Archive for the ‘ NJCB ’ Category

Something New is Brewing in New Jersey! Check out @BrewTurtle!

Turtle Stone LogoIf television is any indication of the popularity of any certain location, New Jersey sure is winning. Many TV shows have placed our “little” state on the map (some with more negative connotations than positive support) and future shows (like FX’s Untitled Jersey City Project) will continue to do so.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I’m proud to call this state home.

The craft beer scene in New Jersey is no different – it’s winning. With close to 20 recognized breweries and many more in the making, the state is expanding its reach all over the country with a number of local breweries (like Flying Fish) being distributed in other states.

So if 20 instances of a good thing are great, why not add one more? You will get no complaints from me.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with the founder of Turtle Stone Brewing, Ben Battiata from Vineland, NJ. Ultimately, our conversation became an article that I wrote for newjerseycraftbeer.com.

Click here to read about this new local brewery opening its doors in late 2011!

You can also follow the Turtle Stone story on their blog at http://turtlestonebrewing.blogspot.com.

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More Than Just Jersey Shores, Craft Beer Helps to Break the Norm at NJ LGBT Pride Festival

Pint Bar to Help Organize Craftbeer Tent at Jersey City LGBT Festival

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Pint Bar: A Local Jersey City Craft Beer Destination

Usually I would start this type of article off with an “Imagine this,” description, but I don’t believe I need to as every one of us has been there before. It’s the middle of the summer and you’ve decided to attend a village, town, city, or county festival for a “fill in the blank” reason (there is simply just so many of them).

Typically, the festival occurs on a Saturday or Sunday and starts in the middle of the day. The adrenaline is coursing through your veins as you arrive. There are people everywhere, tons of things to see, knick-knacks to buy, food to eat and pictures to take. Before you know it, excitement recedes and you find yourself searching for salvation from the beating sun and humid temperatures in the form of the infamous beer truck.

But what if instead of starring at the standard silver, blue and red lager taps, you found a beer that you usually only see at your favorite craft beer bar? Well that, friends, would be no “typical” festival – that would be a truly unique experience.

This is exactly the type of setting that Wolf Sterling, owner of Pint Bar in Jersey City, foreshadowed three years ago and will make happen on Sunday, October 9th (changed as a result of Hurricane Irene) at the 11th Annual Hudson Pride LGBT Festival & Parade starting at 11AM in Jersey City, NJ. Read more about festival here. I had a chance to sit down with Wolf and pick his brain about the festival and his decision to depart from the typical beer trucks that line the streets during festivals.

I’m pretty excited – after years of cajoling the organizers of Hudson Pride, this year they agreed to let Pint sponsor their beer tent. For the first time ever, we’re doing away with the common adjunct lagers and bringing in craft beer from New Jersey Beer Company and Abita. There will be nary a macro lager in sight!

Abita Light Logo

Featured Craft Beer: Abita Light

The event is expecting to bring thousands of people together to the downtown Jersey City area to participate in the Do Ask, Do Tell! festival. Uniting the “regular beer drinker” and craft beer communities is no easy task, but when you speak to Wolf you know he’s the right man for the job.

When asked about the choices of breweries and beers, Wolf noted his sensitivity to throwing beer drinkers into the craft beer deep end (Double IPAs, Imperials Stouts, and Belgian Strong Ales). His choice for the Abita (@TheAbitaBeer) Light Beer was driven by the simple need to ease “light” beer drinkers into a craft beer that they can stomach and enjoy throughout the all-day festival.

For those festival goers that are feeling a bit more adventurous and willing to further explore the rabbit hole that is craft beer, Wolf plans on tapping into several of NJ Beer Company’s (@NJBeerCo) finest selections.

New Jersey Beer Company Logo

Featured Craft Brewery: NJ Beer Company

Although a big fan of their products, Wolf’s main drive behind selecting the Hudson County brewery traces back to his overwhelming sense of community and promotion of local businesses. The exposure that a festival like this can provide to a local brewery can quickly drive them to the top of bar managers’ tap lists and order forms.

The thoughtful preparation that Wolf and other organizers have put into this year’s festival will surely make this one easily stand out – we hope to see you there friends!

This article was also featured on newjerseycraftbeer.com, click here to link to the site!

South Jersey Brewery to Open Doors by End of 2011

Ocean View, NJ based Tuckahoe Getting Close to Starting Operations

Tuckahoe Brewing Company Logo

The singular thing that I absolutely love about talking to brewers is their overarching sense of enthusiasm. Having gotten a chance to bend the ears of many brewers, it doesn’t surprise me how incredibly proud they are of their craft.

My conversation with Matt McDevitt from Tuckahoe Brewing Company did not deviate from this concept. Matt, who has been home brewing for well over ten years, expanded his hobby by partnering up with Tim Hanna in 2006.

The two frequently thought about starting a brewery when they retired, but quickly determined that old age would easily impede their plans. Afterall, post retirement it’s much easier to drink beer than to brew it.

Driven by the thought of sharing their craft with the New Jersey masses, Matt and Tim teamed up with two other partners and began exploring the idea of starting a brewery.

In January of 2011, Tuckahoe Brewing Company was born in the town of Ocean View located in southern New Jersey. (Read more about the rich history of the town on Tuckahoe’s website).

Equipment Pic 2Although still in the licensee phase, Matt and his partners are destined for success and expect to be up and brewing by the end of 2011. Confirmed by Matt, the brewery is expecting the delivery of their recently ordered equipment in September:

“We recently ordered a three barrel brewing system from Psycho Brew LLC out of Michigan. They were able to find a manufacturer of eight barrel capacity fermenters for us. We ordered two which will enable us to make double batches, turning our three barrel system into six barrel system.”

To support this quantity of beer and size of fermenter, Tuckahoe also ordered a two HP chiller from Pro Refrigeration out of Washington.

Matt noted that Tuckahoe’s flagship is slated to be an American Pale Ale with a summer Belgian Witte and fall / winter Porter in 2012. (Read more about their beers here).

Besides initial production, Tuckahoe’s immediate plans are to expand their brand by building a new website (an update is scheduled for September, click here to see their current website) and, after licensing, increasing knowledge by providing samples to local bars and restaurants. They even anticipate on attending local beer festivals to spread the word.

When asked about the differentiator between Tuckahoe and other local breweries, Matt’s response was driven by the appreciation of Tuckahoe’s local New Jersey community. Already in discussion with several local area farmers, the group’s plans are to utilize NJ grown grain and hops to create a product brewed from completely local ingredients. The concept of giving back to the local community is something that resonated throughout my entire conversation with Matt.

Having full time careers as teachers and architects, I asked Matt if the group found it difficult to devote their time to starting the business.

“Anything that is worth it in the end is going to be challenging time wise”, Matt responded then added “Financially it certainly is easier, and the summers help too.”

Their commitment is evident as Matt noted any free time is instantly devoted to brewery business matters.

Tuckahoe Brewing Company is a testament that even small businesses in New Jersey can quickly get off the ground given dedication, a sense of community, a strong product and successful partnerships. Be on the lookout for Tuckahoe in the early part of 2012.

This article was also featured on newjerseycraftbeer.com, click here to link to the site!

Stone Does It Right in Jersey City and Across the World

An Iron Monkey “Meet the Brewer” Stone Event Recap

Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Black IPA and Cherry Chocolate Stout
Of all the reasons that bring me back to the Iron Monkey (@TheIronMonkey) for their weekly Meet the Brewer event, none are more important to me than people and product. “But aren’t these simple fundamentals within the craft beer community?” you might ask.

And I would instantly be inclined to agree, but these events continue to surprise me week after week and I always end up leaving the bar with a smile, a story, and a new friend.

Dennis Flynn and Z

Dennis Flynn and Z

Last Thursday, the Iron Monkey hosted Escondido’s own Stone Brewery (@StoneBrewingCo). The maker of the famous Arrogant Bastard Ale is certainly one of the most eccentric breweries ran by one of the most eccentric guys, Greg Koch (@StoneGreg).

I imagine that Jersey City, NJ is probably a little too far away for the California based CEO to visit on a random Thursday. But fortunately for me, I did get a chance to chat with the Tri-State Stone representative, Dennis Flynn (@StoneTriState).

I imagine all Stone employees are exactly like Dennis. He was fun, smart, enthusiastic, and certainly loved his company’s product.

Dennis helped Stone quickly take over the Monkey’s taps and the patrons were treated to several of Stone’s delightful ales including Cali Belgique, Sublimely Self Righteous, Ruination, regular and oaked Arrogant Bastard, Smoked Porter, and both the regular and BELGO Anise Russian Imperial Stouts.

Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Black IPA and Cherry Chocolate Stout

Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Black IPA and Cherry Chocolate Stout

But in typical eccentric fashion, Stone wasn’t done with the surprises. With the help of Brant (Iron Monkey’s beer manager), Dennis poured out some rarities that are very difficult to come across on the East Coast. I started off sampling Stone’s Cherry Chocolate Stout which could be described as melted dark chocolate cherry ice cream. A very sweet and creative brew, it is best enjoyed slowly and thoughtfully.

Next up – wait – do my eyes deceive me? What? Is that the Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA? “Oh, it sure is” responded Dennis. Just coming off a week where the online community was buzzing about Stone’s anniversary, it was extremely exciting to try this tremendously allusive ale. It did not disappoint – it was a strong and hoppy IPA that drank like a stout which any crafthead can appreciate.

Coming off those two amazing crafts, it was difficult to fathom a better selection. But alas, I was once again not disappointed by Stone. What in my opinion was the champion of the night, I was presented with the Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA. The beer was great – a medium bodied IPA with hints of green tea that was very easy to enjoy.

But it’s important to remember that the craft beer community is frequently about more than just the product. Please don’t misunderstand, it is because of this delicious liquid that we are all connected, however, stories attached to some brews are at times riveting and, like in this case, heartfelt.

Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA

Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA

A collaboration by three breweries from across the globe (Baird, Ishii, and Stone), all proceeds from the sale of this ale will go straight to the Japanese Red Cross Society to help support the victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Partners in the creation of the craft noted:

“We hope that Japan and its people will bounce back from the tsunami tragedy stronger than ever!” exclaims Ishii. “A collaboration beer like this is a great way to demonstrate to Japan that they’re not alone,” Baird asserts. “They have friends, supporters, and empathizers all around the world.”

Read more about the Stone’s efforts and the Japanese Green Tea IPA on Stone’s website here.

Before bidding adieu to the rooftop, I grabbed Dennis’ card and snapped a quick picture before traversing down the infamous three flights of stairs at the Iron Monkey. In typical fashion, I left the bar with a smile on my face, a story in my mind and a new friend in my pocket.

Stop by this Thursday, September 1st, when the Iron Monkey hosts Rogue!

This article was also featured on newjerseycraftbeer.com, click here to link to the site!

A Craft Beer Event Recap, Sierra Nevada Event at the Iron Monkey

An Iron Monkey “Meet the Brewer” Sierra Nevada Event Recap

On a typical evening the typical patron would ascend Iron Monkey’s (@TheIronMonkey) typical three stair climb to the rooftop deck and emerge to a sun setting Manhattan panoramic view. August 19th, however, was different.

As I climbed the stairs to attend Iron Monkey’s Thursday night “Meet the Brewer” event to sample a delicious selection of Sierra Nevada (@SierraNevada) craft beers, I knew something was “in the air”.

When I got to the rooftop, I knew what that something was: a nimbus cloud that could only be described as the harbinger of rain. And rain it did. But the good news is that a little precipitation will not stop devoted fools from drinking. And drink we did.

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Once at the rooftop, I could quickly see that Sierra did a tap takeover of the small six tap bar upstairs. Although Iron Monkey’s vast craft selection was available to rooftop patrons via the ascending / descending courier (busboy), it was obvious by the worn out taps what the dedicated Sierra craftheads were drinking.

I had a chance to discuss the evening’s event with Brian (Peerless Beverages & good friend of the website) and Chip (Sierra Nevada) whom both are involved with distribution and promotion of Sierra Nevada. Separately and together, these kind hearted craft beer fanatics echoed the collective rooftop group’s voice about the success of Iron Monkey’s Meet the Brewer evenings.

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It’s great to see more and more bars in the NJ area begin to not only dedicate taps to craft beer from around the country but to also coordinate and sponsor events dedicated to our industry.

To those willing to explore both the physical and mental characteristics of this establishment, don’t be too surprised if you stumble upon a rare event, like the two highly sought after bottles of Firestone Walker (@FirestoneWalker) Parabola capping off our night.

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At this link you will find a short write up for each of the beers that were available during the latest Meet the Brewer event (click on this link to view a description). If something tickles your fancy, won’t you jot it down on your Moleskin and visit your local craft beer store? I bet there’ll be plenty of people secretly thanking you.

Hope to see you at the Iron Monkey next week for Meet the Brewer: Stone!

This article was also posted on NJCB. Click here to link to the site!