Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Paulaner Brauhaus Reopens

The relatively new Paulaner Bräuhaus which abruptly closed in April has re-opened under new management. We never made it to the original incarnation before they closed; we tried to drop by one Saturday afternoon around 4pm but found that they didn't open until 5. Since I never saw the inside, I can't comment on the renovations but the current space has a long bar on one side and communal tables and smaller booths on the other. There's lots of wood, exposed brick, and antlers - giving the place a modern Bavarian feel. They've also got a smaller room downstairs and are working on a small outdoor area.

Copper brewing tanks sit across from the bar
They've retained brewmaster Andreas Heidenreichs and he currently has 3 beers on tap, all of which are unfiltered. On deck is an IPA which should be ready in the coming week. We'll be speaking with Andreas soon on an upcoming edition of Beer Hear! and will ask him about his German IPA!
We started with the hazy Munich Lager which had a crisp hop aroma and a fresh bread flavor. We followed that up with their Hefeweizen which had subdued fruity esters and spicy phenols with an accent on  cloves. There was a light banana note in the flavor but it wasn't a fruit bomb. The Munich Dark Lager, which they are not calling a dunkel, was deep copper in color with notes of caramel and toffee. They also use the dark lager in a beer cocktail called "Root Beer". This is made with Root liqueur, lemon juice, cane sugar, and then finished with a touch of the dark lager to provide the head on the "beer".

Summer bock (from the fermentor).

Wolfgang, B.R., Bob and Andreas.
1872: Courtesy of the NYPL Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection

Friday, August 22, 2014

Brewland Documentary

So... It's been a while! Yes, the last podcast and blogpost was way back in March, about six months ago! What happened, you ask? Full-time employment in Sept., that's what! And though B.R. is also a co-contributor, it's me, Bob, who handles the audio side of the operation, responsible for editing and formatting the podcasts.

But after almost a year into the new job, I feel that I can manage my time well enough to get us back on our weekly schedule. In fact, though we haven't posted in about half a year, we've recorded lots of features, including: the re-launched Paulaner NYC brewpub (to post by Monday!), the new Smuttynose Brewery, a few Brooklyn Brewery events (no surprise there), the new Greenport Harbor brewery, the Thirsty Quaker in Jersey City, and more!

In the meantime, we wanted to tell you about a documentary in the works about the development of the modern craft beer scene. It's called Brewland, and you can learn all about it at their Indiegogo website, where they're seeking to fund this brewdoc.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Great Northeast Brewery Tour

Interview with Ben Keene, author of The Great Northeast Brewery Tour
http://mofohockey.org/podcastgen/download.php?filename=2013-12-13_bh173.mp3 Non-Flash podcast

It seems like more and more quality beer books are being published these days. In the past, aside from Michael Jackson's works, beer books tended to fall into one of two categories:  the more technically-inclined style books aimed at homebrewers and fluffier, basic "beers are either ales or lagers" coffee table books. But in the past few years, the quality of beer writing has greatly improved and there are now plenty of books geared to those with more than a rudimentary knowledge of beer and brewing yet which don't alienate the newcomer. A recent entry into the field is The Great Northeast Brewery Tour - Tap into the Best Craft Breweries in New England and the Mid-Atlantic by Ben Keene with a forward by Brooklyn Brewery's Garrett Oliver.

Ben and his photographer, Bethany Bandera
In his book, Ben profiles 62 breweries in 11 states and the District of Columbia. The profiles give a brief history of each brewery, list the annual production, and provide a list of some of the year-round and seasonal beers. In addition, there are more in-depth descriptions of some of the beers. But what makes this book unique is the well-researched information about things to do in the vicinity of the brewery, making it a hybrid beer book/tour guide.

If a brewery has an adjoining restaurant or is a brewpub, Ben suggests beer and food pairings. If there is no food to be had at the brewery, he lists local bars and restaurants nearby where you can try the brewery's beers. And because life is (surprise, surprise) not all about beer, the suggestions for other activities to do in the area should appeal to a range of interests, whether it's sea kayak tour before or after visiting Marshall Wharf in Maine, Civil War national battlefields near Flying Dog in Maryland, or a visit to poet Robert Frost's farm near the Woodstock Inn in New Hampshire.

If you want to make more than a day trip. Ben also lists a lodging suggestion near each brewery.

There are some notable omissions - Tröegs in Pennsylvania is profiled but not Victory, for example - but at 240 pages, it's not meant to be a comprehensive listing and is slim enough to throw into your overnight bag. I'd suggest doing a bit of your own research on one of the many on-line forums to find out about other breweries nearby and then hitting the road.

As for me, as many times as I've been to New Hampshire, I had no idea that there was a NH Dairy Trail. I know what I'll be doing on our next trip up this summer.  Beer floats anyone?

Each state section has its own map

An example of the profiles found on each brewery page

Monday, March 10, 2014

Peekskill Brewery

Our homebrew club, the Malted Barley Appreciation Society, recently took a trip up the Hudson to Peekskill, NY to visit the Peekskill Brewery. The brewpub is located a short walk from the train station and is an easy day-trip from New York City via Metro North.

We started with some liquid refreshment (hey, that hour-long train trip can take a lot out of you) and lunch before touring the brewery. Most everyone chose a sampler of 4 beers to start off.

My first selection was their Hop Common, a nicely hoppy amber California Common, or steam beer, hopped with Segal Ranch, Nugget, and Cascade

Skills Pils, on their rotating seasonal pils tap, was described on the menu as a winter pils with dark German malts and Polish Lublin and Magnum hops. In reality, it was a malty, roasty schwarzbier and not a pilsner.

Styriana, a Gypsy Lager fermented with Brettanomyces and hopped with Styriana Goldings, was described as "a pale rustic beer" and it did indeed have an earthiness to it along with a citrus finish and low level brett character.

Slow and Low, a smoked lager with German malts and Polish Lublin hops and boiled overnight, had a smoke character which was fairly faint, particularly in the aroma. The light smoke flavor was pleasantly complemently by caramel notes from the malt.

Other crowd favorites on tap that day included the award-winning Amazeballs pale ale and the always refreshing Simple Sour.

All of the beers at Peekskill are unfiltered and head brewer Jeff "Chief" O'Neil tends to use very little bittering hops. instead focusing on late addition hops for their flavoring and aromatic properties.

Refilled beer glasses in hand, we then made our way to the brewery with tour guide Ed and assistant brewer Mike Benz. The current brewery, which they've been in since December 2012 having made a short move down the street, is a 15 barrel system with three 15 bbl fermenters and four 30 bbl fermenters. The brewing vessels and fermenters are located on the ground floor but every batch of beer gets pumped up to the top floor and into a coolship to cool for 1-2 hours. Peekskill Brewery has one of only around 10 coolships in the country. Once in the coolship, a plate circulates the wort and then it rests so that the sediment can settle out and heat from the hot wort is vented out. Once cooled, the wort flows back to ground level and into the fermenters.


The coolship

Most of the beers are fermented with standard ale and lager strains but they also have a dedicated brettanomyces tank. Once ready to serve, the beers are either kegged or put into one of the seven serving tank. The futuristic cool box sends the beer to the downstairs bar and upstairs tap room.
Cool box dispensing beers to both bars
Bill "Salty Dog" Coleman looking happy with his Pruneau

Aside from their regular line up, they plan to have quarterly releases of special beers. The first one in 2013 was with NYC brewery Other Half, Nuggy Num Num and the first release of 2014 will be a pale all, NYPA, brewed with Citra and Mosaic hops. An upcoming release that we were able to try out of the tanks is Pruneau, an IPA brewed with 300 pounds of fruit.

You can find several of the Peekskill beers available on draft at better beer bars in New York City but it's definitely worth the trip to the brewpub to try their other beers that are only available on premise. They do plan to start a barrel-aging program and have a bottle corking machine so hope to have bottles available at the brewpub in the future.

Peekskill riverfront. Not a good day for swimming.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Brooklyn Brewery Sun Don't Shine

http://wfmu.org/flashplayer.php?version=1&show=53878&archive=93462 Garrett Oliver & Mike Steinschneider: Sun Don't Shine (Flash version)
http://mofohockey.org/podcastgen/download.php?filename=2013-12-13_bh173.mp3 Non-Flash podcast

For part 9 of the Worshipful Company of Brewers program, in which members of the Brooklyn Brewery brewhouse staff are given carte blanche to brew a batch of their own making, Michael Steinschneider decided to lighten up a winter beer by darkening up a summer beer. Labeling his "Sun Don't Shine" a Strong Mild, he's basically taken the Brooklyn Summer Ale and tweaked it with some dark carafa malt and dry-hopped it with some hops known for producing a tropical character, including Motueka.
The result is a 4.9% ale that drinks like a hearty winter beer, but is actually light enough to drink two at a time, as Mike demonstrated when addressing the crowd assembled to congratulate and celebrate with him. The subtle chocolate notes and fruity/flowery hops also add intrigue to a very drinkable, satisfying beer.
Justin encourages the single fisted double quaff.
For when you're drinking more than one... at a time.
Sun Don't Shine will be available exclusively at the brewery's tasting room until supplies run out, so be sure to visit on a Friday night or weekend afternoon soon!

Always some tasty cheese at the WCofB releases.
The Illustrious Potentate of the WCofB.
Or is it the Most Worshipful Grand Mashter?
Mr. Sunshine addresses the crowd