January 1999 Newsletter



DATE: Monday, Jan. 25th
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
PLACE: Alchemist & Barrister, 28 Witherspoon Street, Princeton
PHONE: 609-924-5555

Steve Nordahl, VP of Brewing Operations for Frederick Brewing (Maryland) will be our featured speaker this month.

Steve was one of the founders and the first head brewer at Frederick Brewing. Frederick Brewing produces the infamous Hempen Ale and Hempen Gold (beers made with hemp seeds) and the Blue Ridge product line (Amber, ESB, Hopfest, Sublimator Doppelbock, SunRage, and others).

Last year Frederick acquired Wild Goose (IPA, Amber, Porter, Snow Goose, etc.) and Brimstone Brewing (Stone Beer, Honey Red, Baltimore Amber) giving them an impressive portfolio of products. Steve will be treating us to samples of several winter beers, including Frederick’s Snowball’s Chance, Wild Goose’s Snow Goose, and a big selection from the Brimstone brewing line as well.

For more information about Frederick, check out their web page at


The primary goal of our club to promote education, discussion of brewing, ultimately helping us all to understand an brew beer better.

As some members have expressed mixed feelings regarding the judging in AHA/BJCP-sponsored competitions in general (esp. the style categories), it has been proposed that we hold several club-only competitions throughout the year which are not as traditional, formal, or style-focused.

Basically, we want to simplify the evaluation process, focus on our members, engage in one-on-one dialog, help people brew better, and lastly – have fun.

The current draft plan for the club-only competitions is as follows:

*Quarterly competitions will be held during the year (March, May, August, and Nov, most likely on a Sunday), culminating in a “Best of Show” at the end of the year (in the form of a righteous members party!).

*Participants can only enter one beer per quarterly competition – so make it your best one. When an entry moves up to the finals, that member can no longer enter beers in the competition. In addition, members are discouraged from entering beers which have won medals previously. The idea here is to prevent flooding of entries and persons entering simply to win prizes.

*Evaluation will be simpler, and less formal than standard BJCP/AHA, and will focus on process and flavors, but not on styles. Brewers will be able to receive immediate feedback and will be encouraged to provide information about their beer.

*Anyone can enter, but only club members can win prizes (i.e., you must join to win)

*Pale Ales will send the winning beer(s) on to the national AHA competition as club entries.

Those are the basics. However, nothing is set in stone – and we reserve the right to make any changes which will improve the competition.

Let me just say up front, I am an advocate of the current BJCP judging and scoring programs. Having said that, I personally feel the club competitions are potentially one of the most exciting new directions our club has taken in the past year and a half since I joined. And I am looking forward to us all working together
to “raise the bar” (no pun intended) for our club’s education and enjoyment of brewing.

Do you like what we’re proposing? Do you think it stinks? We want your feedback and help to work out the details – so come to the Jan. meeting and help us do just that!

Those who attended the December “non-meeting” at Joe’s Mill Hill will be happy to know that we are actually planning to meet there on Feb. 22. Owner Joe LaPlaca apologized profusely for accidentally closing the pub that evening (the bar closes on Mondays now and he simply forgot) and definitely wants to make it up to us.

Kudos to those hearty members who drive back to Triumph to hold the meeting despite the missing meeting place. You all showed a great deal of club spirit, and gave a great deal of valuable feedback concerning the club-only contest. More details to follow in the Feb. newsletter about the meeting.

The January meeting marks election time. Again, the elected positions (one-year terms), and the incumbents are:

— President: Roland Pena
— Vice President: David Corbishley
— Treasurer: Al Boccardo
— Secretary/Newsletter Editor: Kevin Trayner
— Special Events Coordinator: currently unfilled

It looks like several club members will be throwing their hats in the ring as candidates – Steve Rowley (President) and Steve Ashton (Treasurer) to name two, and some others have expressed an interest as well. Members can announce their candidacy or nominate a candidate at the next meeting. Be there, and make your voice heard.


Just a reminder to renew your annual $24 PALE ALES club dues this month. (Hey, the free beer from the meetings alone is worth the price!)

Your membership gets you:

* Monthly meetings, which feature world-class brewers. Past speakers have included representatives from breweries such as Brooklyn Brewery, Rogue, Flying Fish, High Point Wheat Beer, Climax, and others.

* A monthly newsletter (email and print), which gives you information on beer- related events, homebrew competitions, and club news.

*Fun and educational events such as our annual homebrew competition, workshops, and (coming soon!) club-only competitions.

* Constructive evaluations of your beers by experienced homebrewers.

* A members-only discount (5%) at Princeton Homebrew.

Of course, the most important asset of a homebrew club is you – our membership. And we feel that our members have a wealth of experience in judging, grain and extract brewing, and brewing techniques. Become a member again, and belong to one of the best homebrew clubs in NJ – PALE ALES!

As you may know, the club’s annual competition – the Hoppiest
Show on Earth – features a lot of great prizes. And of course, it’s the
sponsors who donate them that make these great prizes possible.
So, we encourage you to patronize the competition sponsors. The
sponsors are listed on the PALE ALES web page at
http://www.members.tripod.com/~BrewMiester_2/Home.html. Click
the link to the “Contest” page, then click the “Sponsors” link at the
bottom of the Contest page.


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. Guest Judge: TERRY FOSTER, beer author. Contact Paul T. Zocco at (860)742-7879, e-mail: ptzocco@s….

13th Annual Bay Area Brew Off, Dublin, CA. Entries due 1/12/99 thru 1/23/99 with $6 entry fee. Contact Bryan Gros at (510)601-6780, e-mail: gros@b….

FebFest ’99, Libertyville Civic Center, Libertyville, IL. Sponsored by The Brewers on the Bluff homebrew club and Mickey Finn’s Brewery. Unlimited sampling of Midwestern microbrewed beers. Tickets: $18 adv./$20 door. (847)234-5809, e- mail: clubbob@a….

Florida State Fair, AHA Sanctioned Competition, Tampa, FL. Entries due by 2/8/99 with $5 entry fee.. Contact Jeff Gladish at (813)238-0403 (h) or (813)874- 0937 (w), e-mail: StoneAndWing@i….

You’re Special to Me AHA Club Only Competition, AHA Sanctioned Competition, Northern VA & DC area. Sponsored by the AHA and hosted by Brewers United for Real Potables (BURP). Entries due 2/8/99. AHA Category 23 – Specialty and Experimental Beers. Contact Brian Rezac at (303)447-0816, ext. 121, e-mail: brian@a….

2/19/99 to 2/20/99
Kansas City Bier Meisters 16th Annual Regional Homebrew Competition, AHA Sanctioned Competition, Roeland Park, KS. Entries due 2/6/99. Entry fee: $6 ea./1-6 entries, $5 ea./7 or more entries. Contact Steven Ford at (913)432-6109

4th Annual MASH Homebrew Competition, AHA Sanctioned Competition, San Rafael, CA. Entries due 2/6/99 with a $6/entry fee. Contact Mike Riddle at (415) 472-3390 (h), e-mail: jadeeds@s….

1st Annual South Gasconade Brewing Society Homebrew & Wine
Competition, AHA Sanctioned Competition, Owensville, MO. Entries due 2/1/99 thru 2/15/99 with $5 entry fee. Contact Bill Leasure at (573)437-6172 (h) or (888)650-9939.

AHA On The Road, Woodstock Brewing Co., 20 St. James St., Kingston, NY at 7:30 pm. Sponsored by Hudson Valley Homebrewers, Woodstock Brewing, Ale Street News & Yankee Brew News. Charlie Papazian speaks to homebrewers &
local homebrew club members. Contact Jim Taylor at (914)255-8474, e-mail: 4taylors@i….

The Best of Brooklyn ’99 Homebrew Competition, AHA Sanctioned
Competition, Brooklyn, NY. Sponsored by Malted Barley Appreciation Society. Entries due 2/9/99 thru 2/20/99. (See entry packet for entry fee schedule). Contact Bob Weyersburg at (212)989-4545, e-mail: triage@m….

Salt City Homebrew Competition, AHA Sanctioned Competition, Syracuse, NY. Sponsored by Salt City Brewers, a portion of the proceeds goes to the Make-A- Wish Foundation. Entries due 2/12/99 with $7 entry fee/1st entry and $4/each additional entry. Contact Andrew F. Moon & John A. Barnes at (315)656-8917 or
(315)474-8731, e-mail: jabarnes1@a….

Cincinnati Bock Fest 1999 Homebrew Competition, Cincinnati, OH. Sponsored by Barrel House Brewing Company. Entries due by
2/20/99. Contact Robert Pinkerton at , e-mail: robertp@c….



Family-owned Hoboken Brewing will be closing the doors of its 1125 Hudson St brewery by June or July, according to co-owner Mitchell Dell’Aquila. The new owners of the building are evicting Hoboken, and plan to develop the premium space into apartments, he said.

Unfortunately, the brewery’s 20-year lease contract did not provide for a change in ownership – leaving the Dell’Aquilas high and dry when the original owner defaulted on the mortgage. “We did not have good legal representation when we did the lease. We’ve been fighting this in court for a year, and we’re just tired of doing it,” said Dell’Aquila. He estimates that the brewery’s legal fees are about $40,000 at this point, and feels future litigation would be fruitless. As far as Hoboken’s financial status contributing to the closure, Dell’Aquila denies any such claims: “Yes, it’s a tough business. But we would have stuck through with it. We have the cash, it’s just a question of continuing to spend it.”

Ideally, Hoboken would move their equipment and set up shop elsewhere, but they lack sufficient capital to do so on their own. So, for the past three months Dell’Aquila has been working with potential buyers/investors to offset moving costs, supply start-up capital, etc. Sal Pennachio (owner of Old World Brewing in Staten Island) is still one of the most promising prospects, he said – although the deal is still pending after several months. As Hoboken real estate is too pricey, the brewery will look at other areas in Northern NJ, or possibly Staten Island (home of Old World Brewing). “It’s like starting over again,” said Dell’Aquila.


So. Orange’s Gaslight Brewery is featuring a gala beer tasting event on Feb. 26th, featuring none other than Charlie Papazian. Papazian, founder of the American Home Brewers Association (AHA) and author of the classic “Joy of Home Brewing,” is a homebrewing legend. 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.

The event is sponsored by Beer International, a beer appreciation organization founded by local beer legend Richie Stolarz. Speaking of which, BI will be celebrated its 16th anniversary on Feb. 7th with a party at the Teaneck VFW. Contact BI at (201) 836-6540 or beersint@w… for details. In related news, Gaslight will host a beer dinner on Feb. 2nd, which will feature British-style cask and bottle-conditioned ales. Beers will be provided by specialty importer B. United International.


On a more positive note, it looks as though Rockaway will be getting a new  microbrewery in the next month or so. Barley Road Brewing will initially open as a keg-only brewery producing its flagship product Justice Pale Ale, according to President Eric Wentz.

Justice Pale Ale (closer in style to an Amber) has actually been contract brewed for about a year and a half (bottles and draft) by the defunct Hoboken brewing. Wentz plans to brew the Pale Ale year round, and will add some seasonals as the brewery builds momentum.

The 1800 square foot space will house a 10-barrel system, with 20-barrel unit tanks. Wentz estimates the brewery could produce 3-500 barrels in its first year. As of press time, Wentz was setting up the brewing equipment, and pending approvals for plumbing, electricity, etc., and his brewer’s license. Wentz’s plan (a little optimistic perhaps) is to release the first kegs of Pale Ale by the end of March. Additionally, Wentz is also contracting River Horse to bottle six packs of the Pale Ale.

Wentz caught the brewing bug as a homebrewer, eventually working at several breweries in Boston, including Ipswich and Old Harbor (no longer in existence). Initially, the brewery will be a one-man show, much like Climax Brewing, with Wentz handling both the brewing and distribution (mainly No. Jersey).

Given the shakedown in the market this past year, and Hoboken’s shutdown so close to home, does pose the question – why open a brewery now? Wentz agrees that there will be more fallout in the industry, but is banking on continued strong customer support in Morris County, where he is the only brewery. “If I offer a good product I don’t see why I can’t carve a niche,” he reasons.


In related news, Central NJ beer drinkers will be seeing a new local product on the shelf this Feb 1st. Backwoods Brewing Co. (Edison) will be distributing its Backwoods Brew Pale Ale (formerly available only in kegs and growlers) in Middlesex, Monmouth, and Mercer counties, according to President Paul Giovine.

The beer will be contract brewed by River Horse (Lambertville) said Giovine. In addition, Backwoods is developing some other brewing recipes, including a Pumpkin Ale and Brown Ale, he said. Backwoods Brewing was founded in 1995 – other principals include Lou Mellillo and Jesse McCrea. For information, check out their website at www.backwoodsbrew.com.


Up North in Butler, High Point is launching a beer education program dubbed “Draft 2000.” The program educate servers as to how to properly pour and serve High Point’s draft Weizen beers, according to President Greg Zacardi. In particular, Zacardi feels that maintaining proper carbonation levels is tantamount to enjoying a good Weizen.

“The idea is that our beer on tap will be as exciting and vibrant as it is in the bottle,” said Zacardi, comparing the program to Guinness’s highly touted beer school, which trains servers of Guinness products. In addition to educating servers, the brewery will also install special faucets designed for Weizen beer on existing taps to increase carbonation levels, said Zacardi.

As part of this initiative, High Point will also be consolidating its draft accounts, said Zacardi – fewer bars will carry the draft, but it will always be served properly. This program will roll out on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th). The brewery will also tap its new Kristall wheat beer as part of the rollout. The non-traditional Kristall will be a filtered beer made with a Lager yeast strain and wheat malt. “It will be as
close as a wheat beer can get to a Pilsener,” said Zacardi.

High Point’s Winter Wheat (a Weizen Doppelbock) received rave reviews from Michael Jackson at a recent beer tasting sponsored by Beers International. The Beer Hunter offered his highest praises to the brewer in front of a crowd of 50-60:

“Greg, this is a terrific beer.”


Going South, Flying Fish is coming off a year when it doubled its production, but is still keeping things interesting. The brewery is putting together a special Valentine’s Day version of its Abbey Dubbel, dubbed “Love Fish.” The Dubbel will be “dry hopped” with over two pounds of Western Slope Colorado grown cherries and offered on draft only in limited supply, according to President Gene Muller. (Muller noted that the other major holiday at the same time is President’s Day, which inspired another possible name for this beer – “Blow Fish.”)

On another comic note, Flying Fish has recently announced that all of its beers are certified Y2K (Year 2000) compliant. According to the press release, “After extensive testing at the Flying Fish Year 2000 Headquarters we’re proud to report that after midnight next December 31, your bottle of Flying Fish will still be completely functional – even if the elevator or plane you’re riding in is not.” Call for special 100-case survival shelter pricing. (Note: because of forklift limitations, the brewery can’t deliver to caves with less than 8′ clearance.)


Going up to the far North near the Delaware Water Gap, it looks like Krogh’s (Sparta Lake) new brewpub will be on line by the time you read this. The final tiles were being laid in the new brewpub section of Krogh’s as I was talking with Entertainment Manager Rachel McCullough.

The brewpub will feature a total of six taps, with one beer coming on tap by the end of January, and the rest following by the end of February, according to McCullough. Selections will include a Nut Brown Ale, Winter Ale, Raspberry Wheat, Oatmeal Stout, and a Red Ale. Krogh’s plans to work out any bugs in the system this month, and have a grand opening sometime in March, according to


It looks like Pizzeria Uno brewpub (Woodbridge) is getting a new brewer – Mike Sella. The brewpub had originally planned to have Mike Monroe oversee the brewing, despite the fact that Monroe recently took on the position of head brewer at the Gilded Otter in New Palz in NY. Things did not pan out, however, according to management, and Sella is now brewing full time.


In South Jersey, the Oar Brewing brewpub (Millville) opened its doors this past Dec. “We had a great opening,” according to co-owner Bill Puzak, adding that “we’ve been packed every night since then.” The brewpub’s success is somewhat ironic considering that it does not currently brew its own beer. (The brewpub does features16 taps, including local favorites Dock Street and Flying Fish, and has over 100 bottled beers). The owners have not provided many details as to when the brewpub will start brewing or purchase brewing equipment. “We are working on it,” said Puzak.


A quick highlight of some of the beers to look for on tap in NJ’s brewpubsBasil T’s will be featuring a Brown Ale (Toms River) and an interesting sounding wheat Barley Wine (Red Bank). With a 9.5 ABV, the Barley Wine is made with 50% malted wheat and 50% malted barley and is blonde in color. Head Brewer Robert Hettmansperger developed the recipe in collaboration with fellow brewer Mark Kauffman, head brewer at John Harvard’s in Washington, D.C, who also brewed a batch.

Gaslight Brewery will feature a Scotch Ale, Pre-Prohibition American Light Lager, and Belgian Dubbel this month, with a Doppelbock in March. Triumph will feature an Imperial Stout, and a Mardi Gras Blonde Ale (to coincide with its Mardi Gras festivities), with a Honey Maibock in March. In addition, to its regularly scheduled live music on Tues and Wed., Triumph will feature special musical guests Grey Eye Glances on Feb. 19th (Friday).

Trap Rock (Berkeley Heights) will be tapping an English Dark Mild. J.J. Bitting (Woodbridge) will be tapping a two-month old Bock in early March as part of Mardi Gras festivities on Feb. 6th, and an Irish Red on St. Patrick’s Day. Long Valley brewpub will be pouring a Wee Heavy and a cask-conditioned bitter, and a nitrogen-dispensed Dry Irish Stout in March. (The pub will also feature a Mardi Gras celebration on Feb. 11th with Cajun food, music and $2 pints.) In celebration of Valentine’s Day, the Bernardsville Stone Tavern will feature a Honey Porter, and a special menu and jazz music that weekend. In addition to regular St. Patrick’s day festivities, Uncle Floyd and his comedy act will be appearing on March 13th. And of course, don’t forget the tasty seasonal selections at your local beer bars… The Old Bay (New Brunswick) will be bringing its two hand pumps back on line this month with offerings from Climax, Fullers, Yard’s and others. Other seasonals at the Old Bay include: a Smoked Porter and Scotch Ale from
Stoudt’s, and offerings from Unibroue, Anchor, Weyerbacher, Sierra Nevada, Independence and others.

Antone’s (Cranford) is featuring winter treats from Otter Creek Winter Ale; Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn, Climax, Lindeman’s, and Victory, to name a few. Andy’s Corner (Bogota) has tapped seasonals from Wild Goose, McSorley’s, Widmer, Blue Moon, Flying Fish, Rogue and others.


Leave a Reply

Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society