October 1998 Newsletter


[Editor: Thanks to all of you who sent me news items and comments last month at paleales@a….]


(Reminder – meetings are held on the last Monday of each month)

Apologies for the delayed meeting, and subsequently delayed newsletter. September’s meeting was cancelled due to the fact that we had some last-minute problems securing a location for our speaker (Dave Hoffman of Climax Brewing). Dave an excellent brewer (who has received acclaim from Michael Jackson, Garret Oliver and others) will be a featured speaker at an upcoming meeting.

The October meeting will be an on-the-road event at River Horse Brewing in Lambertville on the evening of Oct. 26th. We’ll be touring the brewery and sampling some of their excellent products, hopefully including some of their tasty Bock beer. Full details, including a definite time, will follow in the next newsletter – later this month.


It’s BREWIN TIME Malt and Hopmasters!!! The Second Hoppiest Show on Earth will take place on Dec. 5th and 6th in an undisclosed location in Skillman. This BJCP-recognized homebrew competition is open to all 27 categories of beer and mead (no ciders or wines). Response has been good so far, and has included at least one famous beer celebrity. Club members are working on some original artwork to make a competition T-shirt to commemorate the event (which may generate some income for the club as well!).

ALL ENTRIES must be received by November 27, 1998 – no exceptions.


1. Each entry will be made with two (2) brown bottles, 12 to 16 ounces, free of labels, with plain or blackened crown caps. No raised lettering/symbols on the bottles, no porcelain caps.

2. All entries must be received by November 27, 1998. Ship/drop off entries at Princeton Homebrew, 148 Witherspoon St, Princeton, NJ 08542, or drop off at The Little Shop of Hops, Manhattan, NY.

3. Categories may be collapsed at the discretion of the competition director.

4. Entry must include SASE for score sheet return. All other score sheets may be picked up at Princeton Homebrew after the competition.

5. Competition open to all homebrewers. Beers produced in a commercial establishment will not be accepted.

6. Each brewer is limited to one entry per subcategory.

7. All entries become the property of the Pale Ales.

8. Prizes may be picked up at Princeton Homebrew, or by other arrangements. Any added expense of shipping the prizes is the responsibility of the contest winner.

Entry forms are available at participating homebrew stores (see Joe at Princeton Homebrew!). Entry fees are $6 for the first entry, $5 for subsequent entries, paid via a check or money order (no cash) payable to PALE ALES.

For style guidelines see http://www.bjcp.org/style-guide.html. To request a manual entry form, rules, or style guidelines, call 908-369-3378 and leave address and request.


Last month’s meeting featured fermentation guru Dr. Sonia Narvas-Quiason. Narvas-Quiason is the Professor of Food Microbiology at the University of the Philippines, holds a patent for rice beer, and has authored scientific papers and a book. The doctor covered several technical topics, including different microorganisms involved in fermentation and the fermentation processes found in different countries. One of her most recent discoveries was a type of tree in the rain forest that naturally ferments (without the help of yeast) into a substance resembling beer. In fact, the doctor is currently in So. America researching indigenous fermentation methods. (Dr. Fermentation, I presume?)



It looks like NJ is going to lose one of its oldest breweries – Hoboken Brewing. Rumor has it that Hoboken Brewing will be closing its doors on Oct. 1. According to the grapevine, the company that manages the building Hoboken occupies has supposedly fled the country and left a wake of unpaid debts. Apparently Hoboken’s lease did not have a provision for the lease to survive a change of ownership. The story is that current owner is evicting them, since they can turn quite a profit if the building is sold and turned into housing.

Hoboken is one of the seminal brewers in the state, and produced the tasty, well-balanced Mile High Ginseng Ale and a full-bodied Amber beer. The owners Mitchell and Anthony De Aquilla, were also leaders in the Garden State Brewer’s Guild. To add fuel to the problem, brewing equipment must be sold and various brewing contracts must be dealt with. It is an unfortunate situation for the brewery and for all NJ beer drinkers. Best of luck to you both Mitchell and Anthony.


On the global front, club member Paul Karasaweicz’s winning recipe for Longshot Coffee Molasses Stout has just been awarded a gold medal at the World Beer Cup. Quite an honor! Congrats Paul!


It definitely looks like Poor Henry’s will be brewing Kent Brehm & Bruce Hammell’s AHA gold-grabbing Robust Porter. In related news, New Jerseyan Brian Beckmann of Andover won a gold medal in the Vienna/Marzen/Oktoberfest category as well. (Beckmann was a gold winner last year as well.) Way to go folks.


Unless you’ve lived under a rock (or keg) for the past 10 years, you’re familiar with, if not made many beer pilgrimages to, the Old Bay restaurant of New Brunswick. The Old Bay has long been one of the bastions of beer bars in the tri-state area, with an outstanding selection of taps (25 or so), featuring such delicacies as La Chouffe, Schneider Aventinus, Unibroue, Fullers, J. W. Lee, and many more. Unfortunately, one of the key people that helped make Old Bay one of the best beer bars in the U.S. for the past decade is now leaving the scene. Bar/Beer Garden Manager Chris Demitri has left the building…

In addition to picking and maintaining an excellent selection of over 20 taps, Demitri forged relationships with some of the finest breweries on the planet, including Fullers, Schneider-Weiss, Unibroue, Sierra Nevada, Stoudts, Brooklyn Brewing, and countless others. In addition, special events such as the annual cask-conditioned salute, which featured Sir Anthony Fuller tapping the first firkin of Fuller’s cask beer, were legendary. Certainly, Demitri was largely responsible for establishing Old Bay’s reputation as one of the best bars anywhere. According to Kevin Williams, General Manager, Demitri and management parted ways due to philosophical differences. “We couldn’t agree and thought it was best to part company,” as Williams puts it. Both Demitri and Williams agreed that it was an amicable parting. “It was just time for me to move on,” said Demitri.

Economics, it seems, were at the heart of the debate. Events like the cask-conditioned salute and beer dinners simply weren’t making money, and the beer selection was too “high-end.” As Demitri puts it: “They thought I was too elitist with beers.” Furthermore, the restaurant was also seeing a drastic decline in beer sales, Williams said. The restaurant is not planning to hire anyone to replace Demitri, he said.

Demitri is currently pursuing his life-long dream of financing his own restaurant. The restaurant will feature a menu selected by Demitri, and of course an outstanding beer, wine, and liquor list. “I’m excited and nervous – I have to do a lot of schmoozing,” he joked. Although he is actively looking at sites in NJ and NY, Demitri could not provide further details, as he did not want to sour any potential deals.

Williams maintains that the restaurant does not plan to make any “drastic” changes in the near future. However, some of the changes Williams is talking do not exactly seem “minor.” For example, the tap selection will be reworked to emphasize American offerings, with less focus on English and other European beers. Also, some domestic staples such as Yuengling Porter and Lager have already been added to the taps. Williams is also currently hunting for two beer engines to replace the ones they had on loan.

There will be some changes in terms of events also. The Old Bay will still hold its annual Maifest and Octoberfest celebrations. However, other events such as the beer dinners (the last one was cancelled due to lack of interest) and cask-conditioned salute (sigh!) will not be continued, according to Williams.

Some in the industry would go so far as to say that Old Bay is moving away from its beer roots. “Beer put them on the map,” points out Ron Fischer, of B. United International, importers of specialty beers. Fischer has been with B. United close to a year, and worked at Old Bay directly with Demitri for three years prior to that.

As Fischer sees it, management is looking to replace the high-end, slower-moving specialty beers with those having a low unit cost and a quick turnaround. Fischer doesn’t see the economics of it – although the specialty beers cost more, the restaurant makes more money on them as well. More importantly, beers such as La Chouffe, Aventinus, and J.W. Lee’s Harvest Ale are the sorts of beers that the restaurant has built its reputation on, he points out.

I sincerely hope that this is not the case, despite evidence to the contrary, and that Old Bay will strive to maintain the excellent beer reputation that they have built. Without a full-time, dedicated person – especially one of Demitri’s caliber, it seems a difficult task at best. Thanks for the hard work, and the great beers, Chris. You will be missed.


Starting from the center of the state in Princeton, Triumph Brewing will be brewing some interesting seasonals in the coming months, a Schwartzbier, Sour Mash Raspberry Wheat, and of course – a Pumpkin Ale. Also, a Gambrinus beer dinner is planned for Nov. – call the brewpub for more details (609-924-7855). On the music scene, Triumph will feature live bands every Tues. and Wed. night – ranging from pop, to swing, jazz, blues, and R&B. Be sure to catch the eight-piece Gotham City Swing on Oct. 31 and Nov. 25.

Triumph is currently running a Training for Intervention Procedures of Alcohol for Servers (TIPS) program, which is designed to teach bartenders and servers how to recognize and handle potential alcohol-related problems. Classes are open to any interested servers and bartenders for a nominal fee to cover the costs of materials. Interested parties should contact Manager Roxanne Klett.

Going south… Flying Fish will be releasing its Belgian Abbey Dubbel in six-packs on Oct. 1, according to President Gene Muller. (Previously, the Abbey Dubbel was only available by the case.) In addition, the variety case featuring four different beers will be available on Nov. 1. On the draft side, Flying Fish will be featuring dry-hopped versions of its ESB and Extra Pale Ale. The brewery will also be releasing a new, yet to be revealed, seasonal this Fall, according to Muller.

Going north and east… Basil T’s brewpub is brewing up some interesting seasonals in the coming months. The Red Bank location will be brewing a special GABF-edition of the Iceboat Ale, a Strong Scotch Ale in Sept./Oct., and a Spiced Apple Wheat (a wheat beer with tart apple cider and apple pie spices) in Oct./Nov, according to head brewer Robert Hettmansperger. In October, the Toms River location will feature a Pumpkin Patch Ale, a light amber beer mashed with real pumpkins and spiced with pumpkin pie spices, and an American Brown Ale.

Going north and west…Jersey Jim’s (Hillsborough) will be brewing a Strong Ale (8%), an Octoberfest beer, and possibly a Light Lager ( imagine Budweiser 40-50 years ago!). Jersey Jim’s will also be featured at the Split Rock festival in the Poconos. Nov. 21 and 22nd – Sat and Sunday. In other news, head brewer Scott Herscher is also entering his Pale Ale in the GABF.

Old Bay will hold its annual Octoberfest celebration on Sunday October 11th, from 1-5 p.m. Featured breweries will include Hacker-Pschorr, Paulaner, Spaten, Independence, Stoudts, Victory, De Groen, and many others. The $12 admission buys your first beer, a commemorative mug, and the German-style buffet. Old Bay will also be sponsoring a bus trip to Stoudts’ beer festival on Oct. 25. Call the restaurant for more information (732-246-311).

J.J. Bittings (Woodbridge) will be celebrating Octoberfest for the entire month. Upcoming beers will include a Bavarian- style Schwartzbier, and Octoberfest. The Schwartzbier will be aged for 1.5 months, and have about 4.9 % ABV. The character will be balanced, with a slight sweetness and roast flavor, but without the “burnt” bitter aspect, according to brewer John Eisenstein.

The Octoberfest beer will be aged for 1 to 1.5 months, and will pack quite a malty wallop at 6.6% ABV! Head Chef Dave Adams will serve up his award- winning German specialties Wednesday evenings throughout October. Octoberfest beer specials and traditional German music will also be featured. The annual Halloween Bash on Saturday, Oct. 31st, with live music by the “Groovie Ghoulies” rounds out the month-long fest.

Regularly scheduled programming at the brewpub, includes cask -conditioned beer every Friday on the hand-pump, and Monday night football “kick the keg party” – dollar pints until the keg kicks.

The Bernardsville Stone Tavern is gearing up for Octoberfest in a big way – with four German style beers – a Doppelbock, Marzen, Octoberfest, and Hefeweizen. The annual Octoberfest celebration will be held on Oct. 1. German cuisine will also be featured in the menu for the month of October. After the October festivities have settled, the Stone Tavern will host the renowned Uncle Floyd Show on Nov. 25th, 10 p.m.

Long Valley brewpub will host its outdoor Octoberfest celebration on Oct.17th, from 12-5 p.m., featuring live music and German food. And the renovated 250-year old barn seems the perfect setting for a Halloween party and haunted house. Also, later in the Fall, the brewpub will feature a “Farewell to Summer” party, with a Caribbean flair. Brewer Tim Yarrington will also be sending several of his beers to the GABF – the Golden Ale, Amber, Brown Ale, and Festival Ale.


Good news for real ale lovers! The 1998 GBBF (Great British Beer Festival) Champion Beer of Britain, Bluebird Bitter from the Coniston Brewery in Cumbria, England, will be available in limited quantities in two New York bars.

According to Ron Fischer of B. United International, importer of specialty beers, only five firkins of the beer will be available in the U.S. B. United initially wanted 10 firkins, but the small brewery simply does not have the capacity to satisfy the current demand, he said. d.b.a will feature two firkins, while The Ginger Man will have one firkin on tap. (The remaining two firkins will go to the upcoming Real Ales festival in Chicago.) The beer will go on tap at the end of September – so hurry!



On the cyberspace front, Michael Jackson, the beer hunter, is back on the web at http://www.beerhunter.com. His site contains hundreds of articles and tasting notes for breweries, including NJ breweries Flying Fish, Climax, and the High Point Wheat Beer Co.


*HOPPY HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE – The Prairie Homebrewing Companions proudly announce the 1998 Hoppy Halloween Challenge. This will be a large event with uniquely crafted awards – a theme medal that features Halloween ghosts jumping out of a rolling boil brewpot!

THE HOPPY HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE includes beer categories for nearly every style of beer, and includes a special “Halloween Theme Beer” category. The 1998 Hoppy Halloween Challenge website address is http://www.linkup.net/users/dtrautmann/phc98.html Entries must be received by October 16. Competition rules and regulations are available on the website or can be obtained by contacting:

Susan Ruud, Competition Coordinator, 5605 56th Ave. N. Harwood, ND 5804, 701-231-8445 sruud@b…

*3RD ANNUAL MUSIC CITY BREW-OFF – The Music City Brewers, Nashville Tennessee’s AHA registered homebrew club is proud to annouce The 3rd Annual Music City Brew-Off Saturday, October 24, 1998 at Boscos Nashville Brewing Company 1805 21st Avenue South, Nashville. Details:

-Accepting all AHA categories/subcategories
-Friday night welcome reception -Saturday Pub Crawl -Sunday Pancake Brunch, featuring Al Korzonas, author of “Homebrewing Volume I” -BOS Prize – Brew a commercial size batch with Greg Davis at Market Street Brewery in Nashville.

Details can be found at the club web site http://www.theporch.com/~homebrew email: BernardCh@m… Music City Brewers, Nashville TN – Music City, USA

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Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society