Yankee Brew News April/May 2015 : Page 1
By Adam Krakowski Creates Brewing Hub By Ria Windcaller Nashawannuck Pond in Easthampton, Mass. PHOTO COURTESY OF EASTHAMPTON CHAMBER L-R: Matt Gadouas & Kris Jarrett of Two Brews Podcast. alking into your favorite local tav-ern or brewery, among the first things you notice is how many peo-ple have a beer in one hand and a smart phone in the other. While this sight has become common, what is not apparent is what exactly are they doing with their smart phone. Some perhaps are checking their email or Facebook, but a rising num-ber may be reviewing or rating their beer in hand in real time. Between the glut of smart phone applications, craft beer-focused podcasts and social media platforms catered to craft beer enthusiasts, mobile tech-nology and craft beer have quickly collided. Before smart phone apps, many members of online beer com-munities interested in recording the beers they sampled would turn to beer-centric social media sites such as Beer Advocate and Rate Beer. The user would record the beers they sampled on paper or in front of the computer and enter their thoughts to the site, helping to rate that particular beer or even where they had the beer. Through the utilization of beer-focused apps such as Beer Advocate, Rate Beer, Beer Boards, Tap Hunter See Mobile p. 4 asthampton Massachusetts is well known to have award winning drinking water. Now three breweries — Abandoned Building, Fort Hill and New City Brewery — have made the mini city of 16,000 a beer destination. Each has a tasting room (these are not brewpubs) and beer to go. The brewing spaces ranges from cubby, high ceiling industrial to “If Willy Wonka brewed beer, this is what it would look like.” These breweries are close to each other with Abandoned and New City in the same “Old Mill” complex, and they are all on the Manhan Rail Trail. Time to dust off the bicycles and meet the brewers. Abandoned Building Brewery Abandoned Building Brewery was the first to start serving beers in 2013. It’s a 15-barrel brewhouse and specializes in Belgian and American-style ales, and the beer is sold in 22-ounce bombers and growlers. Abandoned’s flagship beer is See Water p. 5 INSIDE Events Calendar....... 3 NIPAC ....................... 7 Beer Cooks .............. 8 Alehouse .................. 9 Tasting Panel ......... 10 Homebrew .............. 12 State by State News E. Massachusetts ..........14 Boston ............................16 W. Massachusetts .........24 Maine ..............................26 New Hampshire .............28 Connecticut ....................30 Vermont ..........................32 Rhode Island ..................34 NYC/Long Island ............36 Upstate NY .....................38 A Step Beyond “Fizzy, Yellow Beer ” Story on p. 6 P HOTO BY G RAHAM G LASER
Where Mobile Technology & Craft Beer Meet
Walking into your favorite local tavern or brewery, among the first things you notice is how many people have a beer in one hand and a smart phone in the other. While this sight has become common, what is not apparent is what exactly are they doing with their smart phone. Some perhaps are checking their email or Facebook, but a rising number may be reviewing or rating their beer in hand in real time.
Between the glut of smart phone applications, craft beer-focused podcasts and social media platforms catered to craft beer enthusiasts, mobile technology and craft beer have quickly collided. Before smart phone apps, many members of online beer communities interested in recording the beers they sampled would turn to beer-centric social media sites such as Beer Advocate and Rate Beer. The user would record the beers they sampled on paper or in front of the computer and enter their thoughts to the site, helping to rate that particular beer or even where they had the beer. Through the utilization of beer-focused apps such as Beer Advocate, Rate Beer, Beer Boards, Tap Hunter and Untappd, the amount of information available to the user is vast and allows the user to contribute to the information flow in real time.
Smart Phone Apps
Beer-related smart phone apps have emerged quickly as an important market. There are too many apps available to the iPhone or Android phone users to cover all of them, but there are a few to note and, more important, the role they play. Some are educational, others are feedback driven and all are engaging.
Apps such as Beer Boards, Tap Hunters and Untappd allow one to look or find the beer lists at many different establishments in close proximity, among other features. Feedbackrelated beer apps such as Beer Advocate, Rate Beer, Untappd and Beer Citizen have made it easy for the consumer to input their thoughts and rating of beers and be able to form their own customized archives of beers sampled. Both Beer Advocate and Rate Beer have developed such a following for their ratings that it’s not uncommon to see shelf tags for craft beers at bottle shops showing the aggregate rating.
With the way mobile technology has become ingrained through smart phone usage, response and feedback to a beer has become both instantaneous as well as global. Brewers and publicans are able to see reviews of their establishments as well as their beers, but from their target’s demographics instead of a more broad focused review such as Yelp.
Examples where beer apps really have taken hold are at breweries and festivals. Mark Bowers, president of the New England Real Ale Exhibition (NERAX) and brewer at Aeronaut Brewing in Somerville, Mass., sees a fair amount of smart phone app usage at both his brewery and at the NERAX festivals.
“At the brewery, we see lots of people getting on their phones and logging beer ratings,” Mark said. “A lot of them take pictures of their beers, too. We see this as well at NERAX.”
Festivals allow dedicated app users to log many reviews in a small time frame as well as beers not normally available to them. The one app in particular that Bower’s sees in Untappd.
On the opposite side, the proliferation of beer apps on smart phones has opened a way to educate the consumer. One such app geared towards education of beer is BJCPStyles, which puts the extensive library of beer styles at the users fingertips. Victor Osinaga, co-owner of The Craft Beer Cellar in Waterbury, Vt., pointed out: “I love the BJCPStyles app, because it’s well designed and allows you to search detailed information about styles. It’s an important educational tool for beer lovers.”
With access to detailed information on a vast number of styles, the user can get as much or as minimal information on any particular style they desire.
Beer-related smart phone apps also serve as an important secondary tool for not just the consumer. Jordan Chabot, Managing Partner of Speedwell Tavern in Plymouth, Mass., said that beer apps such as Tap Hunters and Untappd “… allows us to know what nearby craft-centric beer bars are carrying, which helps us from cannibalizing each others’ lineups.”
With the knowledge of other tap lists in town, many pub owners can curate their own lists compared to other establishments without ever leaving the bar.
David Broderick, publican of The Blind Tiger in New York City, The Worthy Burger and Worthy Kitchen in Vermont, said that, “… beer apps like Beermaps, Beer Advocate and Rate Beer have been and will continue to be a huge boon and resource for craft beer, both on- and off premise”.
Broderick also noted that through the use of apps and social media, brewers have been able to spread the word on many of special releases and events. Anyone utilizing the apps can get a near real-time information flow on events, special release beers or further information on what they are drinking.
“Millennials, who are becoming a big part of our demographic, are hardwired into this flow of information,” Broderick said.
Beer-related apps have become an important tool for every corner of the brewing industry and consumers.
Around the country, beer apps have even been developed for different beer festivals and citywide beer week guides.
Mobile technology is not just limited to smart phone apps. Podcasts have been emerging as an important tool to both entertain and educate. Browsing the options in podcast libraries such as iTunes, ShoutEngine and Sound Cloud, there are many options. Whether by region or subject, there’s a beer-related podcast for all interests. Through Apple’s Carplay feature in 28 car models and Microsoft’s SYNC platform in Ford automobiles, the ease and ability to access podcasts on the go is building.
In Vermont, two friends — Matt Gadouas and Kris Jarrett — have found a niche in the craft beer world with their podcast. Since the first podcast on December 6, the Two Brews podcast grew to 300 hundred listeners and over 1,000 followers in just three months and continues to grow every week. With both podcasters having media backgrounds and a desire to create a podcast, the decision to focus on craft beer was fairly easy. One reason for doing a podcast over other forms of media was that “… it creates a more intimate connection” with the listener, Matt, said. The pair also noted that beer-focused podcasts are still in their infancy as technology and ideas develop.
In their podcast, Matt and Kris interview area brewers and store owners as well as conduct blind tastings. Approaching breweries to do an episode usually starts with getting a growler and to start chatting about the show. “All the brewers we’ve had on the show were very approachable and eager to do it,” Kris said.
The last part of the show is blind tastings of beers, which is important to the producers. “Part of the fun of doing the show is that we are learning about these beers,” Matt said.
The show is even expanding its focus on some upcoming episodes that will explore New York’s Capital Region and even the Caribbean.
Podcasts have given a new avenue for smaller and younger breweries to get their name out and discuss what they’re doing. This is proving to be a useful tool for many start-up breweries that may not have the attention of the printed press.
Another great example of a different kind of beer podcast is The Seacoast Beverage Lab hosted by Brian Aldrich, based in Portsmouth, N.H. The podcast extends its focus not just on New England but also across the country. Since 2012, Alrich and a panel of New England craft beer enthusiasts have interviewed many beer industry members involved in all aspects of the beer world, discussed the weekly beer news and more. An interview in February had the cofounder of Untappd, Greg Avola, on to discuss how the smart phone app came to be.
In increasing frequency, brewers and brewery founders are ending up on many different types of podcasts. An example of this is fellow Yankee Brew News writer Ria Windcaller’s podcast, Leading Chaos. While the podcast is focused on dealing with chaos, Windcaller interviewed Justin Korby, founder of Stoneman Brewery in Colrain, Mass. Instead of the focus being on the beer he produced, it was focused on how Korby navigated the chaos of starting a nano-brewery.
With the vast amount of information available through the Internet, beer apps and podcasts have become important delivery tools for users looking to enhance their experiences in beer. Whether it’s the curated aspect of a podcast or simply the reviewing of a beer on an app while sitting at the bar, these tools have become ingrained in the craft beer industry. While these technologies are still fairly new to the beer scene, they’ve become an important tool for every corner of the industry.
Perfect Water Creates Brewing Hub
Easthampton Massachusetts is well known to have award winning drinking water. Now three breweries — Abandoned Building, Fort Hill and New City Brewery — have made the mini city of 16,000 a beer destination. Each has a tasting room (these are not brewpubs) and beer to go. The brewing spaces ranges from cubby, high ceiling industrial to “If Willy Wonka brewed beer, this is what it would look like.” These breweries are close to each other with Abandoned and New City in the same “Old Mill” complex, and they are all on the Manhan Rail Trail. Time to dust off the bicycles and meet the brewers.
Abandoned Building Brewery
Abandoned Building Brewery was the first to start serving beers in 2013. It’s a 15-barrel brewhouse and specializes in Belgian and American-style ales, and the beer is sold in 22-ounce bombers and growlers. Abandoned’s flagship beer is Lola’s Saison (5.0% ABV), a Belgian-style saison.
“I crave both the creative recipe building process and the process management aspect of brewing,” said owner/brewer Matt Tarlecki of why he started brewing.
What can patrons look forward to from Abandoned? — “Barrel-aging is going to be a vital aspect of the brewery,” Tarlecki said. “Our barrel-aging program now includes a rum and whiskey barrel that’s holding our Nightshade Stout, a Jim Beam barrel that’s aging Odin, our Belgian-style quadruple ale, and two red wine barrels aging our Lola’s Saison that was inoculated with wild yeast and raw peaches.”
Where did the name Abandoned Building come? — “It originates from my fascination with abandoned spaces and places,” Tarlecki said, “and the resurrection of these forgotten places into perfectly useful and functional spaces.” And, of course, the brewhouse is situated in what was once an abandoned old mill.
May 9 is Abandoned’s anniversary party and release of the red wine barrel-aged sour saison. Abandoned’s Tasting Room is open Thursday and Friday, 5-7 p.m., and Saturday from noon-6 p.m. Every month the brewery hosts a band and movie night.
Fort Hill Brewery
Fort Hill Brewery is a 50-barrel brewery specializing in lagers and sells growlers, six-packs and 12-packs of beer in cans. Eric Berzins is the owner/head brewer, and his cousin, Kriss Strikis (Striker), is the plant engineer, making this brewery a true family affair. Fort Hill is undoubtedly a state-of- the-art brewhouse with Striker using an iPad to see and control the brewhouse valves and motors.
“I brew beer because I was jealous of all the people in Germany that got to enjoy fresh lager on a daily basis,” Berzins said of why he started brewing. “And I wanted my cousin Striker and I to drink fresh lager beer whenever we want.”
What can patrons look forward to from Fort Hill? — Berzins said to expect “Fresh, traditionally brewed lager beer. Wheat beers like a hefeweizen and dunkelweizens will be brewed for sure. We have a 12-pack lager sampler with Red Flag (fest bier), King Mark (Vienna-style lager), Rauchbier and a Doppelbock.”
All the current beers are low in alcohol and yet full-bodied. The 12-pack and especially the Rauchbier are perfect for yearround barbecues.
Where did the name Fort Hill come from? — “The name of the road the brewery is located on is called Fort Hill Road,” Berzin said. “Fort Hill Road was so named because of a Pocomtuc (Native American) fort that was located in the area about three hundred years ago,” Striker added. “It was involved in an attack on the Pascommuck village during the time of the French and Indian Wars.” Fort Hill’s Tasting Room is open Thursday and Friday, 4-7 p.m., and Saturday from 2-6 p.m. — and there’s live music on Saturdays.
Fort Hill Brewery: 30 Fort Hill Road, Easthampton, 413-203-5754
New City Brewery
New City Brewery is what owner/brewer Sam Dibble calls a “Dedicated gluten free 30 barrel brewhouse and a planned 10 barrel secondary brewhouse for beers.” The flagship beer is the gluten free New City Original Ginger Beer (8.0%). Dibble considers this style to have “near-infinite variations.” This head brewer is perfecting his deceptively smooth Imperial Brown Ale and is not to be missed when the tasting room opens in late April.
Why he started brewing — “Brewing is my passion,” said Dibble. “It’s an ancient trade, and when I brew, I feel 10,000 years of human experimentation, observation and participation behind the cutting edge of each new batch. I brew to share with others, which is an urge that goes hand in hand with the thrill of discovery at the heart of brewing.”
What can patrons look forward to from New City? — “Hard work and creativity, crafted to capture the imagination, for people to ponder, relax and have a good time,” Dibble said.
What is behind the name New City? — “New City is the neighborhood across the pond from the brewery,” Dibble explained. “In the heyday of the mills, people would walk to work from there, and we wanted to honor the rich industrial past of Easthampton as we reinvent it.”
New City’s tasting room opens at the end of April on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
New City Brewery: 180 Mill Street, Easthampton, 413-429-2000
Read the full article at http://ybnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Perfect+Water+Creates+Brewing+Hub/1974476/252829/article.html.