Vol. 4, No. 10 October 1997
By Lucy Zachman
The Tap Room won't be opening it's doors until mid- or late-October, but already, activity is underway at the former home of Zip City. Brewer Allan Duvel came to our September meeting to give us a report on the new brewery's progress.
Luckily, Salm, the Austrian company that owns the Tap Room, has some fine brewing equipment to start with. Zip City's old equipment was basically left intact for the next brewer to come along and get started. (I hear, however, that major interior renovation is being done.) Salm didn't even have to look very far to find a brewer. Alan was actually Zip City's brewer for the last three years. The new owners sent Alan to Germany recently to study decoction and now he's ready to start fresh.
Alan said that when they do open, the first batch of beers will probably include a Marzen, a Helles, a Pilsner and a Leicht (a lighter style, triple decoction beer). Their first seasonal may be a Dunkel. Alan plans to brew five times each week to keep up with expected demand.
As you may have guessed the hops, malt and yeast will all be of Germanic origin. In fact, Alan recently picked up a suitcase full of yeast "cakes" from Slovakia. Wheat strains will be imported from Bavaria. Alan noted that the high quality of the ingredients should produce a notable improvement in the quality of the beer. Particularly, these ingredients should produce a less astringent product, thanks, in part, to a more efficient sparge that the better malts enables.
But why should the Tap Room succeed, producing such similar beers, where Zip City failed? Consistency, Alan noted, will be key.
Salm owns breweries around the world, Alan said, and keeps a close eye on all of them through a computer network. They keep tabs on fermentation, aging curves and other processes. And if something goes a bit wrong, the computer can call Alan in the middle of the night and get him down to the brewery to check things out.
As for the atmosphere of the new Tap Room, well, it sounds kind of familiar. The menu will consist of Bavarian specialties including wiener schnitzel, red cabbage, wursts and potato dumplings. But will the Ooom Pah band be back on Thursday nights? Guess we'll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, Alan says that a lot of 12 oz. and 22 oz. bottles were left over from the Zip City days, so if anyone is interested, stop buy and, for a small fee, pick some up.
In Other News...
While this newsletter may not reach you before the entry deadline, Heartland is holding the Harvest Homebrew contest. Entrants need to register by Sept. 22 and drop off 4 bottles of their beer by October 3. Winners will be announce October 20. And don't forget that we are planning our own contest in February so start brewing your entries today!
Congratulations to David Maida, our winner in the Weiss is Nice contest. He made a terrific all extract Dunkel Weiss that was quite a delicious example of this style, one of my favorites. (Editor's Note: David also won our extract contest a few months ago, so that makes it two for two so far!)
On Wednesday, September 10, 7:30 PM, the Malted Barley Appreciation Society will have our next monthly meeting. Our guest is Phil Markowski, of the Southampton Publick House. In addition, many good homebrews should be available for the tasting. As usual, the meeting will be held at Mug's Ale House, 125 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. See you there!
New York City Beer Guide at:
by Jim Simpson
When I first was introduced to homebrewing in January 1993, I thought to myself "What a great idea; to create a beer that would taste the way I wanted it to taste." So after a few good extract batches, I started all-grain brewing. With a few simple recipes under my belt, I felt confident to try something different. This time I was going for a strong ale, an IPA, but during the primary fermentation I got an inspiration. Since this batch was 9 gallons, I could split the batch and add cranberries and cherries to half. I guess going to the grocery store and seeing fresh cranberries had something to do with it.
I brewed this in November, so if you want to try this at home get ready. The cherries I used were frozen which makes the fruit easier to ferment ( the skins are broken ). The cranberries were fresh and needed to be crushed ( I guess I could have frozen them but I didn't think of it ).
This beer was great after about 3 months of aging. It had a red head, a nice malty back bone, good bitterness and a sweet-tart fruitiness. The aroma was very inviting, cranberry-cherry with a hint of hops. Even to this day my mother-in-law remembers this beer. I regret that there was only 1.5 cases, because they went so fast. I know I can make more, but in homebrewing there is always the next inspiration!
Toasted 6 lbs of the pale malt for 10 min (sorry my oven doesn't have a thermometer). Single step infusion mash at 152 F. Sparged with 170 F water and collected 9.5 gallons of wort. Added dry malt extract to increase S.G. to 1.070. Fermented at 65 F for 7 days. Transferred to the secondary dry hopped both and added 20 oz. cranberries and 1 lb. cherries. Fermentation started up again! Bottled 2.5 weeks later.
Making this an extract beer, use about 8 lbs Dry Malt Extract for 5 gallons, but use some toasted malt and crystal malt also.
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by George De Piro
The Oregon Brewers Festival was only the beginning of a wonderful beer trip to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. In the two weeks that followed we toured Portland and Seattle, and camped on the Oregon coast. Of course, we also toured breweries when we "happened" to be near them!
The first brewery we saw was The Old Lompac, a very small brewpub in Portland's fashionable Northwest quarter. The head brewer, Jerry Fechter, has the most incredible "home built" brewery I've ever seen. Everything in the brewery is either "homemade" or used, much like a homebrewery. His system for controlling fermentation temperature is particularly ingenious: unable to afford glycol-jacketed fermenters, Jerry built two cold rooms, one at 65 and the other at 38 . He put wheels on the used Grundy tanks that serve as fermenters and simply moves the fermenters from one room to the other to effect temperature changes! That's exactly what most of us do at home with our carboys!
The Old Lompac brews beers for seven locations throughout the city. Each bar has different needs, and some sell more guest beers than their own brews. The location where the beer is brewed (the only one that I visited) is a small place. It is dimly lit, with a pool table being the center of attention. There are also video poker machines, a dart board, and TVS for entertainment. The brewhouse is in the back of the building, not visible to the average customer. There is a pleasant outdoor beer garden where hop and grape vines cling to wires strung over the tables.
The beers that Jerry makes on his eclectic system are pretty good. The line-up includes a mild, North German-style Altbier, a light English-style bitter with a hint of corn in the palate, and a porter that nicely blends the aromas of hops and chocolate. Surprisingly, his IPA was slightly under-hopped, an anomaly in this land of turbo-hopped beers.
A few days later, after a spending a few nights of back-country camping on the Oregon coast, we visited the Rogue Brewery in Newport. It is located on a beautiful piece of ocean-front real estate. The building is fairly spartan in appearance, but quite functional. It is basically a large warehouse stuffed with brewing equipment, bottles, and kegs. Offices and a tasting room are built within the warehouse.
I was lucky enough to have John Maier, founder and president of the brewery, as my guide. We talked for a while about the health of the brewing industry, marketing ideas, and, most importantly, beer. I was quite surprised at the small size of the 5 � year old brewery: the mash tun and kettle only have a 30 barrel capacity. The kegging machine is the same kind that you might find at a brewpub. It is hard to believe that Rogue distributes beers nationally from this tiny location. They are truly a micro brewery!
They brew around the clock, 7 days per week, and have plenty of tankage. They keep their most common base malt, Great Western pale malt, on site in a silo with a 53,000 pound capacity. John mentioned that they pay $0.20/pound for the pale malt. Specialty grains cost twice that. All of their beers are made by single step infusion mashing.
John offered a sample of a Rauchbier from the fermenter, and I accepted without much argument (I think John noticed the smoky aroma I acquired during my stay in the woods, and figured that I would like it!). It was really nice; the flavors were pretty well rounded despite the beer's youth. John explained that they used Munich malt that had been smoked over an Alder wood fire. He went on to talk about some of his other beers. He mentioned that 6000 pounds of grain are used to make a single batch of Old Crustacean! They have to brew it in small batches and combine the worts in the fermenter because the mash tun can't hold that much grain.
John concluded the tour with a trip to the tasting room, where we sampled many of Rogue's beers. Of note was the Doppelbock. John admitted that it was a bit hoppier than he was aiming for, but it was a tasty beer. He poured us samples of his I2 IPA, the most expensive beer that they brew. The grain bill is 100% Pipcin malt from Beeston's floor malting. It costs $0.40 per pound, quite a bit when you're buying a few thousand pounds! Oddly enough, hops are really the prominent component of this beer, and they quite effectively overwhelm the (expensive) malt flavors.
The last brewery we toured was the Red Hook Brewery in Seattle. This was the first time I ever participated in a "canned" tour, lead by a guide rather than a brewer. The brewery is smaller than you might imagine, with a 50 barrel system at its heart.
The tour guide was fairly knowledgeable. She was well-trained, and even mentioned that the first yeast used in a Red Hook beer was cultured from a bottle of Belgian ale. Unfortunately, she didn't know what beer the yeast came from (no, Bill, they don't use it anymore).
The tour cost $1 and included healthy samples of many of Red Hook's beers. Despite their affiliation with Anheuser-Busch, they do still make some respectable beers in small breweries. While only one of the beers could be considered adventurous (the stout made with coffee), they are all cleanly made, with an eye for quality control. That should be a very important part of any brewery's operations, but sometimes is not given the attention it requires.
The last night we were in Portland we decided to follow a recommendation from Michael Jackson's pocket guide to beer and go to the Horse Brass Pub (4534 S.E. Belmont St.). We were slightly confused at first; the bar is located in a residential area! Upon entering, though, we knew that this would be a good experience. The Horse Brass is a warm, inviting place, with friendly servers and dart boards, too! The beer selection is a good mix of local and imported products, with 37 taps and 5 hand pumps. Earl, the bartender, was eager to pour us samples of everything on the menu that we hadn't tried earlier on the trip! What fun!
The lesson from that night was simple: Heed Michael Jackson's watering hole advice. The man drinks for a living, and does a damn good job of it!
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