September 1999 Newsletter

September, 1999


DATE: Mon., Sept. 27th
TIME: 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
PLACE: River Horse Brewery, 80 Lambert Lane, Lambertville, NJ
PHONE: (609) 397-7776

This month’s meeting will be held at River Horse brewery in Lambertville, where we will exclusively sample the brewery’s newest product – Hop Hazard Ale. This product will not be available in NJ until Oct. 1, so we are getting a sneak preview of sorts!

Hopped with East Kent Golding (bittering), Fuggles and Cascades (aromatics), and dry-hopped with Cascades, this hoppy ale will make a fitting counterpart to River Horse’s other malty seasonal, Roebling Bock.

Despite a near evacuation of Lambertville by town officials due to a nearby dam filling up (courtesy of Hurricane Floyd), and its proximity to the river, River Horse is high and dry!In addition, you will be able to sample the brewery’s other excellent offerings – the Bock, Cream Ale, Special Ale, and Lager.

Some of us will be going to the Inn of the Hawk afterwards, which is supposed to have 12 or more good taps, and is less than a 10 minute walk from the brewery (74 So. Union St.). Call the inn at 609-397-9555 for directions.


Both the club’s Hoppiest Show of the Millennium and the next round of the Bring Yer Home Brew competition are coming up soon.

It looks like the next round of the BYHB competition will take place on Oct. 24th, Sunday. Look for final details (i.e., location) to be
published in the October newsletter.

The club’s annual AHA competition, “The Hoppiest Show of the Millenium” will be held on Dec. 4th, 1999 at River Horse brewing.

Hopefully, the club competition has geared everyone up for the Hoppiest Show of the Millennium, giving you some idea on how to improve your brews, and helping you recognize where your beer fits in the style guidelines.

The competition will be featured on the AHA web site and in Zymurgy. We have started to get some responses already from judges and entrants. In fact, I had a writer contact me from Japan Times asking me for information on the competition!

Entries must be received by Nov. 30th ($5 for club members, $6 for
non-members). You can ship/drop off entries at:
* River Horse Brewing, 80 Lambert Lane, Lambertville, NJ 08530
* Princeton Homebrew, 148 Witherspoon St, Princeton, NJ 08542
* Homebrew Unlimited, 2663 Nottingham Way, Mercerville, NJ 08619.

We are currently looking for judges, stewards, and personnel to help out as well. Contact me at paleales@a… or 609-890-8611 if you’re interested.

You can check the competition website for more information at, or contact me using the information above.

If you’re not brewing now, it’s a great time to start, and get your worts in gear. I hope to see many of you involved as stewards, judges, or entrants.


We are happy to welcome back Mark Burford of Blue Point Brewing, who will be bringing some of Long Island’s best beers direct to us. The meeting will be held on Oct.11, 9 p.m, at the A&B so mark your calendars.


Club President Steve Rowley led us through an evening of interesting off-flavors and their chemistry at the A&B during last month’s meeting.

We tasted spiked beers that were skunky, buttery, apple, sour, vegetal, corny, cheesy, and sulfurous – I think that covers most of the food groups!

One particularly impressive display was a pilsener left in a green bottle in the sun. Even with a five-minute exposure the skunkiness was very noticeable. Two minutes more, and viola – you have Heineken! Another one that surprised me was Rolling Rock. Rolling Rock has a very noticeable presence of DMS (dimethyl sulfide, I believe) which is detected as a cooked corn smell or flavor. See if you can taste or smell this next time you crack one open!

In fact, I was even noticing the buttery diacetyl flavor in the Fuller’s ESB I was quaffing in between sessions. Something I never noticed before. It’s interesting what you can observe when you focus on your senses, which is really a big part of judging and evaluating beer. You can easily apply it to wines, foods, and cooking as well.

We then went on to taste and identify off-flavors in each other’s homebrews. Some interesting flavors! An old blueberry wheat beer, a peppery Wit beer, a coconutty rye doppelbock, and many others. All in all a very informative and fun session! Good job Steve!


If you were a steward, judge, or other qualified participant in last December’s Hoppiest Show on Earth, please contact me so that you can receive your BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) points.

We found out recently that the points from this competition were never submitted to the BJCP by last year’s competition organizer. (The competition is under new management this year.) Thus, we need to submit them now in order for all of the participants involved to get credit.

We need to have your BJCP number, and know what duties you performed in order to process the points. Contact me at paleales@a… or at 609-890-8611. We would appreciate you spreading the word to anyone else you know as well. We are doing our best to resolve this matter, but we need your help to do so.

Special Report by Kevin Trayner

The weather was uncommonly hot in the Green Mountain state the weekend of the Vermont Brewers festival – July 16th and 17th. The mercury rocketing well into the 100’s for the first day of the festival, cooling down somewhat on the second day, and in the evening.

Heat or no heat, it would be hard to find a more scenic backdrop than the shores of Lake Champlain, the mighty Adirondacks visible in the distant horizon. And of course there was plenty of cold beer to slake your thirst and beat the heat. Where to start…

The unusual, but delicious Chamomile-flavored “Beer Named Sue” from Magic Hat was one great way to beat the heat. As was, the Norwich Inn’s flavorful, delicious Dark Mild. Newcomer Kross Brewing served up its quenching Breughel Blonde Ale, somewhere between a Belgian Wit and Blonde (or Brunette, my memory is a little fuzzy).

Tunbridge served up an excellent IPA and its Telemark Ale is a great full-bodied Dark Mild Ale. This 3-barrel brewery is making its mark – this year they have been invited to submit their beers for evaluation at the Great British Beer festival, according to brewer Sean Quinn. (Tunbridge ales have also been served at the festival for the past four years).

I actually had an opportunity to speak to Liz Trott, one of two female owners of the brewery. She was great to talk to. I bought a case of the brewery’s bottle-conditioned Porter, and it is one of the best I’ve had. I really liked the Telemark Ale – a Dark Mild beer. I stopped by to visit the small 3-barrel brewery, and watch them hand-bottle much as a homebrewer would.

The Three Needs (Burlington) brewpub served up a superb chocolatey, dry Schwartzbier. Greg Noonan’s Seven Barrels and Vermont Pub and Brewery offered a great Alt, cask ESB and Trippel (developed from a winning homebrewer’s recipe).

I spoke with Greg Noonan briefly and found him to be a very non-pretentious, unassuming guy. Heck, if you didn’t know who he was, you wouldn’t know who he was. (For those of you who don’t know, he is a well-respected author who wrote the definitive text on homebrew lagering – he also wrote a book on Scotch Ales). The pub itself, nestled on Church St. in the heart of Burlington, is one of the nicest I’ve been in. They probably had about 10-12 of their own beers on tap, with two  cask-conditioned beers. The cask bitter was excellent! A great place!

McNeill’s served an outstanding Alt beer, and a great IPA.Catamount featured their usual excellent Porter, and the new Northern Brite lager. With its clear bottle and distinct logo, it’s hard to even recognize Northern Brite as a Catamount product. That’s because Northern Brite is designed to compete with the more mainstream Lagers (Molson, Corona, Coors, etc.). This crisp,hoppy Pilsener is no light beer though folks and can stand on its own as a craft brew!

Harpoon’s new UFO Hefeweizen did not disappoint with authentic banana and clove flavors of an authentic German wheat beer.

The deliriously heavy Barley Wine from Sunday Brewing (Bethel, Maine) delivered a wonderful bourbon aroma and flavor, handpumped from its bourbon cask. All in all, a great setting and a great festival.


What do you get when you mix adults, sleepaway camp, wholesome outdoor activities and great beer! Well, if you leave out the “wholesome activities,” you get the Ale Street News Beer Camp. Yes, I was initiated into the sacred ceremony known as ASN Beer Camp this past July! The weather was nice, the beer was stellar (and frequent), and of course the weekend was a blast. I still have trouble imagining myself (and the other ASN folks) as a camp counselors, except maybe in a camp run by Bill Murray, perhaps!

The event is held outside of Kent, CT at Club Getaway. Club Getaway is like a Club Med on dry land, sort of a summer camp for adults. The food was outstanding, and Activities included rock climbing, water-skiing, trapezing (is that a verb), rafting or my favorite – floating on a dock in the lake and drinking beer.

Highlights included a superb beer dinner by brewchef Tim Schaefer, a collection of Connecticut’s finest brewers, and, of course, lots of great beer. We also brewed a California Steam beer, while a brewer gave a lecture on brewing. Some of the beers featured that weekend included Schneider-Weiss Hefeweizen and Aventinus, Swale’s Summer Ale, High Point’s Kristall beer, Saison and Lambics, and many more. Check it out next year!


A Rick Taylor from Rockville, MD contacted me (through Ale Street News) with an  unusual request. He is trying to locate an old bar his grandfather used to go to in Staten Island. An excerpt from his mail follows:

I have a strange request – I’m trying to track down an old tavern in Staten Island that my Grandfather used to go to. It was called Miller’s Tavern and was around in the 50’s and 60’s. It may still be around, or it may go under a different name. If you guys have heard of it, or can help me find where to look/who to ask, I’d really appreciate it.


Rick Taylor
Rockville, MD

If you have any ideas as to where this tavern might be or where he might look, please contact Rick at mcvitie@y…


Ah, you have to love the changing of the seasons in NJ. First, a nice month-long draught, followed up by Biblical rain and flooding, putting several towns 10-15 feet under the waterline. Fear not though, the Garden State’s breweries are still above water.


Considering its proximity to the mighty Delaware, you would expect River Horse (Lambertville) to be brewing underwater, if at all. However, River Horse was untouched by the flood waters, although at one point officials were calling for an evacuation of the town due to a potential dam break! The brewery is releasing a new seasonal, Hop Hazard Pale Ale, on Oct. 1, hopped with East Kent Golding, Fuggles and Cascades, and dry-hopped with Cascades.

You can taste the Hop Hazard at the brewery’s Octoberfest this Oct. 16. Featuring authentic German cuisine and music, proceeds for the event will benefit the Lambertville Volunteer Fire Company. In other news, River Horse exceeded sales of Coors Light at the Trenton Thunder stadium -a home run for craft beer! The brewery now distributes into Washington DC and New York state as well.

Hunterdon Brewing’s seasonal Jersey Harvest, which is contract-brewed by River Horse, is now available. This malty, hearty brew is perfect for the fall! Hudson Valley Brewing Company (also brewed by River Horse) has released a second product, Hudson Valley Amber. Both are available in select NJ stores.

Ironically, High Point (Butler) brewing, way up north was one of the hardest hit by Hurricane Floyd. According to president Greg Zacardi, most of the office and living space in the brewery have suffered substantial water damage. (Greg was tearing up the water-logged carpeting in his office as we spoke).

Phones were out for four or five days, the brewery lost power for 12 hours, and all of the brewery’s hop vines were torn down by the storm, according to Zacardi. Despite all this, High Point’s wheat beers should come through unharmed – thanks to a hasty beer keg evacuation executed by Zacardi and crew. Due to power loss, the keg exodus had to be conducted by candlelight! “It was kind of neat. I felt like I was in an old Bohemian cave,” said Zacardi, apparently getting in touch with his German beer roots.

Be sure to check out High Point ‘s newest product, a hoppy, Kristall-style beer, available on draft-only wheat at select NJ accounts. On tap at ASN’s beer camp, this thirst-quenching, full-bodied brew offered a pronounced hoppiness, and subdued clove flavor. High Point’s heady Winter Wheat seasonal (9.6% ABV) should be ready to ship for November. Turkey and weizen doppelbock, what could be more relaxing? In other news, High Point is now available in Manhattan, will soon be available in Phila., and rumor has it in Atlantis as well (Sorry Greg!).


Going South, Flying Fish, was a little wet, but above water. As I was talking to Gene Muller, president of Flying Fish, portions of the brewery’s drop-ceiling were caving in. Luckily, no beers were injured – although the copier was a big soggy, said Muller.

In October, the brewery will celebrate its third anniversary (that’s over 500 batches folks) by releasing its draft-only BlackFish Ale (a black and tan mix of the Extra Pale Ale and Porter). In addition, the brewery will be holding back some kegs of the Belgian Abbey Dubbel for some end-of-the-century festivities, according to “Y2K” Muller.

In other news, Flying Fish was served at the prestigious Great British Beer Festival this past August, joining approximately 20 U.S. breweries invited to pour beer (Sierra Nevada, Deschutes and Grants are some of other attendees). For more information, check out Also, if you happened to buy the newly released “Best American Beers,” by Benjamin Myers, Flying Fish gets a good mention in there (and their logo appears on the book).


And while we’re in So. Jersey, Tom Baker of Heavyweight Brewing (Ocean Township) reports no Floyd damage at his Jersey Shore brewery. In fact, Heavyweight will be bottling its flagship product, Lunacy Belgian Style Golden Ale, sometime in mid-October, he said.

A Belgian-style golden ale with spices and a 7.7 ABV – smoothed out by one month aging, Lunacy should be available in NJ by the end of Oct. Look for a second product from Heavyweight in November – Baltus, a Dark Strong Ale, according to Baker. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I am trying to get Tom for our Nov. meeting, hopefully!)


By the time you read this, South Jersey’s newest brewery, Blue Collar (Vineland), will be on tap in New Jersey. Blue Collar’s beers will include a Hop-A-Long Pale Ale, Boulevard Blonde Ale, Coal Porter, and Oktoberfest, and will be available exclusively on tap in South Jersey. Blue Collar will also be featured at Manayunk Brewing Co.’s Octoberfest on Oct.10.

I spoke with the founders of Blue Collar a few months ago, and found them to be four, unpretentious, working-class guys, who got together to do something they love – brewing. True to its namesake, Blue Collar will price its craft beers for a working man’s wages, to compete with the domestics, according to co-owner John Bonato. See the full story on Blue Collar by Gary Monterosso elsewhere in this issue.


Climax (Roselle Park) managed to keep dry during Floyd’s deluge. Climax will be releasing its first new beer in the past several years – an Abbey Dubbel. Climax’s Dubbel will be available on draft only by the end of Nov/early December, according to owner Dave Hoffman.

This 7 % ABV (estimated) beer is modeled after St. Sixtus’ Abbey Dubbel, one of Hoffman’s favorites. Sounds good to me! Look for it at select NJ bars, (Antone’s, Andy’s Corner, and possibly the Old Bay). In other news, Climax will be re-releasing its Nut Brown Ale and Porter for the winter. (Attendees at the Michael Jackson tasting sponsored by Beers International this past September got a sneak preview.)


On to brewpubs… On a somewhat sad note, it looks like Kokomos (Wildwood) has closed its doors. Jim Geiger, owner of Kokomos, has posted the entire 7-barrel brewery system up for sale on for $125,000 or best offer as of August 30th.

On the positive side, I am happy to say no brewpubs reported any substantial damage from the storm. And of course, with October here, most of NJ  brewpubs will be featuring Octoberfest beer and celebrations.

Look for a Dunkelweizen from Jersey Jims (Hillsborough), while Trap Rock (Berkeley Heights) will tap a Weizen Doppelbock. JJ Bittings (Woodbridge) is tapping a nine-week old Black Lager (also being sent to the GABF), said brewer Brad Reninger. On a side note, Renninger is entering a Porter made with de-salinized seawater into the GABF experimental category – a tribute to tropical storms, perhaps. Triumph (Princeton) is currently featuring a Berliner Weiss (with raspberry or woodruff syrup) and will have a traditional (i.e., real smoky) Rauch beer in October, with a Pumpernickel Rye in Nov.

Gaslight just finished up its stellar Octoberfest beer dinner, featuring classics such as Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Maerzen, Einbecker Ur-bock Dunkel, and others. Bernardsville Stone Tavern will begin its monthlong celebration on Oct. 1st.German food will be featured on the menu, with an Oompah band walking around the bar on weekends. (Look for a Bock and possibly an Alt on tap.) Long Valley brewpub will feature traditional German food and a live band on Oct. 17th, from 1-7 p.m., not to mention a Marzen style ale.

Andy’s Corner Tavern (Bogota) has already started its Octoberfest celebration. Featured beers include Hacker-Pschorr, Spaten, Otter Creek, and others. Old Bay (New Brunswick) will hold its annual Octoberfest on Oct. 10, 12-5 p.m. The $12 admission, includes German buffet and your first pint.

On a dry note, there is still no beer at Joe’s Mill Hill in Trenton. The brewpub changed hands last May, as founder Joe LaPlaca sold it to longtime manager/bartender Dennis “Denny” Clark. Unfortunately, there were some legal issues with the brewpub license being transferred to the new owner.

Denny is in the lengthy process of renewing the license and is optimistic that the new license will be in effect by mid Oct., and the brewpub can start brewing again. In a related story, it looks like longtime brewer Andy Schuessler will be seeking greener pastures as he returns to the Engineering field. Andy, we’ll miss your Dubbel and Imperial Stout Andy! A new brewer is allegedly in the works and ready to start when the brewpub gets its license back again.

Triumph will feature a single malt scotch reception hosted by scotch guru, John Hansell, on Oct. 13, starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $48 and advance purchase is necessary. Also, Triumph plans to host another of its Gambrinus beer dinners on Oct. 26th. Call (609) 924-7855 for more info.

In other educational news, a Beer Appreciation class (sponsored by  West-Windsor/Plainsboro Community Education) will be held at Triumph starting on Oct. 15. The four-session course will meet on Tuesday evenings, from 7:30-9:30 p.m., cover history, brewing, ingredients, styles, and other topics of interest; and be led by yours truly. Call at 609-716-5030 for details.

Going north to New Brunswick, Harvest Moon will feature a cask-conditioned Vanilla IPA. (Brewer Jim Watson was inspired by a fellow homebrewer’s batch spiked with vanilla beans.)

It’s good to see that longtime NJ beer icon of the Old Bay, Chris Dimitri, is back in action. Now working at Verve restaurant (Somerville), Dimitri is holding a cask beer event on Oct. 20, from 5 p.m on. Cask beers will include selections from B. United
International’s portfolio (Gales Festival Mild, Swale’s Whitstable Oyster Stout, and Harvey’s Armada Ale – Championship Beer of Britain 1999), and a cask-conditioned  offering from Flying Fish. Call (908) 707- 8655 for more info.

In Long Valley, brewer Tim Yarrington will be bringing back cask beer in Nov. after a summer hiatus. In other news, the brewpub is also entering five beers in the GABF, he said. The brewpub is now accepting reservations for the New Years Eve dinner ($75 per person), which includes a five course meal, champagne toast, and live band (Alice Project), with seatings at 8 and 10. Call (908) 876-1122 for details.

Krogh’s (Lake Mohawk), long known for their original music, is building a new stage at the brewpub, according to Rachel McCullough, Entertainment Manager. Speaking of music, the brewpub will feature original Woodstock performer Richie Havens on Jan. 16th, with two shows (2 and 6 p.m.) Contact the brewpub at (973) 729-8428 for details. In other news, the brewpub has added another fermenter and serving vessel to keep up with demand.

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Princeton and Local Environs Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society