Yankee Brew News October/November 2015 : Page 1

L -R: Bobby Rodriguez of Po Boy Brewery, Jim Thompson of Taste of Long Island, Dan Russo and Tim Dougherty of Brewers Collective and Charles Becker of 1940’s Brewery. PHOTO BY DOUG YOUNG By Niko Krommydas he site of Long Island’s fi rst alternating brewery proprietorship — de fi ned by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) as “an arrangement in which two or more people take turns using the physical premises of a brewery” — is Farmingdale’s A Taste of Long Island, an 800-square-foot commercial kitchen primarily employed by small, budding food businesses and adjoining specialty grocery. Its owners are Jim Thompson and his daughter, Courtney Citko. A homebrewer during the 1990s, Thompson had stopped making beer for nearly two decades before rediscovering his ILLUSTRATION BY HANS GRANHEIM By Paul “Zok” Zocco hat is it that brings memories of autumn to mind? Some sense the cooler nights and crisper days. For others, the diminishing light is a reminder of a season gone by and a new one at our doorstep. Days are getting shorter but are alive with a palate of autumn color. The perfumed fragrances of nature surround us as the autumn harvest season shows off its brilliance. We anxiously wait for this fall panorama and especially look forward to the new crop of apples. The fragrant aromas and fl avors of the season remind us that “It’s cider season again!” Our Forefathers Were the First American Cider Makers Back in the day of the Pilgrims and their kin, there weren’t a lot of quaint little See Cider p. 4 INSIDE Events Calendar....... 2 The Alehouse ........... 9 Tasting Panel ......... 10 Homebrew .............. 12 Maps/Directory .. 18-23 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 former hobby. After noticing the industry’s “unbelievable popularity,” especially locally, he decided to add brewing to Taste’s offerings and launched the Craft Microbrewhouse last summer with three fl edgling companies ready to rent space, time and equipment: Po’ Boy Brewery, 1940’s Brewing and The Brewers Collective. As tenants — Thompson’s A Taste of Long Island Craft Brewery is host — brewers have the opportunity to operate their new beermaking business on a smaller scale, with less fi nancial investment and less risk than the conventional startup model. They use a shared three-barrel brewhouse in the private kitchen, while the building’s converted basement is designed for fermentation, packaging and ingredient storage. Taste’s storefront even has a 12-draft bar to sell the house-made brews. During an interview for Yankee Brew News last year, Thompson said he expected tenants would use the incubator-like setup See Bohemians p. 7

Cider

Paul “Zok” Zocco

The Flovor Of Autumn

What is it that brings memories of autumn to mind? Some sense the cooler nights and crisper days. For others, the diminishing light is a reminder of a season gone by and a new one at our doorstep. Days are getting shorter but are alive with a palate of autumn color. The perfumed fragrances of nature surround us as the autumn harvest season shows off its brilliance. We anxiously wait for this fall panorama and especially look forward to the new crop of apples. The fragrant aromas and flavors of the season remind us that “It’s cider season again!”

Our Forefathers Were the First American Cider Makers

Back in the day of the Pilgrims and their kin, there weren’t a lot of quaint little cider mills around. Our forefathers didn’t have a Stop & Shop around the corner to pick up supplies or cider. The apples and pears that grew in the forests and hilly meadows of New England were their crop. Coming from a distant land where cider was an everyday beverage, they were destined to produce their own version of this elixir. Whatever apples grew nearby were picked, pressed and squeezed into sweet apple cider. Apples can be replaced with pears to produce perry.

There’s a wealth of knowledge of many types of apples that may be used in cider making. Cider makers from differing climatic zones throughout the U.S. produce a multitude of ciders using many types of apples and local blends. Fast forward to New England. Cultivars are found here in the northeast including Macintosh, Rome, Granny Smith, Empire, Delicious and Baldwin, just to name a few. There are many more. At a fall cider event in Massachusetts each year called Cider Days, a local apple grower displays at least 75 locally grown varieties, all of which can be used in cider making. Quoting a veteran cider maker: “The trick in making great cider is in the blend.” Combinations of sweet, bitter, tart and sharp apples are blended to produce flavors. Each cider maker has a signature blend, some quite secret.

All Six New England States Grow Cider Apples

Online info shows that the Apple Growers Association of New England lists around 70 farms that grow and sell apples. Of these 70, not all produce cider but may supply other cider mills with their fruit. Considering the many apple varieties in New England and the varied ripening seasons of each, there are many different versions of cider. Some heirloom styles are having a rebirth, and completely new styles have appeared. The fact that ciders are gluten free may have a lot do with cider’s renaissance.

Basic Styles of Cider & Perry

The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) style guidelines are the definitive reference for cider descriptions for appearance, aroma, mouthfeel (body) and vital specs on each style. Pears may be substituted to make a totally different type of cider.

Common Cider or Perry are the most prevalent styles produced. They have apple (or pear) aromas and flavors and a subdued alcohol level. Sweet notes may be apparent, but without being cloying or syrupy. Some tannins, bitter notes or carbonation may be present, and if so, should be subtle. These are basically “session” ciders ranging from 5. 0%-8.0% ABV, are easy to drink and pair well with food.

With English Cider, most characteristics are austere with a subtle aroma of esters and phenolics, and signs of Brettanomyces fermentation byproducts are sometimes found, but all in moderate concentrations. Alcohol levels range from 6. 0%-9.0%. Subtle sweetness and acidity is typical, but also in moderate amounts. These are dryer and fuller bodied ciders that are also enjoyed with food.

French Ciders tend to be richer and fuller bodied than the English or American versions. Astringent apples with a higher level of tannins are commonly used for these ciders, and a livelier, almost Champagne-like carbonation level define this style. Typical alcohol levels range from 3.0-6.0%.

New England Cider characteristics include a higher alcohol content (7.0%-13%) with a more robust and fuller bodied backbone. Occasionally, these ciders may be barrel aged giving caramel, vanilla and wood characteristics. Their low tannins and complex ester profile allow the presence of added spices, raisins, sugars and molasses to be evident.

Specialty Apple Ciders and Perrys are made with addition of fruits, sugars, adjuncts or spices. Though this style is currently popular, it’s important that the apple or pear characteristics show themselves, and that the added ingredients don’t overpower the base fruit flavor. Popular commercial ciders such as Angry Orchard and Woodchuck are sweeter and fruitier versions and are enjoyed by those blessed with a sweet tooth. Though sometimes not fitting a particular cider style, they are indeed a large share of the current commercial American cider market.

Positive Growth in the American and New England Cider Markets

Hard cider in the U.S. is now a $2 billion industry, and there are currently 426 cider makers in 40 states. Phenomenal annual growth has been seen in every aspect of the cider industry. According to Chicagobased market research firm IRI: “American cider sales zoomed 75.4% in the 12-month period ending November 2014.” And there is no end in sight. All six New England states have hard cider producers showing excellent growth, and there are many excellent New England hard cider makers.

Connecticut

Clyde Cider Mill in Old Mystic, Conn., has been making cider for 110 years. Fourth-generation owner Annette Minor said she only sells retail to the public from the family-owned mill. Currently, Clyde’s makes 18 ciders with four new ones coming out this autumn.

“We listen to the customer’s needs and don’t follow market trends,” Minor said.

In the past 10 years, Clyde’s has had at least 75% growth.

Massachusetts

Carr’s Cider House in Hadley, Mass., is a family-owned farm that produces strictly organic ciders. Carr’s grows pest-resistant apples including heirloom Russets, Kingston and Black Goldrush among other classic cider cultivars. Barrel-aging small batches is the norm at Carr’s, and the millhouse uses an antique refurbished cider press, probably the oldest of its type in existence.

“We incorporate apple cultivars that add a tremendous amount of complexity to our cider,” said Jonathan Carr and Nicole Blum, owners of the cidery.

Rhode Island

Newport Vineyard in Eastgate, R.I., is a well-known New England winery that also produces an interesting cider, starting production in the late 1990s. Rhody Coyote cider (7.0%) is sparkling, filtered and made entirely from Rhode Island apples that are sourced from orchards within a five-mile radius of the winery. Being primarily a winery, cider production slows down as soon as the winemaking season begins.

“With cider’s popularity these past few years,” said co-owner John Nunes, “we’ve had continued market growth. I’d say that we’ve tripled our cider production. We want a bright, crisp flavor that reflects our Rhode Island apples.”

Maine

Urban Farm Fermentory began production in 2010 in Portland, Maine. owner Eli Cayer currently produces nine hard ciders, three of which are carbonated in kegs. Others are either carbonated and bottled or casked in pins or firkins. Typically, all are made in 300-gallon batches, and all the ciders are fermented dry with different carbonation rates. All the ciders are fermented wild with only naturally occurring yeast located on the apple skins. Market growth for Urban Farm Fermentory has been approximately 50% each year since 2010.

“We are blazing new trails by our use of natural wild yeast fermentation,” Cayer said.

New Hampshire

Farnum Hill Cider in Lebanon, N. H., is noted for its dry, sharp, fruity and bountifully aromatic cider blends. Different apples are used such as Golden Russets, Wickson’s, Ashnead’s Kernel and Hudson’s Golden Gem as well as many other vintage and English varieties. Most ciders at Farnum Hill contain alcohol in the range of 6.75%-7. 5 %.

“Our dry ciders are a reflection of the apples grown locally,” said owner Steve Wood, who has brought back many apple cultivars that were once used and forgotten.

Vermont

Flaghill Farm in Vershire, Vt., is a small cidery that has been pressing classic cider apples for around for 30 years. Owner Sabra Ewing said that Flaghill’s small farm grows its own varieties, which have included over 180 cultivars over the years. All ciders are fermented spontaneously and use only organic, disease-resistant apples, and Flaghill Farm been instrumental in being one of the first to use the “Champagne Method” in bottling its sparkling cider. The cidery also has a small still to produce an apple brandy.

“We are totally dedicated to quality, not quantity in our products,” Ewing said.

Flaghill has shown growth each year and will continue to produce typical Vermont “farmhouse cider” using classic cider type apples.

Hudson Valley, New York

Though not part of New England, Yankee Brew News covers parts of New York and New York City.

Aaron Burr Cidery is in the Hudson Valley village of Wurtsboro, N.Y. Owners Andy Brennan and wife, Polly Girgosian, planted cider apples on their property in 2007 after enjoying fresh apple cider from another producer. The Hudson Valley area is noted for its climate, which is conducive to growing an abundance of cider apple varieties. Aaron Burr Cidery has been a small cider-producing homestead dating back to the early 19th century. Most of its ciders are fermented dry, sharp and tannic and range approx. 7.0%-8.0% ABV. One of the farm’s licensed ciders is sourced from wild, non-commercially grown apples. The farm also produces other cider types including a barrel-aged version.

“We specialize in growing cider apples to make true cider,” Brennan and Girgosian said. “We’re I’m certain that in 20 years, our region will be the Napa Valley of cider.”

Read the full article at http://ybnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Cider/2294410/276057/article.html.

Brewing Bohemians

Niko Krommydas

L - R: Bobby Rodriguez of Po Boy Brewery, Jim Thompson of Taste of Long Island, Dan Russo and Tim Dougherty of Brewers Collective and Charles Becker of 1940’s Brewery.

The site of Long Island’s first alternating brewery proprietorship — defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) as “an arrangement in which two or more people take turns using the physical premises of a brewery” — is Farmingdale’s A Taste of Long Island, an 800-squarefoot commercial kitchen primarily employed by small, budding food businesses and adjoining specialty grocery. Its owners are Jim Thompson and his daughter, Courtney Citko.

A homebrewer during the 1990s, Thompson had stopped making beer for nearly two decades before rediscovering his former hobby. After noticing the industry’s “unbelievable popularity,” especially locally, he decided to add brewing to Taste’s offerings and launched the Craft Microbrewhouse last summer with three fledgling companies ready to rent space, time and equipment: Po’ Boy Brewery, 1940’s Brewing and The Brewers Collective. As tenants — Thompson’s A Taste of Long Island Craft Brewery is host — brewers have the opportunity to operate their new beermaking business on a smaller scale, with less financial investment and less risk than the conventional startup model. They use a shared three-barrel brewhouse in the private kitchen, while the building’s converted basement is designed for fermentation, packaging and ingredient storage. Taste’s storefront even has a 12-draft bar to sell the house-made brews.

During an interview for Yankee Brew News last year, Thompson said he expected tenants would use the incubator-like setup for two or three years before springboarding to open their own, presumably larger facilities. This would also enable new brewers to join. Thompson’s foresight was somewhat correct: Po’ Boy Brewery and 1940’s Brewing have both already left to expand their young operations after less than a year, and its owners — Bobby Rodriguez and Charles Becker, respectively — have decided to grow together. The pair is set to open Long Island’s second alternating brewery proprietorship in Bohemia.

Nothing But A Po’ Boy

It was a “pretty humbling” path to Po’ Boy Brewery, according to Rodriguez. The first time he entered a homebrew competition in 2009, he recalled lightheartedly, “I entered the beer as an American pale ale because I figured, Hey, I live in America. I’ll just say that I didn’t place well in that one.”

Rodriguez, who lives in Lake Ronkonkoma and works full-time in healthcare, quickly proved both adept and ambitious as a beermaker. He joined two local homebrew clubs — Brewer’s East End Revival (B.E.E.R.) and the Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME) — and won over 30 awards for his recipes in just three years. He received seven of those accolades at B.E.E.R.’s 17th Annual Brew-Off in 2013, most notably the Brewers Cup by topping a 258-entry pool with a burly porter aged in Tuthilltown Spirits bourbon barrels. As winner, he was granted the opportunity to recreate his complex creation commercially with Port Jeff Brewing, which became the brewery’s Imperial Force.

Rodriguez was quick to note that his motive for entering competitions was not a self-aggrandizing quest to amass a mess of medals, but a “barometer to test my beers against other homebrewers to see how I stacked up. That’s when I knew I was eventually ready to start my own brewery.” Its name was a quicker decision: “Po’ Boy” is also Rodriguez’s nickname, which originated during a conversation with a bothersome barfly one night. “About 15 years ago at a local watering hole this guy kept asking me throughout the night, ‘Hey, can you buy me a beer?’ Finally, after about the fifth time I pulled out my pockets and said, ‘I can’t. I’m nothing but a Po’ Boy.’ And that cracked him up so much. From there on, he started buying me drinks.”

Rodriguez joined A Taste of Long Island last November and debuted professional liquid at an event shortly after Christmas alongside the unveiling of Imperial Force. Po’ Boy’s inaugural release wasn’t beer, though; it was a hard cider named Gingerbread Cookie Cider.

“I love to brew unique ciders, and they’re just as important as our beers. I find that the expectations for ciders right now are a little looser than beer. It allows me to play around a lot with flavors and have fun,” he explained.

Po’ Boy’s broad draft-only portfolio has also included beers like Hoppy Happens, a “bright American IPA with strong grapefruit flavor,” and Old Kentuckian, “my interpretation of a Kentucky common.” Rodriguez was happy to start brewing professionally at Taste, but he quickly yearned for more control over fermentation.

“We built a fermentation chamber there, and we all had to agree on a set temperature, so not only were there certain styles that I couldn’t brew, but I also couldn’t tinker with temperatures for what we could make,” he explained.

“Sometimes I like to ferment a pilsner at a higher temp and sometimes I want a witbier a little lower. I like full control every step of the way.”

“What’s great about the new location is that we’ll have the proper equipment to brew beer that I had no chance of making at the incubator space — particularly lager beers,” Rodriguez continued. “I’m excited to introduce classic American pilsners, doppelbocks and a lot of interesting beers to the local community.”

Beer-Blooded

Becker, who lives in Old Bethpage, was the first tenant to launch from Craft Microbrewhouse last September. He was also the oldest, starting his beer-career with 1940’s Brewing at the age of 63. But the late foray, while unconventional, is not entirely surprising given his family history: His great-grandfather worked at a brewery during the 1800s — likely Christian Schmidt — and his father, Walter Becker, spent 41 years at Rheingold Beer’s facility in Bushwick, Brooklyn, mainly as an assistant brewer. Becker recalled the latter regularly bringing prototypes home for feedback.

“They’d all be lined up on the dining room table with different notes on them. We would drink them and make comments. It was beer judging before that even existed,” he laughed.

Before joining Rheingold, which was the one of the country’s largest breweries during the 1960s, Walter graduated from the U. S. Brewers Academy in 1940; the same year, he married Becker’s mother.

“That’s why I picked the brewery’s name. Family is very important to me,” said Becker, who started homebrewing in 2008, near the end of a 40-year accounting career. He discovered Riverhead’s Long Ireland Beer Co. Shortly after and quickly befriended the brewery’s pair of owners, Dan Burke and Greg Martin.

“They were great,” he said. “They always helped out with any questions I had.”

Becker later joined LIBME and made beers with the club (and specifically Rodriguez) to serve at local festivals like the North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ & Wine Festival. His first was Bloody Charlie’s Red Ale. The keg emptied in a few hours.

“It definitely gave me confidence to keep brewing and learning.” He said. “I did a ton of reading during this time, and I knew I wanted to try my hand at going pro. And the commercial kitchen situation at Taste was a perfect opportunity to start without a lot of the risk.”

Becker described 1940’s portfolio as “a no-frills pursuit to make great craft beer that people will love. While I’m brewing some beers that are an homage to my German heritage it’s not limited to one style, angle or tradition.”

His first beer was Hefe Injustice, a hefeweizen “faithful to the style, crisp and unfiltered with nice flavors driven by the yeast.” There is also Airfield IPA, dryhopped with Citra and Cascade hops; 838, a roggenbier named for his father’s time in the Navy aboard the LST-838 during World War II; and Orange Sunryes, 838 brewed with “a different yeast, British ale, and a smidgen of orange.”

Becker has amassed between 15-20 accounts — all draft, all on Long Island — and expects to increase that number once Bohemia is operational. He also plans to release more experimental recipes including Barrel Redemption, an “Irish stout now barrel aging with Costa Rican coffee beans, vanilla beans, oak spirals soaked in whiskey and organic cocoa” and return to most of the aforementioned beers to make improvements.

“The set fermentation temperature was tough,” he said, echoing Rodriguez’s comments above. “I’m excited for the new venture. We’ll be able to grow in Bohemia not only in quantity but quality with the use of a glycol chiller to control fermentation and carbonation.”

Bohemia Rhapsody

Becker and Rodriguez’s shared facility, which will include a 16-draft tasting room split evenly at eight taps for each brewer, is a 2,100-square-foot space on Lakeland Avenue in Bohemia; it’s roughly a mile from MacArthur Airport. Their equipment is helmed by a new five-barrel brewhouse, which should double production for both sides, Becker predicted. It arrived in June.

“We’ve been working hard since then, but much still needs to be done,” Becker said in August.

He was still making beer at Taste at the time, while Rodriguez stopped in May.

“We’re hoping to start brewing here in October, but we’re waiting on the town zoning board hearing and the health department for the septic. Once we have the town approval we’ll start working in the tasting room and the brewery itself.”

“A lot still needs to be done,” Rodriguez agreed on that day. “But we’re getting closer by the minute. We can’t wait for our customers to have the opportunity to come to one location and try two absolutely independent breweries both set on creating great beer.”

Read the full article at http://ybnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Brewing+Bohemians/2294412/276057/article.html.

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