounts in the past two months, according to Hoffman. “Those sales guys are selling my beer too damn fast, ” he joked, referring to his new sales force. For the half-gallon growlers, Hoffman plans to push production from 50-80 cases to 300-400 cases per week, and is looking at hiring two new people just to do the bottling, and another person just to make deliveries. Contact Hoffman (908-620-9585) if you work cheap and like beer!

Flying Fish (Cherry Hill) came back from this year’s Real Ale
Festival in Chicago two medals richer. The ESB took a silver medal the Porter won a bronze for their bottle-conditioned beers in the English-style Bitters, and Dark and Strong Ale categories,
respectively. (Having recently sampled the ESB, I’d have to
concur – there are few bottled ESB’s in the US that can match it. The Porter is no slouch either!)

April will mark the sixth annual release of Flying Fish’s popular
seasonal – the Farmhouse Summer Ale, a tart, quenching
Belgian-style ale. Speaking of seasonals, on a somewhat humorous note, Flying Fish is now referring to its seasonal draft-only IPA “HopPhish” as “The Beer Formerly Known as HopPhish.” According to President Gene Muller, the musical band Phish found the name was “a little too close for trademark comfort.” The brewery decided to change it simply out of consideration for the band, who were kind enough to autograph a Flying Fish shirt a few years back for display in the brewery, according to Muller.

Lastly, the brewery is installing two new 60-barrel tanks, bringing
the brewery’s annual capacity to 10,500. With the way FF has been
adding tanks the past few years, they may need to start shopping for a new location soon!

Heavyweight (Ocean township) is thinking French for its next new
beer – a draft-only Biere de Garde lager, according to brewer Tom
Baker. (Biere de Garde is a relatively obscure French beer style,
sort of a hoppy cousin to the Saison.)

When I spoke to him, Baker was getting ready to brew another batch of his 2001 Old Salty Barleywine, which will not be released until December. This will be closely followed by a second, hoppier batch for release in late winter 2002. Also in the works is another batch of the Gruit beer, with a re-tweaked recipe, which should be out in April.

On the homebrewing front, an NJ homebrewer colleague of mine is
running the first National Homebrew Sake Competition in the US. The competition will be held on May 5 at the Righa Royal Hotel in New York City. Contact Bruce Hammell at 609-393-2946 or oudbruin@aol.com for information on judging or submitting entries.

In other brew news, according to the grapevine, there may be a
glimmer of hope in resurrecting a dead bill to allow NJ brewpubs to
sell their beer in retail stores. Apparently, the state’s new governor James McGreevey supported the bill when he was mayor of
Woodbridge, and some in the industry are hopeful that this could give the bill a second chance.

In another first, New Jersey got its first combined supermarket and
liquor store. The liquor store was added onto the existing
Wegman’s market in Princeton. For a supermarket chain, Wegmans sported a decent selection of domestic craft beer, and a pretty impressive portfolio of imports, numbering Westmalle, Schneider-Weisse, among others.

In brewpub news, JJ Bittings (Woodbridge) hosted its first joint
probrewer/homebrewer summit. Brewers Brad Renninger and Tom Paffrath, along with nearly a dozen local homebrewers from the WHALES club, got together to brew a dunkelweizen from a homebrew recipe. See the full story elsewhere in this issue.

Thanks to four new holding tanks, the brewpub has increased its
capacity by 36 barrels. In addition to increasing the brewery’s
capacity, the new tanks will enable the brewpub to do more specialty small batch brews which require longer aging, according to brewer Brad Renninger. “I’m definitely planning to do a
Barleywine,” said Renninger.

Currently, the brew tanks are in the cellar of the brewpub, which is
undergoing renovations, including a great looking bar from the
defunct Sam’s in Fords. Renninger sees the cellar as sort of a
hip hangout, featuring jazz, martinis, and cask beer.

Pizzeria Uno brewpub (Woodbridge) will be holding a beer dinner on April 29th – $40 in advance, try (732) 548-7979 for more info. In
terms of beers, look for a Nut Brown and Belgian Wit in April.

It seems likely that Triumph may be opening two new brewpubs in the next two years – in Red Bank, NJ, and New Hope, Pa. Triumph
recently secured a property just outside of the main drag in New Hope (near the old train station), which could host a brewpub similar in size to the Princeton location. Also, after a four or five year hiatus, plans for a Red Bank brewpub are back on the board as well. Stay tuned for more details.

In other news, the brewpub is holding (Arriba!) a Mexican-themed
Gambrinus Beer Dinner on May 7, according to brewer Tom Stevenson. Call (609) 924-7855 for info. Beerwise, the brewpub has just tapped its sweet and powerful Honeymoon Braggot, a 10.5% ABV cross between mead and beer. The test batches I had were great tasting, and the “bzzzz” does sneak up on you. Look for Vienna Lager, Abbey Trippel, and Coffee and Cream Stout in the coming months.

When I spoke with him, Trap Rock’s (Berkeley Heights) Rob Mullins
was gearing up for Michael Jackson’s birthday party on March 27 at the famed Brickskeller in Washington DC. Mullins brewed the beer for the party, a high-octane version of the delicious Tupper’s Hop Pocket Ale, which he dubbed Hunter’s XXXXXX Old Ale.

The beer will be featured in very limited quantities draft and
bottles at the brewpub, according to Mullins. On the beer front, look
for a Maibock and Belgian Wit in April, and a Raspberry Wit in May. Also, the pub will likely feature a beer dinner in April, said
Mullins.

If you like Brown Ales, Long Valley (Long Valley) brewpub will be
featuring an English-style nitro-dispensed Brown Ale in the style of
Newcastle, along with an American style Brown Ale. On the hand-pump, look for the Best Bitter in April, to be followed up by an English style Pale Ale. And for you outdoor beer lovers, the patio opens again in May.

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Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society