June 2002 Newsletter

June 2002

DATE: Monday, June 17th
TIME: 7:30pm
PLACE:Triumph, 138 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ
PHONE: (609) 924-7855

Greg Zacardi of High Point Brewing (Butler), brewers of Ramstein beers, will be our featured speaker this month at Triumph brewpub in Princeton, NJ.

High Point, until recently, was solely a German Wheat beer brewer, producing Dark, Blonde and Weizenbock beers – all of which have received their share of critical acclaim, including Michael Jackson ranking the Dark Wheat as one of the best of its ilk in the world.

Appropriately enough, this will also mark our Wheat Beer styles meeting. Greg Zaccardi will talk about German Wheats, Steve Rowley will do the American Wheats, and Joe Bair will speak on
Belgian Wheats.

And we might even see a few German Lagers in the mix as well. High Point has recently adjusted its German Beer mission to include German Lagers in its repertoire as well as wheat beers, and has just released the Ramstein Munich Amber lager (a beer in the Octoberfest tradition) and the Helles style Revelation Golden Lager (brewed based on Trap Rock’s award-winning Helles beer recipe).

Also, don’t forget to bring your brown ales brewers, as we will also try to sample people’s results from the previous meeting on Brown Ales. What more could a beer lover and home brewer ask for? And a special thank you to Triumph, and Tom Stevenson for hosting us twice in the past few months. Support your local brewpub, baby!

Lastly, did I mention how much everyone enjoyed Heavyweight’s innovative and unusual beers at our last meeting? What other brewer do you know that makes a Gruit, Alt and Smoked Bock? My personal favorite of the selections was the Cinderbock. If it didn’t win you over with the flavor, you couldn’t resist the cool label featuring a Goat with a cigarette butt hanging out of its mouth.


Saturday July 13th will mark PALE ALES’ second annual New York City pub crawl. Last year’s was a blast as anyone who survived will tell you. The agenda is not yet finalized, but likely suspects include the wonderfully affordable Mugs (we drank $3 PINTS of Anchor Foghorn folks!), Ginger Man, the unbeatable DBA, Blind Tiger, and either/or the Waterfront Ale house.

We will post an agenda will approximate times, so that folks can join us at their leisure. We may even designate a cell phone in the group as a contact point so you can get “up to the pint” information from us during the day.

*Train prices/schedules – It is around $ 13.00 for a round trip to Penn Station from Princeton Jct. Plan to get there early to buy tickets. (There is a $3.00 surcharge per person if you buy
them on the train).

*Trains run back and forth on the hour. The last trains back to Princeton Jct. / Trenton leave from Penn Station @ 11:43 PM, 12:42 AM, and 01:41 AM. I don’t think we have a planned departure
time yet. But of course, people can leave when it suits them.



Sample some of NJ’s finest craft brews at the sixth annual Garden State Craft Brewers festival this June 30th. After wrangling with several different possible venues, the festival returns this year to historic Waterloo Village in Stanhope, NJ.

The guild had offers on the table from Sovereign Bank arena in Trenton (where last year’s fest was held) and GPU Energy Park (Blue Claw minor league baseball stadium in Lakewood), but felt that Waterloo Village showed the most interest and was
the best choice, according to guild representative Tom Stevenson. It doesn’t hurt that Waterloo has a proven track record of
hosting the festival four years in a row, and its acres of sprawling grounds are ideal for vendors and lounging participants.

It looks like all of the guild’s 15 breweries/brewpubs will be in attendance. NJ’s newest brewery, Cricket Hill (Fairfield), is
slated to pour for the first time at the festival. Notably absent will be longtime guild member Long Valley brewpub, which dropped out of
the guild recently.

The festival will run from 1-5 pm, and tickets will be $20 ($15 for non-drinkers). The guild is looking at a 2500 cap on attendance, as past experience has shown this to be the maximum that the breweries can handle comfortably, according to Stevenson. You can purchase tickets in person at the Waterloo box office or pre-order them from Ticketmaster 201-507-8900.


If you are interested, volunteers are needed the festival. Yes, you will be expected to work, but you will also have time to check out the festival as well. I’ve done it myself in the past, and will be helping out this year as well – a lot of fun and a great crowd.

Contact Lisa Trayner (lgtrayner@y…) ASAP
for more info.


Chris Dimitri, one of NJ’s first beer pioneers, has returned to New Brunswick. For those of you who don’t know, Chris Dimitri, is the man that made the Old Bay a beer destination, taking it from eight generic taps to over 20 import and micro taps. When Dimitri held court at Old Bay over five years ago, it featured an annual cask
ale festival, first tappings of beers like Fullers and Schneider-Aventinus by the brewery owners themselves, and in short probably the best selection of taps in the Garden State.

Dimitri has combined several of his loves – beer, BBQ, and music – in the somewhat unlikely venue of the Court Tavern. Locally, the “Court” has a rep as a hole-in-the-wall hosting an eclectic range of live music, ranging from folk to punk. The plan is not, however, to remove the Court’s edge entirely, but rather to polish it down a
little. “I don’t want to alienate the pierced and funky crowd, I kind of like it,” Dimitri confided.

In terms of beer, the goal is to bring in some American micros, eventually building from a half dozen to a dozen quality taps. Foodwise, a new dinner menu has been added, combining BBQ,
gourmet offerings, and pub fare, and by next year, the plan is to annex a separate dining room next door.

Why the focus on BBQ? Dimitri’s love for BBQ goes back about 20 years, when he worked in one of NYC’s first BBQ venues – the now defunct Caroline’s. And BBQ is much more in vogue now than it was then, he added. Currently, Chris hand smokes all of the meats for BBQ, although they are in the process of getting an industrial sized smoker for the kitchen. In addition, the Court has been working on pumping up its rep as a musical venue – the Smithereens played there last October. (For upcoming events and other info, go to www.courttavern.net.)

To kick off its new food and beer directions, the Court hosted a beer night and new dinner menu this past March, featuring the beers and magical ladies of Magic Hat (Vermont). Resident rogue
Sebbie Buehler suggested I try Humble Patience (at least I think she meant the beer), Magic Hat’s newest export to NJ. The smooth, malty Irish Red did not disappoint – nor the fresh-hopped Blind Faith IPA

Despite the fact that I love BBQ, and often lament the dearth of BBQ in the Northeast, I inexplicably ordered my pub grub standby – a Cheeseburger. I will say that my perfectly cooked burger and hand cut, twice-fried fries, accompanied (Belgian-style) by a slightly
seasoned mayonnaise for dipping, were superb. The patrons, a mix of college and thirty to fortysomethings, seemed to love the food though, as did my dinner companion.

Although it is definitely headed in the right direction, the Court has a ways to go to reach its full beer potential. But, then again, Chris
has done this sort of thing before.


Blue Collar (Vineland) will now be distributing into Phila in draft and bottles through. Friedland distributors, according to brewer Steve
Heck. The brewery will be releasing an American Wheat in June, and has re-released the Bavarian lager as its summer seasonal. Blue Collar will not be at the Garden State fest, given the cost
of the event (the brewery needs to purchase a $250 insurance rider), the distance, and potential market, Heck said.

Heavyweight (Ocean) has garnered a reputation for its brewing artistry, but its latest brew, titled Biere d’Art, will truly be a work of art. No, I’m not referring to beer per se (although I’m sure it will be tasty), but rather to the original art that will be featured on the limited distribution corked and crowned 750 ml bottles.

Christine Haley (wife to beer writer Steven Beaumont) will supply the abstract/mixed media piece for the label of this Bierre de Garde style brew. Heavyweight will produce about 140 cases,
and limited draft kegs of the beer, which will be lagered for a full month before being released sometime in late June, according to brewer Tom Baker.

And for July, the brewery will be doing a second batch of its Alt-style bier, StickeNJAB, a joint effort between the brewery and NJAB (New Jersey Association of Beerwriters). This version will
use all organic hops and malt, and be available in bottles for the first time, Baker said.

Flying Fish’s Farmhouse Ale has been flying off the shelves, with May’s sales already double that of last summer’s totals, according to president Gene Muller.

Muller will be a guest speaker at the Brickskeller’s (Washington DC) sixth Smithsonian Beer Series, which runs through June. This series focuses on British brewing styles and pub life. Also, you can look for the Fish’s beers at Mondial de la Biere festival in Quebec, Canada, and at the Oregon Brewers Festival, in Portland,
July 26-28.

Way up north, New Jersey’s newest brewery Cricket Hill (Fairfield) has hooked up with major North Jersey distributor Kohler, according to co-owner Rick Reed. So you can now buy bottles of the brewery’s flagship East Coast Lager and American Ale in six counties (Bergen, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, and Somerset.) In other news, Cricket Hill will be doing cask versions of its American ale for select accounts, including Andy’s Corner in Bogota, according to co-owner Rick Reed.

Climax (Roselle Park) is busy setting up the 15-barrel brewhouse purchased from the defunct Jersey Jim’s. When I spoke to him, brewer Dave Hoffman had finished installing the boilers, and
if all goes to plan, should have the brewhouse installed by the time you read this. The new setup will increase annual capacity from 750 to 3750 barrels. Needless to say, after having run a four-barrel system for the past five years or so, Hoffman is itching to fill up all six of his new 15-barrel bottling tanks. Climax’s Octoberfest,
brewed in July, will be the first lager to grace the new storage tanks, and will be featured at the October Stoudt’s beer festival.

River Horse’s new PorterHouse brewpub (Lahaska, Pa) should be bringing two more taps online by the end of June – a Raspberry Wheat and Cream ale, according to brewer Matt Howard. This brings the total number of beers brewed on premise to four – which is the capacity for the brewing system.

In brewpub news, Atlantic City’s Tun Tavern is doing some interesting cask experiments. Would you believe a Barleywine aged in Jack Daniels’ barrels? Sounds pretty good to me! Recent taps included a Scotch Ale, Weizenbock, and Hefeweizen.

In New Brunswick, Barry Holsten has come back on as brewer at Harvest Moon, replacing brewer Rob Macaulay. (Macaulay may possibly hold the NJ record for shortest term served by a brewer, with his entire tenure lasting less than two months). Welcome back Barry!

JJ Bittings (Woodbridge) superbly smooth Knockout Bock lived up to its name in more ways than one. Apparently, the newly propogated lager yeast was especially virile this year, adding an extra 1.5% ABV to this year’s batch! Brewer Brad Renninger was very happy with his malty handiwork, although at a loss to explain the new yields. Perhaps Cook College is missing a mutant lager yeast strain?

The Dunkelweizen, co-brewed with the WHALES homebrewers, turned out a nice blend of fruity banana, and clove with a touch of chocolate. Upcoming beers at the brewpub include a Pilsner, a coffee milk porter (made with lager yeast, lactose and flaked oats), a light golden lager, and Hefeweizen. (Of course, those at our April
club meeting there sampled the Bock and many more brews!)

Going north to Princeton, Triumph is bringing back its wonderfully unique Jewish Rye Beer, which “tastes just like it sounds,” according to brewer Tom Stevenson. The brewpub will be bringing on the hefeweizen for the summer, and an American Lager, made with corn, for American Beer Month in July.

Morristown’s Brew Chef Tim Schaeffer is always cooking up something beer related. On June 24th, Tim Schafer’s Cuisine (973.538.3330) will feature a beer dinner, accompanied by beers from NJ breweries Climax, High Point, Cricket Hill, and others.

Long Valley brewpub kicks off the summer on June 9th with a Backyard BBQ on the patio. The event will run from12-6 pm, and feature a special BBQ/seafood menu, and reduced price pints.
Upcoming beers include the excellent Best Bitter on the hand pump, a West Coast style Pale Ale for a seasonal and an IPA in July.

On June 6th, Gaslight (South Orange) featured the NJ cask debut of a most unusual beer – J.W. Lee’s Manchester Star. Garret Oliver, head brewer at Brooklyn Brewing, and Giles Dennis, head brewer
at J.W. Lees, have combined their considerable talents to brewing a version of this 118-year old recipe, which appears to have been a strong porter brewed for the holidays. This will mark the first time the beer has been brewed in over a century.

The brewpub is also hosting a trip to Riverfront stadium to see the Newark Bears minor league team on July 21st. The event includes beers, transportation, and a pig roast after the game. Call (973) 762-7077 for more info. Upcoming brews at the pub include a Wit beer and Vienna lager.

Andy’s Tavern (Bogota) has been running its usual plethora of promo nights – recent ones included Brooklyn, Otter Creek, and Victory. Look for a Heavyweight promo night and a special Weiss beer night in June. (See www.andyscornerbar.com for more info.) In other news, the beer hunter himself, Michael Jackson, wrote a great article on www.beerhunter.com about Andy’s called “A favorite pub.” What better advertising do you need than that?


Don’t miss the Dinner of the Decade, Ale Street News’ 10-Year Anniversary Beer Dinner at Oscars, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, NYC July 11. Put it on your calendar now and watch the www.alestreetnews.com website for beer and menu details. Unibroue, Stoudts, Brooklyn, and Ramapo Valley are on the menu so far. Watch for drawing for free tickets to the dinner!


A quick recap of the upcoming events for PALE ALES for the year:

JUNE 17th – Beers of High Point!!! Style Meeting:
European Wheat Beers (Belgian and German)

JULY 13th – NYC Pub Crawl

SEPT – Style Meeting: Bock beer

NOV – Style Meeting: Strong Ales

JAN – Style Meeting: Porters/Stouts

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Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society